Tuesday night prayer services continue to amaze me, bring me joy and remind me of God’s faithfulness. This week, on a cold and rainy Tuesday night we had five adults, one teen and six kids in the church! Wow, I am often overwhelmed with God’s faithfulness!
Bur really, I want to tell you about the prayer service we had last Tuesday. Again, Franci and I waited for the clock to read 6pm before starting our service. And there we were, the two of us, the clock reading past 6, and nobody else had arrived yet. We started the service, just the two of us like we’ve done many times. But this week was different. We sang, we read the Bible, we prayed, just the two of us. And still, nobody arrived. We prayed again, asking God to bring people, so they could hear the Word and pray with their neighbors, their brothers and sisters of the faith we have in Christ. Finally, two little girls arrived. We are not even discipling their mother but these two girls, Juliana and Nicol are faithful to come every time we are in the church, Sunday’s, Tuesday’s and Saturday’s. We read the Bible again, this time with the girls. As we were reading, Petronila and Felipe arrived. We started over reading the Bible passage so they could hear the entire passage. And, in the middle of reading the passage this time, Florentina and her grandson Brando came in. We again stopped reading the passage, got everyone settled on the wooden benches, and started reading from the top again.
So there we were, Franci and myself, Petronila, Felipe, Juliana, Nicol, Florentina and Brando. Franci gave a short reflection on the passage we had read and then we asked for prayer requests. Florentina spoke up, she asked for prayer for her husband, Fortunato, who we have never met. She said he is regularly drunk and she wants him to change. Then, her grandson, Brando, about 10 years old spoke up as well. He asked for prayer for his dad who is also frequently drunk. He went on and described how difficult it is for him, his mother and his older sister when his father comes home drunk. He talked about how he yells at them and explained that his older sister, Aremi, tries to go to bed before their dad gets home so that she doesn’t have to deal with his drunkenness. But, her going to bed early, only frustrates the drunk ‘father’ even more and he yells at her telling her she doesn’t want to be part of the family and she should just go away. My heart broke for Brando and Aremi.
This isn’t the first time my heart has broken for this family. I’ve known since we met this family in June that his father was a drunk and we’ve been praying for him. That day in June when Franci and I went to their house with Carmen, the entire family was crying, hearts broken, tired and weary from the drama and emotional damage of a drunk father. In the weeks following, Brando would tell us about how he would kneel at his bed and pray when his dad came home drunk.
So, my heart went out to Brando again in this moment, this poor child. But not only did my heart go out to him, Petronila was crying. Petronila knows what its like to have an alcoholic husband and son. She knows what her grandson Elvis has gone through having an alcoholic father pass away. She also relates to Florentina, understanding what it’s like to have an alcoholic husband, Guillermo is no longer drinking but is now three months drink-free. We got up from the benches and formed a circle to pray for these prayer requests Florentina and Brando had so transparently shared with the group. As we circled up, Petronila grabbed a hold of Brando with tears in her eyes and she held onto him tight, pressing him into her bosom, caressing him like a mother, shedding tears of sadness and understanding. We prayed, Petronila holding onto Brando, and Florentina next to me tears falling from her eyes. As we prayed, I thought about how the night started, about how Franci and I feared no one would show up. And I thanked God for His faithfulness. All I could say, I was so overwhelmed, was, “God you are faithful, thank you for your faithfulness.” I repeated this prayer over and over. I couldn’t get any other words to come out of my mouth.
God had a plan for that night. He had a plan to unite these families in Yanamayo, He had a plan to bring them together in their pain, a plan to connect them, show them how important this church family is. God is so incredibly faithful!