A NIGHT IN MORIA

The time was one in the morning. I had just arrived at the refugee camp, Moria, on the Greek island of Lesvos to take my place on the night shift. Having been told this was the slowest and most boring shift of all, I was surprised to be ushered off on a mission to secure clean clothes upon arrival. The clothes, I was told, were for children who had also just arrived in Moria having made the crossing from Turkey earlier that day.

I held her close

After finding the clothes I helped get the children changed. The child I took care of was a girl around five or six years old. Her clothes were covered in dirt and smelled strongly of urine. Despite the urge to gag, I held her close, wanting to pour as much love into her as possible during our brief encounter.

Exhausted from the wear of traveling, she couldn’t sit up or eat on her own. So I fed her as I silently prayed for the little treasure in my arms. Once clean and fed, I laid her down beside her older sister. As I tucked her in I saw it; though small and brief, there was no mistaking it: she smiled at me. Words fail to describe how that tiny smile touched my heart. Jesus loved her through me, a privilege I will always remember and be grateful for.

Knowing she was safe and cared for, she could rest and was soon asleep.

I will never forget

The next day her family moved on. I have no idea where they went or what they are doing today. Her mother and pregnant sister were the only adults in the group, for both their husbands stayed behind in Syria sending their families out ahead of them.

This was just one stop on the way to a destination unknown by me, as I was merely a person blessed to have encountered them. Even though I may never see the answer to my prayers for that family, I shall never forget them. Or her beautiful smile.

I think I understand a little better the love prompting these words of Jesus:

“Let the little children come to me and do not hinder them.”

 

I will be working with refugees on the island of Lesvos for another two weeks before traveling north to Thessaloniki. Please keep my team in your prayers. 

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The day the impossible became reality

A year ago today God answered my prayers and the prayers of countless others. For almost 15 years we had been praying for something we were told would never happen. Honestly I never thought it would. Over and over that subtle lie that this was my life, and the way it would always be would creep into my thoughts and I accepted it without question. It was my reality, the only reality I had ever known and would ever know. Or so I thought.

When I was four years old, I was diagnosed with a very rare, incurable kidney disorder called Bartter Syndrome. At the time I didn’t know what was going on. By God’s grace I don’t remember much from that time, but I know it changed my life. Suddenly I had to start taking this nasty medication and had to go to the doctors a lot and have needles stuck into me, while my siblings got to go to my grandparents house and play croquet with my cousins. It wasn’t fair. I didn’t understand.

After a short time I adjusted and that became the norm. Yes, it was still unpleasant and I didn’t like it, but it was my life. Eventually the doctors visits lessened, as the medication increased, which I took it 3x a day, every day. And when I missed even one dose I felt it. I could get away with a dose missed here and there, but anything more regular would have repercussions.

It went on for years like this. On one hand I was grateful I had medication to keep me alive, but I also hated being different than everyone else. A high point in my life was when I finally learned to swallow pills. For some of you this sounds ridiculous. Who “learns” to swallow pills, you just do it right? Wrong! I was one of those out there who couldn’t seem to swallow even the smallest pill, so when I finally learned, it was a joyous day!

From the outside I looked normal. Most people didn’t even know I had a rare disease that would one day lead to my death. Honestly it wasn’t something I thought of very often. I lived what I thought was a “normal” life. The future was an unknown since the oldest living person with Bartter Syndrome was twenty-five at the time of my diagnosis. But more research had been done on the disease and I appeared stable, as long as I was on my medication. No one knew how long I would live. Maybe until I was 14 or maybe 40, no one knew. Since no one really knows the length of their own days I didn’t get caught on how long. Why bother? When it killed me, it killed me.

People had been praying for my healing ever since I was diagnosed, and even before my diagnosis. For a while, I even prayed for my own healing. However; as time passed, I stopped praying to be healed. I stopped hoping. It wasn’t that I thought my disease was greater than God, I simply didn’t think He would want to heal me. I mean if He did, then why hadn’t I been healed yet?

