Posts Tagged ‘healing’

Peeling an Onion, by Mindy Webster, Back2Back Mexico Staff

May 3, 2011

Last week, in our ongoing staff training, we talked about the connection between anger and fear.  The short of it is that most anger is rooted in fear.  Think of anger as a basket of onions.  Anger is that outer onion skin that makes the onion messy and dull but protects the insides.  When you peel off that onion skin of anger, what’s left are layers of fears, like the layers of an onion.  Often, our anger is rooted in a variety of fears.  But if we go deeper and ask God to help us deal with our real root fears, God can take them away and that onion isn’t there anymore.

Juan, one of our house parents, shared with me the impact this made on one of our teen girls in the Hope Program.  She didn’t want to speak English to a visiting group member, even though her English is actually very good.  She said she felt embarrassed to speak English around people.  Juan, armed with this new knowledge and sensitive to a nudge from God that there was more, asked her what she was afraid of.  She shared that she was afraid to make a mistake.  Juan explained to her the onion analogy and said he felt that was a surface fear.  After more discussion, she discovered that deep down inside she is really afraid of being rejected.

She was dropped off in a children’s home at age two, and felt that she must have done something horribly wrong for her mom to reject her.  All her life she’s worked to make sure she’s not rejected again.  She gets good grades in school and does her chores and tries to make everyone around her feel good.  Juan and his wife took the opportunity to share the truth of the Gospel with her, that Jesus never rejects us.  They prayed together and through lots of tears she expressed that it was the first time she felt like she understood what was going on inside of her.  She could see all of the ways in her life that she was working to not be rejected by people, but what she already has is a Heavenly Father who will never leave her.  What incredible hope!  When she stopped looking at the onion skin and looked inside, God’s truth could be revealed and the process of removing that struggle has begun.

Jamie: God Heals the Most Hurt Heart, by Hope Maglich, Back2Back Mexico Staff

February 3, 2011

This is the story of a blind boy I met in Cancun. For his protection he will be referred to as Jamie in this entry.

Jamie is 17 and has been blind since the day he was born. He is tall with a chubby face and black curly hair. I ran into Jaime on a tour of the orphanage during my first day in Cancun. He was alone in his dorm room talking with Mau a fellow B2B staff member when I first laid eyes on him.  The compassion that gripped my heart when I first saw him is hard to describe. All I know is that with one glimpse I felt like I saw into the depths of his pain and sorrow and knew that he was so hurt. I left the dorm room without saying a word to Jamie and began another conversation with two teenage girls right outside the door.

Virginia looked very mature for her age and at first I was unsure of whether she was a worker or a teen at the home.  When I asked her she said she was living at the home and then proceeded to tell me how much she hated being in the children’s home and how much she wanted to leave. Her friend next to her chimed in that she too didn’t like being there, but admitted that it was better than her home with her family. I was shocked at the openness of these girls in our first conversation and at the same time my heart was overwhelmed with the hurt gushing forth from them. The word, “lastimada” kept running through my head… “Hurt. So hurt. These girls are so hurt.”  I felt urged to bring something positive into the conversation. I looked at Virginia and told her that I wasn’t sure why God had her at that children’s home, but that that I knew that He had a purpose for her life and that we could praise God that she was in a safe place. In two days I would realize how prophetic those words actually were… (See post on Virginia)

Mau left Jaime’s dorm room just as I was finishing my conversation with Virginia and began to fill me in on the details of Jamie’s life. Jamie had arrived at the home about a week earlier. He had been battered and bruised by his father. His story revealed that he had grown up familiar with such abuse from his dad. His real mom died when he was little and his step mother stepped into the picture.  About a week earlier Jamie’s stepmother had too much of him and his needs. She loaded blind Jamie up on a bus, paid a ticket to who knows where, and said she never wanted to see him again. Jamie arrived in the middle of Cancun, hours from his home, knowing no one, and seeing nothing. Government officials picked him up and took him to the children’s home where we met him a few days later.

My heart broke as Mau told me Jamie’s story. Jamie said that he had heard about Mau from the other boys at the home and wondered if Mau would take him out to talk and hang out as he had with the others. He also asked Mau if he would find him some music.

“I’m bored,” Jamie commented, “music makes me relax.”

Jamie

At the end of the conversation Mau felt prompted by the Holy Spirit to give Jamie a hug. As he pulled away Jamie calmly told Mau that that was the first hug he can ever remember receiving. … As Mau told me this story, I cried.

