Building Relationships Through Prayer

POSTED BY: Laurie Willing on July 24, 2015 CATEGORY: Blog general Mission Teams Newsletters Spiritual COMMENTS: 0

For the past 17 years my church, Simpsonwood UMC, has been partnering with HOI. I have had the opportunity to participate with many of the in-home visitations over those years, but I never expected the experience I had this year.

It starts with our HOI pastor, Wilmer Padilla, meeting with the village’s local pastors to arrange visitations to families who wish to have part of the mission team come to share in prayer. The prayers may be a need for themselves, their family or even their community. Each visit is unique, as is the experience.


My group’s first visit was to the home of a woman, Maria, who told us of her physical ailment, pain in her knee and leg. She wasn’t able to walk around the village much or to even attend church. Of course, living in the conditions they do and the hard labor of everyday activities this didn’t surprise me. As we continued our conversation, she shared with us that she had given birth to a total of 15 children! We were astounded by that number but then she added that only 8 of them were still living. She had lost 7 of them to either illnesses or accidents. My heart broke for this mother. I couldn’t even imagine losing one child, let alone 7! Her physical pain may be something that can be remedied, but this emotional pain would be a part of her life forever. God uses this process of sharing our life story to impact others and I can definitely attest to that!

Our last visit was sitting with the family of a 20 year old, disabled young man, Nixon. His mud-caked legs were withered and he could not audibly speak. As his grandmother brought out chairs for us on the porch, the young man dragged himself across the porch floor and into the house. Pastor Wilmer and our team motioned and encouraged him to sit outside on a chair with us. He smiled and once again slowly made his way to the chair and up into the seat. The family spoke about his condition and asked for prayer. As they did so, the young man smiled with joy and his piercing, dark brown eyes locked with mine. His gaze did not let up and I could feel God’s spirit through him and God’s peace and love for this boy. It was the most amazing spiritual experience I have ever had on a trip. I told his grandmother that I could feel his kind and gentle spirit. She confirmed my feeling by saying that his personality is always one of joy and happiness.

Many of our mission teams have similar stories from these prayer visits, where we think we are going to offer comfort and support through our prayers, but God meets us head on instead and gives us the most faith enriching experience we could imagine. May God continue to help us grow spiritually by participating in His mission and with His children of Central America.

Laurie Willing

Laurie Willing
Executive Director