In July I led a missions trip to Leon, Nicaragua! I originally wrote this for the Adventures blog.
I could tell our team was a little uneasy when they found out two of our translators weren’t followers of Christ.
It seems natural to want translators for your missions team who understand the basis of what you are trying to communicate, but God had bigger plans for our team this week.
In preparing for this trip, the Lord told me my a lot of my ministry would be aside from the ‘organized ministry’ set up for our teams. The Spirit told me to keep my eyes and ears open for the people serving us in the day-to-day. Aside from the participants, the translators and hostel staff became the people I had the chance to speak into the most this week.
Fresia came with me to the Managua airport to make sure I didn’t get lost in transit while picking up my youth group. The flight was delayed, and we had a long time to get to know each other.
As Fresia and I had coffee and pastries, she shared she was 27 years old and now lives with her sister in Leon. Her mom lives in Spain and her dad lives in Managua a couple of hours away with a different family. She used to call her dad, but he doesn’t usually “have time to talk” because he is busy with his other family. She’s gradually quit calling, and said she doesn’t have any desire to visit her mom in Spain, either.
Knowing how much our earthly parents give us our initial concept of who God is, I can tell the circumstances given to her had really botched her view of God. Even though she’s one tough cookie and always had a smile on her face, the abandonment and brokenness was not far from the surface.
She believed in God, but there were some misunderstandings about who He really was and wanted to be in her life.
Throughout the week, Fresia shared the gospel hundreds of times before she believed it for herself! Through translating everything from testimonies to the gospel via salvation bead bracelets, this woman spoke the truth of Jesus over herself all week long! It was amazing to watch how the personal testimonies of our youth group kids spoke to her as she told the stories herself. She asked questions and was really intrigued by everything we did each day.
I think all 32 people on our team had a chance to talk with her about Jesus in one form or another, and Christ was working in her every minute of it! She was asked several times if she wanted to accept Christ, but each night she told us she wasn’t ready and wanted to think about it some more.
She was amazed as she watched the friendships of our team living in joy and purity as brothers and sisters in Christ. She was amazed to watch the ways The Holy Spirit moved as we prayed over people, how miracles were happening before her eyes. She said she’s never seen God show up like He had been doing all week. The very last night, we invited our translators to our final debrief. Each participant shared a bit about their week, and we gave Fresia a chance to share as well.
Fresia shared she was talking to her boyfriend on the phone about her week the night before. He said, “you sound different!” Fresia replied, “no, I’m not different, I’m just working with these cool people.” Her boyfriend said, “no, you are definitely different, but I like it!” So, knowing that God must be changing her already, she was more willing to let Him have all of her. She woke up that morning and said her chest was really heavy. She said it wasn’t scary, just weird. She knew it must be God, since she hadn’t actually made a decision to follow Jesus yet and that must be what it meant for Him to be knocking on the door of her heart. So, she prayed and told Him that if this was Him asking, she wanted to say yes!
In the presence of our entire team at final debrief, Fresia officially accepted Christ, and wanted all of us to “lay hands on her and pray so God could show up on her like He did for the other people all week!”
AMAZING! God is SO good and so alive! We praise the Lord for letting us be apart of Fresia’s story, and we praise Him for letting us know that our sister will be joining us forever in heaven!