For the past four months I have been part of a small church plant in the United States of America, and every week I had have the privilege of hearing testimony after testimony of the amazing work God is doing through this small local church.
Hearing these stories always serves to encourage me, and grow my faithfor God can do through each one of us. As such, from now on, this column is going to be the mouthpiece for the expression of these stories. May they encourage and strengthen you to step out in faith in your own life and see the hand of God move mightily.
The story of today
In one of those moments so perfectly aligned that it can only accurately be described as providential, Mya and Lisa met. Lisa was a student from a Bible College in Texas, visiting our Arizona church plant on her weeklong fall outreach trip. Mya was a woman who had done it tough. In her mid-40s, rail-thin, and with facial features noticeably altered by drug- use, traces of the life she had lived were discernable from the outside. Its wounds were left much deeper.
Lisa and her team decided to visit the nearby apartment complexes to pray and wait on God to potentially bring someone along with whom they should speak; perhaps they would see a life changed that day.
Lisa was standing on a corner. Mya chose that moment to sneak outside her apartment to smoke a cigarette. Why did she have to sneak out of her own apartment? Lisa would soon learn.
Lisa saw Mya, and they began to talk. Mya shared the details of broken past leading to a hopeless present: she was in Arizona because she had followed her boyfriend from New York City. She had no money, no family. Her boyfriend abused her, mostly emotionally but physically as well. She was convinced he was trying to kill her discreetly; I won't share the details of how.
Lisa was leaving the state at the end of the week, but knew that Mya needed more help than just a conversation outside an apartment could provide; She connected her with Kylee, another young woman from our church. Kylee made sure Mya knew that she was there for her, even through weeks of unanswered text messages and phone calls. Kylee invited Mya to a weekly - meeting small group.
One night when her abusive boyfriend was out for the evening, Mya decided to come. Kylee picked her up, and bought her a coffee. Once they arrived Mya met other girls from the church, several of whom prayed for her. Mya was visibly moved. She later said it was the first time in years she remembered feeling loved. Later that evening, through tears, Mya invited Jesus into her life.
I am not saying that there will not be a process, nor am I saying that because Mya chose to give her life to Jesus that night everything about her life will change immediately. But I do know that her invitation to Him was sincere, and that once you invite the Lord into your life, he begins to work on your behalf whether you continue to ask him to or not. I also know that through the process, and into the lowest of lows, the hound of heaven will reach for you.
What I know, is that no matter what happens from this point forward, the eternal resting place of one soul was robbed from hell and given back to heaven.
All of this began because a young girl took the time out of her day to walk around an apartment complex, waiting on the hand of God to move. God was enabled to do a deep work in someone's life because another young woman was faithful to love her consistently for weeks, even when it seemed no fruit was being unearthed.
Curiosity begs the question: what is the end of the story?
Truly, it is more of a beginning than an end: Mya left her abusive boyfriend; I can only guess at what else God has in store for her.
Tina Hakimi is an Arizonian- Australian writer. She would love to drink a proper cappuccino at some point in the near future, but is hindered by her current planting in American soil. She enjoys writing as her only creative outlet, because unfortunately the Lord has not blessed her with a voice to sing (what she wishes could have been her creative outlet).
Tina Hakimi's previous articles may be viewed at www.pressserviceinternational.org/tina-hakimi.html