We walked in sandaled feet down dirt paths leading in between family compounds. Each compound was surrounded by a bamboo fence and contained several mud huts where entire extended families live together. The tropical sun began to warm my back, reminding me to stay in the shade until I could get back to my tent near the church to rub on some sun lotion.
Just then, I noticed a bicycle weave off of the path and up onto the grass beside us. A tall boy with silent, curious eyes watched us as he piloted his bicycle around our unusual group. I sensed there was something special about him.
I didn’t see a pastoral anointing, but I sensed in the boy a compassionate heart. Maybe that is what a pastoral anointing looks like! Lisa tugged on my arm and asked me to come with her to speak with him. I came along, and called for one of the Mozambican pastors to come translate for us into the boy’s native language, Makua.
Lisa explained to him that she sensed God had a very special purpose for his life. Before we knew it, we were preaching there in the dirt to this young man. As I opened my mouth, the words came flowing out. Clearly, God was ready to give good news to that boy.
I asked him, “Do you want to live as a son of God?”
Chica nodded. Now, this young man had listened as we talked to him. He responded appropriately in all the right places, yet, I doubted whether or not he was truly grasping- in his spirit- the truth in the message we shared with him.
“After all, why ruin the moment for the missionaries and refuse Jesus when one can say ‘yes’ now, and go back on it later?” My cynical side bared its teeth inside of me, and I had to push it down, telling the LORD, “Thank you for letting me share your truth with that one. I so long to see deep transformation, but I will trust You to take care of what happens when we leave and the Mozambican pastors follow up.”
The Mozambican pastor took charge to lead Chica in a prayer of repentance and taking his place as a son of God.
“Did he really just believe in Jesus and then decide to show up and hang out at church with his friends? No way,” I thought- choosing to believe that he probably already was a member of the church, but just hadn’t told us while we shared with him out of respect. “Well, anyway, he’s in the right spot.” And he stayed in that spot all afternoon, singing and dancing and worshipping with the other youth until it was time to show the Jesus Film.
When the film ended, I climbed up on the back of the 2 ton flatbed truck where a Mozambican pastor was preaching. My eyes scanned the crowd, somewhat illuminated from the hot lights in the bed of the truck. I knew the pastor would have an altar call, a mass of bodies would throng toward the truck, and it would soon be time for me to begin praying for the sick. So, I asked the LORD to point out the person to whom I should minister first. “Could you have somebody jump out at me, Jesus?” I asked.
There he was again! Chica. He was walking through the middle of the crowd, those silent, curious eyes scanning the crowd as they prayed to receive Christ. I smiled when I realized that Chica was not praying the salvation prayer again. He understood his place as a son of God.
The way he looked at people made me think that Lisa was right about a pastoral gifting. I could tell that he cared for the people.
Suddenly, I had a strong impression from the LORD that I should go and teach Chica how to minister.
“Hmmm. Ok, LORD.” So, I swung my legs over the edge of the truck and made my way through the crowd to Chica’s side.
“Are you ready to start walking in Jesus’ footsteps?” I asked him. He turned to face me and nodded. This was for real.
“Ok, Chica. You lead the way. Choose someone who is sick, and we will pray for them.”
I followed Chica as he weaved through the crowd, glancing insecurely back at me from time to time. We found ourselves at the back of the truck just as the pastor yelled into the microphone, “If you have eye problems or back pain, go to the back of the truck!”
“Ok, God,” I prayed, “Send us the good ones.” 🙂
Lots of people gathered around that had back pain. At first, Chica was hesitant to pray over them, but I told him, “Don’t worry. God is the one who heals them through the Holy Spirit at work in you. Just place your hands on the place where they have pain, tell the pain to go in Jesus’ name, and ask God to heal them.”
We prayed together at first. The first two people only noticed a little improvement in their pain, and I could see Chica getting discouraged.
“Walking with Jesus is like training for a soccer match, Chica. There is lots of training that goes on to help us become more like Him. We just have to keep at it.” He understood that analogy.
The next man with back pain was completely healed! Then, two people approached us at the same time. Both had headaches and eye pain.
“Ok, Chica. You pray for him, and I will pray for her.” I watched the insecurity flicker into his eyes, but he pushed it back.
“Ok,” he said, and extended his hands to the man’s head. I paused for a moment before praying for the woman beside me, just to listen to his prayer.
“YAY GOD!” My heart was rejoicing! This young man was really walking into his destiny as a son of God! He asked the man about the pain, and it had gone! Then, without consulting me, Chica laid hands on another person- and another- and they were both healed!
I was standing back and grinning, just watching Chica learn to minister like Jesus, when a group of Chica’s friends walked over and began to tease him.
I interrupted them, with a smile, and began talking about how Chica was a son of God, filled with the Holy Spirit, and was going to minister love, life, and healing – like Jesus had done in the film they had just seen. I explained that it wasn’t just something for Chica, but that they could walk as sons of God through the same Spirit that raised Jesus from the dead.
The boys became silent, listened, then unanimously agreed to want to know God as sons! Chica and I led them in a prayer of salvation.
Turning to Chica, I smiled, gripped his shoulders and said, “Isn’t this exciting?! God’s at work through you Chica! But He did it all- not me or you. Isn’t this cool?”
It was totally cool.
The next morning, I found out from the pastor that Chica had never been to church before Saturday afternoon. That rocked me.
On Saturday morning, he was just a quiet kid with a bike. On Saturday afternoon, he was a son at home in the house of God. On Saturday night, he was like Jesus, ministering healing and salvation to his village.
I encouraged Chica to spend time asking God to teach him (the Holy Spirit is the best teacher!) and learning from the pastor. We were able to arrange a Bible for him. Pray that Chica can get into the church’s Bible school in October.
God was so gracious to me. He let me see something deeper than surface acceptance of the Gospel. He let me see true commitment, from a teenager with silent, curious eyes.