We visited Sister Rita and Brother Art this past Tuesday.
They are about a 2 1/2 - 3 hour drive up into the mountains from Iloilo City. They have mountains on one side and the South China Sea about 100 yards down the path on the other.
LOVE their church. I could have stayed there all day....you have to walk down a path quite a way from the road to get to the collection of houses and the church. The church is on the left and Danny's house is on the right.
The pictures below do not capture it well, but it will at least give you an idea...
Sister Rita is quite skilled in reflexology and massage. She insisted on massaging my feet and did so for about an hour. Amazing stuff -- amazing woman.
But here is the deal. Sister Rita has been diagnosed with a disease in her retinas and is going blind. She's fine in her surroundings, but at the Ladies conference this week, it was quite evident that she could not see her way. Her husband must lead her.
Friday night's service was a healing service. We didn't plan for it to be that way -- it just happened. The women gathered at the front for about an hour receiving prayer and anointing from each other...Sister Elsie (the Superintendent's wife) said she heard people everywhere in their dialect saying, "I'm healed, I'm healed!"
Today, before leaving for the airport, we went by the Valenzuela's church to visit and see their church and Sister Rita and Brother Art were there. They were waiting until the heat abated before going home on their motorcycle. We visited and then Sister Rita said, "M'am Melani, the process has started. I woke up this morning and could see!" She was walking around without her husband's assistance (even offering to help me down the stairs!!!) and took a picture of me on her cell phone and said, "See? I can see this picture of you!" Her vision is still blurry, but she says it has been consistently improving.
I've often prayed to be a part of something like that, and am still amazed by what we experienced. I'm humbled. I'm repentant, because I don't deserve it.
We often ask why we don't see such things in the United States.
I'm wondering if it's because we would never be willing to sleep for 3 nights on a concrete floor, and wash our clothes out and hang them over the rails of the top balcony, and stay to wait for a ride to the boat until 2 a.m., then sing all the way to the boat because we were just happy to be with the people of God in the presence of God.
I'm wondering if it's because we could do all this in 90 degree heat with no air conditioning, no money, and no transportation.
I'm wondering if it's because we just look at God like a genie in a bottle--we really want His magic tricks, but aren't quite willing to give up our pride and our stuff and our comfort.
I'm wondering if it's because it's easy to give our money for His cause--but it's quite another thing to give ourselves.
I'm just wondering...