In my last blog, I talked about “God’s Interruptions“. A few days later I boarded a flight with two of my leaders to the US. I have scheduled every day as tightly as possible to make the most of our brief visit to the United States. We were scheduled to visit 4 states in three weeks and speak up to twenty times in churches and meetings. In only 8 hours after arriving in Prescott, AZ after nearly 30 hours of travel we spoke in Heights Church for three services. All was going according to plan.
Day two was for resting. We visited old friends and did some sightseeing in Sedona, AZ. Sedona is a very beautiful city tucked in the mountains of Northern Arizona. Being that this was Poline’s and Karony’s first visit to the United States I wanted them to experience the best of America and its culture.
On day three we had an interruption. Poline coughed. That’s it, just a single cough. Somehow, in the instant strain of coughing, he pinched a nerve in his back and collapsed. He is suffering with intense pain. That same night at midnight I started having pain in my stomach. By 2:00 am I felt as if I would live my final hours moaning in pain in a home in Prescott, AZ. It turned out to be kidney stones. Our plans instantly changed. There would be no visit to the Grand Canyon and our ongoing travel plans were in jeopardy. We only had 24 hours to “get better” to continue to the next destination (4 hour drive to Tucson, AZ). God had other plans.
Our host family dropped everything. Business has not been good, and they needed every moment to work just to make ends meet, but they just stopped everything to help us. Poline went to a chiropractor to try to fix his back. The chiropractor had heard him speak in church that previous Sunday morning and was impressed. He didn’t charge anything.
After my pain continued to increase I decided I had no choice but to go to the emergency room for treatment. In the hospital I met several nurses and hospital staff who also had heard me speak on Sunday. They gave me the best care with speedy and friendly service. I still haven’t even seen a bill! Medication kicked in and the prayers of people around the world were being offered for us.
Still in pain and under heavy doses of medication, a friend skipped work to drive me hundreds of miles to Tucson and back. He did that just to make sure I would be able to make my next appointment.
Our plans changed, but we got to see another part of America: The beautiful hearts of followers of Jesus in Arizona. You know, around the world, it is unfortunate that many missionaries and believers think of the American church as weak, unspiritual and self-focused. We like the US Christians as an ATM machine, but don’t want their “culture”.
I am glad for the interruption that God gave us. I am glad that my two leaders, Poline and Karony, got to experience American Christian culture. These are some of the characteristics that I have noted:
- American Christians are the most generous in the world.
- While every church has some weak and immature believers, there are plenty of solid followers of Jesus.
- American Christians are willing to go into debt to help others in need.
- Other peoples needs are more important than personal work and making money.
- A believer from the other side of the world is just like family.
- Believers are humble and genuinely want to serve others.
- “What’s mine is yours” is true. American believers will share everything.
Thank you so much, followers of Jesus in Prescott, AZ for demonstrating how Jesus has filled your lives and culture. I know that you will be blessed by God. You are a great model of servanthood for believers around the whole world.