I sat in the lounge area listening to the pastors sing praise and worship songs. There was a peaceful presence with soothing voices. Our intentions were to go visit a few different individuals today and see what God had in store. This was the last day of group 2 pastors, who showed a noticeable change in interactions with each other. Everyone seems to be inspired and uplifted by this opportunity. Heidi continues to be engaged in personal conversations each day with people. God has definitely given her gifts of discernment and insight for these situations. Praise God that these opportunities have been made available because it makes her feel very much included in what is going on here.
One of the people she talked with a few days ago, Memory, has continued to be in contact with her. We were able to meet him, his wife, and his son today. The little boy’s name was Joshua, and he was eight months old; an adorable little fella for sure. Heidi was able to spend some time with his wife while Tony, Rick, and I talked with Memory. We openly shared insights about marital relationships and walking closer with the Lord. My approach to interacting with anyone has shifted considerably in my life. The big change occurred when I stopped relying on my own intentions, or the words I spoke. Instead, I have been understanding how they are received by the other individual, and how the perception unfolds in their mind.
We hope that our words of encouragement are focused closely on Jesus. If a young couple can realize that having Jesus as the glue that holds their lives and relationship together, then peace and contentment will preside. I believe that the relationship with this couple will continue on. Heidi will be the conduit, as she has established a personal connection with them. This will help her with our return trip, knowing that she will have a purpose and need to be here. God has made it quite clear with the numerous opportunities she has had that His will in Africa includes her also. The next visit we had was quite different.
I have never met an individual that was so far off track and falsely believing that she was serving God, possibly besides my past self. The conversation I had with her was the boldest I have ever had with anyone. She would just laugh it off as if I were a silly little boy with some unrealistic fantasy. For over an hour, I tried to get her to understand. Her words made it quite obvious that she was completely in charge of her life and responsible for her own success. All along, she would be saying that God had blessed her. I agreed, the god of this world certainly had. If we are not giving all the glory and honor to our true God for everything we do and all the victories that happened to us, then we are missing the lifeboat. Jesus is the only one that deserves and should receive all the honor, praise and glory. This trap of self-glorification and “Look at me,” snared me for many years.
After I tried talking with her, Heidi gave it a shot. My wife’s sense of the situation mirrored mine quite a bit. The woman was very manipulative in her conversation and wanted to control it at all times. The fact that she had success had created an immense ego in her. I highly doubt that many would ever confront her because of her dominant position and personality. I invited her to come over to the EchoAfrica house to observe how God was working. My prayers will be that the power of God consumes her and the scales fall off her eyes. Rick commented on how gigantic the walls around her have been built. It will only be by the power of the Holy Spirit that she can be broken down and filled by Christ. I have seen God do miraculous things here, so I know anything is possible. Beginning each day with the anticipation of God’s mighty hand is an exciting proposition. When we have our spiritual eyes always searching, it is very easy to see God at work. The diversion begins suddenly, when we start focusing on things of this world. If we always keep our eyes, mind, and thoughts focused on Jesus, we will view the world far differently.