We entered, suddenly, into a sacred moment.
But actually, every moment is sacred—it has more to do with our sudden awareness of something beyond ourselves.
Z., a regular attender at the Little Darda Church, has been getting sicker over the last few months. A few days ago, she returned home after a couple of weeks in the hospital. Weak and in pain, she is having trouble moving around her house, her asthma making her sound like she is breathing underwater.
“I am throwing up everything I eat except a little bread with some jam on it,” she told us after we stopped by to check on her.
Z. hasn’t been baptized—and although she faithfully attends church every Sunday, she has rarely expressed what she thinks in terms of faith or God. Like many adults in our church, her inability to read makes it difficult for her to access the Bible.
But as we sat around her fragile body, she began to speak to us.
“God is for us and not against us. He is our father and is taking care of me even though I am sick. We are in his hands and we are safe with him. He is our father and our healer.”
I caught my breath—could I be understanding this correctly? This was not someone who was trying to impress us or give us pat answers, although some of what she was saying came from songs or concepts that we had presented in church.
These were words with power—spoken by someone who was and had been suffering—words that testified and exhorted, words that portrayed a simple yet deep faith.
Yesterday in the Little Darda Church, it felt like one of those days—missing keys, late starts, confusing stories, and minor drama. We had announced the previous week that we were handing out food packages—and this week the church had a sudden surplus of people.
During the song part of the service, there was a loud POP, which startled everyone and caused three men to run outside to investigate. I personally thought someone had thrown a rock at the window, but we never got to the bottom of it.
After church, we drove a young girl home who had recently started coming to church.
“When that noise happened,” she said, “I saw a vision of Jesus standing in fire in the middle of the church. I was afraid and my heart is still beating really fast!”
She did look shaken—and so we tried to help her process what she had seen and what that meant.
By this point in my experience, hearing Roma talk about such an event is nothing new or shocking. God seems to speak frequently through dreams and visions to the Roma in order to testify, exhort, or encourage.
Whatever this young girl actually saw, she was moved into a sudden awareness—the reality that Jesus is among us.
A few weeks ago, I wrote that the leadership of the Little Darda Church was discouraged and frustrated, and that consequently we had decided to take a pauza from many of our programs in order to pray and seek God.
Since then, there have been no big revelations, or masses coming to Christ, or disciples maturing overnight. However, there have been a few of these glimpses, a subtle quickening of awareness, that God is active in our midst.
“I am not afraid to die,” Z. said, “because my Father is waiting for me and he is not going to trick me—I will be with him.”