David, SP staff in the Lincoln Heights neighborhood of Los Angeles, shares about Sandra, a woman in his community who has experienced breakthrough from fear.
Every year our Discipleship School (a seven-month intensive for folks in our church community who want to commit to live out of the vision and values of Jesus) culminates in a short-term cross-cultural mission trip in which we put into practice all that we have learned. For the past two years we have gone to work with Iglesia Comunidad Multicultural in Santiago, Dominican Republic. We appreciate this site not only because they share so many of our values but because they are the ones that lead us as we learn from those who live there how to best minister to the communities they work with.
Sandra is one of our d-school students who has an amazing testimony of coming to Jesus and being transformed in her life attitudes and relationships. Sandra was baptized just this year (along with her daughter who has been influenced by her mother’s transformation) and has such contagious joy in Jesus. This mission trip posed many challenges for her faith and represented a significant breakthrough for her over fear.
For one, Sandra struggled with a fear of flying and her usual support, her daughter, was not going to the DR with us. She had to take an over the counter drug to sleep through the flight. Then there was the fear of going out on outreaches to talk to complete strangers in an unfamiliar context. On one of our first morning outreaches, she went out with Irene (a fellow d-school student), Gus (one of the local elders from our church in LA), and Prince (a Haitian local leader and translator) to reach out to slum community called Pontezuela, home to many undocumented Haitian immigrants living in the Dominican Republic. Gus saw an image in prayer of a woman in red before we even came to the DR. Sure enough this small group encountered a woman in red who complained of a headache and they began to pray for her. They all felt a strong uncomfortable presence after praying for her. Prince, suspected that the woman was under the influence of voodoo.
Hours later, upon returning to the mission house we were staying in, Sandra went to her room to take a shower. She heard an ugly laugh and looked out of the bathroom to see that there was no one in the room. Needless to say she was starting to get scared. When Sandra went back into the shower she didn’t want to close her eyes because each time she would she would see this dark figure. She reached out to the other ladies and asked for prayers of protection. The fear had grown enough that Sandra was debating whether she would even go out for outreach the next day. She reached out to Irene and Gus for words of courage that could help her. Gus gave her Deuteronomy 31:6 “Be strong and courageous. Do not fear or be in dread of them, for it is the Lord your God who goes with you. He will not leave you or forsake you.”
Sandra held onto that truth and in faith she stepped into the new day of outreach. The night before she had an image of a pregnant woman in prayer and sure enough she came across a pregnant woman in the morning outreach. Unfortunately, this woman could only speak Creole (the language of many Haitians) and they did not have a translator in their small group with them who could speak the language. But Sandra did not give up. She went to find a translator from another group as well as her friend Irene and they prayed for the woman who was struggling with anxiety.
Sandra held onto God and experienced breakthrough and freedom over her fear. On the way back home to the states she was able to fly on the plane with no medication and no fear. Now she is excited to share with those around her of what God can do and will do!