Day 14 (5)

This story is submitted by Sonny who traveled to Africa with Young Life Expeditions. 

I’m on a conference call with Drew, Chad, and a bunch of other people talking about going to Africa with Younglife Expeditions.  During the call, someone asked, “What are we going to be doing?” and Drew answered, “We are going to walk from village to village and pray.” 

Going all the way to Africa to just pray did not seem worth cost of the trip, time away from home, and time away from my wife and four small children. I called Chad for some clarification.  Chad is one of the most articulate people I know so I was confident that he would give me the whole story on what we were going to do.  Chad said, “We are going to Africa to pray and whatever else comes up.”  I had made up my mind.  I wasn’t going.

My wife Rebecca kept prodding me to go.  She would say, “You need to go.”  She was convinced (by the Holy Spirit) that God had something that I needed to see or experience in Africa.  I got an email from Chad that I wont forget.  I don’t remember any of the email except Chad said, “The enemy does not want you to go.”  Combined with prodding from my wife and conviction within, my mind was changed.

After I decided to go, I started telling friends, acquaintances, and people I met that I was going to Africa with Younglife.  Invariably, the conversations went like this…

Me: “I’m going to Africa with Younglife.  We are going to walk from village to village and pray for the people.”

Them: Silence

Me: Silence

Us: Uncomfortable Silence

Eventually, Them: “What else?  Are you building something or working on a project?”

Me: “No, just praying.”

At this point, privately, I was counting on Chad’s, “Whatever comes up” as being some acts of service or works that would make the trip meaningful and worthwhile.

I’m writing this while sitting in Africa and I can say that I WAS COMPLETELY WRONG and my thinking has been COMPLETELY TRANSFORMED.

In the eyes of Americans, the world is broken and it needs to be fixed (by us).  Our money, resources, and hard work will set things right wherever we turn our attention.  So when we (I am including myself here) come to a place like this there is plenty to do.  We can build churches, build schools, dig wells, give to the poor, etc., etc., etc., etc. 

The first few days I was here, I found lots!  I had long discussions about agribusiness and other things that would enable the people to lift themselves out of poverty.  My mind was in top gear figuring out how everything could come together.  All they needed was this and that and some training.  And then God Himself spoke, not through my ears or mind but in my heart. I had it all wrong.

God is the creator of the universe.

His son Jesus died on the cross for all of us.

God gave everything to His Son and He (Jesus) sits at the right hand of God.

God listens to our prayers and answers them according to His own will and desire.

If we believe this is true (it is), then we should Pray first about everything and for everything. 

In America, we pray.

In Africa, they PRAY. 

They pray with a complete and pure faith that God the Father can change things and help them.  Never in my life have I seen or felt anything like it.  Walking down the roads in and between the villages, people COME OUT AND ASK US TO PRAY FOR THEM.  Even people that do not know Jesus, KNOW and BELIEVE that God can help them.  People are coming to accept Jesus as their savior here in ways that in America we would scoff at and dismiss as false and fake.  It’s all because of PRAYER, not prayer.  With PRAYER anything is possible because God is capable of anything.  He is God.

So I went to Africa to walk and pray.  In Africa learned I to PRAY.  In America we need to stop praying and start PRAYING!!!!

Thank you God!!

– Sunny