Last year I had an incredible opportunity to go on a missions trip to Denmark, England, and Scotland and it was an life-changing experience where I got to literally see God's hand at work in the lives of people that the world often labels as broken and worthless.
As soon as I returned from the trip I immediately entered a VERY busy season of transferring to a new school and trying to get all my things from my old school, and then I had a really busy schedule with a lot of classes and homework and I never got to pause and tell any of the stories from the trip, which is what I want to do now.
Of all the powerful testimonies I got to hear, one in particular changed my heart, and my life.
We were in these countries to record testimonies at various Teen Challenge Centers across Europe, to be able to tangibly capture what God is doing through Teen Challenge and spread that hope across the globe. While we were in Denmark capturing one man's testimony, (for his privacy I will not be using his name) we asked him how Teen Challenge impacted his life, and as he began to think about his answer, he became incredibly emotional.
This man, with his hard face, callused hands, and weary eyes, was not a man you would expect to cry.
He put his head in his hands and for a few minutes he just wept. It was weeping that I could tell came from the soul. From experience. We turned off the cameras.
When he was able to speak, this is what he said
"Meeting Jesus is the most important thing that ever happened to me. I never want to forget."
He grew up in a loving family, but eventually as he got older he was introduced to drugs and his life began to downward spiral until he reached a point where he was living on the streets. On one particular night, he was wandering around in the cold looking for shelter and accidentally walked into a coffee shop which happened to be Teen Challenge outreach center. While he was there, a volunteer at the outreach center invited him to a Men's conference that would be happening the following week and since he had nowhere to go, he agreed to attend. He thought to himself "It's better than sleeping out in the cold".
And though he didn't intend it, at this conference he had a profound encounter with the Lord and he made a decision to give his life to Christ, and when he did- the first call he made was to his sister.
What he didn't know was that his sister had been praying for him.
His sister had been a believer for years, and she lived in Australia. She had a burden on her heart for her brother and so every day on her way to and from work she would pray for him- EIGHTEEN TIMES! She knew this because there were nine stoplights between her house and her workplace and at every single one she would pray again for her brother to come home to Jesus!
I can't even begin to imagine her joy when after years of praying, thousands of miles away from her brother, unable to see any tangible results, she received the phone call of a lifetime.
The phone call that was the answer to her prayers.
The phone call that carried the breakthrough she was relentlessly believing for.
And when she answered the phone, and her brother told her the news that he had given his life to Christ, She wept. Joyfully.
When she was able to speak she told him that she had been praying for him. And together they cried on the phone in a moment so beautiful that it could only be orchestrated by the Lord.
This story touched my heart so deeply that as he shared this with me I began to cry.
I had been praying for a family member for just a few months and had already been feeling discouraged, and yet this woman had been praying for years, eighteen times a day, trusting that the Lord was going to come through.
I am so challenged by her faith and her endurance.
What this spoke to me is that sometimes in life, the natural will not reflect what is taking place in the spirit. Our eyes cannot initially see heart work. It would have been easy for this praying sister to believe that her brother was lost to the world and that praying for him was a waste of time. It would have been easy for her to be discouraged and believe that her prayers "weren't working", but in faith she persisted because she knew the character of God and trusted that He was moving in the spirit, aligning things in the unseen so that in the natural her prayer could be answered.
I want to encourage you that God has heard your prayers. He is for you. He is for your family. He is moving on your behalf in the natural and in the spirit. Wait and hope in Him, You will not be let down. Hold on to the promise. God is a keeper of his word.
If you haven't heard, I now have an opportunity to go on another missions trip- this time to Japan. I need your support, the trip will be $2500. More importantly, I need your prayers. Regardless of whether you can partner with me financially or not- I believe in the power of prayer. I am holding on to the promise of God that He will provide. Whether you give financially or not, I know that He is a keeper of his word.
Lastly, here is a short Gallery of some of the beautiful sights I saw while traveling in Europe.