5 Minutes Can Change Your Life
Midway through our trip we had travelled hundreds of miles on winding mountain roads which at times would have paid for the compliment of being called a road. We had visited with and prayed with many families. At the same time we were tired; I was tired. This day had already felt long, it was raining all day, and we were tired and wet. If there was a schedule on a trip like this, we were running two hours late. We were all looking forward to getting back to the place where we were staying to get some rest and into a dry set of clothing. We were piled into the van heading in that direction – at least that is what we thought we would be doing! Our host, Pastor Sosa, wanted to make one final stop to visit a pastor. He said it would only take five minutes. That didn’t sound like much of a detour, but I’ve been on trips with this pastor and his idea of five minutes is the short hand moving from the three to the four. Selfishly, we decided to test his five minutes by staying in the van and wait for him to return. But once we pulled up and saw everyone standing on the front porch to greet us, we knew we must go in.
A young girl of the church had stopped by on her way home from school to get out of the rain. She was very quiet and began directing the adults to the restroom. She stood by the door because there really wasn’t much of a door as the bathroom was off the bedroom where a young boy was fast asleep. Her self-appointed job was to give everyone privacy by letting us in one at a time. After some time, Pastor Sosa noticed something was not right with this girl. He has two teenage girls and he later told us he knows the difference between a teenager and something being off. He rightly attributes this discernment to the Holy Spirit who opened his eyes to her hurt. He began to speak to her – we will call her Maria. While initially very nervous, she began to share with Pastor Sosa that she had recently witnessed her father being killed by her mother’s boyfriend with a machete. Let that sink in for a moment, she saw her father killed with a machete. As Pastor Sosa began translating her story my mind went numb and my heart immediately broke for this young girl. I could not imagine what she saw, the amount of grief she was carrying, or even how she makes it through an hour much less a day. How does anyone begin to recover from such a trauma? Can someone as fragile as her ever recover? What could I possibly say to encourage her? How could I minister to her as she is telling her devastating story? Realizing nobody in that room could fix this, we began to pray for her. Before leaving this small house church, the team gathered around and prayed for her. Not everyone knew exactly what was going on, but enough to know it was serious and the prayers flowed. When we were done praying in English, she prayed in Spanish. She demonstrated such strength to all of us and forged a memory for me I will never forget.
This was an incredible life-changing moment in my life. I know God wanted us to show up at exactly that time. He wanted to use us to encourage her and use her to encourage us. He wanted to use us to share in her pain. Even though it was for a short time, God packed a life-altering experience into the five minute visit. My whole perspective on these trips has changed and my purpose has become clearer than ever before. It also showed me that I need to be open and aware of what God wants to reveal to me. We can make our plans but it is God who directs our path. I am so grateful that He opened my heart to hearing His voice and that I was reluctantly obedient to get out of the van, tired, wet, and eager for a five minute visit. I will forever be changed by that moment in a house church sharing the love of Jesus to this young girl who has a faith that will continue to grow because she has a church family that has surrounded her with love and support. She has grandparents that are caring for her and she has many people in the United States that continue to pray for her well-being.