Sometimes we miss divine appointments because we aren't willing to let God interrupt our lives. In a war zone that's a pretty easy concept to understand, if you don't listen to Holy Spirit you just might be stepping into a life and death situation. It's a reality that is constantly speaking to you every time you choose a boda (motorcycle taxi), every time you slip into bed at night, and those quite interesting moments when you walk past a man with a rocket launcher or ak 47. But what about those situations when it doesn't seem so significant? What about the simple nudgings no matter where you are when He says, go hug that child, take that person to lunch, sit with the orphan in the dirt even if it is for hours, don't take that route to work today, don't eat that, go tell that lady I love her, etc. How willing are we to let Him have complete control even when it costs us our time, money, energy, convenience?
I'm finding the blessing in interruptions this week.
We were supposed to be in the bush and oh how we still long to go, but because of intense war not far from the village we have been unable to. Please join us in praying for peace in the North Kivu region of DRC.
On Tuesday we went to a hospital to pray and love on the people there. We glanced around and took it all in as we walked into the first room. "Holy Spirit what would you like us to do here?" There's a girl in the far corner with a cast on her leg and a baby at her side, she's far too young to have a child, most likely the victim of rape. In one corner another young girl, I can't tell visibly what's wrong with her, but the look in her eyes tells me she's desperate for hope. I take another turn and there's a woman with a giant smile. It's not typical to walk into one of these hospital rooms that have many victims of war and see bright shining faces. Many of them are in immense pain, they've been shot, raped, abused, beaten, and remain in the hospital for months to recover from the bodily injury let alone the emotional trauma they've gone through. I'd soon find however, that in this hospital, Heal Africa, it's really not that rare at all, because where the presence of the Lord is, there is fullness of Joy! (Psalm 16:11) As we began to talk to this woman she had been beaten and shot eight times and yet with a smile on her face she rejoiced with us and said she would pray for us. Wait a second…. Pray for us? This was just the beginning of things that would grip my heart with humility and compassion while we were there at the hospital.
What causes a woman with multiple gun shot wounds, beaten, and left for dead to smile so big? What causes the woman whose lost six kids to raids to dance and praise? Why does a man choose to forgive when his wife and daughter were so brutally raped? In the midst of a war zone… Jesus still reigns supreme.
Here in this place humility piles on your heart like a ton of bricks. The circumstances that have challenged my faith are minuscule in light of their trauma. The temporary pains that hindered my rejoicing and dancing to praise him seem trivial in comparison. Here in this place, my reality has been broadened, my heart has been broken, my faith has soared, and my love for my Jesus has grown immensely. Because though the issues of my heart have never been as life altering as these people I'm encountering, He has still chosen to listen and care about every. single. one.
We saw several people healed in a room that was just overflowing with joy. The children and women laughed and laughed and laughed as pain just began to disappear from their bodies. I could barely speak as I was moved to compassion by a young boy with tears streaming down his face from pain. In every room we prayed and loved on the hurting and the broken and in some circumstances with those who understood love and grace better than I ever have. What an honor to be apart of God's Kingdom touching earth.
On Wednesday morning here we joined with groups of people from Los Angeles, Nashville, Norway, and London for three hours to pray and intercede for war zones. As we were on our way to the church a man began to shout and yell threatening to kill us and hours later he became our brother in Christ. I won't even try to describe this situation because full time missionary, Kim Geyer, did a much better job than I ever could. So click here (www.kimgeyer.blogspot.com) to read her description of the story, but what a testimony to letting Holy Spirit interrupt your day. I'd say your life being threatened is a pretty substantial inconvenience.
Sometimes it feels like God is asking too much! Lord, how can we go to the home of a man who wanted to kill us? Father, how could I ever forgive that person who hurt me so badly? Daddy, how can you lead these people to forgive the soldiers who have murdered and abused their family members? How can you ask me to leave my friends, family, and comfort to go to the nations? Obedience often costs something, but why should that be so shocking, it cost Jesus His life.
There are so many more stories to tell, victories and tragedies, issues of my heart churning and churning, but the words aren't forming at this moment, so I will let them wait for another day. Instead I will leave you with a few pictures of some of my favorite moments this last week and encourage you to let Holy Spirit interrupt you today. Stop for that one person He highlights no matter the cost.
Be Blessed, J. Tate
Continue to pray for peace, as we plan again to leave on Monday for the bush!