God used two things to make me passionate about a ministry in crisis response. The first was studying crisis throughout the pages of Scripture, which has provided most of the source material for these devotionals. The second was an experience I had in the Philippines, which I’ll recount here.
The story actually begins in Africa. In November 2013, I was in Bangui, Central African Republic, trying to recover from being sick. Too weak to do anything else, I listened to BBC radio. A special came on about Tacloban in the Philippines – a name which was new to me. Weeks before the city had taken a direct hit from Super Typhoon Yolanda and people were telling their stories, each one ending in tears. I was moved and remember praying something like, “Lord, please help these people! Bring eternal good out of the devastation! Use it to draw people to You.”
Six weeks later I was back in the USA working on helping war-torn CAR with food and seed. I confess my prayers for Tacloban were far from my mind…but not from God’s.
Fast-forward exactly one year later. I had accepted the invitation of a missionary to visit their work in the Philippines and see what God was doing. Landing in Cebu City, that first night I was heavily jetlagged so I flipped on the TV. A one-year-anniversary documentary on Super Typhoon Yolanda was playing. It was sounding very familiar; I then remembered the BBC story I had heard on the radio the year before in Africa.
Traveling throughout Samar Island we saw a land still heavily scored and pocked by the typhoon’s strength, but the contrasting beauty of new life, new believers, and new church plants was stunning. I sat worshipping in a church plant, which didn’t exist a year before. As they sang, it all came back to me. I remembered my prayer from a year before and realized I was sitting in God’s answer! These were the people for whom I had prayed!
I had forgotten – but God had not. My prayer, slowly swallowed up by time and the demands of life, sprouted and grew in the soil of God’s faithfulness. He joys in answering the prayers of His children.
THOUGHT TO PONDER: Has God ever answered a prayer that you forgot you had prayed?
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