Lydia's eyes flew open as her alarm clock declared that it was 7:00 a.m. She jumped out of bed. Today was the day!
The date-Monday, July 4, 2005. This was the day Lydia, Beth, her sister, and Manasah, her brother had waited for the whole year! This was the morning they would head out for Brazil on a two week missions trip with their youth group and many other American youth.
She rushed through breakfast and getting ready. They loaded their three suitcases and three carry-ons into the van. Finally everything was ready.
By this time it was only 7:30. They didn't leave until 8:30! Lydia screwed up her face. They had a whole hour until they would leave. She had nothing else to do until then! For almost that whole hour she trailed after her little sister, Grace. The excitement was killing her!
"Lee, will you go see what time it is, and ask Dad when we're leaving?" Lydia inquired of her brother when she saw he was heading for the house.
Lydia was about to burst! In one way, it seemed like it had just been yesterday that their pastor had told the youth group about this trip, yet at the same time it had seemed like ages had passed since that cold November night. This can make one quite antsy-the effect it was having on Lydia.
"It's time!" Beth exclaimed, as she, their mom and dad, Manasah, Lee, and Zawadi poured out of the side and front doors and into the front yard.
"I think we need to pray before you leave," their mom, Jamie said picking Grace up.
"Dear Lord, I ask that You," Lydia's dad prayed as they bowed their heads, "would protect Lydia, Beth, and Manasah as they go down to Brazil to minister to the people down there. Amen."
Once all of the good-byes were said, Lydia, Beth, and Manasah piled into the van with their dad. They drove down the driveway waving to their mom, brothers, and Grace. They were finally on their way to Pastor Rod's house where they were to meet up with all the others. As ecstatic as they all were about going, they were going to miss their family something terrible. Lydia brushed a tear away.
"It seems odd to be finally going after so long." Beth mused from the front passenger's seat.
"Yeah, it does," Lydia agreed, "especially after all that work and frustration." She thought of all the paperwork and support letters they had worked on. She had never known how much work it took to get ready for a missions trip, even for only two weeks.
"It's going to be really weird being away from home and everybody for so long," Manasah spoke up. It had been a subject the three had talked about a couple of times during lunch chores. They had never been gone for so long from both of their parents.
"Yeah, really," both Beth and Lydia agreed.
Lydia jumped out once they were parked at Pastor Rod's house. They were the first ones there. Pastor Rod was packing his and Mrs. Olsen's suitcases in to the church van as they got out.
"Good-morning," he greeted with his usual, bright smile.
It wasn't long until the others started driving up. Everybody started talking all at once and fast.
"It's about time we started off, but first I think we need a group picture," Pastor Rod announced once the last person had arrived.
So everybody stood or knelt in front of the red church van as all the parents gathered around with their cameras. "Mom, can you take a picture with my camera too?" Cat Fallen gave her mom her digital camera and then fell into line in the back row.
"Come on, let's get moving!" Lydia thought trying to contain her anxiousness.
After what seemed like hours the cameras stopped flashing and everyone started piling into the two vans. It was about time! They still had a very long way to go, but at least they were moving again. Lydia thought little of the road that stretched out ahead of her. She was just glad to be heading in the right direction!
"Cat, you need to be getting up," Cat Fallen's mom called at the door of Cat's bedroom. Cat jolted up out of bed. She was filled with exhilaration at those very words. This was the day she had been praying about and preparing for for so long! Now it was finally here! At long last, she, her youth pastor and his wife, and thirteen other teens from youth group would be heading for Brazil!
"I can't believe it, I'm going to another country! I'm going to a completely different continent!" These ecstatic thoughts had kept her up late into the night.
"We sure are going to miss you," Cat's mom said coming over to her and giving her shoulders a squeeze as she ate breakfast.
"I'm going to miss you too." Cat leaned her head on her mother's shoulder for a second.
She finished getting ready and then hollered, "Mom, I'm ready to go!"
"Ok, let's go," her mom replied jingling her keys.
The half hour ride into town flew by. For the first few minutes she and her mom chit chatted, but after awhile Cat fell silent. Slowly she drifted off into a daydream.
Cat came back to reality when she saw the pastor's yard filled with youth and luggage. Cat jumped out and grabbed her bags out of the back seat.
Finally they started to load up into the church van and Rohn Yoder's green van. Cat was excited to at last be on the next leg in the journey. It still would be a long wait until she set her eyes on Brazil but that didn't matter. It was great to be moving. Besides each part of this experience had its own adventures, and she didn't want to miss any of them by wishing to be somewhere else.
Terrelle put his hand in his coat pocket for his gloves and brushed his fingers against a piece of paper. His brows knit together in confusion as he pulled it out. "What's this?"
He unfolded it to find a carefully printed note.
You went on a missions trip
to Brazil. Tell me
"CW?!" CW was a troubled teen. He had been sent to the Juvenile Detention Center, where Terrelle worked, for several things. He hadn't know CW had even heard about his trip to Brazil. Though he realized this was CW challenging him, he was delighted at the unexpected opportunity.
He walked out to his car, shoulders hunched against the cold wind that had picked up. He was overjoyed by this opportunity that had opened up. He had prayed for something like this ever since he had come home from Brazil. He drove out of the parking lot and into the flow of traffic. Even though he had prayed for such an opening, he had never dreamed of getting a note from CW, an angry, rebellious sixteen-year-old with long brown hair. He had been on Terrelle's heart ever since he had seen that young man hauled into the center.
That note was an unexpected, pleasant surprise. CW was a street kid with a rock in his chest instead of a heart. Yet Terrelle had never given up on him! CW was often in his prayers and thoughts.
"How to reach this young man?" Terrelle thought. He knew the direct approach would just push CW farther away. "Lord give me wisdom."
Terrelle stopped in front of of Mandie's house. He was going to take her out to a nice restaurant and a movie for the night. He and Mandie were going to get married once they were done with college. Until then they went out as often as their school and work would allow.
"Hi, you look very nice tonight," he said when Mandie opened the door revealing herself in a blue full-length dress.
The two talked about school on the way to the restaurant. Yet hard as he tried, Terrelle was failing at concentrating on the conversation. He couldn't help but think of that note. His mind was roiling with ideas of how to answer. The possibilities for CW were endless and that was exciting!
Five minutes later they stopped in front of the restaurant. Terrelle opened the door for Mandie and the two walked in. "I have a reservation for two," Terrelle told the waiter.
"Your name, sir?" The man said grabbing two menus.
The waiter led them to a table in a far corner. He placed their menus on the table and left. "You seem to be distracted. Is something wrong?" Mandie asked Terrelle who held her chair for her.
"Am I that obvious?"
Mandie shrugged her slender shoulders. He looked at her over the candles that burned in the middle of the table. Shadows played over her face and accented her slanted eyes.
Terrelle pulled the slip of paper out of his coat pocket. "I found this in my pocket today as I was leaving."
Mandie read the slip of paper, "Is this the kid you're always talking about?" She handed it back to him. "The one with the long, straggly brown hair?"
"Yes, that's him," Terrelle said his eyes dancing with excitement. "How would you think I should approach him?"
"I don't know," Mandie said looking thoughtful. She didn't act very excited, but Terrelle hadn't expected her to. God had put the passion for CW on his heart not hers. Even so, she possessed a knack for thinking through things, seeing them at angles he had never even known had existed.
"Why not just use the same approach he did? Give him a note."
Terrelle had thought about it but hadn't been real sure about it. "To tell him all about it in a note I might lose his interest before I was half way through, losing maybe my only chance at reaching him."
"Only tell the best story you have. You know like these appetizers." Mandie made a graceful gesture over the list of delectable looking appetizers. "They are just a small taste of what is to come. A starving man eats an appetizer-his hunger won't be quenched but increased. He has had a taste of something divine and knows that the main course will be ten times better. If CW is truly searching for an answer, one story will be an appetizer."
Terrelle got a far-away look in his eyes as he thought about that. It made sense. It was ridiculous that he hadn't thought about that. He had been so excited about telling CW everything that he hadn't seen that option. The problem with a letter was he wouldn't have been able to see if he was boring CW and should stop or not. He knew just the story he would give. He started to slowly nod. "Thanks, Mandie, I'll do that."
After the supper and movie Terrelle took Mandie back to her house. He then headed home with a tired sigh. It had been a good night, but now he was exhausted. He had thought he would be able to write out that story after his date with Mandie, but as it was he was having trouble just staying awake long enough to get home. He rolled down his window thinking maybe the brisk, fall air would help keep him up long enough. It worked well enough. It was a beautiful night. The stars were out in all their glory, the moon a radiant orangish-red color. "Lord, I thank You for CW, and that You have started to work on his heart," Terrelle spoke out loud.
The next morning started out bright and beautiful, with the trees donning their fall splendor. It was a Saturday-Terrelle's day off. He started his day with a piece of toast, an apple, and a glass of milk. Once he had prayed for his meal, he took paper and pencil in hand and went to the task of writing down the story he had chosen for CW. It had been one that had stayed with him ever since that day.
When he had finished it and his breakfast, he hopped into his car with the letter in hand. He wanted to get this to CW as soon as possible. It only took a few minutes to get down to the JD Center.
"Terrelle, what are you doing here?" the front desk officer asked, looking up as Terrelle strode in.
"I have something I need you to give CW."
"You mean Mr. I'm-going-to-make-you-pay-for-arresting-me? You mean, of all the places you could be today, you came here to give something to him," the officer asked raising an eyebrow in suspicion. "Read it yourself, Michael. There is nothing subversive in it." Terrelle handed the folded piece of paper over to the older man. Michael was a new Christian that Terrelle had come to respect.
"I'm sorry, Terrelle," Michael gave a tired, frustrated sigh, "I know that. I'll be sure CW gets it."
"Thanks, God bless you," Terrelle said over his shoulder.
"You too," Michael called after him.
CW stood on the far side of the courtyard where the kids were allowed out on nice days. He had his arms crossed and was glowering at all the guards who were posted around the perimeter. He hated this place and the guts of all the people who had put him here.
He saw the guard who usually was posted at the entrance and who had to clear people before they came in walking toward him. He stiffened, his eyes narrowing. What did the fool want? He was asking for trouble.
"I was told to give you this," Michael mumbled handing a piece of paper to CW. CW glared at him ripping the paper out of his hand.
Michael bit his lip looking ready to take offense. His whole face told CW that he was fighting the urge to beat CW's face in. CW gave him a menacing grin, just daring him to do it.
Michael whirled around on his heel and strode off. CW at first thought about throwing the paper away. "What does anyone care about me anyway?" No one cared. If they did he wouldn't be here.
However, just as he was about to rip it into a million pieces something made him stop. Who would have written him? He knew it would have been screened before given to him so it couldn't be from any of his friends. "Some friends they are!" CW snorted. They had helped and had even planned some of the schemes, but when the police came they had run off, leaving him to fend for himself. He had been bleeding and couldn't stand up and even his best friend had deserted him.
"Who cares," CW thought shoving away the feeling of abandonment, "I don't." CW tried to be tough and berated himself for caring about those dumb guys. They didn't mean anything to....It didn't work. As hard as he tried to put up an indifferent air he felt like curling up in a ball and crying. Angry at himself for being such a cry baby he whirled around and slammed his fist into the cement wall.
"Hey! Cool it kid!" one of the guards hollered.
"Zip it!" he screamed back.
He turned around so his back was to everyone else. Still brooding over being a sissy, he unfolded the paper.
You sure are giving me a challenge.
CW grinned. So Terrelle had gotten that, had he? Good.
Yet I love a good challenge and so I shall meet your challenge with the best story I have.
There wasn't a smug attitude or a defensive attitude behind that sentence. It was just a simple statement.
The first day we were ministering at Bola de Neve, one of the churches, the speaker asked for everyone to pray about receiving words of knowledge for ministry time. Words of knowledge are where God tells you something about someone. Like something about their past or if they have an illness. I had never gotten a word for anyone during ministry time. I prayed a simple prayer and asked for one. I got a vision so quick I didn't know if it was me or God. The vision was of an older woman with a cancerous tumor in her left breast. I went back and forth between going up and giving the word and not giving the word. I decided that I would rather look foolish and obey than not look foolish and sit in disobedience.
CW snorted at this.
I went up and gave the word, but no one stood up to claim the word. I thought to myself, "Oh well, I obeyed God." That night I was still thinking about it and I prayed another simple prayer, "God, if that was You, I want to meet the woman who had the tumor. The next day at Bola de Neve, after ministry time, a woman came running up to me almost in tears. She found the nearest translator and began telling me the story. She said, "Yesterday, when you gave that word I knew it was for me. All of a sudden the fire of God fell on me and burned out the entire tumor. It is gone!" She said she was going to the doctor soon to prove it, but she knew it had dissolved. I was so happy and overwhelmed with her. I took pictures with her. Later on she bought me a shirt that said in Portuguese, "Approved by the Holy Spirit." That story has stuck with me for this entire time. I carry her picture in my Bible to always remind me of what God can do with someone who is willingly obedient.
Hope that helped.
God bless you!
P.S. I do care. I hope this testimony shows you that God cares too!
That last part hit CW hard. Someone cared about him?! Why would anyone care? No one had ever considered what happened to him! There he went again, getting all emotional. "What's with you CW? You're being such a baby!"
Yet he couldn't shake the feeling. Someone actually went out of their way to tell him one simple sentence. Who would do that? Then there was this issue about God dissolving a tumor. Could He do that? Did He even exist? How could He exist? He had never done anything for CW. When CW had been young, he had thought there might be a god and had cried out for help. He had been answered by cold silence!
"Hah! CW, what are you thinking? This guy's crazy, that's all. No one could be cured of cancer like that," he mumbled to himself. Oh great, now he was talking to himself. He was loonier than Terrelle!
He crumpled up the paper and threw it to the ground in defiance. He resented the fact that a few sentences could rouse such emotions in him! He was being one of those emotional ninnies he and his friends had laughed at. He stalked away from the paper.
The rest of the day he tried everything he could think of to shake the feelings that had been stirred up by Terrelle's letter. He tried harassing the guards, railing on the other kids, and ramming into things. Nothing worked. Those three words kept running through his mind. I do care! I do care! I do care!
"Michael said you wrote CW a letter. What did you write to him?" Clare, JD Center's cook, asked when Terrelle entered the locker room, where the guards and other workers kept possessions while on duty.
"I told him about my trip to Brazil. Why?"
"He's been acting odd. It's like he has something on his mind that he can't get rid of."
"Really?" Terrelle gave a pleased smile.
He put away his coat and stuff and headed out to start the day. He wanted to go to see CW but decided against it. If CW was impressed by the story he would seek him out. "Thank You, Lord!" Terrelle praised God as he went about his work.
"You!" Terrelle heard CW come up behind him a few minutes later. He turned around to find the teen practically on him. "You really believe all that stuff you wrote?" CW growled.
"Yes." Better judgment told him to let CW say his piece before trying to back up that statement.
"You're crazy!! There's no god who could do that! Even if there is a god who could do that, he doesn't care about people."
