Living in a country other than your own can be intimidating at times. In Africa, we had a full-time guard who would walk around our property at night, and here in Spain, most people do not speak any English. Lisa and I have gotten pretty good at sign language – well a better term would be “grunting and pointing.”
Today is our second-year anniversary; September 15th is when we landed on ground and began living here in Europe. As we have become more familiar with our new home, we have also built up some confidence. Today, Noah William, (14), starts his first day of Spanish-speaking high school. He is texting me the emoji that has the mask over its face right now! He is intimidated and a little sick to his stomach, but he has learned to overcome many of his fears!
I cherish the time we had in Africa with our six kids; they can all look back now and see how it formed them and gave them confidence in their adult lives. They are not intimidated by much, and have learned to be successful in most of what they put their hands to. The same is true for Noah; he knows the only way to become fluent in Spanish and have more friends is to join the public school.
It will change his life.
The same is true for Lisa and me, and I guess for all of us. We must press into the culture around us, learning how others think and see the world in order to have more influence. We limit our ability to connect with and understand people when we put them into a box because they look, act, believe, or experience life differently than we do.
Every morning of the week, we gather for prayer with the staff and some of the community here in the village of Mijas. We pray for our families, our coworkers, our partners around the world; we pray for America, Europe, the nations… It’s a time to just listen and enter into agreement with one another. Sometimes it can be powerful, and other times it can feel like we are just going through the motions.
The key for us is to just show up and see what happens.
The intimidating and fun part of our little prayer meetings is that we have many nations and languages that show up. We have a Hungarian, a South African, a couple Italians, and some other random tribes that join us occasionally!
One of our Italian men does not speak any English at all. He does, of course, speak Italian and he speaks German fluently. When our other Italian who is fluent in English doesn’t show up, it makes it very difficult to understand him. But, he just walks around the room praying in his language. He will occasionally come pray for one of us and he is always full of hugs along with the two kisses on the cheek!
He is a really precious soul.
A few mornings ago our Hungarian friend, Joseph, who does speak pretty good English, wanted to pray for my knee. I have arthritis in both knees and a shoulder, and the pain has been unbearable at times. The community here knows how passionate I am about being active, especially walking the Camino de Santiago with others. And Joseph knew I had a trip coming up very soon to do just that.
Our Hungarian brother told me that Roland, (Italian), had prayed for his back the other day and that he hadn’t had pain since! He really believed that the Lord healed him through Roland’s prayers.
So, grunting and pointing, he tried to communicate to Roland to please come lay hands on my knee and pray that the pain would be gone, and that the arthritis in my body would be totally healed. Through our “iTranslate” app and our grunting, he knew what to do!
I have seen many people miraculously healed. I could tell you story after story of people’s ailments, diseases, cancer, etc. being totally and completely wiped away with no explanation other than it is just “supernatural.” I can say I have also witnessed my own physical healing through the years.
It’s a funny thing for many of us. We have plenty of faith for others, but we have very little faith for ourselves. I am the first to go lay hands on someone to see them set free and healed, but when people pray for me, I just don’t have the same energy.
Well, Roland was not going to stop until I was healed! He would pray for a while and then look at me with his huge, soft smile and say, “Okay, Okay, you better?!” I would move around a bit and say, “It does feel better, I think.” So, he would go right back after it!
After four or five times of this, I said, “Yes, I believe I am healed!” He smiled, kissed me on both cheeks, and we went on with our day.
I do not know how healing works sometimes and other times it just does not seem to. I can’t tell you that you need more faith or that the person praying for you doesn’t have any when you are not healed. I just know that prayer in agreement with others is a powerful thing.
Sometimes we will see stuff happen that we are praying for and sometimes it seems that nothing is happening. The idea is to just keep showing up and continue agreeing with one another!
This week I have hiked, with my backpack, over 20 miles up the mountains of Mijas Pueblo. I have also done a few cardio and strength workouts and I have not been in pain one time. Yesterday, I did a number of lunges and squats and the only things in pain were my out-of-shape legs!
We know how this thing called life ends. We will all gather together – every nation, tribe, people and language – and we will all cry out in a loud voice, “Salvation belongs to our God, who sits on the throne, and to the lamb” (Revelations 7:9-10).
But I believe we can do that now, today. We can gather together, not even knowing what language everyone speaks, and we can see the Kingdom of God on earth in our everyday lives.
Do you believe?