I thought I would tell a little story about the way I personally have seen God move since coming here. Her name is Marie, a beautiful 18 year old girl from Finland who came to do her DTS because her whole life she has grown up a MK (Missionary Kid) but never really thought she knew God on her own. Coming here with skeletons in her closet and secrets she tries so hard to forget. She wanted to start over; forget her past and start a new life. New friends, new experiences, another chance. My first meeting with her I was blown away. Not just because of her beautiful blonde hair and blue eyes, but just her nature. So kind, so loving, with a smile so big if you werent looking you would think she had everything. But behind her smile and eyes i saw a hurt that was so deep, so real...it almost brought me to tears. Our one on ones were good. Pretty surface level until the Lord led me to ask her about forgiveness and trust. Instantly i saw her walls go up and pre-meditated answers come out. I prayed and prayed and prayed, asking the Lord to help me get in...for her to trust me enough to go deeper than the rough but gentle surface she put up. As time went on Maria and I became good friends. We laughed and talked about life and God and i began to see her open up to the Lord...I began to think maybe i wasnt as discerning as i thought. Maybe she DOES have everything together...
One Saturday i ran into maria at the house. We started talking and she asked if maybe we could go for a walk because there was something she wanted to talk to me about. Assuming it was just some crush on one of the other students or something i thought nothing of it. Once we started walking though i knew something was not right. She started to open up to me...about her past. Her life filled with abuse and rape. Hurts and pains that should leave someone hopeless and angry with God. Not Maria. Through the tears she told me she wanted to see where God was during these times. Repeatedly being misused and abused by men...instead of blaming God, she was seeking out His heart. How did He feel when these things were happening to her? I had to step back for a moment and process what what going on. This girl, only 18 years old had experienced things in her life that i could have never dreamed of. Strength is the first word that came to my mind. Over the course of the school Maria and i met on a regular basis, to pray through this. To ask God for healing, forgiveness, trust, and love...God is bigger and better then we could ever imagine and He shows up sometimes in the most bizarre ways.
As Maria was arriving in Australia she ran into him.I hope you know what i mean by him. THE GUY. The one who hurt her, abused her, treated her like no person should ever be treated...over and over and over again. She ran into him. He asked to see her. said they needed to talk. He had become a Christian and was living in Australia. He wanted reconciliation.
Fast forward 3 months. We are sitting at the beach and she tells me she wants to see Him. She tells me that God has taught her so much she wants to tell him that she forgives him. The she wishes only the best for him. At first i was hesitant. How could i send this girl to go see this guy who had treated this way so many years ago? Despite my fears i let her go. She was going to meet him at another base, with leaders and his mentors around. she was in a safe, controlled environment. I felt like a mother, wondering, staying up at night thinking about how it was going, was she ok? Praying for God to help me let her go...to trust Him with her..
She came back illuminate. You know like in the Bible when Moses comes back from being with God on the mountain and they have to make him a vail to cover his face...because he is glowing that much? Thats how i felt when i saw her. Glowing. I wont go into to much detail but the Lord saved him. He saved her. Re-living the past and giving everything of it to God transformed her. She talked with him about his journey, the abuse that he had faced when he was a kid and from that the out-pouring he put on her. He talked about the road God brought Him on. Of frogiveness and trust and love he himself had been struggling with. Thoughts of suicide. hate towards himself. He had found transformation only in God. I think often times when we pray for people we think "oh, they are too far gone" or "they had their chance"...do we really believe that God can heal and restore people? rapists? theives? murderes? I wish I could go into more detail about the restoration that took place during that meeting. Everyone told her not to go. Dont go see him. But she went. Said she HAD to. She NEEDED to. Do we listen to the word of the Lord and then follow it? Or do we let our reservations hold us back. That guy is now engaged to be married to a wonderful Godly woman who knows all about his skeletons but has first hand seen God change his life. He is living the life of forgiveness. of redemption.
And Maria? Well, she still glows. She still looks like she has just seen Jesus face to face. Who knows, maybe she has. She is off next week to Thailand to work with women who have been sold into the sex-trade. she is going to tell them that there is such thing as hope. such thing as forgiveness. That there is a light at the end of the darkness. Using her skeletons, her thorns to transform lives of thai girls. This is why i'm here, to be a part of this journey with Maria. We are the ones who are blessed to be staffing DTS's. I am forever a part of her story, simply because the Lord allowed me to come and pray and be an ear to hear her. This is why i'm here.