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14 October 2007 @ 01:47 pm
Post Church-service scribbles  
We had a really great speaker at church last night. His name is [removed at request of Campus Crusade], and he works for Campus Crusade for Christ. He spoke about the many different people he has spoken to in the Middle East, where he works, and how prevalent miracles and visions are in that part of the world compared to here. In his missionary work he has met many different people who have had visions of Jesus, sometimes people who have never even seen a Bible before. Jesus appears before them and identifies himself, and then charges them with a mission.

He sent one man from a small, isolated town in Pakistan to a city many miles away to attend the Bible school there - a man who had never left home before!

It's just interesting. Why do people in these turbulent regions experience visions while those of us in the United States do not? Is it because we have such an abundance of resources - Bibles in every bookstore, Jehovah's Witnesses on every corner - that it is easy to find Him without a personal visit? In Iraq and Iran Christians are persecuted, and it's quite difficult to find a Bible (I hear. Never been, so obviously wouldn't know for sure.) So is the only way for Jesus to get the word out about Himself is to physically manifest before the one chosen to be His voice in that place?

Maybe it's just because we're too safe, and wouldn't believe a vision if we had it. There's not much danger for many of us, so why uproot our home and inconvenience ourselves? Or maybe we're too scientific. We'd just explain a divine intervention away with science or statistics. So since it'd be a wasted effort, God doesn't waste His time making visitations in the first place.

Well, it's an interesting thing to wonder about.

After the service Seanie and I 'adopted' a child in Ethiopia as part of our church's Hope School fundraiser. It's $25 a month for one year, and pays for her schooling and school supplies. There was a table in the hall, outside the room where church services are held, with photos of fifty-odd children spread out all over the surface. We just grabbed the first child in the corner (Realistically, what's the difference between children in Africa?) but many churchgoers were actively studying the different kids, looking at photos, reading the short biographies, etc. It would have been fun to look at all the different kids, but there were a lot of people and we didn't want to be in the way, and we didn't want to end up picking a kid just because it was the cutest or it had the saddest story.

That said, our little girl is pretty cute. Her name's Medina and she's 5. Supposedly she's in good health; she's pretty tiny in the photograph (and looking down at the ground, not at the camera) but doesn't look like she's at death's door or anything like that.
Nechtan Albaflameelf on October 14th, 2007 09:26 pm (UTC)
To be honest, there ARE people in the United States who have had visions of Christ.

Without trying to sound weird or superior (because I'm not, and I'll explain that) or out of my mind, I'm one of them.

I attended a seminar and one of the speakers was talking about how one witnesses one's faith to others. And he said something that both stirred me and made me very, very sad: "...And it will be very easy for you to introduce others to Christ, because you know Him! You've seen His face."

I was a Christian at this point, but I knew ABSOLUTELY that I had not "seen His face". I attended a church where everyone talked about having "...a personal relationship with Christ...", but it was obvious most of them were only using the words. I knew I didn't have a PERSONAL relationship.

So I went home and wept. I prayed, and in talking to God, I called out and said aloud that I could TELL by the earnestness and compleat simplicity of faith that this man who had said these words totally BELIEVED he not only had that personal relationship, but that he had seen Christ. I asked why I did not, and if I were truly one of His, shouldn't I have?

I didn't get an answer immediately.

Later on, I did. I had the first of what have become many visions, along with instructions and information I could not know otherwise.

I know I'm not superior or any different from anyone else. In fact, God literally TOLD me that the truly blessed are those that can follow without having seen His face, because their faith is strong. He only has to appear to those whose faith is lacking or who need a wake up call. Talk about a humbling experience!

It has happened for others and can happen for anyone who believes. But most people never ask and are not patient enough to wait for the answer.

Suzik00kaburra on October 14th, 2007 09:36 pm (UTC)
Thanks for sharing that. It was really cool to read. I'm reading Rick Warren's Purpose-Driven Life and yesterday's reading was about God created us to be His friends, and seeks personal relationships with us.

I have never been a patient person, so I have trouble waiting for God's responses. But I am trying to wait and follow God's timetable instead of the silly little one I make up in my head. Thanks for sharing your story. It definitely will remind me of the importance of patience and listening to God.
Nechtan Albaflameelf on October 14th, 2007 10:03 pm (UTC)
You're welcome! You'll understand I don't tell that story to just anyone, because the moment you mention hearing voices or seeing things, most people dismiss you as delusional at best or schizophrenic at worst.

However, lemme also tell you this. I don't often see Christ face-to-face anymore, but I do 'hear' His Voice. I don't believe everyone's experience is the same, but mine's been consistent and when it first started happening, I dismissed it totally. I'm sharing with you, so that if it happens this way with you, you'll recognise it.

First, of course, you have to ask Him to speak to you. You may be praying this off and on for some time, because it's not up to us when He answers.

What I started finding was that when I'd be doing something else, these weird questions would pop up in my mind. They weren't "me"; I could tell they weren't me at all. I almost heard them internally like a soft voice, but they never had any connection to what I was thinking about or what I was doing. For example, one of the first times, the question was: What is the artist's function? I was making the bed and working on what I had to do that day in my head when the thing popped up in my mind.

I just knew it wasn't me. So I answered the question aloud: The artist shows people the thing they should see, but have overlooked. He refocuses their attention to the proper place.

That was evidently the right answer and my mind was flooded with images and information and an understanding I never had prior to that time. It's almost like a CD was pushed in my head that downloaded information. Every time I get one of those odd questions and I answer it, the same thing happens.

They are always questions. I have a very strong belief if I do not answer the questions, the Voice will stop. Sort of a "If you want to hear Me again, you'll talk to me..." sort of thing.

*hugs* I'll be praying for you!

Nechtan :)
whimsicalbeauwhimsicalbeau on October 15th, 2007 12:01 am (UTC)
(I'm the Seanie she always talks about)

That is really, really cool.

Also, what you said has a parallel with one of the stories the speaker told us.

He said that he was doing mission work somewhere, and one of the men who had a vision of Jesus came to him, and they were talking. The man said,

"What did Jesus say when he appeared to you?" And our speaker admitted shyly that Jesus had never appeared to him personally. (Yet, he added.)

The man who had the vision responded, "Wow! You are so lucky! I am jealous of you!"

"Why are you Jealous?" our speaker asked.

"Because," he replied "You have enough faith to love Jesus, and you have never even met him! Your faith is so strong!"

I hope I remembered that right, but it was certainly the effect. Almost the same thing you said.

It's true though, why you don't hear about visions in America. Nobody would believe them.

It's encouraging to hear these stories. My faith is complicated and still somewhat in a state of infancy, or childhood at least. I've always known there was something more than man, always thought it at least. Suzi challenged me to go to church at one point in my life, and I had too much pride to back down. At first I went for educational purposes. I guess I learned more than I expected. Now I guess I go because it just seems... right.

Thank you for sharing with us.