Terrelle felt the Lord guiding him to jump on that statement. "CW, God loves you. He never abandoned you. He was just waiting for the perfect moment to reveal Himself."
CW took a startled step back. He looked to the ground as though trying to regain his bearings and control. When he looked back up, he had masked his feelings with rebellion. "He doesn't care about me," CW snapped, though weakly.
"Doesn't He? Did you ever call out to Him?"
CW looked like he wasn't sure if he should admit to that. "Yes, a lot of times, and I never got a response."
"If He had answered you at the time would you have stayed with Him?"
CW didn't answer that question. Terrelle closed his eyes, searching for the right words. "Lord, give me wisdom," he prayed. Still the words seemed to elude him.
He finally just opened his mouth out of faith that God would bring the words if he would just step out. "CW," he put his hand on the boy's shoulder, "I can't tell you why God stayed quiet at the time you called out to Him. Yet it is from personal experience that I can tell you that He is always in control and will turn things around if you will turn to Him wholeheartedly. I could be wrong, but maybe God was waiting until you were really desperate and really wanted Him. Maybe when you were calling out to Him you weren't really wanting Him and just were trying to find an easy way out of your troubles."
A tear welled up in CW's eye. His perpetual glare faltered and then shattered as he totally broke down into tears. This didn't surprise Terrelle. He had been thinking that under that mask of a bully was a little, hurting boy. Terrelle looked around and then with a fatherly arm led CW into one of the rooms where lawyers interviewed the kids. He closed the door and sat down in a chair. CW plopped down in a chair across from Terrelle still crying.
"It can't be true. If God is as caring as you say, then why would He allow so much hurt in this world?" CW was still fighting the thought. It was obvious a loving God was still beyond CW's comprehension, yet he was hoping it was true. Terrelle saw that look of fearful hope in CW's eyes. He desperately wanted love yet was afraid to reach out for it in case it was a mirage.
"Because a couple thousand years ago God created the world and the first man and woman, and gave them a free will. They chose to disobey Him. Because of that abuse, disease, murder, and rejection entered the world. He didn't want it that way, but He gave them the choice."
"Why would He do that?" CW looked up surprised.
"He wanted to have a relationship with His people. Can you force someone to love you?" Terrelle looked CW straight in the eye knowing this would be a fact the kid would know well.
CW looked down at the table in front of him. "No," he whispered.
Terrelle nodded his head. "God wanted to love His people, but He gave us the choice. We chose to disobey Him. We were made to be in communion with God. When we turned from Him we lost a paramount part of us. You have an understanding about cars don't you?"
"If you pour water onto the wires and into parts of the car that aren't supposed to have water in them, what will happen?"
CW looked at him as though he was being dumb. "It will break down."
"That's right. We doused water on God that moment of the first rebellion. Now we are breaking down. That's not the end of the story, however. God loves us so much that He sent His Son to save us from our sin. We deserve to die! We rejected God. Even so, He sent Jesus to die in our place, to defeat death and illness by rising from the dead! Now we can have eternal life! All we have to do is accept His gift of love and life."
CW wiped at the tears that ran down his cheeks. He looked down at the table thinking through what Terrelle had said. "It can't be that easy. Nobody gives something for nothing," he said gruffly, pushing his chair out from the table and heading for the door.
"CW." In two long strides Terrelle was beside CW. "Try Him. You have nothing to lose." He pulled out a small Bible out of his hip pocket and held it out to CW. CW looked at it unsure of himself. Still he took it silently before walking out the door.
Terrelle had to admit he was a bit disappointed as he watched that receding back. He was so sure that he had seen a hunger in those eyes. He couldn't just stand here brooding about it, though. He went back to work, praying for CW as he went about it. He had obeyed the Lord in speaking up. Now he would just have to lift the situation up to Jesus.
Finally Terrelle's shift was over. He headed out for his car. He hadn't seen CW for the rest of the day, but he had kept him in his prayers. He wasn't about to give up on CW.
The next day Terrelle had school. The whole day CW was in his thoughts and prayers. On Wednesday he went back to work, but for half the day saw nothing of CW. Where was he? Terrelle usually saw him at least twice a day.
"Terrelle, come here I have something you are going to want to see for yourself," Clare said coming up to him. She led him to the cafeteria and pointed to a table in a far corner where CW sat, his nose stuffed in a little book. Beside him was a plate of food. "Monday about this time I was about ready to close up shop when he came waltzing in asking for his lunch. At first, I was a bit perturbed that he hadn't been in here before with the rest of the kids. Than I got a closer look at the book he's reading now. Terrelle, it was a Bible. He's been reading it ever since you gave it to him. He goes to a part of the center that is kind of secluded and sits there for hours until some of the kids start paying attention to him and then with a gruff word he moves to another spot," Clare explained quietly.
"Cool!" Terrelle exclaimed with a smile.
"Are you going to say anything to him?"
"No, I've said all I can. If he wants to talk to me, he knows he can. Thanks, though. That was good to see." Terrelle went back to work, praying for CW as always.
"Lord, it is now in Your hands, but I would like to know what's going on."
CW went to bed that night feeling more turbulent than ever before. He had devoured the stories of Jesus, especially the ones about healing, over the past few days. He had felt crazy and foolish for reading a Bible. His dad always said the Bible was for the old and helpless. Yet, he couldn't stop himself. Something in the stories drew him in. He couldn't put the book down. The only reason he stopped at night was the lights were turned off without exception.
He tossed and turned in his bed for over an hour unable to sleep. He felt so lonely, more alone than he ever had. The walls of the center closing in on him ever since he had come. Tonight, the oppression was suffocating. He had tried to hide the depression by acting angry and rebellious. That was failing miserably! He was at the very bottom. There were many times he had thought he couldn't get any lower, but those times were incomparable to this! He was definitely at rock bottom now. He couldn't live this way any longer!
Finally, he rolled out of bed and knelt beside it. "God, I've read stories about Your Son. I don't know if You'll forgive anyone like me, but if You will have me, I will do whatever You ask!" As the words left his mouth, a peace beyond words filled his innermost being. With that peace came a weariness that he couldn't fight. He fell asleep on his knees that night. Even though he slept in a weird position, it was the best sleep he had in years. For as long as he could remember, he had been plagued with nightmares. For the first time in eons, he dreamed of beautiful colors whirling around him. It was an odd dream, but with it, there came feelings of euphoria, which he had never felt before! He had met the God who heals physical, emotional, and spiritual problems. Now he would never be the same!
The following days passed by him like lightning. There was so much CW wanted to do! The days didn't afford him enough time to do it all! Where as before he had thought the days were cruelly long, now he thought they were way too short. Yet, also in a way, he was glad that they were short. That meant less time until he saw Terrelle again.
Friday night came, and CW was waiting for Terrelle to come in for the night shift. He excitedly bounced around. He itched to see Terrelle and tell him the good news!
"Hey man! I've been waiting for you!" CW pounced when Terrelle arrived.
Terrelle took a step back, shocked at the sudden appearance and the emotion in which he was greeted, but not really surprised by the change in CW. It took him a second to regain himself, but then he smiled at CW. "Wow! It's good to see the change in you!"
"Wednesday night I couldn't take it any more. I asked God to come change my life," CW told Terrelle having to tilt his head back slightly to look Terrelle in the face. His own face was one huge smile.
"Hallelujah! I'm so glad to hear that!" Terrelle gave CW a slap on the back.
The two talked until it was time for CW to go to his cell. Terrelle promised to come back the next day and start a Bible study with him. CW headed for his cell with a light step. The past two days had been the best in his life but talking to Terrelle had made them even better!
Terrelle was praising the Lord tonight. He was so glad that CW had at last asked God to be ruler of his life! He was so happy. He could hardly wait to tell someone!
Early the next morning as he was driving home into the bright morning sun, he was still excited over CW's news! The beautiful morning matched Terrelle's high spirits and he reveled in it. He bounded out of his car door and up the steps to his door. He rushed in, went straight to the phone and dialed a phone number that he had become familiar with. He knew this person would be up by now.
Ring! Ring! Ri... The phone on the other end was picked up. "Hello, Pastor Rod and Connie Olsen's residence," the female voice on the end said.
"Hey, Connie, I'm sorry to be calling so early, but I just had to talk to someone! There has been this kid at the Juvenile Detention Center where I work that I've really felt burdened to pray for ever since he came a couple months ago. He just accepted Christ!"
Terrelle held the phone away from his ear as the expected squeal of delight came over the receiver. He smiled. That was the response he had been waiting for. "That's wonderful Terrelle! Praise God!" Connie finally said.
The two talked a minute longer before hanging up. Terrelle went about his day with a smile. It was great to see another of his prayers being answered. He never tired of seeing the different ways God answered them!
Molly Bea gave a tired, heavy sigh, flopping down on her bed. It had been an extremely long day, with flying back from Brazil and then going to youth group. Yet, she wanted to write a few things down in her journal before succumbing to sleep. She grabbed her journal and a pen from her little box with drawers in it her grandpa had given her. She flipped to an empty page and began to write.
We are finally home! It was a wonderful trip! We saw thousands of healings and just as many deliverances and salvations. It is hard to put into words. It was so awesome!
One really neat thing that happened on the Brazil trip was getting drunk in the Holy Spirit. Once, about the third night, my roommate, Rose, and I got drunk on the Lord's annointing in our room. We had just gone to bed. I was laying there twitching and such. Rose said, "I want that." So I prayed for her. Then she started laughing and couldn't get back to her bed. I ended up on the floor too. It was so much crazy fun! We finally got back to bed about 3:15 a.m.
Another time, Rose and I got drunk on the Lord's annointing at a meeting. We were still drunk when we got on the bus to go for dinner. Erik, the bus captain told us that we couldn't go into the restaurant until we stopped manifesting. So everybody got off, and Rose and I were still on the bus. In a couple of minutes we had cooled off and went in to have supper. Myself, and Cat, got hoarse while we were in Brazil because of yelling so much when the Holy Spirit came on us. I could hardly talk at times.
The last night in Brazil, we had a fire tunnel. It was so awesome! You went through, got blasted with blessings from the Lord, then started praying for the others. By the time we finished up, I was looped. I swayed, staggered and laughed the whole way to my room. God is absolutely so much fun!
MollyBea looked over her entry smiling. It had been a great time. She would never forget it! She was extremely tired now. She had very little sleep the last night at Brazil and then hadn't gotten much on the way home. So now she was having difficulty keeping her eyes open. She yawned as she put her writing paraphernalia away and turning her light off.
"All right. Mind if I stay up awhile longer?" Lydia asked looking at her from her own bed.
"Don't care, but will you pray quick." MollyBea threw her blankets to the end of the bed and fell onto her pillow.
"Sure. Dear Jesus, we thank You for this day and all You have given us! We thank You for giving us the opportunity to serve You in Brazil. Thank You for moving so mightily through us. In Your name we pray. Amen."
"Thank-you," MollyBea mumbled already half asleep.
"Mmmhhhmmm," Lydia murmured and turned back to the letter she had started.
Hi, how are you doing? I'm doing pretty good. Exhausted! I haven't had much sleep the past few nights. I really need to get to bed, but I wanted to write you quick and tell you about Brazil.
It was awesome! We saw so many people healed and touched by God. The best part of it though was that I got to be a part of it all. I didn't just have to hear about it. I lived it!
I also learned a lot of things during the trip. I learned that God wants His people to be forceful, for that is how they lay hold of the kingdom. Also that God loves to heal everything, even the sore knees and the "pain-in-the-neck" colds. He will never say, "You whiner, stop tying up My time!" He would never even think it! Jesus loves to bless His people! It makes Him sad when we don't ask for His help. He loves it when we come to Him with everything. Whether it be finding a boyfriend, life, a headache, and much more!
I was also disappointed at first because I thought I wasn't changing during the trip and the Lord began to teach me that sometimes change comes a little at a time. I asked Him why. I got the impression that He does that so we keep pressing in to Him, never losing our dependency on Jesus.
Another thing I learned down there was that God will draw close to us, but He wants to know that we desperately want to be close to Him. In James 4:8 it says, "Draw near to God and He will draw near to you." Notice how it says we have to take the first step. If we desperately draw close to Him, no matter what it costs, He will draw near to us.
Well, Grandpa, it's getting late, and I'm bone-tired. I shall tell you more about Brazil later. I love you lots. May God pour His abundant blessings on you!!
Lydia signed her letter by her nickname that her grandpa had given her. She looked over what she had written and then with a sigh folded it up. She set it on the trunk that sat between her and MollyBea's beds. She said her own personal prayer before falling into heavy slumber. There would be no tossing and turning for her tonight. Even though she usually was a night owl, sleep came to her quickly tonight. It had been a great trip. It was just as great to be home! It was always good to come home to her own bed!
"Hi Cat." Shanice greeted Courtney as she entered the house, arms loaded with baggage.
"Hi, it's so good to be home." Cat sank down into the couch and leaned her head back. She soaked in the softness and familiarity of it.
"Your lunch is almost ready, Cat," her mom said from the kitchen.
"Thanks." Cat reluctantly got up from the couch and dragged her stuff into her room. She then went into the kitchen.
"So tell us all about your trip." Shanice barraged Cat with questions as she sat down.
"I saw and learned a lot. It was great! Summing up my whole Brazil experience in one word-Wow! Before I was in Brazil I believed in healing, but I believed in healing through other people. I was healed by laying on of hands. I had seen it happen and believed the testimonies, but I had never laid hands on somebody and watched them get healed!" Shanice and their mom nodded acknowledging they were giving their full attention.
"I didn’t even realize I hadn’t experienced that until the first night. God healed this young man's rib right in front of my eyes! I couldn’t believe it! When I asked if the pain was gone, he nodded his head, shook my hand, and walked away. I thought that maybe he didn't understand, but then it kept happening! Each person I prayed for walked away with God healing them! There were so many physical healings. There were also many people who walked away with a touch from God which brought spiritual and emotional healings also. I had intercession for many of the people that I prayed for. I felt their emotional pain, knew things they thought about themselves, lies they believed that got in the way of their physical healing. Sometimes God showed me situations in their lives I needed to pray for for breakthrough. The things God showed me were always things I could use to pray for them. Most of the time I didn’t even tell them what God had showed me; I just spoke life and interceded for them in those areas. It blessed me as much as it blessed them because it showed me different ways God can talk to me that I had never experienced before." Cat paused a second as she relived the passion, joy, and exhilaration of the ministry times. For the millionth time, she thanked the Lord for all of it.
Cat shook herself out of the reverie and continued, "Once I had prayed through those things the healing would come…that was so amazing! It confirmed that God actually talked to me, and I was doing the right thing. Oh, to see the look on their faces when they received their healing! Wow!" Cat's mom laid a plate of food in front of her.
"Thank-you, Mom." Cat said a quick prayer over her meal and took a bite. "Yum!" She hadn't realized how much she had missed her dad's barbecued beef.
