A couple of posts ago, I talked about the power of story telling and of listening to others' stories. Dan Hubbell emailed me with this wonderful example from one of his trips. Enjoy it! But also learn from it.
When we were in China on one of our early missions about seven years ago, we were equipping and training Chinese leaders. We had committed ourselves for three years to minister as servants to these precious saints. Knowing that we would be with them for this long period of time, I was praying about how best to personally know each of the forty-nine students who made up the training class. The Holy Spirit spoke to me and said, "Let them tell you their story". So, I asked the principal of the training school if that would be possible. He very reluctantly agreed, commenting that in the Chinese culture they did not emphasize the individual but rather the class as a group in their approach to training.
My interpreter and I met with the first student in our living quarters on the compound (which was a deserted factory where these students were "hiding out") to be trained as evangelists throughout the Mainland. My Chinese interpreter reminded me not to be surprised or disappointed if the students did not respond to my request for them to "tell me their story".
The first student to come in was a precious little sister. After I explained to her that I wanted her to tell me her story, I waited in silence for a few moments. Then she began to pour her heart out to me and shared interrupted for over an hour. As she told her story, tears streamed down her cheeks. I felt so humbled and blessed just to be there to hear her as she opened her heart to me.
As she began to complete her story, I was praying for the Holy Spirit to help me know how to conclude our time together. I couldn't see just having prayer with her and asking her to tell the next student to come in. And the Lord spoke plainly to me, "Let me do it". I wasn't sure just what that meant but I told her that Jesus wanted to minister to her. I really didn't know what Jesus was going to do, so we both just waited in silence until I heard in my spirit the Lord saying "I have come to heal your brokenness, bind up your bruises and set you free from everything that holds you captive."
I simply laid my hands upon her, spoke these words the Lord gave me, and waited upon Jesus to minister to her. She began weeping, sobbing and heaving. It was such a sacred moment that I didn't feel worthy to even be present. After a while, she got up from her chair and came over to me and embraced me with a vice-like hug that nearly took my breath away. She again began to weep only this time it was with gratitude and thankfulness.
As it turned out, not only did all the trainees come to tell their stories, but so did the principal and his wife, his mother, elders of the church, grounds keeper and cooks! And all we did was to ask these precious saints to simply "tell their story"!