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God with Us

Walking up to her house, I feel a weight of sadness and despair lingering over her home.

Her name is Emilia.

Her adult son, Manuel, sits at the opening that served as a “door” to their home, staring blankly out into the Amazonian growth, looking beyond to the river.

Emmanuel. God with us.

As we approach, I sense that God was waiting for us to meet them there. So we stand, me and my gaggle of high school girls, waiting to see what God had for us there.

We begin to talk with them, share with them, and Emilia sits down, painfully, next to Manuel, and begins telling us her woes: her husband left her, and now has been dead many years; her son Manuel’s wife also left him; she can’t see clearly, her eyes don’t work; she’s sick in the body and the bones. The Lord makes it clear to me: she’s also sick in the heart and in the spirit.

“A cheerful heart is good medicine, but a crushed spirit dries up the bones.” Proverbs 17:22

I share this Word with her, and the moaning continues, under-the-breath mumbling, incomprehensible, but it’s quickly drowned out by the faithful prayers of the Saints — these young women, these Ambassadors, stirred by God’s goodness, praying blessing and thankfulness over Emilia and her son.

We pray for knees and for feet, and we pray for her back and her bones, and we pray for joy to overflow. We read stories of Jesus to them, and we ask if they understand. They nod with feeble smiles. Go back to their grumbling.

Leah decides it’s time to wash her feet. They are dusty with days of wandering her wooden home, of dangling them from a hammock, of brushing them against the dirt path. We get a large basin, and pour out our water, from our water bottles, our drinking water, our source of life, over her cracked, aching feet. We wash, and we pray.

“After that, he poured water into a basin and began to wash his disciples’ feet.” John 13: 5

We see a joy come over her as we pour out our water, and our prayers, over her feet. And her countenance changes. It’s like the spirit of despair has fled, unable to linger in the presence of the servant’s act.

“He who believes in Me, as the Scripture said, ‘From his innermost being will flow rivers of living water.” John 7:38

We say goodbye, and we pray blessings.

We come back the next day.

This time, it’s just Emilia. She’s sitting in her hammock.

And I feel the authority to step into her home, and make the despair and sadness go running. In Jesus’s name.

We pull up a bench, and she crawls, hands and knees, from her hammock, to the bench. The bones are aching again.

I sit next to her on this bench, and her mumbles begin to spill out again and as I try to decipher her words, the young women have already begun reading Scripture over her. They’ve already begun praying.

Emilia lifts her shirt to show us her back, where the aches have made their home. Leah and I begin to massage it, relieving some pain, praying our prayers.

Suddenly, the bench falls, one of the legs through a crack in the floor. And I get this crazy thought from the Lord: that was the Holy Spirit falling.

“As I began to speak, the Holy Spirit fell on them, just as he had come upon us in the beginning.” Acts 11:15

When the Holy Spirit fell, He rained down faith upon Emilia.

As we resettled on the bench, Emilia turned to me and asked, “Can you pray for my eyes?”

That was the first time I could understand her clearly. And that was the first time she had asked us for prayer.

Full of faith, I placed my hands over her eyes, and Leah’s hands over mine, and began to pray, and declare healing over them. I say to our Emmanuel, “In Jesus’s name, when I remove my hands, she will be able to see clearly. She will see all the colors of the sky and the trees, she will see the faces of these young ladies. She will see clearly.”

And we took our hands away.

She began to blink, furiously. And she said everything looked bright white. And I asked her about the sky, and she said it was blue. And I asked her about the trees, and she said they were green. And she marveled, and then pointed at the faces of the young women sitting at her feet, astonished like she hadn’t even noticed them before. Touching their faces, and pointing at them. Seeing them.

“Can you see clearly?” I ask.

“Yes.” she said.

We yell. We shout! We celebrate. We praise. We clap. We sing.

We asked if she would stand for us to take a picture, of Emilia, the once-blind but now-seeing Emilia. Emilia with a still-aching back. Or so we thought.

She pops up from the bench, and stands up straighter than ever before, and I see that she’s just as tall as me. She stands with a smile, gently, as we take a photo. And we tell her how beautiful she is.

We sing. We clap. We praise! We give thanks.

She does not hobble! She does not crawl! She walks over to her hammock, and plops herself down. Content.

She’s been healed.

We sing one more song of praise, and then we run, skip, and jump back to our waiting friends, to tell them the Good News.


Jesus heals. And He is with us.

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