She then went on with her story. "I don’t even know what else to say. It’s hard to formulate words to relate everything. I'll try to sum it up in one paragraph:
God demonstrated His loving power through us daily while we were there, in an undeniable way! There were so many testimonies of amazing things that He did that it couldn’t be ignored. It was a life changing experience four hundred youth from all over the world got to participate in! God showed me that He could use “even little ol’ me”, and taught me nothing was too big for Him!" Cat's mom and Shanice both shook their heads in amazement at what they heard. There was definitely a change in Cat. It was obvious even in the way she talked.
The days passed by quickly and soon it was a week since they had come back from Brazil. Lydia went to youth group with MollyBea, Jordan, and Jesse, and looked around for someone to talk to. Cat was at the piano getting ready for worship. "How have you been doing during this week home?" she asked Cat.
"Doing all right."
"Your flip flop stopped flashing?" Lydia asked looking down at Cat's flip flops.
"Yeah, last week when we had that mini fire tunnel we had here it stopped."
"Are you bummed?" Lydia asked picking up a sheet of music that had slipped from the keyboard.
"Thanks," Cat took it from her. "I was at first, but then God told me that it was symbolic. It started to continually flash during the fire tunnel in Brazil and stopped at the fire tunnel here. When we were in Brazil, we received a new level of anointing that was for our whole church. We carried it all the way home with us and imparted it to the people here the same way in the same level that it was given to us!" She went through her music book, picking out different songs.
"How long did it flash for?" Lydia knelt on the couch by the keyboard.
"Well we had the banquet then...," Cat wagged her finger thinking about the days, "...then we had youth on Wednesday. So it was two or three days."
"Wow!! Three days of continuously flashing. Did it break?"
"Everybody in the circle. It's time to start," Pastor Rod called turning off the lights. Everybody went to their spots and the worship started. It wasn't quite as good as at Brazil but it was still good.
The weeks and months went by, bringing everyday challenges to the Mt. Zion teens who had gone to Brazil. Even still these fourteen young adults, Pastor Rod, and Mrs. Olsen had each learned something very important. They all saw God move and that would never leave them! Part of Brazil would always be with them, no matter where God took them next.
Then as time continued to go by the Lord began to teach Lydia about why there had been the level of anointing, power and passion in Brazil and not in the Mt. Zion church. In Brazil everyone had come with a hunger to see God move and to be used by Him. They had eaten, breathed, slept, and moved to bring their Savior glory. On top of that they were all constantly using their spiritual weapon of prayer. One of the strongest assets that God gives His children. Why wasn't Lydia seeing the same level of passion and hunger manifesting in Mt. Zion as she had seen in Brazil? The Almighty began to reveal to her that it wasn't necessarily because there wasn't any hunger, but that the enemy was out to try to keep Mt. Zion from fulfilling it's potential. God had given them the anointing and power. Cat's flip flops attested to that. All that was needed was for the people of Mt. Zion who had the hunger, to press in and pray it through. Lydia believed it could be done, because she had seen the same predicament solved with the church that Allie, Natalia, Terrelle, Pastor Rod, Mrs. Olsen, and herself had gone to. As Allie had said then, it was going to take a lot of prayer on their part and God's faithfulness on His part to break through it. It had been done before, it could be done again! To God be the glory
Cat slipped her name tag over her head and looked at herself in the full-length mirror that hung by the closet. She wore her brown and cream striped shirt. She had on her khaki slacks and had made a belt out of all the Jesus bracelets she had gotten down here in Brazil.
Cat went over to the night stand and picked up her room key. Beside it lay the silver ring a nine-year-old boy had given her last night. She smiled to herself at the memory of it. Young Zacarias had come up to her with the ring and asked her to marry him. "I'm sorry I can't. I'm going back to the United States on Monday," Cat told him.
Zacarias looked to the translator who was standing nearby. After a minute of Portuguese exchange Zacarias looked at Cat again. "I go with." His eyes sparkled with hopeful delight.
"Don't tell him you will or that you wish you could. He'll take you seriously, as will his parents," the translator warned.
"I'm sorry, Zacarias. I can't take you with me." Again Zacarias discussed Cat's response with the translator.
"For you." He finally had spoken to Cat again, after the translator instructed him what to say. "Don't forget us."
Cat took the ring from him and wrapped her arms around him. "Obrigada, Zacarias."
When he pulled away his eyes were filled with delight. He then waved and ran off to play with his friends. Cat smiled after him as she slipped the ring on her index finger.
"He's so sweet," Cat told the translator as she stood up to leave.
"He is. He loves to give things to people. If he was given a hundred bucks, he would have a...how do you say it...a hay day giving people presents."
"That's cool." Cat put her Mickey Mouse book bag over her shoulder and started heading out after her team. "Bye, it was nice meeting you."
"You too," the translator waved. Cat returned it and then turned around.
That had been the last she had seen of either of them. Zacarias had endeared himself to Cat over the three days she had been at his church. He was a very special boy who would be in her prayers quite often.
"All right. Let's go," Stephanie said heading out the door in front of Cat.
"You look very nice," Lydia complimented Dana when Dana came out of the bathroom. She was wearing a Chinese looking outfit with a matching headband.
"Thank-you. So do you," Dana said.
"Thank-you," she said finishing braiding her hair. "Ready?" she asked grabbing her name tag.
The two headed down the elevator, meeting several others on the way down. They were all in nice dresses and suits for the semi-formal good-bye meal. They went down to the conference room where they had all been the very first day. It, however, had been transformed. There were twenty round tables. The tables were covered with white table cloths and were set with fine plates, goblets, and silverware. In the middle of the room were several long tables that held all the food. Around the doors and pillars were wound thousands of balloons. There were also a lot of balloons floating up around the ceiling. Lydia had helped blow those balloons up for over three hours. There were over two thousand balloons hanging around that room! Lydia knew that it wouldn't take that long before the children of the pastors who had come would start popping them. Though it looked nice, Lydia thought it a waste of money and time to have so many, especially since it would only be for one night.
Dana wandered off to talk with some of her friends, so Lydia went to find someone from the Mt. Zion group. She ended up at a table with MollyBea, Jordan, Pastor Rod, and some of the others. MollyBea was beautiful in a blue, flowery dress and the makeup Lydia had given her for an early birthday present.
The night went on with the dinner and pastors giving testimonies of what had been happening in their churches. Then they had worship. Afterwards they had a massive fire tunnel: a human tunnel which other people went through and got prayed for. It was a wild night to top off a wonderful two weeks of Jesus blessing and healing people through them!
"Let's go get into more comfortable clothes," Stephanie said coming up to Cat who had just broken out of the fire tunnel for a second.
"Sound like a good idea."
Cat had been having a blast in the anointing of God! The Holy Spirit had come down really strong in that room as they started worship and it continued as they did the fire tunnel. It was so amazing!!! People were getting drunk on the Lord's annointing and falling all over the place. Some were even having to be carried out of the way. Cat was loving it, being able to just love on the Lord and feeling Him loving on her! Yet more casual clothes did sound nice, so she followed Stephanie up to their room.
She kicked off her flip flops as she switched on the light. She had the flip flops that lit up every couple steps and loved to wear them everywhere. The right one landed leaning up against the dresser and kept flashing. "That's cool. Maybe it's how it landed." Cat thought and turned around to get dressed.
Once she was finished, she went to slip her flip flops back on! They were still flashing continuously! "Hey Stephanie, look, this flip flop hasn't stopped flashing since I kicked it off."
The two headed back down to the party and rejoined the fire tunnel. Cat went through several more times reveling in the tangible power and love of God. When it was announced that they had to break things up and get out of the conference room, her flip flop was still flashing continuously!
"Hey, look at this," Cat told Pastor Rod, Jordan, Lydia, and Kari. "My flip flop won't stop flashing. I noticed it when I kicked it off in my room, and it kept flashing!"
"It could be symbolic. It's your right flip flop that means your right side is closest to God."
"Cool," Kari exclaimed staring at the flip flop.
"Wow!" Cat agreed, amazed at the thought of it.
That night she had to throw a pillow over the flip flop, so she and Stephanie could get some sleep. In the morning it was still flashing like crazy. Cat shook her head in amazement as she slipped them back on in the morning. She was continually amazed at the different ways God showed Himself to people.
"Lydia, I'm going to go get breakfast and then I'm going to leave." Dana's voice woke Lydia up. "Did you want to come down with me?"
"Yeah, sure. Thanks for waking me." Lydia shook her head in an attempt to clear the fog. She had asked Dana to wake her so she could say good-bye. She looked at the clock-quarter to six.
Lydia threw her flowery wrap over her shorts and followed Dana out of the room. They went to the main building where Dana dropped off her bags in the lobby. They then went up to the dining area where they were serving an early breakfast for the kids and leaders who were leaving on the morning plane.
Lydia talked with Dana while she ate and walked out with her to the waiting buses. Dana turned to Lydia before getting in line to board the bus. "Good-bye," Dana said and the two embraced.
Dana got into the line. Lydia waved one last time before turning around to go back in. She had come out in her stocking feet and thin sweater and was starting to feel the morning chill.
"I want to be home!" Lydia thought bouncing up and down impatiently the next afternoon. She and the rest of the Mt. Zion team waited out in front of the Minneapolis airport waiting for their rides. Lydia was tired and couldn't wait to be home.
All of a sudden a familiar green van came into sight. "Dad!" Lydia cried. Her eyes flew open with delighted surprise.
As soon as the van parked at the curb, Lydia ran around the van and yanked the door open. "Dad!!" She flung her arms around his neck. She had never known she would miss her parents so much. She was so excited to see him here!
"How is everybody?" Lydia asked moving aside so MollyBea and Jordan could say hi.
"They're all doing good," their dad replied walking around the van to help load up the suit cases and all.
It only took a few minutes to get everything packed. Then everyone piled into the Yoder van and the church van which the Fallens had driven up. Lydia hopped into the front with her dad.
"I thought the Zimmermans were going to come pick us up," Lydia said happy that her dad had come instead but curious as to why the plans had been changed.
"It turned out that there would be too much baggage and people to fit in just the church van and the Zimmerman's suburban so they asked me to do it again."
Lydia nodded her head in understanding. She answered her dad's few questions and then lapsed into a tired silence. She stared out at the beautiful, bright sunny day as she thought about the trip. It had been a fantastic trip with many memories made and a multitude of lessons learned. She would never regret this trip or the long frustrating hours of preparation. Still, it was great to be going home!
The next night Lydia crossed the hotel lawn with book bag bouncing against her hip. She headed for the row of white vans parked along the curb. She popped into the van that had Allie Nopp's sign on it, only to find she was the second one to arrive.
"Hello, my name's Katie," the girl introduced herself. She had a very marked southern United States accent.
"I'm Lydia." She extended her hand to Katie after settling on the bench in front of her. "Where are you from?"
"West Virginia, and you?"
"Minnesota. Have you been on any of Randy Clark's other missions trips?"
"Yes, last year was my first time," Katie informed Lydia. She had long, orange hair, creamy white skin, with a smattering of freckles.
"Really? Which trip have you liked better so far?" Lydia asked turning sideways on the bench so she could look back at Katie.
"Well there have been things I've liked and not liked about both trips. This hotel is a lot nicer, but I think the anointing was stronger last year."
"Tom gave us sandwiches. The church will be giving us a snack after the ministry time but that's going to be a long time," Allie informed hopping into the car with a plastic, grocery sack. She handed each of them a sandwhich.
The others began to arrive. There was Randy, Savoy, Pastor and Mrs. Meyer who were friends of Pastor and Mrs. Olsen and had flown down with the Mt. Zion team. The rest of the people were unfamiliar faces. The girl who was to be one of the translators for the team looked as though she was from Indian descent. Her name was Cindy.
During the sermon Lydia, Katie, and another girl named Laura went up to a classroom to intercede. This church was a bit better off than the one Lydia had been to the past few nights. This classroom had a small collection of children's books, a long low table, and several kids-sized chairs.
When it came time for ministry Randy poked his head in. "C'mon down," he whispered.
They went down the steps, through the kitchen, and out the door of the partitioned off hallways. They lined up with the rest of the team as Allie opened up the front for anyone who wanted prayer. A man who was about her dad's height and had bleached, curly hair came up to Lydia. Her chest got tight with the feeling of anxiety. She looked to her right and then to her left looking for someone to change places with. Global Awakening had told the teens not to pray for anyone of the opposite gender unless there wasn't anyone else to pray for them, and Pastor Rod had said to use one's own good sense. "You will know if a man's reason for having you pray for him is not right," he had told Lydia. Lydia wasn't sure, the almost hectic atmosphere of having so many people around her and wanting prayer had often left her flustered. So trying to discern something on top of that was difficult for her.
Mike, who was on her left, had a woman in front of him and was also looking around. "I'll trade you," Lydia said, thankful for an excuse to not pray for a man.
"Thank-you," Mike said in a heavy, British accent.
The two switched spots and Lydia asked the translator what the lady needed. "Her son is backsliding." Lydia put a hand on the woman's shoulder with a smile.
"Vem, Senhor. Vem com seu poder. Lord I ask that You would touch this young man's heart." Lydia waited for the translation. "Stir up a hunger in him for You. Vem com seu paz."
Lydia prayed with the lady for several minutes. The lady smiled. "Obrigada," she said before walking off.
Another lady in a pink sweater came up to Lydia, and she guessed that the lady wasn't much older than her mom. Lydia tapped Cindy on the shoulder and Cindy turned around. She talked to the woman for a moment. "She has been struggling with arthritis." "What is her name?" Lydia asked.
"Lucilia." Cindy then walked off to help others.
"Vem, Espirito Santo. Mais uncao para cura. Lord, I ask You to heal Lucilia. Bring Your healing anointing." Lucilia began to shake under the Holy Spirit's power. She began to sway back and forth, looking like she would topple over backward. Lydia put a hand behind her. Yet, Lucilia was Lydia's height and heavy set. Lydia knew she wouldn't be able to catch her. "Pastor Meyer," Lydia called out to the pastor who was walking by at that moment. Seeing the predicament, he was behind Lucilia in one long stride.
Lucilia, who now had no way of staying on her feet, fell against his chest. He lowered her to the floor. She shook wildly the whole way. Lydia knelt down beside her to pray awhile longer while Pastor Meyer walked off.
"Mais Senhor. Mais uncao para cura," Lydia prayed unsure how long she should keep praying. The youth had been taught that when someone started manifesting that it was up to their own discernment how much longer they should pray. After awhile longer Lydia straightened and walked off. She would have to remember to ask Lucilia if God had healed her later, once the anointing had lifted.
The sanctuary was a fair sized room. On the left there was a fake partitioning wall that ran the length of the room, with a door at the back and one up front by the stage. The makeshift hallway led to a bathroom, the kitchen and the stairs up to the classroom where Lydia and the two others had interceded earlier. The chairs, like at Pastor Alda's, were plastic, white lawn chairs.
A man came up with a little, blond-headed girl in his arms. In Portuguese, he called out to the translator in a striped wool sweater who had glasses perched on top of his nose. "He wants you to bless his daughter, Beatriz," the translator explained.
"Thank-you," Lydia said. The translator nodded and walked off.
