So, we made it to Cologne and were once again welcomed warmly by another group of YWAMers. We would only stay a short time now, because of the previous situation (see A Time Such As This Part 1) and because we were leaving for Brazil in just a few days. Regardless of all this, it was one of the most tangibly productive and exciting times. We had an amazing time at every base we stayed at, both long and short, and each was filled with its own great experiences, but for me, this one was particularly special. How ironic, right? If I remember correctly, we only stayed 3 nights, and two full days.
As a team, we had put together a few Christmas Carols to sing on outreach. This was a bit more challenging than you might assume from any given YWAM team, as overall, we did not meet the stereotype of being insanely musically gifted. But, the reality check of what it was all about and a few talented musicians, made it possible. We decided to take advantage of our time in Cologne, to go see the city, one of the biggest most beautiful Christmas markets in Germany, and to do a bit of singing while we were out there. Because this was the end of our tour before the official “Outreach Phase”, we concluded that this time would be a bit more laid back. Note, this is what we had planned… In a way, God had other plans.
So, we took the bus into the city and we sang, our barely acceptable (okay, maybe it wasn’t that bad) versions of classic Christmas carols. We had planned a couple hours of free time to explore the city as soon as we were done, but I noticed my friend Gules talking to a group of young boys as we were ending our final song. A couple of the boys had caught my attention earlier, as they were goofing around pretending to conduct us with roses as their batons. Diane and I went over and joined Gules as we were now released to enjoy our free time. The boys were around 15 years old and they were on a school trip, visiting Germany from The Netherlands. Gules was her normal outgoing self, getting right down to the real questions when I joined. She was asking them what they believed, if they had heard about Jesus or if they were saved. Most of them turned to a boy named Bryan, who seemed to be a bit of the leader in the group, to answer. They were still young, acting fairly immature and they’re answers weren’t serious but rather something ‘hysterical’ thought up on the spot.
“Who do you think Jesus is?”
“Maybe a guy that use to exist that did nice things”
“Don’t some people like think He is God?”
“What do you believe in?”
“Haha I’m God and these are my followers”
“What do you know about Christianity or think of it?”
“I use to go to church on Christmas with my parents. It was boring and weird haha”
“We had to learn about religion in school. I don’t remember anything”
“I just want to live my life and do what I want!”
“Don’t you think it’s scary to think about everyone seeing life like that? That they just want to live to do what they want and makes them happy?”
“Haha. We are all just going to die one day.”
The conversation went in circles for over an hour at least. It seemed to be going no where. The boys weren’t taking anything seriously and were ultimately trying to make us seem foolish. They didn’t want to think anything over, they were just in it for a good laugh. I thought about how we could have abandoned this conversation, what seemed like forever ago, now freezing and realizing our “free time” was dwindling away. Yet, at the same time I didn’t want to let myself believe that this was all for nothing. Not just because it would be frustrating to think we wasted all our time but also because I wanted these boys to realize how serious and intentional we really were. I didn’t want to be made out to be a wimpy or dumb Christian at the centre of their jokes when they thought back on this time. And even less, for them to have this as the only picture of Jesus that they walked away with. But what were we suppose to do? Feeling defeated and running out of time, Gules asked them if we could at least pray for them. Some of them laughed- again- some ran away thinking we were out of our mind, and some agreed. The group that wanted to, gathered together, the others were observing from a distance. Right before Gules was going to start praying for them, I very randomly burst out,
“Does anyone need healing? Like physically? For anything?”
I have no idea where this sudden boldness came from (cough…The Holy Spirit…cough) because this is beyond anything I would normally do, but in the moment I just knew I had to ask. Gules and Diane, looked at me completely caught off guard and we left room for a response. One boy stepped out and said that he had a pain in his back. I think in the moment, his main motive was to confirm how silly we were, but that was irrelevant. So, it was time for me to swallow all concern and doubt, trusting that in my obedience and willingness, and this boys response, God would reveal Himself. I laid my hands on the spot he pointed out and began to pray. Not even a moment later, I knew, and I could feel that he was healed. I still can’t explain it completely, but in that moment I knew. So I looked at him and asked him if he noticed a difference. The look in his eyes was enough of answer for anyone to be convinced this was no joke. He asked me how I did it and I told him I didn’t but Jesus did. He took in every word like no other that past hour. I told him that Jesus loved him so much, that he wanted to reveal himself in love and in a tangible way. The other boys questioned him, asking if he was serious or if he was just joking around. You could tell that some were still questioning what just happened, but like I said, the look in his eyes was undeniable. So I asked if there was anyone else. Another boy stepped forward, also with back pain, and not 100% convinced his friend was being serious. He explained where it was and again I laid my hands on him, and began to pray. I didn’t have some extravagant or lengthy prayer saved up to quote in that moment. I was still not even sure of what the heck was going on or what I was suppose to say or do. Regardless, Not long after I began to pray for this boy I had the same feeling as the first time. I knew he was healed and again, the look on his face said it all. He was in complete shock and couldn’t make sense of what just happened. At this point, all the boys were completely attentive, read to listen AND even to open up. Even Bryan. They had questions and thoughts and wanted to hear what we had to say. We got to talk and pray for more of them one on one and even had Diane had received words of knowledge to share. There teachers came back, to what I guess was they’e meeting point, and the boys all went and explained who we were and what had happened. We prayed that when they went back home, God would open doors for them to keep learning about Him.
That more Christians would come into they’re lives and help them discover more about this God of patience and love. We don’t always get to see the end picture, but we get to be a part of it and I trust that God works out the rest. At the end of all this, I realized again, how little we are and how big God is. We are so incapable but still He uses us and not a moment of our time is wasted when we are following His voice.
(Gules was even given the rose!)