Annie on the way to Gombi, getting into Nigerian culture.

Annie E. just finished a Discipleship Program at Revive Israel. They sponsored her to come on the first outreach of the Isaiah 2 Initiative. Here are her reflections.

Dear friends,

Thank you for your prayers! Our time in Nigeria was an incredible lesson. Matt. 9:13: “Go and learn what this means, ‘I desire mercy and not sacrifice.’ For I came not to call the righteous but sinners.”

From the 1st day, we experienced so much love from the people. They live simply and in our eyes perhaps primitively, but in so many ways they are rich. They had so much expectation to see God heal the sick and change their city. They greeted us with excitement, singing and dancing, in each of the cities we visited. We felt the pressure as people had so much expectation. God helped me to realize that He alone could fulfill their expectations and hunger and that He wanted to use us in our weakness to bring Him glory. It’s hard to describe all that we experienced. There were a lot of struggles–spiritually, emotionally, with the sound system, and health of our members. In each new little battle, we learned our part in participating with God, and interceding in prayer. I learned deeper understanding of what is means in the scriptures when it speaks of His strength in my weakness, and that nothing, absolutely nothing, is without God’s doing it.

It felt like we were living out the Gospels. Every evening, about 30,000 villagers gathered in an open field to hear a short message of the Gospel and thousands responded to a call to salvation each night. An invigorating message on faith usually followed and people came forward for prayer for healing or to testify of how God had already healed them. It became so regular to pick a prayer partner, and walk out to the front of the stage to meet outstretched arms, and expectant faces. But each evening was a new trial of faith, knowing that I had nothing but Jesus and His love to give them and if the Holy Spirit didn’t do it, they would leave with the same lack of hope they lived with.

God met the people and many of them received healing and salvation. A lame man jumped out of his chair waiving his stick in the air. God healed people with diabetes, high blood pressure, cancer, the blind woman of 25 years and the lame Muslim man who received salvation and healing. Sweet 8 year old Alissa came to me and through translation explained that God had healed her of convulsions that had caused regular throwing up and stomach pain. She couldn’t wait to go on stage to testify about how God had healed her.

The people were so precious. On one morning during my time with God, I read the above verse in Matthew. Until then, the focus seemed to me on how WE could serve God and see God heal people. I knew that wasn’t all and asked God to give me His heart for the people and fill me with more of Him and less of me. On the last night, it became so clear. A middle-aged woman asked for prayer for healing of her eyesight. Jesus’ words came to mind: If you will, be healed. And I realized God’s love for each individual. That He desires for them to come to Him and just ask, but more than that He desires to save their souls and know them. The people crowded around, pushing and stretching out hands to just touch one of us and receive from the Lord.

It was so hard to see the people aching for a miracle and knowing I could do nothing but love them and ask God to reveal Himself to them and touch them. A little girl, stiffly stood next to me and looked up. The translator explained that she needed prayer for headaches. My initial thought was that she has such a small request and there’s so many people who are dying with illnesses around her. She was so precious and quiet. She prayed with me to receive Jesus and then acknowledged that there were some people in her life that she hadn’t forgiven: her neighbors who regularly beat and sexually abused her. That night, this little girl received Jesus and was able to forgive her neighbors and understand Jesus’ love and nearness to her; and I just wanted to bring her back with me. Please pray that God will make a way for her to leave her abusive situation. The hardest part each night was being dragged away from the people to go back to eat dinner. Once our security detail told us it was time to go, it was time to go. They were first of all concerned for our safety, but still it was hard to leave.

There’s so much more that God has done. I’m sure there’s a lot that I don’t even know about in my life and theirs. But it was so amazing and humbling to be able to be obedient to the Lord and work with Him this way.