"Vem, Senhor. Lord, I ask that You would bless Beatriz abundantly! Si Senhor. Bless her with a hunger for You and a passion for Your word. I ask that You would give her many Christian friends. Friends who would build her up when she is feeling weak, and I ask that she would be able to do the same for them." Lydia began praying in tongues for a minute. She smiled at Beatriz. The girl was beautiful with golden curls, sparkling blue eyes, and fair skin. Beatriz stared at Lydia wonderingly as she prayed.
"It's time to start wrapping things up," Allie called out.
"Lord, I thank You for this precious little girl. May she give You praise through her life, showing many Your salvation. Amen!" Lydia finished and waved to Beatriz smiling. "Chow."
Beatriz's father spoke to her and after some cajoling a little uncertain hand began to wave at Lydia. Lydia smiled with delight. With one last wave she turned around and followed the others down the aisle to the waiting van.
"Have you seen any amazing miracles?" Lydia asked striking up a conversation with Allie the next afternoon.
"I've seen blind eyes see, I prayed for several people with headaches, and a few broken bones. One thing I've learned though, is that all healings are amazing! I could never heal someone whether it be a sore knee or a cancerous tumor."
Lydia nodded. "Very true." She had been bummed. She had only been getting people with sore knees or things like that. She had thought those healings were small and of little significance. What Allie said was right, and it made Lydia realize how wrong her thinking had been.
Lydia looked out the window at the passing scenery. They were driving parallel to a river that was filled with garbage. It gave off the worst smell, making her feel queasy. On the medians between the busy highways people stood with booths of things to sell. Big balloon Pooh Bears and Mickey Mouses were tied to tree limbs and tables were arrayed with various items. Lydia had learned that Sao Paulo and its suburbs were filled with extreme contradictions. There were areas of big beautiful homes, expensive stores, and restaurants, while at other places there were only ramshackle buildings that were sorry excuses for abodes. There were men and women in fancy cars who paid poor children to clean their windshields while they were stuck in traffic.
"The five steps to praying for healing are simple. This is not the only way to pray for people. Global Awaking uses it though because it is easy and proved to be effective." Paul was teaching on the "Five Steps of Healing". He had the translator who seemed to always wear a wool sweater and had glasses perched on the bridge of his nose. "Always rely on the Holy Spirit and what He is saying. The first step is to introduce yourself to the person and get their name. Be friendly and polite. Second, you want to find out what they have come up for. The third step will kind of just slip in with the second one here. Find out what caused the problem, whether it be physical, emotional, or spiritual. By now it is time to decide what prayer type is appropriate to pray. There are two types of prayer, petition and commanding." Paul looked to the translator and the translator interpreted for the Brazilians. "Petitioning is where you ask God to come and heal the person. Such as 'Dear Heavenly Father, I ask that You would heal Jack's leg.'" Lydia looked around the room. There weren't many chairs filled. There was probably no more than twenty or thirty people there. That was including Allie Nopp's attack force team.
She began to fidget a little. It was a beautiful day, that really should be enjoyed outside taking a walk or something of the sorts. It didn't help she had already heard this teaching several times already.
"Commanding is where you command whatever is causing the problem to leave. 'In the name of Jesus, I command the spirit of infirmity to leave Elizabeth's back.' When using this type of prayer, always remember to say 'In the name of Jesus' as it is in His authority that you pray for healing. You may want to command when there is some kind of spiritual attack causing the problem. Remember to listen to what the Holy Spirit is saying and ask Him what prayer type you should use. Step five, invite God to come with His healing power and wait to see what He does. From there it's just following His leading."
"Every once in awhile you will want to ask the person how they are doing, and if they can sense any change. They may feel heat or electricity in the area receiving healing. Just because they don't feel anything, though, doesn't mean God isn't healing them. Global Awakening has found out that fifty percent of the people who get healed don't feel anything."
If it hadn't been for the fact that so many different people had taught this teaching at the different churches Lydia had been to, she might of had parts of it memorized by now. "Remember-thank God for what He has already done and what He is going to do. If you run out of time, encourage the person to come back again to receive more prayer some other time, or to find someone else who could pray for them. Also if the person has several conditions they want you to pray for, always pray for them one at a time, asking God which one He wants you to start with."
"I prayed for this elderly lady the other day who believed she was going to be healed. She said that she had a pain in the neck, pain in the back, it was hard for her to breathe, and she said her legs didn't respect her any more." Paul bent his legs mimicking the lady in his story.
"So we started with the chest and prayed for a minute. I asked her to take a deep breath to test it and see if there was a difference. She was healed of that so we went on to her back and neck next. After awhile, she swung her torso side to side-no pain! We prayed for her legs last. She was going to test them by getting into her car at the end of the meeting, because that's where she had the most trouble with them. Yet, she said she believed they were also healed."
Paul then asked if somebody wanted prayer and would allow him to use them as an example of how to use the five steps of healing. A lady came up, and he and Allie prayed for her, talking through the steps as they prayed. After several minutes, she announced that she had been healed, and everyone clapped. Once she had stepped down, Allie called the rest of the attack force up and opened the front for anyone who wanted prayer.
"Gabriella, can you tell me what she's saying," Lydia called to a girl about her age that she had met before the meeting had started. She had greeted the woman who had come up to her in Portuguese. That had been a mistake. The woman assumed Lydia knew more Portuguese than she did. She had burst into a torrent of words Lydia had never learned.
"She asks that you would pray that God would send her a boyfriend. Do you want me to stay?"
"No, you can go help somebody else." Once Gabriella had left, Lydia turned her attention to the woman. "Qual e seu nome?"
"Claudia," the woman answered Lydia's question.
Lydia prayed for several minutes for a godly boyfriend who would love and cherish Claudia. She prayed that it be someone Claudia could someday marry and live with for the rest of her life.
"Tell her how precious she is. Tell her that I love her very much," Lydia heard the Lord whisper. His still, small whisper was followed by an urgent pressure in her chest. It was a feeling she got when she had a word she needed to share.
"Gabriella, will you translate for me again?" Lydia laid a hand on the back of Gabriella's shoulder. Gabriella turned around and flipped her straight, black hair over her shoulder in one fluid motion.
Lydia then turned her attention back to Claudia. "Claudia, the Lord sees you as a precious jewel," Lydia began as she felt the Lord lead. "You are so beautiful! The Lord has made you very special. He wants you to know He loves you more than you'll ever know! He has the perfect man picked out for you. He will reveal him to you in the right time." Tears, that had begun to well up in Claudia's eyes when Lydia had begun to say this, now were trickling down her cheeks.
"More of Your love, Lord." Lydia prayed with Gabriella continuing to translate. "Reveal Your love to Claudia, Father."
A few minutes later Claudia wiped the tears away with her palm. Looking Lydia straight in the eye she smiled and said something in Portuguese. Lydia looked to Gabriella for the interpretation. "She thanks the Lord for His amazing love, and she thanks you for praying for her." Lydia watched as Claudia walked off. Her flowered skirt swishing around her legs. As there was no one else to pray for, Lydia went looking for Lucilia to ask if she had been healed after Lydia had prayed for her. Lucilia was at the back manning the table that had Randy Clark's books and tapes that were for sale. Gabriella had already walked off, so Lydia had to look for another translator. "Cindy, can you help me with something?" Lydia asked Cindy who was standing nearby.
"Sure, what?" Cindy asked picking up her Portuguese/English Bible.
"I prayed for this lady last night but she was slain in the Spirit before I could get a chance to ask if she'd been healed," Lydia explained nodding to Lucilia. "Could you ask her for me?"
"I can do that." The two began walking toward her.
"Boa tarde," Cindy greeted Lucila.
"Boa tarde," Lucilia returned.
Lydia recognized the greeting as "good afternoon." After that the conversation was lost to her. "The Lord has completely healed her," Cindy finally told Lydia.
"Gloria a Deus!!" Lydia smiled at Lucila. She was pleased and thankful for another answered prayer.
"Gloria a Deus!" Lucila agreed matching Lydia's smile.
Lydia looked over her shoulder at the front at the sound of Allie's voice. Allie was dismissing the people and inviting them to come to the night's meetings. "Chow." Lydia nodded to Lucilia and headed back toward the front with Cindy following her.
When they got up to the front Allie was talking to the pastor of the church, with Gabriella's help. Once she was finished, she motioned for the team to gather around. "It is going to be about half an hour to forty-five minutes before they will have our supper ready. Does anyone want to do some street ministry?"
Paul, Mike, and Savoy all volunteered. Lydia looked out the big door at the beautiful day thinking it over. In the end, she decided not to. She was tired, and she still hadn't read her Bible.
"Pastor Meyer, will you pray for the meal?" Allie asked once everyone was gathered. All heads bowed as Pastor Meyer began to pray. After he finished, everyone started to fill their plates and to pass around the beverages.
"How did the street ministry go?" Allie asked pouring a cup of coke and handing it to the van driver who had joined them for the meal.
"Fine. We met up with this elderly women who knew a little English. She asked us to pray for her son and daughter. Something about struggling with some issues in life. We prayed for her for fifteen minutes. Then she had to leave so we invited her to the meetings," Mike reported.
"I knew this lady who heard God tell her to go to China and translate for some big speaker...what was his name..." Pastor Meyer mused playing with his mug handle. "Ah, well, it isn't important. Anyway, she argues with God saying, 'Lord, I don't even know Chinese.' He told her to just go to China and let Him worry about the details. So she went, and the second she got out of the plane she could speak Chinese. Now, whenever she gets out of a plane in a new country she can speak the language."
"That's amazing!" Lydia shook her head in astonishment. "Does she remember all of them after she leaves the countries?"
"Well, from what she's told me, she processes everything through in her mother tongue," Pastor Meyer tapped his forehead, "but it comes out in the language of the country."
"Incredible!!" Mike said chuckling.
The rest of their supper time was spent passing stories around. It was a lot of fun and interesting. Lydia sat enthralled hearing stories from all over the United States, and in Mike's and Cindy's cases from different countries.
Pastor Rod sat down at the desk. His team had gotten back early, and he still had a little energy left. So he went to the job of telling the families what had been happening.
It is late evening now:
I made it home by 12:15am. I went to a church of 250 people packed into a little building. It was a poor area of the city. When we walked in we walked into an open heaven. The people were hungry for God's presence. Worship was exciting!
Our team leader is 20 years old, knows 5 languages, and is planting a church on a college campus in Tennessee. When he graduates he plans on helping plant a church in Jerusalem. He gave a powerful message. He preached on the power of the testimony. In it he used the example of how April Heller’s missing muscle was restored, then the next day when her testimony was given two more were healed, then in the next city others were healed from hearing the testimony. If anyone sees April, they can tell her that her testimony is healing people all over the world now.
After the message we started praying for people. I saw three people healed when I prayed. One man had pain in both of his ankles. After a short prayer the pain was gone. An older lady had a buzzing in her ears and pain under her right shoulder blade. The buzzing went away and she felt no pain. Another younger woman testified that 8 years ago she had been paralyzed from the waist down due to an accident. God healed her 3 years ago but she still had pain in her back, and her feet remain very cold. God knocked her down, and she shook for 20 minutes. When she got up, her pain was gone and her feet were warm! I felt like Jesus was right beside me hugging the people! Ministry was easy tonight. There were about 80 people at our church who said they were healed!
It always gets better after the first night!
Thanks for you prayers,
"Hi, Corrie," Jordan greeted his roommate coming into their room.
"Hi, Jordan." Corrie looked up from his Bible on the desk. "What happened with your team tonight?"
"Well we arrived at our church early tonight, so the Brazilians decided to take us to their prayer room to intercede for awhile before the night got rolling. It was awesome!" Jordan threw his blue book bag down on the suitcase stand. He plopped down on his bed and leaned over to untie his shoes.
"Really? Tell me about it?" Corrie asked twirling the chair around so he was facing Jordan.
"First off it wasn't even anywhere near the church. We started on this rocky path that led us into the woods and up a hill until we came to this large white building. The whole walk took about fifteen minutes.
While still outside, we removed our shoes. Then we walked through these huge double doors and into the prayer room. When we first walked in there was this huge room with nicely kept wooden floors. There were pillows lying everywhere. There were six smaller closet type prayer rooms off of the main room.
It was so peaceful and serene. When we first walked in, I was overtaken by it. The love for God in that place was just so amazing! They told us that there are literally people in there praying every single hour of the year. I don't know if that church was the most powerful one that I went to, however, it definitely was the hungriest for more."
"Wow!" Corrie whispered, his eyes lighting up with interest. He twirled back around and put a bookmark in his Bible and shut it.
He grabbed his guitar and strummed a few bars tuning it by ear. "What song do you want to do?" he asked looking up at Jordan.
"I Can Only Imagine."
Corrie nodded and began the song. The two began to sing their praises to the Lord, making sure not to be too loud. Jordan's deep voice and Corrie's higher one mingled and rose to the heavens in a pleasing sound to their Maker. They had been in Brazil almost two weeks. They had both been changed in many different ways. They had both come loving God, yet they would both go back to their homes with a deeper love and hunger for Him! It was an experience they would never forget! One that would open doors to new journeys for them.
"Everybody, Pastor Tiago has something to say to us," Allie raised her voice above the others the next evening.
All eyes turned to the tall, older pastor and Alzira. "Our church has been going through a terrible struggle," Alzira translated what Pastor Tiago said. "We have faced much persecution from those around us." Pastor Tiago was about five foot eleven inches, in his fifties, and looked to be in good health for his age. "You have brought God's anointing to us and have strengthened us. I want to thank-you for that. We are truly grateful!"
Clapping and "Amens" circulated the little classroom as the Global Awakening team heard the answer to their prayers. When it quieted down Allie turned to Alzira, "Will you tell him that we have been feeling like something like that has been going on. It is encouraging to hear that confirmation."
Pastor Tiago left and Pastor Rod prayed a blessing over the meal. "I think since Izabel is preaching tonight it would be best if the rest of us just stay up here, so someone doesn't have to translate for us. That way she will be able to flow in the Spirit more easily," Allie announced as they all began to eat. The agreement was practically unanimous.
So that night those who couldn't speak Portuguese stayed up in the little classroom to intercede. Heaven broke loose in that church, July 13, 2005! God finally blessed their diligent prayers. The passionate fire of God was in Izabel's every word. Her voice carried up to the prayer warriors in that little room. There was no denying that God's Spirit was flowing in that place.
At one point, towards the end of Izabel's sermon, Lydia and Natalia went out to the small balcony that overlooked the sanctuary. The sight was truly amazing! If one didn't believe in the power of the Lord Almighty it would be impossible to believe this was the same congregation that had been in this church the first night. The first night it had seemed like they were barely entering into worship; now most of them were out of their chairs groaning, hollering, and laughing under the Holy Spirit's anointing.
"It looks like God broke through that barrier Allie talked about," Lydia smiled leaning against the ledge enjoying the sight.
"Mmmhhhmmm," Natalia agreed. She turned to go down the steps with the rest, Lydia following behind her.
A man with a little girl, who was two at the oldest, came up to Lydia. Lydia caught Alzira by the arm. "Can you ask him what he wants prayer for?"
