A healing wind
Bernard, a member of the Central East Impact Team recently shared the story of Peter*. Peter has been integral in welcoming Dignity into his area. Bernard tells the story in his own words here:Last year Peter lost his wife and he was discouraged to the extent that he stopped going to church. He had reasons for that. He said his pastor and his church members, the Christians, they never went to the funeral, they never visited him throughout that time. Now he knew me as a pastor, but not the pastor of his church. We came to know each other through the work of Dignity. One day I met him at the market and he was looking so sad. So I got concerned and I called him by the side and I tried to find out the reason why. He briefly narrated the story to me and I made an appointment with him.I went and visited him. We sat down and talked, talked and talked. He said something to me like “I will never go back to church, because from the time I became a Christian I knew that church, or the Christian brothers and sisters, are the ones who can give you peace whenever you need it. They are the ones who can comfort you whenever you need comfort. But to me they have done the opposite. It is better that I go my way and face life as I see it myself.”I said “Yes, I understand my brother and I know you are broken hearted. Allow me to pray with you.” So I prayed with him and after that prayer he said, “When we were praying I felt something like a mighty wind. I opened my eyes to see trees were still, they were just standing. There was no wind blowing, but I felt the mighty wind. And after that I have started feeling loose, like I was bound but now I am loosed.” I said, “We thank God for that. I know God is doing something in your life. Let’s keep on praying and see what God is going to do in your life.” Then I went back home.After two days I went to visit him. He was like, “Pastor, this coming Sunday I need to go to church. I will go with you.” I said, “Thank you my brother. But you know what? I didn’t come to you to encourage you or to sympathise with you so that I could take you to my church. You still have the right to chose which church to go, to continue with your old church. Forget about what happened. As long as you feel you want to go to church, just go.” He said “Thank you”. The following Sunday he went to church. Up to today he is still in the church.We are so encouraged to hear of God meeting Peter in his pain when Bernard prayed with him. We are also encouraged by Bernard’s response to Peter. It is likely that Peter felt a sense of duty to start going to Bernard’s church as it was Bernard who had reached out to him. Bernard’s response was gracious and made it clear that he was not reaching out to Peter simply to grow his own church, but rather because he had a genuine concern for Peter. We are delighted that Peter has decided to return to his old church and has continued to attend, working on restoring relationships and encouraging the church as a whole.
*The man’s name has been changed to protect his privacy