I just returned from a mission trip to Romania where I was helping prep and establish a new base plant alongside many other amazing missionaries. Some of these amazing friends had already been on the ground for almost a year, others were experiencing their first overseas adventure. All, ready for the feast Jesus had set before us. For me it was a sweet homecoming, returning after a few years to Romania and encountering the sights, the smells, and the atmosphere this intriguing land has to offer. There is something so satisfying in that perfect place Jesus has for you, at the moment of time He has destined you to be there.
After a very long transatlantic travel itinerary, I arrived tired and feeling the discomfort of what that kind of travel can do to one’s body. Despite the tiredness, we set out and quickly put our hands to the plow to accomplish the task set before us; clearing an old four-story textile factory of its contents to prep for the new location of the church and the new home of an after-school program that had already been meeting every afternoon. The first day I fell in love with these sweet adventurous Roma children that come every afternoon, with their curious nature, looking for the boundaries, searching for connection, love, and acceptance. I sat down at table full of young girls, knowing I only had moments to connect, so with my few words of Roma language, I engaged. The response was one of awe! Some westerner was speaking their language and just like that, connection was made. We laughed and enjoyed the time we had together. encouraging them in their studies and life making sure they knew they were valued. All the while, I could see in their faces, trying to process how it could be that I could speak their language, but loving that I could. Our day ended in knowing we had each made new friends.
When the time came to meet the following day, my heart was full of expectation, but my body was full of pain. Pain so intense it had brought me to tears, hunched over a table praying for Jesus to bring relief. As my teammates entered the room, seeing me in such a state, they came to my aid and began to pray with no results. God had other plans that afternoon. One of greater connection than we could have ever expected or achieved in our own abilities.
I looked up as the children entered the room, tears flowing down my face as I investigate the faces of these priceless treasures, filled with concern and fear as to what is wrong. I instantly knew I needed to let the children pray for me. Several of my teammates had the same thought at the same moment. The team quickly explained to the children, aged 9-14, that I wanted them to pray for me, believing Jesus would touch me. They were all so uncertain, wondering why I would ask them to pray for me. I have no idea if any of the children were even born again, but they laid their hands upon me and began one by one to ask Jesus for healing. With the first prayer, some relief came, but not much, so they prayed a second time. More relief came and then, after a third time my pain went from unbearable to completely bearable. What an incredibly moment, not just for the relief of pain but the astonishment they were experiencing being used by God!
We explained to the children what Jesus had just done through them, then followed by asking how many of them would like to have Jesus touch them. With a simple prayer and in a moment of time, Jesus engulfed the space we were in. We asked the children to raise their hand if He had touched them and hands shoot up across the room. They were asked; how did you feel Him touch you? No answer was alike, but all were undeniably touched. Some felt a simple touch upon the arm, others felt a warmth within.
Some may wonder how it is possible for God to use an unbeliever or a child, yet He does! Because of this, lives are forever changed, impacted by a gospel that includes us all. The amazing fact is that, that day upon the cross, we were all nailed there, and the divine exchange began. I write this in hopes to encourage you, to love well no matter what! Love always wins and lives are forever changed because of His Love. Maybe you are one that needs to feel His touch today. Simply close your eyes and receive.
By: Sandy Sandifer
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