The rehab center has been one of my very favorite places to visit for two reasons: Matti and Monica.
Matti, also known as Matthew, is one of our guides and translators during ministry that is in training. We immediately warmed up to him and began joking around with him as we traveled from place to place. Eventually, he was nicknamed “uncle” because he had truly become part of the family. But we knew nothing about him besides he was a joy to be around. Our team split up into smaller groups at the rehab center and my group was blessed to have Matti with us. We sat down with five of the men staying at the center and began to break the ice, and quite honestly it was hard to even do that. We weren’t sure what we were allowed to ask and felt that our stories didn’t relate to theirs. After many awkward moments of small talk surrounded by massive silence, Matti began to talk to them without us saying anything. I perked up, waiting for Matti to tell us what he had said or asked, hoping that it would spark a longer conversation, but Matti continued on and on in Nepali. After about ten minutes of dialogue between him and the other men, he finally turned and told me that he was sharing his story with them. He told me that he too was an addict while running with a bad crowd but had been sober for a couple of years now after finding the Lord. He said that they were asking him how he was able to stay sober because many of the men had relapsed, and Matti was able to explain that it was only possible with the Lord’s strength. Then he turned back and continued in Nepali and at that moment the Lord reminded me that his plan is perfect and I do not have to take control. See, I had been running through my mind trying to think of anything to say while the Lord was working on Matti’s heart to spark a very intentional conversation. And the thing is that Matti never would have had that opportunity if he was not taking us there. Sometimes God uses you as a gateway to use someone else. Sometimes you are the encourager rather than the one up front running the show. And that is a beautiful thing. You don’t have to worry how God is going to use you because he has it all worked out and it’s definitely the best way.
Monica is an eighteen year old girl at the rehab center. By the time we met she had grown up a pastor’s daughter, gotten married to a nonbeliever, become an addict, been left by her husband, sent to jail, taken to the rehab center, and become a Christian. It was eye opening and heartbreaking to hear her story. She is my age and has gone through so much more than I could ever imagine. But her story is beautiful just like everyone else’s because she came running back to her Father, who embraces her tenderly. She is a prodigal returned (makes me think of my brother’s movie and how proud I am of him making his dreams a reality while daring to spread God’s love in such a dark field). Not only was I blessed by Monica’s story but also by the sweet time we spent with her. After hearing her story, we sang a worship song for her and then she sang one for us. We realized that we knew the song she was singing in Nepali and joined her in English. It was such a precious moment, listening as the languages mixed and lifted to the Lord in praise. It’s moments like those that Satan flees fuming with anger because there is nothing that can stop us from worshipping the Lord, we don’t care whether we know what each other are saying because it’s all beautiful praise. Those are some of my favorite moments.
God shows up big when you surrender your plan for his. He is moving and he will use you to move if you are willing to surrender yourself completely. He makes beauty from the ashes.