knew that Africa would be different. I knew from the bus ride, the
dusty landscape, and the few people I had met, that this place would
change me. Three days in, and it has already come true.
in two days of dust, and five sleepless nights, we were crusading on
the top of a mountain range in southern Malawi, in a small village
called Namileme. At the end of our first night of prayer, preaching
and worship, we were asked to pray for the crowd and their illnesses.
One by one, they lined up before us in cues. I can honestly say, I did
not know what to expect.
There were all kinds of maladies to
pray for, from headaches, to back pain, fertility, and coughs. There
was numbness and arthritis, broken bones and sores. There were requests
to do better in school or for more intelligence, or for a husband or
wife. And then there was her.
She was small, and beautiful.
Probably 8 years old, with wide set brown eyes. She wore a stained
gray cotton dress that had turned orange at the bottom edges from the
clay roads. That is all about her physical features I can recall.
meekly approached me, head hung low. Wanangwa, one of the pastors
that has been acting as a translator for us, asked her what she needed
prayer for. She responded in Chichewa, their native language, and her
words were so quiet, I couldn’t hear her voice. She leaned in close to
him and whispered as if it were the most special of secrets, her small
hands cupping his earlobe. His nodded his head, and he walked her
slowly by the small of her back to right in front of me. He spoke to
me in bold English something I was not prepared for, “She has a hole in
her throat. When she drinks water, it comes out of her neck and down
her chest.” My brain stopped working for a second, trying to catch up
to the sentence. But there was just no way to comprehend it. He turned
to walk away, but I grabbed him quickly by his right hand. “I’m sorry,
what did you say?” He repeated patiently, “there is a hole, in her
neck. She can not drink water very well.” He pointed to his throat in
case it was his English I wasn’t understanding. I fell to my knees to
see if what he was talking about was even possible, and underneath her
perfect tiny brown chin, and perfect little pink mouth, was a crescent
moon slit about five inches long, from jaw to jaw, mostly scarred over,
except in the middle where there was a hole. It was thick around the
edges, and looked as though it had healed that way. Either my eyes
struggled to send the signal, or my brain would not receive it, I just
went to blackout. In a moment that seemed like an eternity, I tried to
comprehend how someone could have cut her , and how she could have lived
through it. But there was nothing. And the world got so small.
I could think of was that I wanted to take her to a doctor. Forget the
prayer, forget everything, she needed medical attention. I need an
ambulance, I need the police, I need help. And then looking around for
any of these options, I realized we were a million miles from anywhere.
Scanning over the crowds of hurting people it dawned on me, I don’t have
a car, I don’t have a doctor. All I have is God. Crap. She’s
I hugged her into my chest and wept, not sure what to
do. Watching as the line behind her was growing with others, I froze
up. And so I did what I came to do. I prayed. I prayed to God a
simple and honest prayer, “I know you are there, and I know you have
done great things. I need one of them now. Heal this child, Lord. My
whole body and everything I am tells me that she needs a doctor, but
all we have is you. So I’m sorry if right now I don’t believe you can
do it, but ignore me, and heal her. She needs you. You are all she
And then she walked away, disappearing into the dusk covered
crowd. I will always remember the back of that tattered dress, with the
lace trim hanging below the frayed orange hem. I have never wanted to
throw up so badly. But before I could even try, there was another
person in front of me, needing prayer.
Later that night, I
was sitting with my team, and we were discussing the day. When it was my
turn, I just cried. Trying my best to hold it together, I held my head
in my hands and explained to them what happened. “I know Jesus said if
you ask anything and believe, then it will be given to you. But I
asked, and I didn’t believe. I didn’t believe He could do it. What if
I was her only chance to get healing or see a doctor and I failed.
What if because I couldn’t get it together she dies from this. What if I
prevented her from healing, because I didn’t trust God?” And then there
were only tears, no more words could get out of my mouth.
offered me support, and some Bible verses. The one about the father,
who cried to Jesus, “I do believe, help me in my unbelief.” But it did
little help for my heart. I think it’s shattered. It may even be
broken. I hope God will bring me some answers and peace. But mostly I
hope for a miracle. Oh me of little faith. She will forever be
ingrained in my mind. So I will pray for her now, mightily. Which is
all she ever asked of me.
Please, be praying for her as well.
And believe it. From across the world, send your earnest prayers to
God. He can do great and mighty things. Maybe He brought me her, so I
could bring her to you.