Today, while I get ready in Dallas for church, I reminisce on last Sunday morning when our team attended church in Cymbili, Rwanda.
I could almost feel the dirt covered ground shake as we approached the small concrete building. Praise and worship burst through the walkway, and I smiled as I laid eyes on babies, toddlers, adults, and elderly Africans dancing and singing. I was filled with emotion by the joyful spirit flowing through every person. There was no fear, no withdrawn, no judgement in this place; only pure surrender to worship the Almighty.
The service was three hours long, and so beautiful, but that’s actually not what my story is about. I’ll speed up to after church, when we had the pleasure of visiting the pastor and his wife and family in their home. They have 4 children, all of which were so kind and loving to one another. There were several notable things to the time we had with them, but the most powerful moment came when we got ready to leave. While still sitting in their small living room, our incredible trip leader (Linda) asked if we could pray over their family. So we did-we laid hands on the 6 of them with the group of 6 we had + our translator + another ALARM staff member.
Our prayers touched their family, and one of the ladies kindly noted, “you serve this community so much, thank you for letting us serve you with prayer”. To which tears filled the pastor’s eyes and a smile spread across his face. When translated, he said that he would remember our prayer forever. I hope that is true, but what I’m sure of, is that God remembers every prayer.
I loved that precious moment, his family, and our church experience- but home flood into my mind after our prayer. See, I have the great privilege of leading prayer on an amazing team of young adults in Dallas (Initiative). We don’t only pray over young people, but we pray over the Church. Moments like I had in Africa, truly do happen for us in Dallas. We have the abundant GIFT of loving and praying for diverse churches, people, and ministries.
I tell you this for a reason. The moment with the pastor’s family made me cry because it reminded me of why I felt called to go on this trip to Africa. I remember saying, “I think the way ALARM serves Africa will help me better serve Dallas.” The Holy Spirit inspired that thought, because it remains true. After this experience,
I know how to pray for my community better
I want to love and acknowledge the people in my community
and I want to intentionally remind pastors (especially my own) of how his family and ministry bless others.
This small act of praying for this pastor meant the world to him. Harmony, an event that initiative hosts does this as well. What I have learned is that it is rare for pastors to be filled back up, even more, it is rare for their families to feel ministered and listened to. I urge you to give back. Generously give love, encouragement, and prayer back to the people who serve in and out of the church walls.