Posted by: OCI | September 14, 2010

SNAPSHOT: Sting Ray Encounter

OCI’s worldwide ministries face various challenges as they seek to share God’s love. It is our desire at the OCI Headquarters to give individuals a glimpse into our ministries’ daily activities. We’d like to call it a snapshot; it’s not the complete picture, but it’s a tangible glimpse into their struggles and successes.

The following story was written and contributed by Lina Mills. Lina and her husband Brad (pictured above with their two children) work with Amazon Lifesavers Ministry one of OCI’s ministries in Brazil.

“Does anybody want to buy a parrot? I SAID….Does anybody want to buy a parrot?”

I looked down the road in front of the base to see who was screaming at the top of their lungs. It was the neighbor, Mr. Miguel, drunk once again, wandering the streets, threatening to sell his wife’s parrot. Ever since God had provided the piece of property for the Amazon Lifesavers base, we had pursued the task of getting to know our neighbors and uplifting them daily in prayer. We all knew our mission was to reach those in the interior, but we certainly didn’t want to forget those around the base who needed Jesus as well.

Mr. Miguel seemed to be the neighbor with the least hope. He constantly remained drunk. Whenever we visited his home he would shout out commands to his wife and kids while dirty and stinky animals ran all around his dirt yard. How could we possibly reach him? No one could even reason with him. Slowly the months rolled by as we continued praying for him each day.

One Friday afternoon as I was hurriedly finishing my Sabbath preparations, another neighbor knocked on the door. “Mr. Miguel just got stung by a sting ray,” he reported. “Could one of you do something to help him?”

“Well, I guess that would be me!” I stated, secretly resenting the fact that my husband was away working on one of the boats. “On Friday of all days,” I thought to myself. But knowing that Mr. Miguel was probably in a lot of pain, I quickly grabbed some supplies and rushed to his house, leaving my half-bathed children with a friend.

Sure enough, I found him writhing in pain, chanting a prayer over and over. I was amazed that he seemed sober and was not asking for alcohol. I worked quickly, packing his wound in charcoal and giving him some ibuprofen. “It’s all I have,” I apologized, noting his extreme pain. But within a few minutes he started to relax.

“Let me say a prayer for you,” I offered, placing a hand on his shoulder. He nodded his approval. I asked to the Lord to take away his pain, and bring healing to his leg. Then I suggested he go to the hospital for further care. He looked around questioningly at his family members. They each looked away. “Do you have anyone to go with you?” I asked, sensing that that was the problem. “I guess not,” he said with a sigh, “But God will work something out,” he said with determination. I was amazed to hear him talk this way! What had happened to him I wondered? He seemed to be so different!

“I’m sure we can take you, and probably stay with you as well,” I offered. He accepted, so I ran back to see if one of the missionaries could go with him. Soon he was on his way to the hospital. “He doesn’t drink anymore,” one of the neighbors said, as we watched the vehicle disappear. “Really? That’s amazing!” I replied. “Yep. He decided to accept Christ and it has changed him.” I was so happy and amazed. I had wondered so many times if there was any hope for him.

Shortly after the sting ray event, our little local Seventh-day Adventist church held an evangelistic meeting. I was pleased when Mr. Miguel accepted our invitation to attend on several nights. And as I watched him walk by the base during the day, calmly talking with his wife, I couldn’t help but remember Christ’s words: “With men this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.” (Matt. 19:26).

Since this story was written, Mr. Miguel relapsed into drinking again. The ministry asks for prayers for his recovery.


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