"He wants you to bless his daughter," Alzira replied and then hurried off to help others. It was often that way. Unless you had someone who you really needed to keep up verbal contact with, the translator stayed only long enough to communicate the prayer need, if you were even that fortunate.
"Vem, Senhor. Vem." Lydia prayed placing a hand on the girl's shoulder. The girl retreated farther into her father's arms. Lydia couldn't blame her. This was all probably strange and frightening from a two-year-old's point of view.
Lydia alternated between praying the simple Portuguese prayers she knew and blessing the girl with wonderful things in English. With no interpreter to give her aid, she just trusted that Jesus would reveal the content of her words. When she had blessed the girl with everything she could think of she gave a friendly smile to the father and daughter and walked off pray for others.
In one corner Allie, Natalia, and Savoy were praying for a girl and the girl was thrashing around and screaming. As Lydia approached she sensed something was not right. An oppressive, evil atmosphere hung in that corner. It was a major contrast to the joyful, Holy Spirit filled air that filled the rest of the church. It was creepy how real and forbidding it felt.
"What's going on?" Lydia whispered to Natalia who was standing up but had her hand held out to the girl curled on the floor.
"The girl was sexually abused when she was a child, never forgave the man, and now is demon-possessed." Natalia explained. Allie was kneeling beside the girl's head, softly talking to her and commanding the spirit to submit when it would start to manifest. Savoy had his hand on the girl's hip.
"Savoy do you know what you are doing?" Lydia thought biting her lip uncertainly. Where that might not have been that bad of a thing if she had needed prayer for something else, sexual abuse would make that a very offensive position.
All of a sudden the girl thrashed out at him with an unearthly screech. An iron claw of fear gripped Lydia's heart. There was so much of a contrast between that scream and the scream of someone who was under the power of the Holy Spirit that there was no way to even compare it. It was like nothing Lydia had ever heard. "Sorry, Sorry," the girl pleaded now in a normal voice.
"In the name of Jesus, I command you to submit," Allie ordered the evil spirit. "Shh. It wasn't you, sweetheart. We understand that," Allie soothed, stroking the girl's black curls. "Savoy, maybe you should go." Savoy gave an understanding nod and got up to leave.
As scared as Lydia was, she reminded herself that her God was bigger and knelt down beside the girl. The girl was around nineteen and had a nasty scar above her right eye. Lydia laid a hand on the girl's shoulder and began to pray in tongues under her breath.
Oh why wouldn't it stop and just leave her alone! She didn't even know what the "it" was, yet she was scared out of her mind! On top of that frantic fear, was an intense hatred that was eating her alive!
Every time she thought about that man in the dark alleyway, the "it" attacked her with such a ferocity that the rest of the world disappeared and that was all she could think of. "It" was alive and bent on destroying her. Oh, what she wouldn't give to be free from this monster!
"It" had control of her limbs. "It" thrashed her back and forth against the hard wooden floor. Bruises started to form on her wrists. There were scars up and down her arms from "it" forcing her to cut herself.
Allie led the girl through deliverance and after forty-five minutes the girl was sitting up and wiping tears from her eyes. She took a deep, relieved breath and turned to give Allie a hug.
"God bless you," Allie said as the girl released her and turned to go.
She gave a sigh of relief; she felt worlds better. She was free, totally and explicitly free! Her smile engulfed her entire face. No more of those claws around her throat! No more hatred! Most of all no more feeling constantly dirty and unworthy of love!
She jumped up and down, laughing and clapping her hands. The feeling was beyond words, and imagination! Jesus was so good to her! Now, not only was she free from that evil spirit, but she had a reason to live and to walk into each new day with her head held high.
On top of that, she was now excited about her life. God had revealed to her through the deliverance what He had planned for her-a wonderful destiny! She could hardly wait to get started!
"We should go in about fifteen minutes," Allie said looking at her watch.
"Ok, I just need to do something quick," Lydia said, sweeping the sanctuary with a glance trying to spot Catalina. She found her sitting toward the back of the sanctuary. Catalina had been one of those who had been blasted by the Holy Spirit, but she seemed calm now. Lydia walked over to Elana.
"Elana, I was wondering if you could help me with something?"
"That's what I'm here for. What is it you need?" Elana asked following Lydia.
"Remember Catalina? She was the one we prayed for whose father was a witch? I just want to know how she's doing now."
"You're sweet," Elana said putting a complimenting hand on Lydia's shoulder.
Catalina stood up as the two of them came up to her. She was wearing a turquoise turtleneck and jeans. She was pretty! Elana told Catalina what Lydia wanted. Catalina looked at Lydia with a huge smile and speaking in Portuguese. Elana translated Catalina's message for Lydia, "She says she is totally cured."
"Gloria a Deus!" Lydia exclaimed matching Catalina's smile. The two hugged.
"All right everybody, it's time to head for the vans?" Allie announced.
Lydia waved good-bye to Catalina as she started for the door. One thing she had learned to love about the Brazilians-they were so open and amiable. She smiled one more time before turning around.
Once again, they filed into the two vans. They waved good-bye to the people for the last time. They had come to bless this church, but they left being just as blessed as the congregation. Also, whether they knew it or not at the time, they had each learned valuable lessons.
Allie did the stats first thing. They were amazing! There had been a major improvement. The van was filled with praise to their faithful God.
Once everything quieted down Allie sat back down. "Can you two pray for me? Doing deliverance scares me a bit," Allie referred to the deliverance of that girl. "I heard of a man who was doing a deliverance once and the demon went from the person to him."
Savoy and Lydia, who were sitting on the same bench as Allie, prayed for her. Once they finished praying for her the three of them sat silently. Lydia tried to settle her own shaken spirit, seeing that deliverance had rattled her nerves too. She had never witnessed that depth of evil first-hand before. She held her hand to try to stop the trembling. Then to have Allie admit to being a bit frightened herself didn't do Lydia any good. What Lydia had seen in Allie was an amazing Christian with seemingly insurmountable faith. So for Allie to admit something like that worsened what Lydia already felt.
To make matters worse, Lydia was tired! While trying to fight the shaken feelings and unstable emotions, a wave of homesickness washed over her. The memory of her last hug with her dad at the airport came to taunt her. "Lord, I just want to be home right now!" Lydia thought feeling vulnerable and alone.
Tears began to slip down her cheeks. "Are you all right?" Savoy looked at her in the dim light offered by the street lights.
"I'm just feeling really homesick right now," Lydia explained wiping away a tear that was dangling from her chin.
"You want to switch spots so you can talk to Allie?"
"Lydia is feeling homesick so we're switching spots so she can talk to you," Savoy relayed the situation to Allie as he got up so Lydia could scoot over.
"You want to lay your head in my lap?" Allie asked out of genuine sympathy. Lydia nodded and took up the offer. "If you'll take your hair band out, I'll massage your head." Lydia did so and soothing fingers began to weave their way through her hair.
Allie's beautiful voice started to flow over Lydia. Still she fought the sense of Jesus trying to embrace her. "God, I want my parents tangible arms around me." The prayer was pure ludicrous, yet it was how Lydia truly felt at the moment.
She felt like a big baby, crying on the lap of a girl only a year older than her. The feeling, though, was too overpowering at the moment for her to really do anything about it.
Finally, however, Allie's voice, the sound of a soft, whispering breeze, began to soothe Lydia's shaken nerves. At last, Lydia stopped fighting and let the Lord comfort her. His presence quieted her spirit and calmed her emotions.
"Feeling better?" Allie asked when Lydia sat up.
Lydia nodded. "Thank-you," she murmured drawing her long, brown hair back into a ponytail.
"Izabel says there are angels up over the other van gathering the others' praises. Soon they'll be coming over to our van, so we should give praises too," Elana called back from her spot up front with Izabel and the driver.
Elana and Izabel began singing a song in Portuguese. Lydia listened to the beautiful song. "That is pretty. What does it mean?" Lydia asked once the song was over.
"Uhh....I wouldn't be able to tell you without hearing it. Izabel, sing it again." So while Izabel sang in Portuguese, Elana sang in English. Lydia liked the lyrics as much as the tune. Unfortunately, one time wasn't enough to learn it. Lydia soon forgot it.
"How many of you feel like this group? You believe God can heal, but you don't know if He is willing?" Terrelle asked from behind the pulpit.
Lydia looked around the worn down church as the question was being translated. Even fewer people than before stood up. Terrelle was teaching on the four types of faith and was asking the congregation what category they fit into. With the first category, of no faith, a lot of the people stood up. Then with the second group, those who didn't believe but wanted to believe, even fewer people stood up. Now with this third category, that one believed Jesus could heal but didn't think He was willing, only a handful stood up from their orange, plastic seats. This was becoming discouraging. It looked as though there was very little faith in this place. That would explain the struggle the girls had notice the night before.
Terrelle looked down to where the team was sitting. He looked to Allie with a perplexed shrug and waited for her direction. "Why don't you go into words of knowledge,"Allie said after a moments thought.
"You want me to do that?" Terrelle asked.
"Yes, go ahead."
"All right I'm going to ask any of the team who has a word of knowledge to come up and give it..." Terrelle paused so Alzira could interpret. "If you have the problem they call out I want you to stand and then I'm going to give a prayer for all of you. When I'm done if you've been healed eighty percent or better I want you to wave your hands like this." Terrelle demonstrated, waving his hands above his head and crossing them when they met in the middle.
Those on the ministry team who had words of knowledge went up and gave them. Several people stood up when they heard the ministry team call out their problems. Terrelle then held out his hand and began to ask for those people's healings. He then asked them how many had gotten healed. Several pairs of hands started waving.
"Praise God!" "Thank-You Jesus!" "Hallelujah!" Lydia and the others exclaimed as they and the rest of the congregation clapped their thanks to God.
Terrelle prayed two more times and after the second time eight pairs of hands waved thanks to Jesus, their Savior and healer. Lydia smiled, pleased by even that small number of healings. Even one healing is enough to be overjoyed about, worth praising the Lord for!
Once all the clapping had subsided Allie went up on the stage and took the microphone from Terrelle. "We are now going to have a break. So you all can go grab something to eat." Allie looked to Alzira to translate her announcement. "We will have another meeting in one hour." She paused again as Alzira interpreted for her. "We hope to see you and your guests tonight."
After that last part was translated the Brazilians got up to go while the ministry team headed to the back of the sanctuary and up a rickety old stair case for their supper. "YES! Fresh tangerines!" Lydia squealed her delight. Pastor Rod prayed a blessing over their meal and then everyone started digging in.
"Yum!" Lydia murmured swallowing the succulent bite of tangerine.
As they ate they melted into several groups and talked among themselves. "No, I'm used to this kind of thing. A friend and I lead a Bible study at our school during lunch break," one kid with blond hair and hazel eyes said to Pastor Rod, Mrs. Olsen and a few of the kids. Lydia's ears perked up. "So yes, I've seen quite a bit. The Holy Spirit really shows up during our Bible study time."
"How old are you, Savoy?" Pastor Rod asked after swallowing a bite of his sandwich.
"Fourteen," he answered.
"Wow, you sound mature for your age," Mrs. Olsen said with a smile.
"Thank-you," Savoy returned the smile.
Lydia listened as he talked on for half an hour. He had a lot of cool stories to tell. He was passionate in his relationship with Christ and deeply compassionate for those who hadn't yet accepted Christ as their Savior.
"Everyone, we need to be finishing up and heading downstairs. I'm going to be preaching tonight so could you all give a corporate prayer for me before we go?" Allie coughed. "Especially that my voice doesn't give out on me."
Everyone surrounded her and began to pray. They prayed for fifteen minutes, asking the Lord to bless her speaking, for unity between her and Elana, who was going to translate, and that God would make Allie's voice strong and sure. They then prayed for Elana separately; that God would bless her translation, and that her mind would be clear to understand Allie.
Elena was a beautiful young woman in her mid-twenties. She had come as Izabel's friend, the Brazilian who was one of the preachers for the attack force team, and was serving as translator. She was as white as Lydia with chocolate brown eyes, and long, flowing hair that was the same color. She was tall and skinny.
"Now I need at least three people to stay up here to intercede," Allie said once they were done praying.
"I will," Abram, Natalia's brother offered. Then there was silence for several minutes. Lydia wanted to, but she felt weird being the only girl to offer, and especially if there was going to be only one boy in the room.
"What are we deciding on now?" Natalia asked coming out of the bathroom that was adjoined to the little classroom they were having supper in.
"I need volunteers to stay up here and intercede. So far only Abram has offered," Allie explained.
"Oh I can do that," Natalia volunteered.
"I can too," Lydia finally spoke up, grateful that there would be another girl.
"Great! All right the rest of us better get downstairs. It sounds like they are starting worship," Allie said gathering up her stuff.
For an hour and a half Lydia, Natalia, and Abram prayed up in that little classroom. As she prayed and talked with Natalia and Abram, Lydia looked around at her surroundings. The room was in a desperate need of a new coat of paint. The wood floor was scuffed with only a rug thrown to the side, and the only furniture was a table pushed into one corner and two chairs. She smiled at the cute, little Styrofoam cartoon bugs that hung on the walls. They were the only evidence that the room was used for children. The room, like the rest of the church, spoke of its location.
After an hour and a half Pastor Tiago came into the room and beckoned them to come out. "It's time to go down?" Abram asked pointing his finger at the floor. Pastor Tiago nodded his head and turned around to lead the way. They passed another room and down the narrow steps.
Lydia, Natalia, and Abram went up the middle aisle and up onto the stage with the rest of the team as the people began to come up to the front. One lady who was about in her fifties came up to Lydia. Lydia looked to Izabel. "Can you translate?" she asked. Izabel shook her head.
The older lady who had come up to Lydia began to speak in Portuguese to Izabel, as though expecting her to explain. Izabel looked at Lydia. "She has...heaviness...here." Izabel put her hand on the lady's chest.
"Depression?" Lydia guessed.
"Yes, and pain...through...body." Izabel said in very broken English, using her hand to indicate the lady's whole body.
"Vem, Senhor. Vem com seu poder." Lydia began to pray. For the first few minutes she prayed about the lady's depression, asking the Lord to take it away. "Is she still feeling the depression?"
Izabel asked. "No...it...lifted."
"Praise the Lord! Lord, we ask that You would come again and take away the pain." Lydia continued to lift the lady up in prayer. Izabel slipped away to look for someone else to pray for. Lydia could tell she wasn't comfortable with the translator position she had been pushed into.
"Esta melhor?" Lydia asked after a few minutes. The lady tested her legs. Her tan face screwed up in a look of extreme pain.
"Qual e seu nome?" Lydia asked remembering she didn't know the lady's name. Many times she would forget to ask. She didn't know why. Maybe it was being unfamiliar to being thrown into a large group of people, who she couldn't even speak to, on top of having to pray for them and interviewing them on their problems. A lot of the time she would forget most of the interview questions she had to ask: what is your name, do you know what caused it, etc.
"Catalina," the lady answered.
Lydia continued to speak to the Lord on Catalina's behalf. Once or twice Lydia asked if she was feeling any better and every time she got that look of excruciating pain. Finally Elena came up. "Can you ask her how long she has been in pain?" Lydia asked, beginning to wonder what was going on.
