Even though we have not officially begun ministry, nor given ourselves some sort of ministry title or definition, everywhere we go we seek to fulfill the 'Great Commission'. In the Body of Christ, there is great discussion, even disagreement, on the how and practicalities of this, and I am not wanting to enter into that here. But I do want to share with you our humble beginnings in this, and ask for prayer for the Lord's will to be done.
One particular family we have mentioned in other posts has opened up to us quite substantially, and we have had the privilege of sharing with them the Gospel of our Lord Jesus. We had been house hunting and met a relative of theirs. We had offered to pray with her as she was going through a really hard time. She was so touched by the power of prayer, that she told us about her niece's back: she has a severe and life threatening condition that just began a year and a half ago, and they are desperately trying to get money together to pay for each of her expensive doctor's visits and treatments. We asked if we could go visit and pray for her. As the aunt made the phone call, she described us as 'poco carasmaticos', a little charismatic (they are all Catholic) but the sister in law agreed we could come. After introductions and being led into their humble home, we sat with the mother, and two daughters, and aunt and sister in law. So where do you begin, and how do you deal with the mind and heart that struggle as the sweet little girl, same age as Emily, is sitting there with her twisted spine bulging out? And yet our Lord Jesus gave us clear and simple instructions:
And as you go, preach, saying, ‘The kingdom of heaven is at hand.’ Heal the sick, cleanse the lepers, raise the dead, cast out demons. Freely you have received, freely give. (Matthew 10:7, 8 NKJV)
So, we shared with them the simple gospel and what that means to them, as sweat poured down our faces. We then took out our bible and read to them various scriptures in spainsh. Thank God for modern technology as we used Peter's phone that had a translation of the bible. Then we all laid hands on the young girl. Our hearts longed for an immediate result, but we didn't see any change right then. We continue to pray for her, and invite you to join with us. I see my daughters running around and playing, and desire to see this precious young girl play with them too. God has a plan and purpose for her life, as with all of His creation, and we hope and yearn to see it fulfilled!
We realized as Catholics they didn't have even one Bible in the house. I cannot imagine surviving even one day with out the Word of God, and yet this precious family weren't even aware they were missing some thing. It happened to be Emily's birthday when we were near their town, so we asked if she would mind sharing her day with them. With much joy, Emily shared her day and her cake! But before we sang and ate the most delicious cake, we presented them with their very own copies of the Bible. As we sat there teaching them how to read and use them, my heart was leaping with joy inside. After we had read out loud some verses together, the mother and daughter expressed much joy in reading the Word of God; liquid love, Jesus Himself through His Holy Spirit was in that room and they could feel Him!
At one point, as the mother began to read the scriptures, she abruptly asked "ustedes son creientes? No adoran a la Virgin y a los Santos?" "Are you believers? Do you not worship the Virgin Mary, and the Saints?" Politely we replied, "Mary is a very special woman who gave us a powerful example of obedience in bringing forth God's Son..." we explained. This family has embarked on a journey that will cost them - their neighbours and their friends may not be willing to pay the same price.
Our manual is the Bible. Our teacher is the Holy Spirit. We have no agenda, we just lay down our lives for service of our Lord, in love with King Jesus. No agenda, other than His: to seek and save that which is lost. We do not claim to have apprehended, but one thing we do, we press on, hoping and praying that this dear family will come to fall deeply in love their Saviour, and walk in His ways. We commit as a family to praying, and going and discipling. Please agree with us in prayer for their salvation, deliverance and empowerment, to then be the light in their town, despite persecution. And pray that we are able to disciple with love and wisdom. We now understand Paul's letters to the saints, and his love for them, expressed in his continual desire to be with them again. We look forward to our next visit with our dear friends!
Thank you for your love and support as we go!
May our mighty God bless you all,
Peter & Evi Ratcliffe