Both Mau and I wept in the courtyard of the children’s home, as God let us feel the pain and hurt in these lives. God began speaking to me that while I cover up my heart and numb it from the pain in this world and the pain that I see in the Rio every week, His heart is never numb. His heart feels every hurt. His heart cries with every child. He feels every pain and it hurts his heart to the core. The compassion of the Lord is amazing. I went to bed that night with these things still on my heart and mind.

Two days later our team of ladies returned to this same children’s home to throw a Christmas party. Part of the festivities included a skit put on by our team. At this particular children’s home we are not able to openly share the gospel, so in a metaphorical way we portrayed Christ conquering evil in the world. At one point in the skit “the evil” was whispering lies in the ear of a child. Things like, “no one loves you,” “you are stupid,” “they are laughing at you.”  During this part of the skit Jamie leaned over to a fellow staff member and said, “I’ve heard those things before. I hear those lies every day.” When I heard this I knew that I wanted to pray for Jamie.

After the skit, I sat down next to Jamie with some other ladies from our team and began to talk with him. Another lady also felt the urge to pray so we asked Jamie if we could. He readily agreed. About halfway through our prayer Jamie started grabbing at his chest.

“My heart hurts. My heart hurts,” he repeated.

We clarified that it was a spiritual pain that he was feeling. We finished praying and I went to find Mau. I knew in my spirit that today was the day of salvation for Jamie. I have never been so sure of something in my life! I found Mau and told him that he needed to explain the gospel to Jamie. Jamie was so ready, but my Spanish couldn’t do it justice and Mau is the one who is going to be there long term with Jamie. After the activities of the Christmas party calmed down a bit, Mau went over and sat next to Jamie. I knew that he was sharing the gospel with Jamie, so I began to pray. The next thing I know Jamie is crying and hugging Mau. He prayed that day and met Jesus as his Savior and the Healer of his heart!

Later, I gave Jamie a hug to welcome him into the family.  He told me that when we had prayed earlier he had felt so much peace, but that now he felt so happy.

“This is the best day of my life!” said an excited Jamie, “I will never forget this day as long as I live.”

I know that I too will never forget this day. Praise Jesus who is able to heal the most hurt of hearts. Nothing is impossible for God! Please continue to keep Jamie in your prayers. Pray for this growth in Christ and for his physical sight to be restored! Amen!

 

Virginia – God Heals the Hardest Heart, by Hope Maglich, Back2Back Mexico Staff

January 31, 2011

This is a post about a teen whose story impacted my life while I was in Cancun. For her security she will be referred to as Virginia in this entry.

Virginia looks to be about twice her actual age. I met her on the first day that I met Jamie. I have never really understood what a face of stone looked like until I met Virginia. Her face was beautiful, but ice cold, her jaw set in a clench like I have never seen before, her eyes icy.  It was clear that she took out her pain in sarcasm and in disgust of those around her. Even with the hard shell it was apparent that this was a very hurt young lady.

Virginia with her friends

In the first conversation I had with Virginia she made it very clear that she hated her life and hated the children’s home she was temporarily staying at. All I could think was how hurt she must be.

Two days after I first met Virginia our team of ladies returned to the children’s home to host a Christmas party. When we entered the home, my good friend and fellow staff member, Priscila, was encouraged to go up and talk with Virginia.

“You have got to be kidding,” was Priscila’s reply. “Look at her, she wants nothing to do with us, let alone me! ”

However, the Holy Spirit kept prompting Priscila until she went over to introduce herself to Virginia. Priscila found out that Virginia was fifteen years old.

“My fifteenth year was very impacting,” Pris shared. “That year God placed many Christians in my life who spoke to me about Jesus. It was when I was fifteen that I had an experience with God and I have never been the same.”

Virginia stared at Priscila in surprise.

“That is weird that you say that,” she said. “Just last night someone told me that I needed to have an experience with God.”

Virginia then went on to share about how the night before her mom had come to get her and bring her home. When Virginia arrived home she began arguing with her mom, started uncontrollably freaking out, and tried to commit suicide. At this point her mom got scared and called the police to come and take Virginia back to the children’s home.

As Virginia and the police officer were sitting in the squad car outside the children’s home, the officer turned to Virginia and said, “Virginia, have you not had an encounter with God? You need to have an experience with God.”

Virginia was startled that now Priscila was also talking with her about having an encounter with God.

Priscila came up to me after this conversation with Virginia and told me what happened. As Pris was talking, I knew beyond the shadow of a doubt, that God wanted Virginia to experience Himself that day. I told Priscila that she needed to go back and share the truth of the Gospel with Virginia. Today was the day of her salvation, I was sure of it.

