“Women are never stronger than when they arm
themselves with their weaknesses.”
While speaking at the women’s retreat in Bangkok, my dear friend, Kim, came up behind me and whispered a gentle warning in my ear.
“Janell, be prepared. Nancy is going to ask you to come back to Bangkok in two weeks to speak at our Christmas Outreach Event,” my friend smiled. “She’s going to eat lunch with us today. Just be ready.”
I was very glad for the preparatory warning. Nancy, the wife of a Thai Senator—petite powerhouse of a woman—sat down at my table. Still reeling from jet lag, I took a bite of my delicious spring roll and tried to gather some mental clarity. After momentary introductions and exchanges, Nancy proceeded to ask me if I would consider returning to Bangkok in two weeks to speak at ECB’S (Evangelical Church of Bangkok, http://www.ecbbangkok.org/ecb/) Annual Christmas Outreach Event. Feeling quite overwhelmed by her question and even amused, I responded, “Oh, I really don’t think that is possible. I can’t imagine my husband agreeing to my returning so quickly. But, I will ask.”
“Oh, I have goose! Goose, look!” as she pointed to her arms. “I will pray.”
Kim, Candace and I looked at one another, erupting in an endearing laughter. “Goose bumps. I love it!” From that moment on, our new favorite line was, “I have goose!” Nancy gave new meaning to a very old, familiar idiom.
This week brought “goose” of another sort as news of a massive earthquake devastating Haiti came across my television. As images of Port-au-Prince flashed, I couldn’t help but remember the eight days Rob and I spent in Haiti on a short-term missions trip in August 1985, just one year into our marriage. Vivid memories of impoverished people enslaved to cultural strongholds of voodoo, witchcraft, and black magic remain, yet, each night as we held our evangelical crusades, thousands came to hear God’s Word preached. As a young Christian, I had never seen or felt such oppression. One afternoon, as we walked by makeshift lean-to’s, serving as homes, positioned next to a massive garbage dump, I felt numb, anguished, and quite angry. I remember being unable to talk and at that moment, wanted desperately to get on the plane and go home. Enough, I thought. Later that night, during the crusade, a woman possessed by a snake demon hissed while writhing on the ground like a snake. Stunned, I watched. And, I began to pray like never before. Enough, I prayed.
Today, I began praying for Haiti again. Even though it has been 25 years, a little piece of my heart and spiritual history remain in the small country of Haiti. I can see their faces and hear their voices as clearly today as I did in 1985. Time cannot erase a movement of God. As I listen to all the commentary, wincing at some and tearing up at others, I find myself with one prayer:
God, rebuild, restore, and reign over Haiti.
In Jesus’ name. Amen.