And then God decides to show up (Part 2)
We made our way into John’s office where we were joined by other staff members, sweet girls and one young man, whose names I will hold close.
He turned to me, explaining that today we would begin with a small devotion time, 5-10 minutes and then they will prayer over me and I would go with one of the staff members to walk and prayer through the brothel.
Nice. A plan. Structure. I love it. Did I mention I love agendas, like love love love agendas? They make me so happy. I know, crazy right?
I would sit in on their team meeting when I returned and when I was ready John would take me home.
Funny, how quickly the hostel where we were housed was now my home…. I suppose we can make a home anywhere. In a hostel. A beautiful home. A car. It is where we dwell. Where we talk. Where we cry.
We sang a few worship songs and I asked if I could play them my favorite. I pulled out my phone and chose what my heart always longs for, Good God Father by Housefires.
By the end of the song, the staff was singing along with me.
You are a good good father, that’s you who are. That’s who you are. That’s who you are and I’m loved by you. It’s who I am. It’ s who I am… You are perfect in all of your ways. You are perfect in all of your ways. You are perfect in all of your ways to us.
Just hearing their voices and thinking of where I sat and what I had been through, all that had brought me to this very moment, this very place, sitting in the middle of the red light district, sitting with these brothers and sisters who have dedicated their life to be in this place most would never dare to go, tears began to stream down my cheeks.
And I didn’t care. I didn’t care what they may be thinking. I just kept my eyes closed.
I needed this moment.
As I opened by eyes, I could sense that I was not the only one who felt the Lord’s presence in this room. It was palpable. So real.
So real, that you felt that you could literally reach out and touch it.
John spoke first,” can you just feel his presence?”
I sat quietly in this moment, not wanting it to end, but my silence was broken by John’s request, “Alisa, will you lead us in a devotion?”
“Say something, whatever you want,” he beckoned.
And being the incredibly spiritual person that I, I questioned, Umm, you mean, like from the Bible. (Alisa, I can’t believe you just said that, of course from the bible!!!)
But it’s like my mind was some place different and didn’t want to go that direction. I had a different feeling inside that was hard to explain. The kind of feeling that leads you to follow your gut, that leads you to think to yourself, What in the world am I doing here?
All I know is that I just opened my mouth and knew I was headed someplace totally different from what they were thinking.
Now, I know how crazy this must sound to some people. I really do.
I am right there with you, friends, but here me out. It’s like a feeling that you need to listen to. One that you know doesn’t make sense at all and that if it was happening to someone else, you would probably give them a look that said, what in the world are you doing, but when it happens to you, you have no choice but to go with it.
So there I went;
John, how about I just pray for your team and see what happens… See what happens. Oh boy… see what happens. I should have known then.
Oh dear sisters, when you hear yourself say, “Let’s just pray and see what happens and where this goes,’ watch out, because what you are doing is stepping back and letting God step into the drivers seat.
So I started.
I closed my eyes and started to pray and all I can say is that there were a lot of tears- a lot of details I couldn’t have known- a lot of crying out to the Lord. To stay this was like crazy- gospel style- prayer warrior woman praying is an understatement.
When I finally opened my eyes around 30 minutes later, I wasn’t sure what I was going to see. Even my eyes, seemed a little uncertain as if to say what I could not bring my lips to utter… uhhh, are you guys good with all this?
But my eyes caught John’s.
He was beaming. Like be-meaming.
“Total change of plans,” he shouted, his hands flying back and forth, “God is here and this is just what the staff needs. “ He was so excited and moving around. There seemed to a fury of energy buzzing around me, yet I felt so full of God’s presence that all I could do was just sit there. In awe. Numb. Confused.
They moved around me, yet I was in my own conversation with the Lord.
Lord, I don’t get it. You see where I am right now, you and me. You see how I struggle with you and everything I have been through at times. I am too broken to be used like this. This doesn’t make sense to me…. I look like this power house of prayer to these people and this is definitely not where I am right now.
Yep, definitely not.
