Marta & Miguel
"But you are not like that, for you are a chosen people. You are royal priests, a holy nation, God's very own possession. As a result, you can show others the goodness of God, for He called you out of the darkness into his wonderful light." (1 Peter 2:9 NLT) What does it mean to be a priest? When I think of a priest, I'm reminded of the priests in the Old Testament who went into the part of the Tabernacle called the Holy of Holies. They offered sacrifices and prayers on behalf of their people.
Celia and I went on a mission trip to Reynosa about 5 years ago and we met a young couple that had 3 children. The day before we arrived, Marta and Miguel had lost 1 child in a fire and the authorities made a snap decision, blaming them for the fire and then took their other 2 kids from them. As we met with them the next morning and saw how desperate they were, we were broken. Bound by language barriers and really lost on how to console these young, grieving parents - we were deeply touched, but we had nothing to offer. However, we prayed for them, we cried out asking the Holy Spirit to come console them in a way none of us could comprehend.
We left in a couple of days, but we kept praying and we shared their story. A group from our church returned the next month and built two small houses for them. We learned that their other two kids had been returned to them. Marta was understandably still very quiet, distraught and grieving as our group was around her.
We kept praying for them. Every day...by name. We lifted Marta and Miguel up and asked God to comfort them. Then, 7 months later I had a chance to go back. What I saw blew me away. Marta was smiling; she wanted us to know she was better. One of my friends, who was on the team that built a house for Marta, said she looked "radiant". I agreed and was broken all over again as I remembered this verse:
"Those who look to him for help will be radiant with joy; no shadow of shame will darken their faces." (Psalm 34:5 NLT)
The Lord had answered our prayers. He had comforted her and she was truly "radiant" with joy. We experienced the joy of being a priest for Marta and Miguel. As we carried their burden and interceded for them, it became very personal for us. When I shared the attached picture with Celia, I'll never be able express the joy we felt in seeing her transformed and healed heart.
Marta and Miguel don't really know us beyond being part of a group that helped build them a house, but we know them. The Holy Spirit taught us how to love others in a new way through that young couple. There is no greater joy than being a priest. Come Sunday and find out what else it means to be a priest! See you at Murchison Middle School, at 10:00 AM.