A little later Pris found Virginia and asked if they could finish their conversation. I saw them sit down on a stone wall and begin to talk. I knew that Priscila was sharing the gospel with Virginia, so I began to pray. Virginia was sitting very straight with a face of stone as Pris began to share.  I kept praying that the Lord would break through. That he would soften her heart so she could hear and receive what Pris was sharing. Suddenly as I was watching, and it was as if the stone mask on Virginia’s face began to crack and slide off. I have never physically seen such a change happen in a person. One moment she was sitting erect hard as stone, the next second she had tears streaming down her cheeks and a wide smile spreading across her face. That day Virginia’s name was written in the Lamb’s book of Life.  With tears streaming down her face, Virginia was laughing and smiling. Her countenance was completely changed! I went up to her and gave her a huge hug. I told her I knew that God had a plan and purpose for her life and for her being at that home.

She hugged me back and through her tears said, “I feel so happy!”

It was apparent the moment Christ entered Virginia that she was completely changed. She had an experience with God that had been prophesied to her the night before. She was a new creation! Virginia was supposed to leave the children’s home that night to go back with her mom. God was so purposeful and strategic in his timing of things! There is not a doubt in my mind that He divinely ordained the events of that day to bring Virginia into his kingdom. Through this I saw that God can heal and soften the hardest of hearts.  Please keep Virginia in your prayers.  Her family has been involved with drugs in Cancun which can get pretty serious. Pray for her protection and for her continued growth in Christ. Praise Jesus for this salvation!

When God Shows Up, by Greg Huffer, Back2Back Mexico Staff

August 2, 2010

As the staff of Back2Back headed into the summer of 2010, Matt Cooper (a staff member) said, “This is going to be the greatest summer of our lives,” expressing the sentiment of many other staff members, myself included.

Just prior to the summer, a period when we enter into eight solid weeks of crazy, hectic schedules, we had had a staff retreat to fuel our spirits in preparation.  We invited a pastor from the States to come down and lead us in a time of spiritual formation and something tremendous happened amongst and within many of us during that time.

For me, a longtime pastor, in some ways I might say that I found the Lord.  I had known Him for 29 years but during this retreat, the Lord met me in a profoundly new way that has transformed who I am and the way that I will forever do ministry.  Many other staff had equally profound experiences.  For me, the Lord delivered me from a deep depression that I had fallen into for a couple years.  Battling this depression, during that time, my marriage and family suffered, my friendships and ministry relationships suffered and life was just hard and no fun. But God completely and totally healed me and set me free from this debilitating sickness and in the process, showed me new ways that I could expect Him to show up in my life.

As summer began, we as a staff decided that we wanted our mission trip guests that would visit us this summer to have the same opportunity to experience some healing prayer as so many of us had, in hopes that they would have the same kinds of life-changing, faith-changing experiences that we had had. So the decision was made that every Wednesday night we would forgo the normal debrief time (a time when groups gather with a staff member to process what they had experienced that day) to have a time of extended worship and healing prayer. I was asked to share my testimony of what had happened to me to begin each of these nights.

And God has shown up and done some tremendous things.

We have seen people confessing and being set free from many areas of their lives where they had previously been in bondage.  Jesus told us that he came to set us free.  God’s intention is that we do not muddle through life trying to figure out ways to get by and cope with the various areas of bondage and captivity that produce so much suffering in our lives.  God intends for His children to be set free and as He has shown up each Wednesday night, we have seen this beautiful miracle of divine love every time.

Some people have found salvation through Jesus Christ.  Others have identified with my depression and have sought freedom from it as well.  Others have just wanted, like I experienced, a newness in their faith.  And God has shown up.  Let me tell you a little of what I mean when I say that “God showed up”.

I remember one night praying with Tim, a summer staff member.  We had prayed for a few people when we had a bit of a lull.  As worship continues during the prayer time, we each just proceeded to join in the worship.  As we were singing, I felt what I can only describe as a change in the atmosphere around the palapa (the thatched roof structure in which we were worshiping).  It literally took my breath away and I became fully aware that I was feeling the Holy Spirit as he descended upon us.

Within a split second, before I could say anything, Tim turned to me and said, “Ahhh, do you feel that?!”  He was feeling the exact same thing that I was feeling at the exact same moment, in the exact same place.  Why?  Because I believe that God showed up.  And when God shows up, people’s lives are changed.  Each Wednesday night this summer God showed up and each Wednesday night, people’s lives were changed as they met Him and were set free.

Now at the end of summer, I echo the words of Matt Cooper and say that because God showed up, because people’s lives were changed by being set free, and yes, this has been the best summer of our lives.