As I began my trip this week I am flying for the first time in many years. I don’t like flying anymore for a number of reasons, but this week, I fly. So while I was at the Atlanta airport I prayed and asked the Lord to show me someone today I could minister to or pray with. Fast forward to Houston airport.
I was wandering around waiting on my connection when I walked past a shoe shine place. My shoes needed a shine so I saw a guy on the end and went over to his chair. He didn’t say a word and immediately left. A young lady was taking his place and I asked her if she could do these shoes. “Sure, please sit down.” So I did. I noticed she had a smile from here to there and I was immediately caught by her joyful personality. Then I looked down and saw a small, leather Bible. I asked her if this was her’s and she said it was. I opened it and noticed a ton of underlining in it. I also noticed she was a big reader of the prophets, Samuel, David and old testament history. I asked her about her reading and what was her favorite scripture. At that point God took over and I simply sat there transfixed as I believe God spoke to me while He shined my shoes!
Her name is Tina and she is from Nigeria. She told me her favorite Scripture was John 5, the story of the beggar being healed at the pool of Bethesda. Then she told me of her journey to the US. She and her husband went to Nigerian embassy to get Visa’s to come to US in 2003. They were rejected for no reason, but she told me when they stamped her application rejected, it was a final action, there was no appeal. Her husband was crushed, but not Tina. Tina told her husband that they were not rejected until God said they were rejected. She pointed out to me that as she read John 5, the Lord showed her that she and the beggar and been rejected because the process had broken down. The process for healing the beggar broke down because people would not take him to the pool when the water stirred. Jesus bypassed the process there and He would bypass this process too. She told her husband who immediately told her she was nuts. She told him she was not nuts and they were going to an Assembly of God camp in the mountains to pray. They went to this camp for 5 days and prayed about this and read scriptures. When they came back it was new years eve 2003 and she had not looked at e-mail for a long period of time so she checked her e-mail. There was an email from a person she didn’t know but when she opened it there was a letter she was to print out and take to the embassy giving her authorization for a Visa. What did Tina do? She grabbed her husband and went back to the Assembly of God camp for a full week of fasting and prayer over this letter before she took it to the embassy. She told me they didn’t even drink water until 6 pm in the evening. She went back to the embassy with the letter and was sent to the exact person that had rejected her the first time. She gave him the letter and (as much as is possible for a Nigerian) his face turned “white” and he started mumbling about “why didn’t you tell me you knew this person”. She was given a Visa and is now an American citizen as is her husband. She is in school to be a teacher and as she told me this, they called my flight and I stood up. She looked at me with a smile only God could give and said “Andy, with God NOTHING is impossible!” I was overcome with the emotion of the moment and as I started to leave I asked her if I could pray with her. She said yes and I prayed with her and I left assured of God’s wonderful provision.
There is a lesson here for both Gateway churches. Our’s in Athens and our sister ship in Shreveport. That is the overwhelming importance of prayer. This little lady just grabbed God and said I need a Visa and God said “Well ok, you’ll get one!” As we move forward under the Gateway team leadership, we will see God do miracle after miracle if we dedicate ourselves to prayer. Steve Brown’s book “Approaching God” has given me some real encouragement about how to be a person of prayer and I hope to finish the book while I am on this trip so I can get the information down on paper for us to review.
God answered my simple prayer to provide me someone to pray with. He answered Tina’s prayer by providing a way for her to get a Visa. He will answer our prayers for souls for the kingdom as well. We simply have to make it a priority above all things. He’s just waiting on us.
Lord: Give us the courage and perseverance Tina showed as she waded through her Visa application “process”. Thank you for her and her husband coming to America and I pray for her schooling and ask you to bless her studies and her faith. Give us a heart to pray for those who like Tina want to come to America but are blocked by the process. Show us how we can help those you lead to us understand that “with God, NOTHING is impossible”.