"Five weeks," Elena answered.
Lydia continued to pray but could see nothing was happening as Catalina persisted through the pain of moving her legs and arms with a lot of difficulty.
Lydia had learned in the training sessions that sometimes physical problems were cause by emotional or spiritual things. "Something is dreadfully wrong," Lydia thought, looking up at Catalina as she knelt in front of her. She sensed it was something more than a terrible accident.
"Does she know what caused this pain?" Lydia asked Elena.
Elena asked Catalina and then looked at Lydia as though she either didn't understand the question or the answer. Lydia tried to reword the question thinking that would help her understand. It didn't. She tilted her head and looked more confused. She got a very thoughtful look on for several seconds before standing up and walking off.
Lydia sighed in frustration. She should of been asking the Lord how to handle the situation, but she didn't even think about it at the moment.
She stood up, her legs harassing her for keeping them in the hunched position for so long. "Ohhh," she moaned under her breath. She placed her hand on Catalina's arm.
"Mais uncao para a cura. Mais uncao para a cura. Mais Senhor."
Several minutes passed before Elena returned. "Her father is a witch," she explained.
"Oh Lord! I know You are stronger, but I don't want to do this alone. Especially on my first time!" Lydia cried out. It was rather ridiculous, because she wasn't alone. Still she wanted a person there with her. What she didn't realize was the prayer was evoked from a lack of knowing what to do. This was probably more her problem than anything else. She wasn't really afraid. All that hindered her was the nervousness that came with not knowing how to go about this situation.
She looked around the crowded front. She saw Mrs. Olsen a few feet away praying for a young boy. "Mrs. Olsen, I need your help when you are finished," she called over to her pastor's wife.
Once Mrs. Olsen was finished praying for the boy she came over to Lydia. "Yeah?" she asked.
"Catalina has extreme pain in her whole body. Her father is a witch," Lydia explained.
"Oh," Mrs. Olsen murmured in understanding and took over. "Lord we ask that You would break these chains off of Catalina. Break the power that has been binding her for so long." Mrs. Olsen started pulling at Catalina's clothes, symbolically breaking the chains that bound Catalina.
They prayed for her for five minutes. As they prayed Lydia got a picture of chains and heard the word broken. So once Mrs. Olsen had stopped for a second she gave it. Mrs. Olsen nodded her head in agreement as Elena relayed the message to Catalina.
"How are you feeling?" Mrs. Olsen asked.
"She is feeling much better," Elena said.
"Praise the Lord!!" Mrs. Olsen and Lydia chorused.
Catalina smiled at the two of them and walked off. Lydia watched her as she walked down the aisle and started talking to some of the other Brazilian women. Lydia was glad for her. It had been obvious by the look on her face when they had finished praying for her that she did feel better. Lydia smiled to herself, inwardly thanking the Lord. Afterwards she went to look for someone else to pray for. There was no one else at the moment. She headed over to pray with Natalia for a little girl.
Allie turned around to find a young lady who was in her twenties. "Hello, I have someone for you to pray for," the lady said.
"All right. I'm Allie." Allie extended her hand to the woman.
"I'm Victoria," The lady said, pulling Allie into a hug.
Victoria led her to a young boy about ten who was sitting in a chair and it was obvious that his right eye was blind. It was glazed over and staring off into space. Allie could feel the anointing was heavy in this spot. The Lord is going to heal this boy!
"Qual e seu nome?" Allie asked the boy kneeling in front of his chair.
"Emilio," the boy answered his left eye focusing on her.
"How long has his eye been like that?" Allie looked up at Victoria.
"It has been six years," Victoria answered.
"Does he know how it happened?"
"No, I've prayed for him four times already and nothing has happened." Victoria knelt down beside Allie.
Allie sensed that that wasn't right. She could tell he knew. She looked Emilio straight in the eye until she had gotten his attention. His eyes confirmed what the Holy Spirit had already told her. He knew what it was. "Will you just ask him, please."
Victoria raised her eyebrow as though she really didn't think this was all worth it. "He doesn't know what caused it."
"You've said that. Even so, will you just ask him." While Victoria was talking to Emilio, Allie noticed something she hadn't earlier. It was an undercurrent of something she couldn't quite decipher, but whatever it was, it wasn't good. It seemed to emanate from Emilio. As Allie paid closer attention the realization of what it was came to her. Within a second, it was as plain as day, and she wondered why she hadn't noticed it before. He had unforgiveness in his heart.
"His brother kicked him and it caused nerve damage," Victoria finally told her.
"Did he ever forgive his brother for what he did?" Allie asked pretty sure what the answer was already.
Victoria asked Emilio. He lowered his head in shame and slowly shook it. Allie gently tilted his chin up so she could look into his eyes. Those deep, dark eyes looked at her with "caught red handed" guilt. She smiled at him with an understanding smile.
"Do you want to pray a prayer of forgiveness?" she asked this question directly at Emilio. After a second of translation he nodded his head slowly. "All right, repeat after me," Allie didn't break eye contact with Emilio. "Dear Lord, I apologize for not forgiving my brother for kicking me in the eye." Victoria translated, and then Emilio repeated the prayer with a soft, musical voice. "I was angry with him for doing this to me." Allie waited for Emilio to say the next section. "Even so, I will set that aside..." Victoria translated, but Emilio paused a second, this time, as though to process the words. Finally he said them. "...and I will choose to forgive him." Once more there was a pause before Emilio restated those words. "I will no longer hold this against him." This time he said them without giving them a second thought.
"Did you really mean all that? You've truly forgiven him; you will no longer hold a grudge?" Amy asked.
"He says, 'sure I did.'"
"Good," Allie gave him a brilliant smile, "I'm going to cover your eye to pray for it, all right?"
Emilio nodded and closed his eyes. Allie covered his bad eye with her hand, bowing her head. "Dear Lord, come and heal Emilio's eye. Give him twenty-twenty vision," Allie prayed.
She uncovered the right eye and covered his left, good eye. "All right now, how many fingers am I holding up?" She held three fingers up a foot away from Emilio's face.
"He says three," Victoria answered.
Allie looked over at her surprised, "Really?" Victoria nodded her head, acting a bit annoyed. Allie's faith faltered. She struggled to believe her ears. She prayed two more times and each time afterward Emilio correctly answered her questions.
"Praise the Lord! Thank You, Jesus!!" Allie said taking Emilio's hand in her own and shook it.
Emilio beamed at her and nodded his head. "Nice...meet...ing...you," Emilio stammered in broken English.
Lydia gave a weary sigh wondering how much longer they had to stay. "Lord, I need Your strength," she whispered. She was tired and ready for the soft bed that awaited her at the hotel. As much as she loved ministering to people, the late nights and little sleep was starting to take its toll on her. When Allie finally said it was time to go, she was relieved.
"All right, everyone, we're going to separate you into your attack forces for this second week. First I want all who are going to teach faith to go over to one of the attack force leaders," Tom Ritollo started on Monday morning once everyone was congregated in the council room. "All you leaders, the number of chairs you have are the number of spaces you will have in the vans. You also need to keep in mind that you'll also need to keep a space open for your translator and Brazilian teacher or preacher."
"All right the rest of you may find who you want to go with," Tom Ritollo announced once all the team leaders had their teachers and preachers.
Lydia got up and looked around wondering who to go with. She wanted to be in a team with a couple of familiar faces but not too many that she would only talk to them. She wanted to stretch out and make new friends. It wasn't long before she was one of a handful still walking about. "We need to get going so the rest of you need to find a team," Tom Ritollo said. Lydia bit her lip and looked around the edges of the room where the different teams were set up.
"Ok, ok," Lydia mumbled walking over to Allie Nopp's team. When she had first met Allie she hadn't liked her real well. She had thought Allie eccentric and...she wasn't sure what else but the first impression Lydia had gotten of her she hadn't liked. Ahh well, she didn't really want to go with any of the others and at least Pastor Rod, Mrs. Olsen, and Terelle were on her team. That was enough for Lydia's comfort zone, and yet she would also be stretched to step out and make new friends.
She sat down next to Mrs. Olsen. "Should I come with you or go with another team?" a girl with long brown hair asked the boy sitting in front of Lydia. Lydia recognized both of them from the first week. They had often been on the same bus as Lydia. She watched them curiously as the girl gave the boy a hug. "Are they brother and sister or boyfriend and girlfriend," Lydia wondered. They looked a lot a like but Lydia had never seen a teenage sibling group hug before.
"I don't care," the boy answered.
"Well, maybe if those girls stay with this team, I'll go to the other one," the girl said nodding to two girls sitting behind Lydia who had been wavering between Allie Nopp's team and Erik's. Those two girls eventually went over to Erik's team and so the other girl sat down by Lydia setting her purple backpack down by her feet.
"Hi, I'm Lydia." Lydia extended her hand to the girl.
"I'm Natalia." The girl accepted Lydia's hand with a smile.
"All right I need everyone to sign their names on these lines," Allie Nopp instructed holding up a piece of paper for all to see. Toward the bottom of the page were two columns of lines. She then handed it to the first person.
"All right, everyone, it is time to head up for lunch. I want everyone to eat with their attack force today. Start to get to know each other. I will dismiss you by teams. Catherine, you and your group can go," Tom Ritollo announced once everything had been put in order.
It was fifteen minutes before Allie Nopp's team was told they could go. Once they got their food they sat down at two tables that were close to each other. Allie and Natalia sat at Lydia's table, along with several boys.
Lydia found out that she really like both Allie and Natalia. They were both a lot of fun and easy to talk to. "How old are you, Allie?" Natalia asked.
"I turned eighteen on April fourth," Allie answered taking a drink of her coke.
"Really, that's my mom's birthday," Lydia spoke up.
"Cool!" Allie's face lit up in a smile.
"How old are you Natalia?" Lydia asked looking over at Natalia.
"Eighteen, and you?"
"I turned seventeen last Wednesday."
"Well happy birthday," Allie and Natalia said together.
"Thank-you." Lydia nodded her appreciation.
The conversation went on pleasantly between the three girls. At one point Lydia tried to include the boys sitting with them, but they weren't very talkative. So Lydia just continued to talk to Allie and Natalia.
Allie was beautiful with straight black hair that reached to her chin and a kind of olive complexion. She was about Lydia's height, skinny, and she had eyes that flashed with an inner light. Yet the thing that Lydia thought topped Allie's beauty was her brilliant smile. As the conversation went on Lydia realized that what she had thought annoying about Allie on Saturday was actually an exuberant love for her Savior. When Lydia recognized what it was, it attracted her instead of annoyed her.
"When do we have to be at the van?" Lydia asked as they started to get up to go their separate ways.
"Six-thirty is when the van is supposed to leave," Allie replied looking at her schedule.
"Good, I will see you all then," Lydia said smiling.
She headed down the stairs and out of the main building. She would have time to read her Bible and get freshened up. She got her Bible, markers and pens and then headed back down. She didn't want to be cooped up in her room on this gorgeous day.
She settled herself on the steps situated between two of the buildings of the hotel. She turned to Psalms 135.
Praise the Lord...
praise Him, you servants of the Lord,
you who minister in the house of the Lord,
in the courts...of our God...
for the Lord is good;
sing praise to His name, for that is pleasant.
For the Lord has chosen Jacob...
Israel to be His treasured possession.
I know that the Lord is great,
...our Lord is greater than all gods.
The Lord does whatever pleases Him,
in the heavens and on the earth,
in the sea and all their depths.
He makes clouds rise...
He sends lightning with the rain
and brings out the wind from His storehouses.
He struck down the firstborn of Egypt,
the firstborn of men and animals.
He sent his signs and wonders into your
midst, O Egypt,
against Pharaoh and all his servants.
He struck down many nations
and killed mighty kings-
and He gave their land as an inheritance,
an inheritance to His people Israel.
Your name, O Lord, endures forever,
Your renown, O Lord, through all generations.
For the Lord will vindicate His people
and have compassion on His servants.
The idols of the nations are silver and gold,
They have mouths, but cannot speak,
eyes but they cannot see;
they have ears, but cannot hear,
Those who make them will be like them,
and so will all who trust in them.
O house of Israel, praise the Lord;
you who fear Him, praise the Lord.
Praise be to the Lord from Zion,
to Him who dwells in Jerusalem.
Praise the Lord.
As she read, Lydia basked in the cool Brazilan spring. The sun shone brilliantly and kept her warm even though a crisp breeze had picked up. It was a great day to be outside!
"Hello Lydia." Dana came up and sat a step beneath Lydia.
"Hello, how did your night go?" Lydia asked. She had been asleep by the time Dana had come in the night before.
"Interesting to say the least. We got to our church early and so our translator took us to see this one monument. It was this huge image of the Virgin Mary that had a stair case winding up it. It was nasty." Dana cringed at the very memory of it. "Its face was angry looking and you could feel the evil emanating from it. There were rooms on different levels of it and our translator, who is very discerning, said he saw demons in one of them. I asked him why they didn't try to attack us and he said we had angels all around us.
That was the most horrible thing that I've ever seen. It...it was just evil," Dana finished having no other words to describe it. She shuddered once more.
Lydia shook her head in disbelief. Before she had come on this trip she had heard of such darkness but from the safety of her home, it had never fully registered. Now she was right in the middle of a deep pool of that darkness, and it astonished Lydia. "That's interesting, I've heard one of the other kids say they went to a Catholic church where the Holy Spirit was really moving and the people were truly hungry for God." Lydia stated looking thoughtful. "It must not be Catholicism as much as where the people set their loyalty: with God or with the saints and Mary." It made her even more grateful that she knew the one, true God. She looked down at her Bible which was still opened at Psalm 135 and smiled as her heart swelled with thankfulness.
"Well, I better go. That's probably my team that's getting loaded up," Dana said squinting across the hotel grounds to where a group of teens and leaders were filing into a white van.
"See ya later. God bless," Lydia called to Dana, as she jogged off.
"You too," Dana hollered over her shoulder.
Lydia went back to her reading. Once she had finished Psalms 135 she wrote her thoughts on it in the margins of her Bible.
People who make idols and believe false gods are missing out on so much!! They believe in inanimate objects and imaginary beings. How it must break God's heart-the people He wants to love and comfort turning away from Him. Then they turned to inanimate things that can't even hear, understand or care about them.
"You a...pastor?" A young lady came up to Pastor Rod dragging another lady behind her.
"Yes." Pastor Rod nodded, noting the desperate look on the face of the young lady who had asked him the question and the hopeless look of the other one. "Pray for...friend." The first lady pushed her friend toward Pastor Rod. Her English was extremely broken and heavily accented.
"We are going to be leaving soon," he informed her, "Can you come back tomorrow?"
"No, you...pray...her now. She...going to commit sui...cide...tonight...you don't pray...her!" The young lady's voice was urgent and fearful.
Pastor Rod looked at her uncertainly for a moment. "Wait right here. Ok?" He looked at her wanting to make sure she understood. She nodded indicating that she did. He hurried off to find Mary. This was a job for her, not him.
"Mary, I have a job for you. Come," he told her when he came up to his wife. "There is this young lady who is going to kill herself if God doesn't touch her tonight," he explained as they headed back toward to the two women.
