By NMC - April 13, 2017
Their task seemed a bit daunting. After six full days of ministry, fourteen high school students and four adult leaders were asked to list all of the snapshots from their trip. They were given three blank pages and two hours. Some wrote furiously, scribbling down words and phrases. Some worked methodically, pausing every once and awhile to remember exact details. For each member of the IMPACT Mexico team, the snapshots seemed endless. God had been so good.
Snapshot #1: Passion in prayer. I have never experienced a group of people who pray so passionately and who pray so often. People were so willing to ask for prayer and so willing to be prayed over. There was a deep dependence on prayer, and the church so graciously invited me into these times. I will never forget praying over church members at the end of service Sunday. I will never forget praying for that woman and feeling the Spirit come upon her. I will never forget the passion in prayer.
Prayer was a constant theme for this team. Not only did the churches in the Juarez area pray continually, but this IMPACT team found themselves challenged by the passion with which our Mexican brothers and sisters prayed in “el nombre de Cristo Jesús.” Throughout the week, NMC’s IMPACT team was invited to join the church in prayer.
Many students experienced the Lord’s presence in new ways through prayer, especially during the Sunday service at Riveras. During this service, our team was prayed over by the church members, and at the end of the service, our high school students had a chance to pray over almost every church member in return. Of course there was a language barrier, but in Christ, they spoke a common language in prayer. Students laid hands on people who were complete strangers and boldly approached the throne of grace. They prayed with passion and with purpose, and the Holy Spirit honored their hearts and their words.
Snapshot #2: The freedom to be silly. This was a trip of joy and laughter. Whether it was laughter with the kids at VBS or laughter with the team, I felt God’s presence through joy. Jesus was present in our laughter, and He filled us with silliness. In this silliness, I found freedom, freedom to be who I am and to live uncaring of what others might think of me. This is joy.
More than ever, this was a team that laughed. As a team, they laughed until they couldn’t breathe. Tears rolled down their cheeks as they settled into that kind of laughter that is silent, the kind that boils up from deep within. Through their laughter and silliness, they experienced freedom. They experienced the joy that comes from the Lord.
At VBS, they chased kids, spun them around, gave them hugs. Teenagers acted like children and were reminded of the deep joy that comes with a childlike spirit. Many of the kids who came to VBS live in difficult home situations. Some of the kids are alone all day. Their mom works the day shift at the factory and their dad works the night shift at the factory. Some of these kids even have to work during the day to help earn money for the family. But for one hour, these kids got to be kids. They got to giggle and feel the wind in their hair. They got hugs and high fives. They got to experience the freedom that comes from being silly.
Snapshot #3: The Holy Spirit was present. I was a little scared when Tim told us we would do door-to-door ministry one afternoon. Sometimes I struggle to start the conversation with people, and sometimes I even struggle to know what to say throughout the conversation. But this time was different. Instead of relying on myself, I relied on the Holy Spirit, and He was so present. In every conversation, in every prayer, in every home, He was there.
Thursday afternoon the team split into three groups to do door-to-door evangelism. One group went with Lucio and one with Rosa. The third group stayed in the dorms with Sam Olson, one of the leaders, to do intercessory prayer. Before the team went their separate ways, they spent time in listening prayers, asking God to speak to them, to show them a house or a person or to give them words to say. With the Holy Spirit empowering them, they stepped into different homes in El Millón.
And the Holy Spirit was present.
Some of the conversations started out slow, and some things felt lost in translation. Yet, in time, the Holy Spirit led one student to share his testimony with a man. Without holding back, this student dove into his story, letting the power of God’s work speak for itself. Later, the group prayed for the man and his family, and as they prayed, the Holy Spirit gave each team member something different to pray. Even the man, who was not a Christian, could not deny the power of the Holy Spirit.
Almost every evening, the team also participated in evangelistic services in Riveras, Jesús Carranza and El Millón. Students took turns sharing their testimonies or a message God had given them. Again, the Holy Spirit transcended the language barrier and things that could have easily been lost in translation. After one student’s clear Gospel presentation, a group of boys had the opportunity to lead a man to Christ! Time and again, the Holy Spirit’s work was powerfully evident.
As students debriefed their experience, they filled page after page with snapshots from the week. All those on the team were overwhelmed by the greatness and the goodness of the Father. They saw God through our partners, Rosa and Lucio. They saw God through our brothers and sisters at the churches in Riveras, Jesús Carranza and El Millón. They saw God through the kids at VBS. They saw God through the church members who invited them into their homes for meals throughout the week. They saw God through the people they prayed over during door-to-door evangelism. They saw God on the streets of Juarez. Through the grace, love and power of the Father, this IMPACT team got to see glimpses of God.