A single mother from one of our supporting churches was here this month visiting our teammate, Lisa Newland. Megan and her son Blake came to experience the ministry here in Tanzania. To see what life is like. Little did we know that she would come to have a great impact on our pastors'/leaders' wives.
It was kind of a last minute request of mine to invite Megan to give her testimony at the ladies meeting planned for August. I knew she would be there, and I actually moved the date up so she could attend. However, it wasn't until meeting her that I asked her to share what the Lord has done in her life. (Sorry about that Megan! More notice would have been appreciated, I'm sure.) Lisa told me later that Megan had spent many hours preparing for what she was going to say. She prayed and asked the Lord to give her just the right words to speak into these ladies lives. The Lord answered her request in a special way.
As Megan began to share of her past and how the Lord saved her it moved all of us there. After she finished speaking there was opportunity for the ladies to share themselves. To be honest, I didn't expect them to say much. They rarely do. However, Megan's transparent testimony stirred the hearts of these ladies. One in particular shared her heart, with her face contorting in pained memories and tears threatening to spill, how her mother had died when she was just a little girl and how her father was an alcoholic and on drugs. He beat her until she finally ran away from home. She lived on the streets for a time but eventually went back home. The people in her village thought she had lost her mind and treated her as such. She wanted to go to church but her father wouldn't allow it. She has suffered much and can come across as being very harsh. Hearing her story helped me to better understand her and have more compassion. It also opened the hearts of the others present. I could see it in their faces as some wiped away tears - tears of empathy, and just maybe tears of understanding as they too have suffered.
It all started with Megan being willing to open up and share from her heart. What if she had thought her life too messy to share with these women? What if she would have smoothed over the rough places and just talked about our loving, heavenly Father? It sure would have made her look better. But it wouldn't have spoken to the dark and messy places these women have lived. Megan's willingness to be transparent allowed these women to feel they weren't the only ones that had a past. It also didn't point us ladies to herself. No, the forgiveness, mercy, grace, and victory all pointed back to God. It reminded all of us that day who our God is and what His Son Jesus did for us. We were reminded of the mighty power of God to save us and transform our lives.