“Yes. I’d love to pray,” I solemnly answered my husband.
I said these words out loud, while simultaneously having a private conversation inside my head.
We had walked what felt like miles past hundreds upon hundreds of tin shanties. It was a maze navigating through Kawangware Slum, Kenya, stepping over sewage-filled trenches and ducking under makeshift laundry lines cutting across the landscape.
That morning, at the Vapor Ministries Center in Kawangware, Jackie approached my husband and I. In conversation she disclosed the devastating loss of her husband. Now her twin boys were ill. She requested that we visit her home in order to pray over her sick babies. Her sunken eyes reflected decline in health and hope. My spirit was instantly moved by her presence. I intuitively knew this was a mother’s last plea.
In agreement, we followed Jackie to a tiny tin shanty. It was dark with one small candle providing minimal light. A rickety bed was in the corner. At first, I didn’t even see Trenton and Trevor bundled amongst the soiled blankets. She motioned for us to sit on the bed and then placed one child into my husband’s arms and the other in mine.
Micah and Jackie began talking, but I wasn’t listening. I just stared into the eyes of these babies. My thoughts running a million miles a minute.
“They are so tiny for their age…”
“Can they survive this?”
“It’s so smoky in here, how can they breathe?”
“But they would freeze if she stopped burning that coal…”
“They are so sick…”
“Their eyes are turning yellow”
“What should I say?”
“What do I have to give?”
That’s when Micah interrupted my spiraling thoughts.
“Audrey, will you lead us in prayer over Trenton and Trevor and for Jackie; her home and health?”
“Yes, Yes, Id love to pray” I solemnly answered my husband.
Honestly, I can’t remember what I prayed audibly, but I do remember quietly praying in my soul.
“Oh God, Oh my God, will you heal these babies? And Jackie, I don’t know how to comfort her or what to tell her. It looks bleak. It feels so dark. Oh God, please.”
A few days later I saw Jackie working at the Vapor Ministries Center. The staff had given Jackie a small job to earn wages with dignity. They had also arranged for some medication to be given to help Jackie and the twins.
“How are you? How are the babies?” I asked “Will you take me back to see Trenton and Trevor?”
Prior to us leaving for Kenya, a group of elderly women had made blankets. They consisted of two layers of fleece lovingly tied together. These ladies promised that with every tie, they prayed for the children that would receive them. With a sweet confidence they instructed us to give them to someone in need and to assure them “they were wrapped in God’s love.” I admired that age left no barrier for these ladies to stay “on mission.” They were filled with great purpose in delivering God’s love.
Now, an ocean away from these precious women, I immediately knew these blankets were for Trenton & Trevor.
Jackie escorted me back to her home. We wrapped the babies carefully in the fleece blankets. I explained to Jackie who the blankets came from and that her and these babies were dearly loved by God. It was the first time I had seen Jackie smile. Her own frailty gave me pause.
We returned back to the U.S. and battled in prayer for Jackie and her twins.
A year passed and I returned to Kawangware. When I saw Jackie, I could barely recognize her. Standing on the soccer pitch, she was enthusiastically coaching a team of U10 boys and girls. After practice, they sat in a well-formed semicircle where she began to teach their Bible lesson. My heart raced. I asked a fellow staff member “Is that really Jackie?”
“Yes, it is. She has found the hope of Jesus and is being discipled. She is now a volunteer coach and has been promoted in her job. She is one of the ladies in charge of laundry and helps care for all the league supplies. She is growing stronger – spiritually and physically”
“How about –”
I stuttered, not sure if I was prepared to hear my question answered. “Trenton and Trevor?”
“Praise God, they are well. Growing strong.”
I took in a deep breath and smiled. Just one year ago, death was knocking on their door. Darkness, setting the table to devour them. BUT GOD!
As I write today, Jackie faithfully serves and works on staff at Vapor Ministries. She clings to her hope in Jesus and her work at Vapor Ministries is helping to make a difference in the lives of thousands.
Trenton and Trevor now have new names. Jackie took seriously Scripture’s words that a person is made new in Christ. The twins now go by Wilfred and Alfred. They represent God’s faithfulness, His power, and a Hand that is ever outstretched to save.
Jackie’s name literally means “God is gracious” and I believe on that day, sitting in a tin shanty, the Gospel of Jesus Christ showed both of us that God is truly so gracious. His Gospel, the Good News transforms lives both spiritually and physically.
“For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— not by works, so that no one can boast. For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.” Eph. 2:8-10