A day of ups and downs, that's what I took away from yesterday.
The enemy was hard at work, as he always is, but it's much more obvious in us when we are tired and hot and lost in the city and riding on a public bus and eating every hour (with a grateful smile to keep from offending our hosts)
But the good far outweighed the bad.
Because the enemy has territory here, but we are fighting him for it. And not just for territory in Kazakhstan, but in each of our hearts and minds and spirits.
We prayed for people, and we prayed for each other, and we set our faces resolutely to do the day.
And then we arrived at the house we were eating dinner at.
The woman was shaking her head and in a flurry, trying to figure out how to seat us all around her small table. She had gone to every apartment in the building to ask for a bigger one, but nobody had one she could use.
Her son assured her that it was fine if we laid out a table cloth on the floor and sat around it. She continued to shake her head and cover her face, but eventually we convinced her that we were thrilled just to spend time with her, and we didn't care at all to sit on the floor.
She served us plates of all our favorite things. I was so surprised that every single one of my most especially loved dishes was on the table.
She told us that she had called everyone else whose house we had been to, and asked what dishes we had liked the most, and she made them all.
We were stunned speechless.
And then she began to share her testimony with us.
Her son, who was sitting beside her, wept as she spoke.
"My husband and I divorced when our children were small. My son stayed with his father, and my daughter came with me.
I didn't know how badly my son was being treated. His father drank, and beat him.
And then one night his father tried to attack him, and my son killed his father. He was sent to prison.
Last year your team prayed for my son and our situation, and two months later, he was released for good behavior.
I wanted to have you here today to thank you for praying, to thank you for the miracle of my son coming back to me.
I wanted to make the most beautiful table for you. I wanted it to be such a special meal."
I wish I could describe the feeling we all had in that moment. Only 4 people on our team had been there to pray for her the year before, but she was thanking us ALL. And not only thanking us, but yearning to thank us so desperately that she called around to find out our favorite dishes and tried to borrow a table from her whole building.
It was the most humbling experience of my life.
GOD did that miracle for her and her son. And she was so grateful to Him that it spilled over onto us.
I will never, ever forget her face, her tears, the way she spoke lovingly of and to her son.
Thank you, Lord, for reminders of Your mercy, and for allowing us to witness Your miracles and be partakers of Your great love and grace. We can never, ever thank you enough.
"The Spirit of the Sovereign Lord is upon me. Because He has anointed me to bring Good News to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim that captives will be released, that the blind will see, that the oppressed will be set free, and that the time of the Lord's favor has come." Luke 4:8-19