In all this I left Someone out. I tried to put a box around the only One who could set me free from the life I had been living. Just because I hadn’t seen with my own eyes I assumed it wasn’t His will. I was afraid of asking, of hoping. And I was content to stay in that place. In that safe place of not knowing, because I hadn’t begun to hope. At least there I wouldn’t be disappointed.

 

But God…Don’t you just love the sound of that?! But God wasn’t content with me staying in that place. That wasn’t in the plans He had for me (Jeremiah 29:11). He didn’t want me to stay in that place of fear and unbelief. When I called on His name and decided to follow His voice (Jeremiah 29:12-14), and I took hold of His outstretched hand He led me on an adventure. This adventure led me to Kentucky where I attended a Discipleship Training School (DTS) with YWAM Louisville. On this adventure He showed me the incredible love He has for me and I learned to trust Him.

He led me to South Africa and there I was able to share His incredible love and powerful truth with countless others. My life was changed forever. But it isn’t what He did through me in that time that I am writing about, but instead what He did in me.

Early into the trip, my sister messaged me and told me God had given her a vision of my healing. Wow. I wasn’t sure what to do. You see, she wasn’t the first one to share with me that God was going to heal me, but for some reason it really stuck with me. And I couldn’t shake the feeling that I needed to go to my friends and ask for prayer, dare I even say it, to be healed! This wasn’t simply a feeling I discovered, as time passed, but the prompting of the Holy Spirit.

Finally I decided to hope. I decided to push past the fear that kept holding me back; the fear of being disappointed and of having it come true. Having Bartter Syndrome was the only reality I could ever remember knowing. It was like having a crutch my whole life and I was afraid of it being taken away. But I decided it wasn’t worth it to live in fear. I wanted to believe that not only could God do this, but that He wanted to. I decided to trust Him at His word and wait to see His deed. So I did. I went to my friends and on the South African beach we prayed for God to do the impossible; for Him to heal me.

During that time He spoke this to me: “Trust me and walk in faith.”

Two and a half weeks later I found myself home once again. It was there that my faith was put to the test. God told me it was time to stop taking my medication.

March 5th, 2014: After eating dinner, I took my medication one final time.

March 6th, 2014: I ate breakfast like any other day. But then I didn’t take my medication. I hadn’t forgotten, I wasn’t going to wait a little and take it later. What made this morning different was that I chose not to take it at all, because I knew I didn’t need it anymore.

And I haven’t taken even a single pill since.         God healed me!

He took what was said to be impossible and made it a reality. He has given me a new reality! Today is the three hundred and sixty-sixth day without my medication.

In the past: Two missed doses=hospitalization.

Six missed doses=death.

But now, three hundred and sixty-six days without medication+Jesus= A new reality.

All I did was trust that God would do what He said He would do and what the Bible says, and He took care of the rest. But I have had to fight for this healing. Occasionally, my symptoms return as satan tries to cause me to doubt my Savior. My doctor urged me to return to my medication as my potassium levels have dropped since stopping my medication. It was during those times that I have gone to God, asking once more if I should stay on this path. Every time He has confirmed the healing He has done in me. Every time He has told me to trust Him. So I do. And here I stand today, alive and well, rejoicing in the works He has done in my life. This cannot be explained by anything other than a miracle. I shouldn’t be alive. I shouldn’t be able to tell this story today. If not for God, I would be dead, as simple as that. He saved me, He healed me and He deserves all honor, glory and praise forever.

 

What is it you are afraid of trusting God with? What are you afraid of asking God for? Take it to Him today! Don’t wait. Ask Him to show you what He wants to do in your life and what He is calling you to do in response. Listen. And then do it. Take it from me, He won’t fail you.

“For no word from God will ever fail.” (Luke 1:37)

“I am the Lord’s servant…may it be unto me as you have said.” (Luke 1:38) We all know Mary’s response, and what came to pass because of simple obedience.

But my question is this: What will your response be?