She Will Never Be The Same

crabtree.jpg

Anaya’s overwhelmed breathing subsided and was replaced with peaceful inhales and exhales. Her entire demeanor changed. Ellie saw a calm come over her friend as Anaya took a moment with her eyes closed, soaking it all in. Anaya described how Jesus was reaching for her. Her life was changed forever.*

Ellie lives in the Middle East. She recently celebrated her one-year anniversary of living in her new home and praises God’s provision of relationships and opportunities to share the Gospel in such a short time. One such connection is with Anaya, a woman who is from another Middle Eastern country but was living in Ellie’s city for work. The pair began spending time together in a bigger group of women who regularly meet up to make new friends in the city and do fun activities.

Many women in the group, including Anaya, have expressed to Ellie their unique experiences of encountering either Christianity or Jesus himself. “Each girl is from somewhere different in an unreached people group,” Ellie shared. “What a gift to walk alongside them in friendship and point in them in the direction of what their heart is unknowingly longing for!”

Ellie shared that one girl had a dream of Jesus when she was 9 years old but didn’t realize who he was until Ellie’s teammate showed her evidence in the Bible. Another woman learned about Jesus in the past while she lived in the States for a time with believers and seems to be open to learning more. Ellie asked a different woman in the group if she felt like she was in right relationship with God, or if she felt stuck in brokenness and she responded with, “I feel like I am always trying to live up to something and to be good, but I still feel lost.”

In the last year, Anaya lost her job and was unable to find another in their city. Shortly after she formed a friendship with Ellie, she was informed that she would have to return to her home country as she was unable to obtain a work visa. Anaya struggled with fear, anxiety and paranoia from the stress of her circumstances as well as relational hurts she carries from her past.

Two days before she was supposed to leave the country, she was overwhelmed from the demands of packing for her return. Ellie and one of Ellie’s Christian friends invited Anaya to store some of her belongings at Ellie’s apartment. Anaya accepted the invitation and arrived at her apartment, filled with worry and anxiety.

Ellie and her friend invited Anaya to stay for coffee and before she needed to leave, the girls asked to pray over her. After they laid hands on their friend, they prayed and repeated the Gospel to her. They asked God to reveal himself to Anya and they rebuked the enemy in Jesus’ name over Anaya’s pain and fear.

Anya wept as the two women prayed. They knew God was moving in Anaya’s life. They told her how it says in scripture, “If you declare with your mouth, ‘Jesus is Lord,’ and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.”  

Through tears, Anaya said she believed! Ellie and her friend were overjoyed! They were amazed to see how God was moving right in front of them. Ellie asked Anaya what she was thinking and feeling in that moment.

Her breathing calmed, and she responded, “I see Jesus coming towards me like a light. I see him putting his hand on my head like he is protecting me … I feel like he is hugging me … I feel so light … I feel like all of the weight on my shoulders has been lifted and that I never have to worry again - that everything is going to be okay because of him.”

Ellie shared that it was a moment when God reminded her of his control, “That he gives us the gift of being a part of watering the seed, but that God does all the growth. I could have never convinced her to follow Jesus, it was all God.”

Anaya had to return to her home country two days later. Ellie and her friend will reach out and find a community there who will disciple and care for Anaya. They ask for prayer over this new sister in Christ and her growth as she steps into her new life. Praise and honor be to the one who uses us as instruments for his purposes. How gracious he is for using Ellie at the perfect time, bringing her through one year of life in this place just like he brought Anaya, so that in his time, another sister would hear, believe and know his immense love for her.


*All names changed for security