As I was still trying to wrap my head around this, John beckoned me,
“Come, Alisa. Come. You asked me how you can support us, how you can come along side my staff and support them, well the Lord knew that today we needed you. This is what we needed. It is a dark place here and we needed to be refreshed by the Lord. We needed to hear from the Lord!.”
I began to see, dear sisters, that while they were not open to the idea of training or western ideas of counseling, the Lord was using prayer and speaking directly to his people, healing their hearts his way.
Isn’t this just like our God, dear friends?
He wraps his love- his touch- his healing- in a way that is customized for each of his children, because He know best what they need. Shouldn’t he? I mean, after all, he made us, did he not?
And I wonder, dear sisters, how He meets you? Is it through scripture? Is it through nothing that looks at all like scripture? Perhaps a phone call from a friend to remind you that you are loved. The kiss of a child. A stranger who happens to pass by at the exact time you needed help.
John led me into a different room. It was stark, white tile floors, a little metal stool placed against the wall. An unoccupied desk on the other side of the room.
There were two staffers sitting on the floor. They led me over to the stool and invited me to take a seat.
John explained, “I am going to send the staff to you one at time and you just do what you did in there, point to the other room. “
But, I didn’t do anything!!!, my heart wanted to cry out. I am still trying out figure out what happened in there.
As I looked at the wall of these women waiting to sit with me, I could see it in their eyes, John was right. They needed this. They needed Him.
They were so desperately needing a touch from our God, a God that could see every detail of their lives.
They needed to know He cared. That He saw them. They needed hope.
So one by one they came. And they didn’t stop coming. Michael even came back in carrying his phone, “My wife. Pray for her,” he said eagerly, thrusting the phone towards me.
I wasn’t sure how this would go, but before I had time to think his wife and I, were weeping on the phone. The most sacred of moments. An Indian mother. An American mother, who both had struggled with health issues. Two women who have never laid eyes on each other….weeping and praying.
Oh dear sisters, if you have every wondered what holy ground looks like, this is it.
Holy ground. Holy ground, where He walks, where He talks.
What He and only He orchestrates.
A few hours later a rather stout little woman, older in years, came marching in. I learned that she was the director. Her face was soft, but there was no mistaking she was a leader. It was her strength and her stability that turned this team of staffers into a family.
“I was at the market place , but John called me and told me to change my plans. He said I needed to come. So I canceled my plans. Now you pray for me.”
With that she moved a seat from the desk over to where I was, plopped herself down and placed her hands out, palms up, “Okay. Pray for me.”
I smiled. I loved her already.
She came expectant.
From 10:30am until 5:30pm they kept coming.
Sometimes they just let me prayer over them not knowing who they were, no details and waiting to see how God would minster to them. Others cried and cried pouring out their hurts, their fears, fear that they would have no husband, fear that they would be alone, fear that they did not have enough money.
Asking for strength. Asking for healing of sick bodies. Asking for someone to listen to their story.
Some knew english. Others needed translators.
Sometimes I just prayed over them and God would give me pictures and I would share with them. Others there were themes, of how beautiful they were in God’s eyes or how incredibly proud God was of them.
I remember when I finished with one gentleman, he said to me, “I ask God all the time. All the time. Over and over, I ask God. ‘What do you think of me, God?’ I do not know. I do not think he is pleased with me. And today you answer me. Now I know. I know what he thinks of me. He is proud of me and that I am his son.”
His eyes danced. Danced. Danced.
Ahhh, friends, to see a God that answers that which isn’t even spoken out loud.
I am in awe of that God.Purely… utterly… in awe.
As I waited for one to leave and another to come, I would begin to tear up, finally understanding this has so very little to do with me.
So very little.
I kept seeing this picture of me, my head on Jesus’ chest. My eyes were closed and could feel his breath. You see, a few years ago when I told the Lord my life was his, like totally his, I didn’t realize all that it meant. I didn’t. Yet, today I got a glimpse of what it means to be a vessel, a long ride the ride.
Today was about his power, his presence, and I… I was simply just a vessel.
(keep reading… the next part gets even crazier!!!!)