Clara didn't want to be here. Life wasn't worth living any more. She wished that her friend would just let her get on with her plan! Irene insisted on bringing her to this meeting. She told Clara it would change her mind. It hadn't! It had just made her uncomfortable! She wished all the more to be at home, locked in her bedroom with the knife poised at her heart. Her heart was in a million pieces-irreparable!
She had lost her three, beautiful children to the burning inferno of the car crash! Then her husband was told by the government if they couldn't pay their taxes they would lose the house. Yesterday her mom was diagnosed with cancer, and her sister had started drugs. To top all of that, she lost her husband's love! He was beating her. She couldn't handle any more pain! She would rather be dead than hear another piece of bad news.
She saw the man who Irene had accosted about praying for her coming back with a woman. She tried to tug free from Irene's grasp to get away from here. Irene just tightened her hold. Irene had amazing strength for being so small!
Irene, with her broken English, reexplained the situation to the American woman. Clara who knew nothing of the language had no way of telling what the woman's response was. Not knowing what to do, she just stared at the woman. The woman was in a type of business suit and had very nice jewelry on. She looked to be in her fifties. What would this lady know about her problems? She had everything in the world. Clara tried even harder to get away. This time the woman took the hand that Irene didn't have and looked into her eyes with deep hazel eyes. Those eyes were overflowing with a caring love that stopped Clara. It was like the woman could almost understand what she was going through.
"Vem, Senhor... Vem com...seu poder... Mais." The woman prayed in broken and mispronounced Portuguese yet there was a conviction and power in her voice. Clara looked down at Irene wondering what she was thinking about all this. Irene looked back up at her with a small smile. She put her free hand on the small of Clara's back. Clara shifted from one foot to the other, uncertain of what to make of this.
For several minutes the woman prayed with the same conviction, power, and authority. As she prayed, Clara started to feel a heavy presence. Not an oppressive heaviness, just a pressure that pressed down on her. Next thing she knew, forbidden tears were slipping down her cheeks. What was this? Why was she crying in front of everyone? She hadn't wanted to do this! Now she was balling in front of complete strangers! "Just let it out sweetheart," Irene translated for the woman. The woman was rubbing her arm.
Next, something she never believed could happen came about. She started to feel the pain ease ever so slightly. It didn't all go away but it did lessen. She was beginning to distinguish what that heavy presence was. It was like loving arms surrounding her, arms of someone who cared truly about her pain and had the power to overcome it all. It was almost like if she looked hard enough she would be able to find the solution to her problems in those arms.
The woman said something else. This time Irene looked confused. The woman tried a different way of explaining, but Irene looked even more confused. Irene finally turned around and called for a woman named Elana, who strode over. Irene asked Elana to explain what the woman was trying to say. Elana and the woman conferred a minute before Elana turned to Clara. "She wants to know if you want to accept Christ as your Savior. There will always be problems. He can help you through them," Elana explained.
Clara heard herself say yes. She startled, surprised at herself. Yet, all of a sudden, a feeling of joy she had never felt before poured into her heart and started to overflow. Irene, Elana, and the woman all beamed at her response. The woman led Clara through a simple prayer and by the end of it, Clara was laughing for joy. She felt so much better. No, her problems hadn't left but now she could feel loving arms wrapped around her giving her hope. She knew she could always stay in those arms!
Mary smile at Clara who had undergone a major transformation. Mary was glad the girl had come to Christ. It was wonderful to watch people walk out of the darkness and into God's light!
Allie called for everyone to head for the vans. Mary shook Clara's hand with a smile. "Chow." She nodded and then turned away.
"Was it just me or was that hard tonight?" Lydia asked as they all started filing into the two van's later that night after ministering at the church they had been assigned to.
"It was difficult," Natalia agreed sitting down beside Lydia.
"It feels to me like there is some kind of barrier blocking the direct access to the Heavenlies." Allie held her hand palm down to illustrate her point. "I think it's going to take a lot of praying on our part and God's faithfulness on His part to break through it."
Allie turned around in her seat. "I need everyone to settle down so we can do stats." The statistics weren't quite as impressive as the ones they had been getting before but they were still fairly good.
After that everyone started talking in their own little groups. Lydia, Allie, and Natalia settled into a pleasant chat. They didn't talk about much in particular, just general things about themselves. It was quite interesting.
It took forty-five minutes to get back to the hotel. When they got back Lydia said good-night and headed for her room. She stuck her key into the slot next to the door and the lights came on. She shut the door and began to get pajamas on. The door began to open as Lydia was half dressed. "Aahh..." Lydia screeched, running the few feet to the bathroom.
"Sorry," Dana's muffled voice came under the door.
Lydia pulled her t-shirt on and exited the bathroom. "That's all right. How was your night?" Lydia asked hanging up her dress and getting a cookie from her stash of snacks.
"Good. How was yours?"
"Fine. Do you want a cookie? They're kind of stale but you can have one." Lydia held up the plastic wrapped cookie.
"Thanks, but no thank-you." Dana set her Bible and note book on the bottom shelf of the nightstand.
Dana went into the bathroom with her pj's in hand. A minute later she came out pulling her long brown curls into a pony tail. She plopped down on the end of her bed.
"Anything interesting happen with your team?" Lydia asked dangling her arm over the chair she was sitting in.
"It was too wild! I was just talking to one of the translators at the end. You should of heard her testimony! A few weeks ago she didn't know any English. God started teaching her a few English words. Tonight God brought it all together for her, and she was able to translate for us!" Dana told Lydia, settling into her own bed.
"Wow!" Lydia exclaimed amazed.
"Did you see many healings?" Dana asked
"No. What about you?"
"Several." Dana then proceeded to tell Lydia about her night. Lydia listened with interest. She really liked Dana, because she was easy to talk to, and fun.
"Praise the Lord!" Lydia said with sincerity once Dana had finished. She was overjoyed at the ways God was moving in their midst. Even if her team hadn't see many healings, at least Dana's team had seen success. God was faithful; He would answer their prayers.
Saturday ran totally different than the other days. The youth were expected to get up for breakfast at eight. It was then off to Bola Da Neve for morning and afternoon training sessions led by Bill Johnson, these were to be the last. The reason for the early start was that the Brazilians didn't have work or school that day and so more people could come. During the night everyone went to a gigantic stadium for a huge concert with the Brazilian Christian band, Casa de David. Beyond those who had come as part of the Global Awakening Youth Ministry, there were two thousand people in attendance. It was estimated that 500 people were healed and 40 saved!
Sunday afternoon at 2:00, all who were a part of Sao Paulo's Global Awakening trip congregated in the counsel room which had been used for the orientation of the United States youth. The first thing they did was to split everyone up for that night's service. Randy Clark, Bill Johnson, and the interns were to be the speakers at different churches. The youth and leaders then could go with whichever speaker they wanted to. They didn't have to stay with their groups.
Once that was all figured out, Tom Ritolo asked for everyone to find a seat and to quiet down. Once everyone had settled down he started giving the total statistics for that first week of ministry. Physical healings, emotional healings, salvations,...they were all in the thousands! Wild applause filled the room. Young and old alike were ecstatic at the miracles God had done in the past week, and what was more, He had let them be part of it all!
"Christ did the same amount of miracles this one week as He did in the whole two weeks of last year's trip!" Tom Ritolo's brown eyes flashed with excitement. "How many do you think we'll see by the end of this trip?" More wild applause filled the room and it took several minutes before everyone quieted down.
When the clapping had ceased and everyone was ready to listen again, Tom Ritolo introduced Bill Johnson, who was to speak. Bill Johnson was probably in his early sixties, He was a wise and godly man. He gave a rousing sermon on taking Christianity out beyond the four walls of the church. Lydia had to shake out her wrist several times as she took hurried notes.
After he was finished, everyone was broken up into groups of three: a translator, someone who was confident, and a-not-so-sure person, to go out to minister to people on the streets. It took forty-five minutes for them to get all paired up and for instructions to be given. At last, though, Lydia, the translator Julianna, and another girl, Becky, who was probably about fifteen, headed out.
They first headed for the supermarket where they didn't see much happen. "Why don't we go to the mall? Here people are just getting what they need and hurrying on. At the mall more people are just hanging around," Julianna suggested after half an hour of being rejected.
"All right," Becky nodded her head. Her blond, curly ponytail bobbed up and down.
In the mall, they looked for people who didn't look too busy. "What about her?" Lydia questioned nodding toward a girl, who looked to be in her early twenties, and was standing near the escalators.
"Ok, how should I start out?" Julianna asked. The three stopped and huddled together to confer about the matter.
"If we don't go up soon she'll be gone," Lydia remarked, seeing the girl start to walk off in the other direction.
"Ok, ok, how about I ask if she has ever felt a touch from God, and if she'd like to?" Julianna said as the three started off after the girl.
"Sounds good," Lydia and Becky agreed.
"Oi," Julianna greeted the girl. She went on in Portuguese with the girl. Lydia guessed she was introducing them when she heard Julianna give their names and pointed to her and Becky.
"Her name is Emilia, and she would like to be prayed for."
"Great!" Becky gave her brilliant smile to Emilia.
So the three began to pray. They prayed for God to come with His love, power, and anointing. Emilia stared at them as though not quite sure what to think.
"Is she feeling anything?" Becky asked.
Julianna interpreted the question. "She says she feels something good, but she doesn't know what it is."
They started at it again, asking God to continue His work in her. Tears began to glisten in Emilia's brown eyes and slowly trickled down her tan cheeks.
Lydia watched Emilia as they corresponded with God on her behalf. In that huge mall, bustling with people, Heaven had started to come down to earth for one beautiful Brazilian girl. Jesus Christ's love was being revealed to her that day.
As Lydia watched, she got the sense that Emilia had a brother who was sick. Was it a word of knowledge or just a passing thought, Lydia wondered. It didn't seem like the time to share it so Lydia just kept on praying and waited for the right moment.
In the meantime a little girl about four or five came up and took a hold of Emilia's hand. She had jeans and a teal blue shirt on. She stared up at Lydia wonderingly. Lydia smiled down at her and waved.
The little girl tugged on Emilia's hand and prattled something in Portuguese. Emilia answered her and then turned to Julianna and said something. "This is her niece and she has to go now," Julianna explained. Emilia then hugged each of them.
Lydia watched as Emilia walked off with her niece. "Lord, let this be a major turning point for her," Lydia's heart called out. She internally kicked herself for not speaking up about the word or knowledge. Maybe they could have prayed more specifically then.
"She said she felt something good, and did you see she was crying?" Julianna was beaming with excitement.
They walked around awhile going from floor to floor. They eventually came up to a middle-aged woman who agreed to be prayed for. She said her name was Marcia. She had on jeans and a green shirt, with a low neckline. She had shoulder length brown hair, brown eyes and a tan complexion.
Marcia looked over her shoulder to see three young ladies following her. They were talking to each other in English and looking at her as though they were talking about her. She stopped and turned around to face them.
She needed something to preoccupy her mind, and maybe they would be her ticket to that distraction. The only one of the three who looked at all like a native Brazilian came up to her while the other two hung back a couple steps. Now Marcia's interest was really peaked. She raised her eyebrows.
"Hello, we are with the Global Awakening Mission and we were wondering if we could pray for you. I'm Julianna, this is Lydia, and Becky." The girl told Marcia in Portuguese.
"I guess so," Marcia said uncertainly.
Julianna turned to Lydia and Becky and talked to them in English. The two came up to Marcia and put their hands on her. They smiled reassuringly at her. They began praying and once in awhile one of them would revert to a weird language that wasn't either English or Portuguese.
"Are either of you getting anything?" Julianna asked after they had prayed several minutes.
Lydia nodded her head. "Has anyone broken her heart?"
"Like who?" Julianna asked before translating the question.
"I'm getting the sense that it is a boyfriend or a husband."
"May I ask if either a boyfriend or a husband has hurt you emotionally?" Julianna asked.
Marcia's heart tightened in anxiety. How could they know that about her? She fought to mask her surprise and apparently by the girls' reactions, they hadn't seen it.
She and her husband had been fighting constantly for over two years, and just a month ago she had found him with another woman. She had to admit she was as much at fault as he was. Even so, she wasn't being unfaithful! Finally she had had enough of it all and filed for a divorce. She bit the inside of her cheek to keep the tears in check. How could they know that?
Julianna and the lady talked awhile. "She and her husband have just gotten divorced. They have two children, and it has been rough on all of them."
"Oh," Lydia gave a sympathetic look. Then she, Julianna, and Becky began to petition Christ to come down with His love and healing power.
Marcia fought back the roiling emotions; she hadn't bargained for this. She didn't want to be thinking about her hurts any more. She had come to the mall to get away from her quiet home where her thoughts overwhelmed her. Her son and daughter were with their father for the weekend. If she had known stopping for three innocent looking girls would have stirred up all of these feelings she would have run the other way.
She hated her husband; she hated herself; she hated this woman who had come between her and her husband. She wanted to go back to when she was young and first married, when everything was perfect and good. When and how all this started she didn't know but she wanted to erase it all and be back with the only man who had been able to make her laugh until her sides hurt, and she wanted to be in love with him again.
"Marcia, Jesus wants to take care of you, to love you. You need Him to be the foundation that your family is set upon, for He is the only firm foundation you will ever find." Julianna looked up into Marcia's eyes with such passion and compassion that it amazed Marcia. "Without Jesus, you have lost even before you have begun."
If this Jesus was the one who told them about her being divorced, and if He could still love her enough to send them to her, then she wanted to know Him personally. "Of course I want Him to be all those things for me," she said after thinking about it for a second.
Julianna gave her a brilliant smile, "Then pray this prayer with me: Dear Lord, I want You to care for me and be my Savior. I want You to be the foundation that my family is set upon. Please come and bring Your reconciliation into my family. In Your name I pray, amen."
Marcia finished the prayer, and she felt an overwhelming peace. She couldn't explain it but she could already feel a change happening in her. She opened her eyes and Julianna was giving her the biggest and purest smile she had ever seen.
Julianna gave her some information about some different churches and people she could talk to. "I shall be praying for you Marcia. God bless you and your family. Good-bye." Then Julianna turned around and started walking off with her friends.
Julianna began talking with the lady. Neither Lydia nor Becky could understand what was going on and so just kept praying. After some time Julianna said good-bye and started walking on. "What was all that about? Lydia asked as she and Becky followed after her.
"Ok," Julianna's face was one gigantic smile. "I told her that she wants Jesus to take care of her, to love her, and to be that firm foundation for her and her family, and she said 'Of course I do.' So I said, 'Pray this prayer with me,' and I led her through a prayer of salvation!"
"Yes!!" Lydia exclaimed, jumping into the air with a victory fist. A huge smile lit up her face. "Thank You Jesus!" Lydia was overjoyed to see someone come to Christ!
They prayed for a couple more people before realizing they had better be getting back to the hotel to get ready for the night services. "Good-bye, Becky. Good-bye, Julianna," Lydia hollered over her shoulder as the three broke up at the hotel. She rushed to her room to get dressed in nicer clothes. She was just sure she was going to be late. She threw on a lilac flowered skirt and a pink blouse. She ran a brush through her hair and hastily braided it. She then grabbed her book bag and rushed down to the restaurant for a quick bite to eat.
