About a week before the SOM team arrived in Miami I remember my “Pastora” telling me “Just watch, you guys are going to get attached, won’t want to let them go.” I laughed it off thinking it was totally impossible for me to get attached to anyone I would only know for three weeks. WELL…. It happened. It may sound extremely schmaltzy, but each and every single one of them left an imprint on my heart that will remain forever. I have received a multitude of blessing from them and experienced emotional and physical healing.
About two months before the team arrived, I felt as if I was deteriorating. It was college application season and my anxiety shot through the roof. The idea of not being good enough was constantly present in my mind and my fear of failure became Satan’s best weapon. I stopped doing things I love to do like learning new pieces on the piano and I became extremely antisocial and captious in everything I did. The enemy had attacked me where it hurt the most and that was my intellect. I began to feel stupid and useless and started believing incredulous lies such as “No. I can’t say that. It’s not the right answer.” Or my personal favorite “I can’t accomplish this goal so why even bother?” The worst part was that I closed off my heart and built a wall around it. I refused to seek any help from my family or my Pastors, in fear of appearing vulnerable.
But I prayed and God heard.
The first week the SOM team was here we held a conference and when the first prayer call was held, I was hesitant. I decided to go up anyways but I remained closed hearted. However, a funny thing happened that truly impacted the rest of this outreach for me. After what seemed like an incredibly long and awkward silence with Christianne (I tend to be extremely awkward, oops.), she told me she felt as if God told her my heart was closed and that in order to receive what He has in store for me I had to open it. Although she may have felt as if I received nothing, I decided that as hard as it may be, I was going to open up my heart and let out every emotion that was building up for the past months.
The following Wednesday I went to bible study with zero expectations. What happened that night hit me like a bus. I received prophetic words from 4 of the team members. The second one of them opened their mouth I began to cry more than a newborn coming out of the womb. Every word that poured out was God speaking directly to me. As cliché as this sounds, I felt a weight lifted off my shoulders. It was as if the tears streaming down my face were all the lies I chose to believe, all the fears I let get the best of me. I was being emptied of those lies and filled with Godly truths. “You are a butterfly and your wings are just unfolding.” “It’s ok to make mistakes, It’s ok to be vulnerable.”
After that night I was pumped and ready to serve Jesus like never before and just spread his love! Little did I know, God was not done with me yet. Every sermon given after that related to me in one way or another. Even areas where I thought I was totally fine in, I realized I wasn’t. However, I knew God had completely shattered me and was slowly rebuilding me. I felt free from anxiety for the first time in months. No “transcendental meditation” could even come close to the peace that God put in me. I felt complete serenity. I even did something that I never thought I would be able to have the guts to do and that is evangelize. Like I said before I had become antisocial (let’s not forget awkward) and just the thought of speaking to a random stranger frightened me. But I was able to experience this amazing moment with a few of the team members (shoutout to Mathew, Evelyn, David, Robyn, and Leanne) and even step up and pray for one of the couples we found.
Over all I felt the emotional wounds in my heart being healed. However, I had another obstacle coming my way, physical pain. About a year or two ago, I began having issues with my stomach and my appetite. Every time I ate, I got full after just a few bites. I would constantly feel nauseous and pain in my stomach. The doctors later told me I had a bacterium called H.Pylori, which is extremely common. However it is typically inactive in most people. After about 5 different antibiotic treatments, nothing seemed to work. The side effects of the medications became worse than the symptoms of the bacteria. I decided to stop taking all the meds and just let God heal me.
And he did.
For a long time I was perfectly fine. Up until a month ago. The pain began again and along came the nausea, loss of appetite and weight loss. Coincidently, it was just around the time of my follow up appointment and my Doctor suggested an endoscopy, (they sedate you, get a tube with a camera, and take it down your throat into your stomach to see the lining. Not pleasant.) a blood test and breath test (really weird. You blow into a bag). I was nervous but optimistic that all will turn out well.
So last Thursday was the day of my endoscopy and after waking up from the anesthesia, I was told this little sucker of a bacterium had reactivated. Not only that, but my stomach started to produce an ulcer. I felt upset and quite honestly confused. I didn’t know why this was happening again, but I remained hopeful. I knew that God was doing great things in my life and this was just another attack from the enemy.
On Saturday we had our final farewell service with the SOM team. It was a worship night and I had the privilege to play with them. During the worship, the team began to pray for those in the congregation and anoint them with oil. I was bummed that I wouldn’t have a chance to go up because I was playing. However, two of the members (Evi and Joseph) came up after they finished and prayed for Emilio (our guitarist) and me. When it was my turn, Joseph asked if I felt any pain in my body and I did. He told me the enemy was trying to affect my body and that God was renewing it. He also said that God was working on my stomach and asked Evi to place her hand on it. They began to pray for healing and commanded the sickness to leave. I was immediately overcome with emotion and in that moment I felt healing falling upon me.
On Monday I went to the Doctor’s office to get the rest of my results. After reviewing everything, my Doctor was surprised to see that everything came out 100% fine. There was absolutely no sign of the bacteria. NOTHING.
I wasn’t in shock or surprised. I knew that God had healed me that Saturday. I knew that everything I was told I had, I didn’t.
And I don’t.
The last two months have been a rollercoaster for me. I thought I had hit my lowest low and felt too broken to go up. But God works in mysterious, funny ways. I expected nothing from this group, and got more than I could ever bargain for. I have become a stronger person, physically and mentally.
“I am changed
As I look upon the Lord and believe”
Overall, I’m so incredibly grateful that these wonderful, kindhearted people were brought to us. Like I said earlier, I didn’t believe I would get to know them well in three weeks, let alone get attached. But I did. They brought a FIRE with them and it spread throughout our congregation. We are ALL burning and it’s not enough now to want to keep this fire lit, we want to make it spread. Whether we meet again or not, we will always remember them.
Saying they became close friends is an understatement; they became our family.