As I write this I am beaming. I have been waiting since yesterday to write this post, I am so excited and have been tremendously blessed this weekend. Read on to find out why:
Her name is Shelly. The first time John and I met her two and a half years ago she was a shy and unsure woman . She has five children and is my age. Her house is much like every other house in the village, a wooden shack, but it’s HER house and she is proud of it. I never forgot Shelly. The way her eyes held emptiness, the fact that she seemed hopeless. I knew I would see her again and I desired for her to come to bible study.
When I arrived here in February, the first thing I did was invite her to bible study. She said, “Mel, I already planned to come.” I could tell then that God was working in her. She has been the most faithful and open member of the bible study since I started leading it. Even open to the point where she shared that she was not a Christian. She was being held back by the persecution that Christians face in the village. My heart was burdened for her but I knew the Lord was working so I watched the Lord work and waited for the moment.
That moment came this weekend at the retreat. She was one of the most excited ladies to come to this retreat and I was excited with her. I knew that no matter what happened the Lord was prompting me to speak to her about becoming a Christian. On Saturday morning, during devotions, she said, “I love the Lord, I read the bible, I pray, but I am not a Christian.” She had not yet given herself to Christ out of fear of what other villagers might say. Oh she was so close! I knew at that moment that I had to speak to her. We did talk during breakfast and she told me some secrets about her past and present. She said to me “I can not lie to you…”. I will not reveal these things, just know, her hardships and burdens are great. I prayed to God, “Lord please, I am weak, I am fearful to speak to Shelly, I can not do this without you. Please help me to be bold and create a time where Shelly can be by herself so I can have a chance to talk to her. I got the chance.
I went to her with the boldness that only God can give. She explained to me how she felt she needed to be good before coming to Christ, and I told her that no one is righteous. I asked her if she was ready to face the persecution in the village, is she ready to attend church again, and she said a firm “yes”. She explained to me that she is waiting to be baptized, and I explained to her that baptism does not make you a believer. I said all you have to do is accept God’s free gift to her, to confess her sins to believe that Christ died on the cross for her sins and rose again the third day, to ask him to come in to her heart an cleanse her from her sins. She said,”Is that all? But it’s so easy!” I said, “I know, would you like to do it now?” “Yes!” she said in this earnest desperation, “Can I repeat after you?” And she did. OH IT WAS BEAUTIFUL! She opened her eyes and I saw a new person. She was crying, I was crying, she had chill bumps and I did too. The change in her was indescribable. I hugged her and said “You are my sister, my real sister in Christ, we are related.” She told everyone in our group right away and that night she gave a testimony in front of all the the ladies at the retreat. Pray for Shelly. She needs prayer for the persecution that she is going to face, for facing her boyfriend and encouraging him and her grandparents to come to faith, pray against discouragement and for her to lean on Christ.
I was simply God’s tool. Really and truly, the seeds were planted, she was ready, and God chose me to help lead her to HIM. This is why we came to Belize folks, and this is why we will stay until God tells us our work here in this village is done. Praise the Lord with me for everything He has done this weekend. Pray for John as he visits Shelly’s boyfriend this week and attempts to reach out to him. Thank you Lord!