Comfort and Joy.Posted: January 25, 2013
From Judy Hawk
The whole week in Tuxpan was pretty amazing and great things happened each day we were there. I was struck at numerous times during the trip that prayer is powerful. And when people pray together, even when the languages are different and you all don’t quite understand each other, it is still possible to just stand in awe of the power of prayer.
For me, there is one thing about our time in Tuxpan that really stands out. It is also very hard to put into just a few words. While we were there, I connected with a young woman named Paty, who is the youth leader at the Amistad Church of Tuxpan. She is so full of life and so inspiring. At the end of February or the beginning of March, she is taking a trip to North Korea to smuggle in some Bibles. That takes guts. And she doesn’t seem like she questions anything if she knows it would help in spreading the Good News of Jesus. She is incredibly generous as well. I offhandedly mentioned to her that I liked a pair of shoes that she was wearing and to my surprise, she just went out and bought me that same pair. And she just does that – she gives – she gives her gifts, her time, and her energy to bless others.
When we had spent a couple of days together, she asked me, Jeanne, and Pat if we would like to come to her Women’s small group on Thursday night. When it was time to go into Paty’s house for small group, to my surprise, there were other plans for Jeanne and Pat to go visit a woman in the hospital while I stayed with Paty to pray and worship with a few other women before the small group started. We prayed together as a group for those who would be coming to the Bible study that night and then we broke up into pairs to pray for each other. I prayed with a woman I didn’t really know. I prayed in English, she prayed in Spanish. She spoke some English, and after we finished praying she asked me a surprising question. “Do you play an instrument?” I responded with, “Well, sort of, I play the mandolin, and I’m not very good at it yet.” She then proceeded to tell me, that she saw a vision of me, while we were praying, playing my mandolin and singing and blessing others with my music and that I shouldn’t give up and I should keep on practicing. I was dumbstruck. This woman didn’t even know me. How could she have known that it was one of my desires to be able to play well enough that I could bless others with it? I was amazed that God just used this woman to speak encouragement into my life.
The reason that Paty had invited us to her small group was because she had wanted me to share my testimony or anything that I thought the Lord would want the women to hear. I am shy. I don’t often speak up in group settings and I don’t think of myself as gifted with speaking and sharing, so I was pretty nervous and very unsure as to why the Lord had put me in this place.
I shared with them Isaiah 42:6-7.
“I, the LORD, have called you in Righteousness; I will take hold of your hand. I will keep you and will make you to be a covenant for the people and a light for the Gentiles, to open the eyes that are blind, to free captives from prison and to release from the dungeon those who sit in darkness.”
This verse was given to me by a friend when I was 14 years old. It wasn’t until I was 18 that I understood why it always seemed to be speaking directly to me. I was prophesied over that I would touch people and heal them. That didn’t make sense to me. I went on a missions trip to Russia, expecting that God would do some crazy miracle through me. The crazy miracle was far less complicated than I imagined it to be. I was gifted as a quiet comforter-healer, which makes sense. I have always been a quiet and joyful person. As I have come to understand myself as a Child and Follower of God more clearly, I have come to understand the meaning of that verse in my life and the meaning of that prophesy. There have been many times in my life that I have been reminded that I am called in Righteousness and that God is walking beside me. And over and over again, I have seen myself as a light, reaching out to others, and freeing others, but not in any significant or obvious way, but with a quiet touch, or a hug, or a listening ear. I don’t feel like I’ve ever even been very gifted at speaking truth into others lives when they are struggling, but it always seems that just my mere presence and quiet joy brings them healing.
I shared that with those women, unsure of how it would come across once it was translated. Apparently God did have a reason for me to speak and share my story, as nervous and shaky as I was. One woman shared with me that the first night we went to their church (Monday), the first thing that she noticed about me was the the peace and joy that just shone around me and that it made an immediate impact on her. Paty thanked me for sharing my story and was excited to hear how God fulfills things in followers when they listen to him and seek after him.
What I didn’t know was that there was a girl named Carla there, who had never been to a church group and who didn’t identify as a Christian. My story had an impact on her, but I didn’t know it right away.
Paty asked me to pray and then others took turns praying. Then Paty started asking Carla questions and Carla started talking about what I had said. Paty asked her if she wanted us to pray for her and she said yes. Then Paty asked me if I would lay my hands on her and pray. I am not a public prayer. I often feel inadequate and I usually just keep my prayers to myself, but I went over to Carla, laid my hands on her, and prayed. I didn’t know what to pray – I just started praying. I didn’t even know if what I was saying was significant at all and I didn’t even know if it mattered. I couldn’t tell – I just prayed. When I finished, she said she was shaking and sweating and she felt a great amount of joy and peace and it was something that she had never felt before. Paty asked her if she wanted to ask Jesus to save her. She said YES! That night Carla became a follower of Jesus. I never imagined that I would have gotten to play a part in something like that and I am in awe and humbled that God would have chosen me for that.
The next night, Paty and I were walking outside together, talking about what had happened. She brought up what Carla had said about how she felt after I had prayed for her.
And all Paty said was, “Wow, that was that Holy Spirit.”