On one of our trips to a village new to us, Spirit do Santo, we met a man who asked us for prayer and advice for a painful “cyst” in his neck/throat for over a year. He had seen a doctor several months previously and was told that he had a “cyst” and that there was nothing that could be done. This was confirmed at another clinic. The pain motivated him to continue to pursue an answer. He asked my opinion and we sat down and went through a basic medical interview and a simple exam. I told him that, in my opinion, he didn’t have a cyst but that, with a normal exam and a negative history, I wasn’t sure of the cause of his pain. Richie (the long term missionary leading the team) and I offered to pay for his transportation to Altamira, his visits to doctors, and any necessary testing (including our recommendation of an ultrasound). He had had this pain for over a year and was quite apprehensive about it and was grateful for the opportunity to get some definitive answers. He showed up at our door two days later with his travel bag, READY to take care of this. He was raised on the river and had never been to the “city” in his 23 years. This confirmed to us that he was motivated to get well and that he trusted our care. Over three days we confirmed there was no cyst and also confirmed his otherwise good health, with all tests returning normal. We arranged a visit with an Altamira doctor who prescribed antibiotics and gave reassurance that there was nothing to worry about. We saw him multiple times throughout his visit and he stayed with a local pastor, whose family loved him and served him throughout his stay. We laid hands on him and prayed for him several times for his neck and that Jesus would reveal Himself to this man in a way he would recognize and respond to. He left Altamira somewhat encouraged but not pain-free. We suggested a TB test and he said he could get one on the river. Everything seemed to challenge his understanding, from the ultrasound seeing “inside” him, to the noises and unfamiliarity of the city. We felt sure he didn’t appreciate or understand all we were telling him, but we had done what we could do, trusting him to the One who loves him more than us and who has the power to heal and to grant understanding.
Two weeks later, we visited his village with another team from North America. I spoke with him before the evening service and he stated that the pain had not improved at all. Then, at the end of the service, He boldly stated that he wanted to commit his life to Jesus! He was serious and excited to begin to know Jesus. This whole sequence of events was such a cool demonstration of the power of love in God’s kingdom. The focus of his concern (neck pain) was not changed. No physical miracle took place. Nonetheless, his heart had been changed. He was loved by two teams from North America, simple care was provided by a few of us, you provided him finances, and he was ushered into the kingdom. His throat, for now, remains unchanged, but his life will never be the same after his encounter with Jesus and His love.
Who can you and I simply love, empathize with, pray for, today? It WILL make a difference.