Lydia ended up being one of the first to the van. After awhile everyone was congregated and they started out. It took a good hour for them to find the church.
It was a good night with many healings. During the ministry time the front was crowded with people wanting to be prayed for. Lydia prayed for probably ten or so people and they all were touched by God.
When she finally got back to her hotel room it was twelve o' clock. She stuck her card key into the little pocket to turn the lights on. With a sigh she threw her book bag on the suitcase stand and kick her shoes off. She then started getting ready for bed.
"Santo, Santo, Santo, Senhor!" Everyone sang along with the worship band, "Filhos de Homem". Everyone was up in the front of the church and going wild. The Spirit of the Lord was heavy in that sanctuary. It was an awesome worship time! Manasah jumped along with everyone else, singing his heart out.
Then, after Randy Clark spoke, they had ministry time. There weren't many people who came up for prayer. That meant that many of the ministry team had to group up in threes and fours to pray for people. Jordan came up to a man who was sitting on a chair with some of the team standing around him. The man's left knee was two or three times bigger then the other one. "Kind of looks like the difference between a softball and a baseball." Manasah thought out loud.
"Qual e seu nome?" a girl named Amy asked. She had blond curls and hazel green eyes.
"Diego," the man replied.
"Diego right?" Amy asked.
The man nodded his head. Amy nodded her own head and started praying. "Vem, Espirito Santo. Vem, Espirito Santo. Vem com seu poder. Vem."
Manasah and the others prayed with her. Manasah held his eyes wide open. He wanted to see what would happen.
For five minutes nothing happened. Then all of a sudden Manasah saw Diego's big knee shrink considerably. Manasah's jaw dropped in amazement! "Am I seeing things?" Manasah wondered. It kept on shrinking until it was almost the same size as the right one.
"Wow!!! Look, look, did you see that!" Amy screamed ecstatically, her eyes sparkling with excitement. She kept pointing and clapping.
"I guess not." Manasah thought to himself with a smile.
After a few more minutes both knees were the exact same size! Before the night ended, Diego received several other healings. One of those healings was of a spinal injury.
Manasah rejoiced that night as he headed to his hotel room. It was really neat to see God work His healing power! Manasah loved seeing Him work.
Peter got up when Estevam, one of Randy Clark's interns who was speaking at Bola Da Neve, gave the call for ministry time. It was good to stand again. The church was so packed that many had to sit on the floor between the stage and the first row of chairs. "Like a can of sardines we are, on this warm July evening," Peter thought with a grin as he stretched his cramped legs.
For as crowded as it was, Peter had trouble finding anyone to pray for. There were more Americans who were praying then there were Brazilians who wanted to be prayed for. Peter wandered around for several minutes before he came upon a translator. "Hello, do you need help?"
"Sure, that would be great! My name is Peter." Peter held out his hand.
"Ricardo." Ricardo took Peter's hand. His handshake was strong, but was filled with a godly love, and his eyes were filled with a passionate fire.
Together they found a young lady who had fallen away from her faith. As Peter prayed he realized that Ricardo was repeating after him word for word. Peter felt the pressure that urges one on to go a step higher. "Jesus, will You give me a word for her other than Mais Fogo, Mais Fogo?" Peter silently prayed.
In answer, the parable of the lost sheep came to Peter's mind. "In the Bible Jesus was talking to some of the Pharisees..." Peter began. The girl had started to cry and bob up and down.
"He told them that God rejoices over those who come back to Him and He told them a parable about a sheep that had gotten lost..." Peter racked his brain to remember it, but the rest of the story eluded him. "Ricardo, do you know the parable I'm thinking about?"
Ricard nodded his head. "Will you explain it to her then?" Ricardo turned to the woman and began to explain it to her. She started sobbing and bobbing under God's power even more. It became so uncontrollable that Peter and Ricardo led her to a chair and then went to find someone else to pray for.
They prayed for several other people who all were touched in some way or another. "Start bringing things to a close, guys," Estevam said a half hour later. Peter straightened watching the boy he had just prayed for run off to play with his comrades. He smiled after the boy and then turned to Ricardo. "Thank-you, Ricardo, and it was nice to meet you." The two shook hands before Peter turned to head for the van. "Oh how good You are Jesus!" Peter rejoiced in his heart as he sat down.
"Oi, Julius. How are you doing tonight?" Rose asked walking up to him on Friday night.
"Bom," Julius answered with a smile. Tonight the smile was actually happy. There was hope in his eyes.
"It's good to see you smile." Rose knelt down in front of him and returned his smile. "I'm having the feeling that we should start by praying for your leg to grow out. Can I take your shoes off?" Julius nodded.
Rose took his shoes off and took both feet in her hands to compare them. There was a noticeable difference between them, with his left leg several inches longer than his right. "In the name of Jesus we command the right leg to grow out to the same length as the left," Rose began to pray.
After about ten minutes Rose saw the right leg slightly move. At first she thought she was just seeing things but than Julius began rambling excitedly. "Pi! Pi!" he squealed pulling at his father's sleeve.
Rose looked at him with a big smile. His eyes sparkled with boyish delight. "Lord, we thank You for the work You have started in Julius. We ask that You continue."
"Leg, grow, in the name of Jesus!"
Ever so slowly the right leg grew out. Finally it was the same length as the left one. Julius clapped his hands in excitement as he continued to ramble something to his father. He then looked directly at Rose and said something. "He...can feel your...hands on...his..." Violate pointed to Julius' feet as though she couldn't think of the word for them.
"Feet?" Rose said.
"Yes, his feet."
"Thank You, Jesus!" Rose looked back to Julius, her own face mirroring his exhilaration.
Rose thanked God for what He had done for Julius and went back to praying. Now she turned to praying that God would bring strength into the boy's legs, enabling him to walk.
"Can you stand?" Rose asked as it was almost time to leave. Again Violate and Julius' father helped him out of his wheelchair. This time, however, he didn't fall but stayed stable. The smile that had been getting bigger and bigger through the night now swallowed up his whole face. Rose also smiled. How she loved to see this boy with a radiant smile. The eyes that had been a fathomless pool of sadness and lost hope were a deep pool of joy and hope. She couldn't stop praising the Lord in her heart for the wonder He had done in this precious child.
"It's time to be heading to the bus," Erik announced. Rose looked up and saw the others leaving.
"I have to go now. I don't think I'll be coming back, but you keep coming up for prayer if it takes that. I believe you will be healed," Rose said looking back to Julius.
Julius who had been resettled into his chair leaned over and gave Rose a big hug. Rose returned the hug smiling to herself. She was overjoyed at how much Jesus had already touched him. She knew without a doubt that soon he would be walking and running. She loved this little boy and would never forget him. She was sure he was going to grow up to be an impressive young man and was a little disappointed that she would miss it.
She straightened with a groan as her legs complained at being left in the same hunched position. She turned to Violate and then to Julius' father and shook their hands. His father didn't show the same level of excitement as Julius did but it was still evident that it did him good to see his son doing so well. With one final smiling nod, she headed out.
Lydia wondered about trying to find someone to pray for. She had prayed for several people. There was no one else to pray for. Those wanting to be prayed for already had one or two people surrounding them. She absent-mindedly listened to the Brazilian band as they were playing in the background.
Seeing there was absolutely no more people seeking prayer, she grouped up with Kari who was praying for a middle-aged lady who was shorter then both of them. "What's she need prayer for?" Lydia asked looking over the lady's head to Kari.
"She wants a deeper relationship with God."
"Qual e seu nome?" Lydia asked cocking her head so she could look the woman in the eye.
"Kyla," the woman responded. She had beautiful hazel eyes that seemed to be searching for something.
"Vem, Senhor. Vem." Lydia looked up heavenward as though in invitation.
"Draw Kyla into Your arms, Father," Kari chimed in.
"Yes, Lord. Sim Senhor. Woo her like a groom woos his bride and give her a love for You that is beyond her own capability." Lydia took Kyla's hands in her own as she prayed.
Kari walked away but Lydia felt that she should stay and so kept on praying. "Lord, she can't understand what I'm saying but I ask that You would translate for her. Give her a deeper revelation of who You are and let her know how You see her."
"Give her a kiss from Me." Lydia heard that still, quiet voice.
"No, Lord, what would she think of me? What would everyone else think of me?" Lydia argued.
She thought maybe it had just been her own random thoughts, but it was such a wild one and something that had never even entered her mind before. Also, she felt Him urging her to do as He said. Still, she didn't like the idea. The more she argued the point, though, the more she felt God urging her on.
Finally Lydia relented. "Ana, can you translate something for me?" she called to Ana who was not occupied at the moment. Ana closed the distance between them with her long, graceful strides. "She is wanting a deeper relationship with the Lord. I was praying for her when I got the impression He wants me to give her a kiss from Him," Lydia explained.
"He wants you to give her a...what?" Ana raised her eyebrow in confusion.
"A kiss. God wants me to give Kyla a kiss from Him," Lydia restated slower this time. She also used her hands to try to make it clearer, pointing upward, at herself, to Kyla, then back up at the ceiling.
"The kiss is from God?" Ana asked as though trying to clarify that point.
"Yes," Lydia nodded.
Ana nodded uncertainly as though she was still not real sure about the assignment. Yet she turned to Kyla and relayed the message. Kyla looked to Lydia as if to confirm it. Feeling awkward and uncertain Lydia raised her hand to her mouth and blew a kiss to Kyla. She in return turned her face up and blew a kiss to Him who had just given her a token of His love. She closed her eyes and kept her face heavenward reveling in His presence.
Lydia sighed a sigh of relief; Kyla had understood. She gently squeezed Kyla's shoulder with finality and moved on, letting Kyla alone with the King of kings.
Several minutes passed by before Erik gave the summons to head for the bus. Lydia grabbed her bag, slipped her sandals back on and headed for the door. This was their last night at this church. It had been a good three days and Lydia was pleased. "Thank You, Lord, for coming and meeting these people." She whispered a prayer as she climbed up the steps into the bus.
"How's that little boy you've been praying for?" Lydia asked Rose as she sat down in the seat across the aisle from Rose.
"Fantastic! He was standing up just now and he could feel his feet. Before tonight he didn't have any feeling in them!" Rose bubbled exuberantly.
"Yeah. He's going to walk. I just know it."
"What about you, Cat?" Lydia asked turning to Cat who was sitting beside her.
"I prayed for several people who were healed," Cat said with a tired sigh. Seeing that she didn't seem to want to talk at the moment, Lydia backed off and let Cat have her space.
Lydia looked back across the aisle at Rose who was looking out the window at something and wiggling two fingers back and forth like little legs. "Yes?" Rose said opening the window. Portuguese drifted through the window. There was a moments pause and then English words that Lydia couldn't quite make out followed. Rose's face was lit up with renewed exhilaration.
"Thank You, Jesus!!" Rose exclaimed. She laughed with pure delight. Lydia knew before being told what had just been said.
"Julius has started to walk a little bit!" Rose informed whoever would listen.
"Was that the kid who was in the wheelchair that you have been praying for?" Pastor Rod asked from a couple rows back.
"That's him." Rose's hazel eyes danced.
"That was an amazing night!" Erik voiced the sentiments of the bus. Some turned their attention to him but as always there were those who still talked. "All right, I know it's been a great night, but I need your attention for a few minutes. We need to do the stats."
It only took a few minutes for Erik to get through all the stats and he was about to go into his usual entertainment mode when Stefano's phone rang. He was one of Randy Clark's Brazilian interns. He answered it and began a conversation with the person in Portuguese. Erik gave a mischievous grin and without missing a beat put on a high-pitched, mocking voice. "Hi, Honey. Yes, I'll be there for supper." The whole bus load of teens and leaders began hooting behind hands. The scene of Erik "translating" Stefano's call was too funny. Erik had a certain flair that made him a hilarious actor.
Lydia felt sorry for poor Stefano who was trying to have a serious conversation and had to deal with Eric's tomfoolery. Stefano bent over in his chair trying to escape from Eric's translation game. He didn't have such luck for Erik kept it up.
"Sure, I'll do the laundry for you tonight. Yes, I can do the dishes with you too, Pumpkin. I love you, Sweetheart." Eric's grin got even broader when Stefano gave him a raised eyebrow. He pursed his lips and made a smooching sound for added effect. Stefano hung up and looked up at Erik with feigned disgust, but anyone could see he was taking it all in good humor.
Lydia shook her head in amusement at the antics Erik thought up. She had learned to like and respect the twenty-six-year-old man who had been the "bus captain" of her bus. "Bus captains" were the main leader over all the teens and other leaders, gave announcements, took stats, and were the spokesman to the churches they went into. He could have made a great pirate with the bald head and gold hoop in one ear. Yet it didn't take long to find out that Erik was on fire for God and had a gift for keeping an audience entertained over an extended period of time. Overall he was a neat Christian man who was liked by all.
Pastor Rod eased himself into the chair in front of the desk. He shook his head in a vain attempt to shake the tiredness out. He was too old to be staying up late and getting up early. "Can I write something first?" Mary came into the second room of their suite.
"Yeah, here." Pastor Rod got out of the chair and let her sit in it. He leaned against the wall and closed his weary eyes as he waited for her to finish.
Guys, the kids and Rod and I are wrecked!!! I honestly had doubts if it was really true what we heard about this trip. It is true!!!!! Beth, Rose, and Kari have been drunk in the Spirit the last 2 nights. The meetings have been unbelievable! The kids will come back changed and on fire for God and healing and everything else. This is like Toronto. Lots of drunk in the Spirit kids.
"Here you go," Mary said, getting up and moving out of his way.
Pastor Rod sat down in the chair and began to type his own piece into the e-mail.
Today was our best day yet! One night in youth group before we left, Lee Yoder had a vision while they were praying for those of us going to Brazil. He saw an eagle wrapped up in chains. Then he saw the chains break off. That has certainly happened!!!! The prophetic has been released on this trip. The kids are all hearing from God.
This afternoon we had worship and Randy Clark preached on the Baptism of the Holy Spirit. Then it was off to our evening meeting. Randy started it with words of knowledge. Ellie, Lydia, and Beth were some who had words. Sixty-four people there were healed in their seats before Randy started to preach. Randy was in the pulpit for 3 hours with all of us at the edge of our seats. After that, we prayed for an impartation for people. People were receiving God's power throughout the room. Then it was prayer for healing. A lady with a tumor in her lymph node the size of an egg was instantly healed! Another lady had a tumor in her arm pit area the size of a golf ball and was also instantly healed! Hearing was restored to some. We ran out of time in the bus for testimonies.
Mary and I also got to pray for a witch who gave her heart to Jesus in tears. An older woman also received the baptism of the Holy Spirit with speaking in tongues. She was so excited she hopped around for 10 minutes! By the end of our prayer time almost 100% of people were being healed! A total 146 people were healed tonight!
Tomorrow will be our longest day yet. We start at 8:00am and go till ……