Today while doing research for a travel magazine article, I came across a great personal story that illustrates the helpfulness of a "mission statement", even if it is very short.
I was happy to be on a return trip to Fiji for a short term (12 day) mission trip with a group of our ministry school students. Before the trip I had asked God for my "assignment" because it really helps to have some personal direction, but I heard nothing from Him, until I walked off the airplane and was hit by the humid, sugar cane sweetened air of the islands.
As surprising as the high humidity is, I was also shocked by the nearly overwhelming love I felt for the women of Fiji in that instant. I recall seeing the ladies working in the Fiji airport shops and wanting to run up and hug them, which is simply not me!. My heart was filled with a desire to help the 'brokenhearted women'. That is exactly what I "heard" in my spirit. I knew that God was the one answer to their deep wounds, both physically and emotionally.
My journal reads..."I keep "seeing" brokenhearted women of all ages that need to know that God, Father-God can and will mend, repair and heal their deep pains. Hearts broken by someone they love who should have loved them. Not sure what I can do for them but I will try to be available and ready."
So there was my two-word mission statement; brokenhearted women. This morning as I read the journal of that trip it was so obvious how that little bit of direction guided me the whole time I was in Fiji. Here are some examples........
While in Fiji I looked up "brokenhearted" in the back of my Bible and found Isaiah 61:1-3 "God heals the brokenhearted, proclaims freedom to the captives and open prison doors to those who are bound. Trading beauty for ashes, oil of joy for mourning, garments of praise for the spirit of heaviness, all to glorify God." I wrote this out and kept it handy at all times.
On our first day we gathered with the local church to go out and offer to pray for people. On the bus we were told that we were heading to a men's prison to pray for the inmates who never had visitors. I was super nervous about this and wondered what we were walking into.
When we arrived the director told us that 25 people would go into the prison and the rest would go door-to-door in a neighborhood to offer prayer to families. I chose the neighborhood prayer walk since that had a chance of seeing women. (Still nervous though!)
As it turned out the bus took us to a huge church and they asked us to just walk among the empty pews and pray for the service that night. I was thrilled, this I could do!! Ha! It was a beautiful and sweet time of enjoying the goodness of God and building myself up in Him.
After an hour in the church we were called to get on the bus again and this time we would be taken to a hospital to pray for the sick. I asked God to give me courage and lead me to the ones who needed Him the most.
Arriving at the hospital we were divided into 4 groups and led to different parts of the hospital. I was wondering if I should speak up about wanting to pray for women or just wait and see where I was told to go. I said nothing, but as we faced some stairs, our Fijian guide said we were going to the third floor and to the right will be women's GYN section and to the left will be the Orthopedic section. On the third floor I turned to the GYN section and everyone else heading the opposite direction! So I grabbed one student and asked her to join me in praying for the women in GYN.
I will never forget that place. It was hard to tell what was an office and what was a hospital room, there were no doors and it was not very clean. The place was very old and drab but the sheets on the beds looked white and clean. Linda and I prayed for several ladies as we moved slowly from bed to bed and I can picture them all, but one stands out especially clear.
Her name was Emma and her husband Abdul sat beside her bed in a dirty plastic chair. They both looked miserable and did not crack a smile as we approached them. I considered walking by because it felt like I would be intruding to bother them. But the man gave me small smile as I approached and so I asked if they would like prayer for anything.
Emma nodded a yes. I asked if I could touch her hands and again she said it would be OK. I asked her why she was there and she said she had a lot of things wrong with her. Her heart had troubles and she could not move her right leg or left hand which was up above her head on the pillow in a tight fist. She said that she had been there longer than anyone else ever.
By this time Linda had joined me and we took turns praying for the woman. After a while I asked her if anything felt different. She tried to move her hand and it loosened up a little bit, and the more she tried the looser it got until she was opening and closing it completely! She laughed and said that now she could comb her hair!
I said, "How is your foot doing?" And again, the more she tried to move it the easier it got and she was soon bending it normally under the sheet! We laughed and said, "Yay God!"
As we continued to pray for her heart I kept wondering if I should ask about her family. So I told her my thoughts and asked if she had any children. Her eyes immediately filled with tears and she said that she had "four children but only one son" and that he had been drinking badly every night. His wife and kids had to leave him and that he used to be a good boy but was with some bad people. I asked when her DIL had moved out and she answered "two weeks ago" and began to cry again.
I knew this was a mother's broken heart and we talked about sons a bit and how much it hurts to watch your son do wrong and make bad choices. Linda told Emma that "God must really want to help your son Charlie, because He told Susie to ask about your family. God knows Charlie and He sent these two women all the way from America to pray for him." She loved that a lot!
So we prayed for Charlie and she was more excited about that than her own amazing healings! I did not get a chance to return to the hospital to check on Emma, but Linda did and the nurses told her that Emma had been released and gone home!___________________________
I loved reading this in my journal today and seeing the clear markers that God had given me to lead me straight to Emma. There were other women I prayed for, several dozen actually, at the huge night services that followed, but I am convinced that God had Emma on His mind when He asked me to go pray for the brokenhearted women of Fiji.
One word, one assignment, one small direction is all we need from Him. This is an unusually long post for me and if you are still with me, maybe you are curious about your personal mission statement or one word of direction. Simply ask God for it and then listen. Don't dismiss what comes to mind as "just my imagination", He invented your imagination and can use it to speak to you.
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