I meant to post this blog last week but my internet connection froze part way through the writing process which I was doing directly here on WordPress and not offline. As a result I lost the last half and didn’t feel like picking it up again and re-writing it until now, which I’m finally doing.
This past week many of our team were in the jungle of Pucallpa helping minister at a women’s conference. I was a part of team “hold down the fort” and so since there were only two students who didn’t go on the trip, we cancelled classes and I was able to focus on other things instead. Like editing my manuscript on speaking on tongues and preparing an Amazon gift card contest with other authors, but I’m getting ahead of myself.
The picture featured above comes from Wednesday night in Pacifico, which, if you’re a regular reader of my blog you may recall I’ve mentioned and shared testimonies from those nights in the past. We normally take half of the students one week, and the other half the next, and with the leaders who go — Ronald and Nancy, Shaun Wissman and myself, we rotate amongst us too at this point. We are basically letting go of this work little by little and handing over more and more ministry on Wednesday nights to the students and in time, the families and people in Pacifico themselves.
This week there were only four of us in Chorrillos who are involved in Pacifico who didn’t go to the jungle this week. We’ve also been having one of the students teach in turn each week. As a result, this week we were finished that rotation and were scheduled to do something more informal. We brought a Jenga game and some cards and had received a text message from Shaun that it would be good to spend time praying together.
Ronald began to lead out in a few songs of worship on his guitar and little by little a few more of the regular ladies trickled in and found a plastic stool to sit on.
When he had finished, Ronald kept looking at me. You know, to communicate using his eyes so as to say now I had to do something. Since there was nothing “planned” I started to let everybody know that this week there was no official lesson and nobody was going to draw anything on the white board but that we were going to pray for one another instead.
They all looked at me like I was joking and they were waiting for me to get on with teaching something. At least the inner monologue in my mind was playing it to me that way as I told them all this.
Since there was a handful of adults and 3 adolescents, I told them that for time’s sake we weren’t going to split into groups but instead everybody was going to pray. At first I started to ask if anybody needed prayer.
I asked again, repeating myself but saying it differently, and asked if anybody needed prayer for anything in particular.
I looked at Ronald and tried to do that thing to him where I could tell him with my eyes he needed to do something but I think I wasn’t speaking the right eye language. Or as a good brother-in-law, he was enjoying watching me struggle.
Finally after four or five iterations of my question as to whether anybody needed specific prayer, a hand went up. Then another. Eventually every single person needed prayer and nobody was left with their hand down.
Sometimes you just need somebody to go first, eh?
At this I asked them all to stand up, form a circle and hold hands with each other. I told them everybody was going to receive prayer and everybody was going to pray. First, I told them they’d pray for the person on their left until I told them to stop, then after a minute or two they’d turn and pray for the person to their right. I re-iterated my instructions a few different times like I did a moment earlier so as to make sure my instructions were clear and not strangled by the gloved hands of my language barrier or fear of stepping out on their part.
So, they did as I instructed, everybody forming a circle and praying for the person to their left. Quietly of course. So like a drill sargent I loudly told them they needed to pray vocally and they did. But, as if there were a baby sleeping in the room. Good enough. After a moment passed I instructed them to do the same for the person to their right. During this time three adolescent girls came in and formed a little group in the corner. Ronald did that eye thing again and I knew that it meant to ask them to join the circle.
When we finished I asked the ladies (all of the adults were female) if any of them were really discouraged that we prayed in this manner instead of getting personal prayer. If one of them felt this way, they should come stand in the middle of the circle, I told them. One person stepped forward while a few ladies pointed to a very pregnant woman who was seemingly too shy to ask if she could be prayed for.
You know what we did next: the rest of the group laid hands on these two and prayed the fire to heaven down. OK that may be overstating it as, again, they were timid to start off like before. Ronald believed someone present had a prophetic word to speak over one of the ladies or both.
It’s a good thing we persisted because moments later, one of the teenagers who came in late was the first to break the ice and share something. What she shared was awesome. There was a little more silence and I asked if anybody else had anything to share. There was still a pause, but finally someone else. Then another. Like popcorn, one by one almost everybody there had something cool to share.
At first I felt a little bit guilty “forcing” them to prophesy over the two in the middle, but after the outcome, I was glad I had them do this, and I think they were encouraged at how easy it is to hear from the Lord and speak prophetically over one another.
And that is what we’re trying to do in our ministry — empower the locals to minister to one another and along with that, make disciples.