Mighty to Save.
We are BURSTING at the seams as we share this news with you:
SIMONE ACCEPTED CHRIST!
SIMONE ACCEPTED CHRIST!
OUR GOD DID IT!
HE IS MIGHTY TO SAVE!
HE MIGHTY TO SAVE INDEED!
*cue all the happy dances with all the praise hands lifted filled with all the joy imaginable!!!!!
Just writing those words a few hours removed from Simone's decision fills us with the same amount of joy and awe in our God as it did in the middle of her acceptance. Won't our God do it? YES HE WILL! AND HE DID DO IT!!
Watching God beautifully orchestrate the happenings of this morning was absolutely amazing. I know my words will fail but I will attempt to share the events of this morning in hopes that you too, can see how God drew Simone in. It was a group effort and watching God use each person to speak to her was pretty awesome too.
So here's how it all happened:
Friday's are our typical Meals on 2 Wheels delivery days and it is a day where we spend some time with those in our program. We check in and see how their week went, make sure things are going well, encourage them, love on them, and pray with and for them. It is one of our favorite days of the week but today was extra special.
We have two Simone's in our program and today we're talking about the Simone you haven't heard of. This Simone lives in Lafferonnay and has been one who our community as a whole has been taking care of for quite a few years. She doesn't have any family but she's quick to tell us she has many friends. She's had a tough outer shell for a while and meetings with her haven't always been the easiest in the past. She cuts to the point quickly and sometimes comes off a little brash but we all have our quirks. It's taken a bit to get to know her and we've come to find out in the past couple weeks that she's quite the jokester and loves to poke at people--so we've started poking back and it's been fun.
Last week when she came to meet us, she ended up coming while another former voodoo priest turned Christian was sharing his story with us and she sat close by listening intently at what God did for him. We didn't think much of it and we met with her as we normally did afterward. Looking back, I can see that the wheels had started turning then.
Fast forward to this week. Simone arrived about an hour past the scheduled time but it didn't really matter today. It was a full house as we had Jessie, Jenna, Stevenson (our part-time staff this summer), Apredye (our friends who does a lot of the running for our program), and one of the security guards for the month, Contav, who is a deacon in his church. We all (minus Contav who stood at a distance) sat down and started the usual dialogue. All was well with her the past week except for a few days when her legs cramped up and she couldn't walk. We talked about that for a bit and she said that that's how it will be until she dies. She then said that when we all die, we will all go to the same place.
Jessie and Jenna looked at each other and conversed a split second about where to take what she had just said. Did she mean we'll all return to dust or was she talking about eternity? We didn't know so we asked her--"Where will we go when we die?"
She pointed heavenward and Jessie then said, "Oh, so you're a Christian?" To which she responded, "Poko" which means "not yet." We then asked a few more exploratory questions in order to find out what was keeping her from accepting Christ and she didn't really have a reason. She just kept saying "not yet." We shared the gospel with her and how it was the greatest and most important decision she could make with her life. We shared how God has shown her grace by keeping her alive and was giving her time to accept Him because she doesn't know when her last day will be. It was then that the guard came a little closer and asked if he could share something with her and we agreed.
He then came around the table in front of her and passionately shared the urgency of accepting Christ and how we never know when our day to die will be here. He shared how we have the opportunity to accept him now while we're alive because when we die, it is too late. He shared how she can accept the eternal life being offered to us by accepting Jesus into our heart. He spent 10 more minutes explaining and giving examples in her language that she'd understand before ending by asking if she wanted to accept Jesus today.
Looking up at us with tears in her eyes, she said yes.
In that moment we all jumped up in joy; overwhelmed at what we had just witnessed. We had seen God knock down the walls of her heart one by one by one. Through each person that spoke and each question that was asked, we saw God drawing her in. When Contav was finished speaking and he asked the final question, we knew God has just broken through and had done what only He could have done.
We then gathered around Simone, Contav led her in the prayer of salvation. It was a beautiful moment that none of us will ever forget. We finished praying and then the guys broke out in song. Simone wasn't the only one in tears. We had just experienced a miracle and it was all God. How humbling to have witnessed and to have been a part of HIS work.
We then spent some time afterward sharing how the angels were rejoicing in heaven over her repentance and acceptance of Jesus as her Lord and Savior. We shared how satan will now try to undo what was done today but now that the Holy Spirit dwells in her, she needn't be afraid because at the name of Jesus, satan has to flee. We talked with her about the next steps and asked if we could share what happened this morning with the Pastor across the street who knows her and keeps up with her and she agreed.
Jenna then asked her if she was happy and she responded, "How could I not be happy?"
With that, we ended with hugs and parting words of encouragement. Stevenson picked up her bucket and walked her home. When the gate door closed behind them, Jessie, Jenna, and Contav broke out in happy dances again in awe of what had just happened.
When Stevenson returned, he said that as they were walking to her house she shared how it will be difficult for her because the people who live in her yard do voodoo sacrifices and ceremonies often. She said she's not a part of them but knows things will not be easy.
We know the fight is on the way for her because the sides have been chosen. Simone is just beginning her journey with Christ and for anyone who is a believer, you know the early days aren't the easiest. So we're asking you to pray for Simone.
Strength to continue this journey
A good community around to teach and encourage her
Us to find an audio Bible for her
God's presence to continue to lead, guide, and provide for her
We look forward to seeing what God continues to do in her life and how He will lead her. We are honored to be able to walk alongside of her in this journey and we are thankful that she is no longer just a friend, but a sister in Christ. This is what it is all about. This is why we do what we do. What started as a friendship turned into part of Simone's salvation story.
GOD IS SO, SO GOOD!
Now the tax collectors and sinners were all gathering around to hear Jesus. But the Pharisees and the teachers of the law muttered, “This man welcomes sinners and eats with them.”
Then Jesus told them this parable: “Suppose one of you has a hundred sheep and loses one of them. Doesn’t he leave the ninety-nine in the open country and go after the lost sheep until he finds it? And when he finds it, he joyfully puts it on his shoulders and goes home. Then he calls his friends and neighbors together and says, ‘Rejoice with me; I have found my lost sheep.’ I tell you that in the same way there will be more rejoicing in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who do not need to repent.
-Luke 15:1-7, Emphasis mine
Below is a video of Contav leading her in accepting Christ: