God is working in the little things every day. From time to time he does beautiful, unexpected things as well. He wants us to know He is there and He is alive and working and is caring for our every step. The following stories were collected from the mission in Africa to encourage and inspire us to learn to walk in faith and trust that God is working even when we can’t see. This was clearly stated in the Gospel this past Sunday:”Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.” (John 20:29)
We need to trust him more and ourselves less. I realized when collecting these stories that I don’t give God enough chance to work in my life. That I go ahead of Him and try to solve the problem instead of allow Him to work as He loves to do.
Sometimes having wealth can be a stumbling block if we allow it. People I deal with every day are living pay check to pay check and sometimes they wonder if they will eat tomorrow, pay the rent, and pay their children’s school fees. I see first-hand every day the beautiful people of Africa, their stories, their trust, and their perseverance to hang onto God throughout the trying times.
I learn so much from them and now I realize God didn’t just send me to help them, but sent me to Africa for them to help me. I am so grateful. I encourage all to read these stories and share your own below in the comments.
Life of Faith Story 1: God is Listening
One priest shared with me that because of unexpected expenses, there was no food at home. He told His family God will provide and to pray. So, they prayed and he went to church to serve. As he was in Church, he found the oldest, poorest lady of the Church saying I have something for you. She said I have a mealie meal bag for you (this is the staple food for most African Countries). The priest said no I should be bringing food for you. The Father refused to take it because she was a very poor elderly lady. However, she explained that she had unexpectedly received money from a family member. And she had a dream that night that the Father didn’t have food and to go and give to him. He received the food with great amazement. God answers on time and from the least expected person. To show that God is listening to this priest’s cries, He brought it from the poorest, not the richest person. When I heard that story, I felt bad for ever doubting that my God wouldn’t take care of me.
Life of Faith Story 2: A Choice to Make
A different priest had a wife who was pregnant and about to deliver and had severe headaches so she went to the hospital. They told her to stay longer because it looks like complications and she needs to deliver right away. They called the Father to come to hospital immediately and the doctor told him you have to make a tough choice: to save the mother or save your baby? What would you say in that situation? He refused to make the decision but as the Priest and Tasony talked and prayed they decided that they knew God will save both. Doctors tried to warn them and said that this is not one of the options. They insisted God will save both. To make it worse: before they could continue, the hospital asked for money for the procedure and at the time the Father didn’t have any money. Other doctors and staff working there were kind enough, without even knowing him, to give him what he needed because they were amazed by their faith. They started the procedure and by the hand of God both mother and baby were saved. The next morning the Father received money unexpectedly and went to return it back to those who gave. Let us trust God when emergency strikes. The Father told me that now He really knows God is alive. He knew it, but didn’t experience like that before.
Life of Faith Story 3: Power of Prayer
I wanted to ask the Bishop his experiences, so he told me a story of faith. Bishop Paul’s story was when he was priest in Canada. He was a new priest still not knowing what to expect. The economy was really bad and no one had jobs and they all asked him to pray for them to get jobs. So as a new priest he felt he was in trouble. If he prays and nothing happens, they will lose hope. He asked to be taken back to Africa, but the elder priest of the area gave him advice. Pray a liturgy every day and let people write their names and their problems and put it on the altar. Bishop Paul was afraid that maybe God wouldn’t deliver and he would look bad. But he proceeded to do it and pray liturgy every day with all his heart and faith. One by one, God answered their prayers and the people got jobs. He had to risk and trust and God answered.
Life of Faith Story 4: Blessings of Service
One leader said he couldn’t pay his school fees for his sons and they couldn’t take the final exam to pass for the year. These were critical exams and if the amount was not paid, then they will have to retake the entire year again. He and the family were disturbed if they didn’t pay by 11, they would have to wait one year. In the final hour, the Bishop requested he come for a service but he was reluctant because he was looking for the money. He went to the service anyway. After the service, the Bishop gave him a small blessing that was the exact amount he needed to pay the school fees. God delivers in the most critical hour and He never forgets when we serve Him and His children.
Life of Faith Story 5: More Blessed to Give
Another person from the Church in Africa had no food and was coming home with 5000 franks to help the family. This was the only money he had. Before he left the Church, a lady came running into Church crying that her baby was sick and needed prayers and money to visit the hospital. At first the man hesitated to give her knowing the money was for the food for his own family. However, somehow, he knew God would take care of him. On the way home, he knew his family would be disappointed. As he was walking, he ran into a man who was deeply disturbed and crying because his daughter got pregnant outside of marriage. This person advised him and started to continue on his way, but out of gratefulness the man gave him 10,000 franks which was double what he had before. He went home and right on time God provided all his needs for him and his family.
Life of Faith Story 6: Don’t Give Up
There was a woman who was frantically going from one hospital to another searching for anyone to save her baby, who was not responding. Every hospital she went to told her it was too late and that the baby will die. She came to Coptic Hospital and the doctor refused to give up. As the doctor was crying, he called the priests to come quickly and pray for the baby. They came and prayed and life came into the baby. The faith of the doctors and faith of the priests saved this child.
Life of Faith Story 7: Communion and Life
A priest had a young deacon who was sick and fell into a coma and was thought to be dead. The priest went to the hospital numerous times and it didn’t look good. Finally, he decided to attempt to give the young deacon communion. He touched his mouth with communion and breath was let out and the doctors said he must have just passed away. The priest insisted for the doctors to wait and he prayed. It was life being breathed into the boy by God not out of the boy. He finished taking communion and was awake but not talking. After a few days, the priest came again and gave him communion and once he took again he said his first word, “Abouna!” All the doctors clapped. The priest gave all the glory to God not himself.
Life of Faith: More Stories from the Deep Bush of Congo
Many times, in the middle of the remote areas in our long journey to our village churches, cars would break down and in one instance the car engine would catch on fire. Many times, I thought that was it. Over and over again, God would save.
We would see demon possessed people crying out for help and may times the Bishop and other priests would pray Psalms with all their heart and saying other prayers and spray Holy Water on them and demons would come out and later they would be baptized and follow Christ.
Sometimes because of civil war, a soldier told an elderly priest not to wear the black robe or he will be shot and killed because rebels were also wearing black. But he knew he could not remove the robe because it is his identity as a priest. They kept telling him to take off his uniform but the priest refused. The civil war finished and the priest remained unharmed by the protection and grace from God. The soldier who threatened the priest was actually put in prison and the priest was protected by God.
In conclusion, I can never forget the verse by St. Paul in Hebrews 11:6 “But without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him.”
God always takes care of us. I pray these stories will encourage you and remind you of all the beautiful stories and events God is doing in your life. When things look difficult as we face this pandemic and death, look to Christ, the Lover of mankind. To encourage you more, I mentioned a few of these stories in this sermon about Believing.
To trust in God means to confide to Him our life, our fate, all our future, and to wait with confidence for the fulfillment of His promises. Hope proceeds from faith, as the plant from the seed, or the stream from the Source. – St John of Kronstadt
Mission Assignment: Tell your experiences with God that helped grow your Faith. Share them in the comments below – we would love to hear them. Share them with your children, relatives, and friends to give them hope and renew your Faith in God.Tags: believe, congo, Faith, Mission, priests, real-life, service