“Shopping” With God

Five of us broke off from the team on Friday morning and headed to the Mall to shop and treasure hunt. About a month before the Recife trip Deidre received a word from the Lord that she would go “shopping” with God and that it was going to be fun.

Before we left we prayed and God gave us very specific clues. We were to look for a clown, a glowing orange ball, a woman sitting on a bench, someone with heavily made-up eyes, a lion’s head, someone with right ankle or foot pain, a bottle of lemon cologne and someone wearing high heels with black and white striped pants.

We got a taxi big enough for the five of us which was a miracle in itself in Recife and the driver had a cross hanging from the rearview mirror. Don’t you know that we prayed for that dear taxi driver!

The Mall was a beautiful sprawling complex full of high-end shops and restaurants. We decided that the best way to treasure hunt was simply to fall back on the serendipity of God and let Him take the reins, and so we proceeded to shop. Within five minutes we turned a corner and saw a children’s clothing store with two giant clowns in the window. The inside of the shop was filled with little clowns and glowing orange balls. There were three young woman sales clerks. Jussara introduced us in Portuguese and explained who we were and what we were doing. When the girls realized that we were a group of middle-aged women who had come from around the world to pray for the people of Recife, and that God had led us specifically to their store, they were immediately receptive to us. We prayed for each of them and God touched them with His love to the point that all of us were completely undone – the girls and the five of us. One was struggling with an unfaithful husband, one was pregnant and one had a family member facing surgery. We prayed and then with lots of hugs and pictures and praises we left those girls in a pool of joy and headed back out with our faith level at a pretty high ebb.

We were still trying to let the serendipity of God lead our steps but we were all on a little higher alert for the remaining clues. Brazilians love shoes and the Mall was full of shoe stores. We had our eyes peeled for someone wearing high heels with black and white striped pants. As we were walking by one of the dozens of shoe stores I noticed a pair of black and white high heels in the window. We quickly checked in with God who said, “Go for it.” Like the children’s clothing store, this shoe store had three young women sales girls. Jussara explained who we were and what we were doing and one of the young women behind the counter got eyes as big as saucers. She and another one of the women agreed immediately to be prayed for. The first one we prayed for was in college. She told us that she had been awake at 4:00 that morning asking God for direction in her life. God gave us words of knowledge and when we spoke then to her she said instantly that was the direction she had been seeking from God. She also had pain in her right foot which God healed as we prayed. The young woman with eyes wide as saucers stood beside her the whole time and finally she said, “Please don’t forget to pray for me.” Her husband had come home the night before and announced that he was leaving her. They had prayed together for God’s direction for their marriage. We prayed and spoke God’s words over her marriage and family and shared a vision from Atsuko of her sitting in church with her children and her husband at her side. She was undone with peace and joy. The third girl was reluctant to receive prayer but finally said we could pray for her mother who had carpel tunnel surgery scheduled for the next day. As we laid hands on her hands and wrists and prayed heat come on her hands. She was so surprised – it started to dawn on her that God was really doing something and she opened up to receive what God had for her. After hugs and pictures we left these three girls practically jumping with joy in the shore store.

On the way to the food court we saw a young gal in the elevator with heavily made-up eyes but we didn’t get the sense that she was “the one.” The food court had, to Deidre’s utter delight, an Australian restaurant. It had an incredible buffet. We felt like the Lord had prepared a banquet table for us right there in the Mall.

After lunch we went grocery shopping – someone on the team thought we were supposed to buy the evening snacks for the team – and we ended spending way too much time milling around the aisles trying to find suitable and affordable snacks. As it turned out no one had asked us to buy snacks but it was God’s diversion and timing to keep us in the Mall until our next prayer recipient was ready for us.

We finished the grocery shopping, lingered at a coffee shop and then headed to the entrance of the Mall to find a taxi. We had decided that the remaining clues must be for another place and time and then we saw it – a little shop plastered with giant pictures of heavily made-up eyes. It was an eye make-up store and the entire shop was covered with giant pictures of eyes with every imaginable kind of eye make-up. And if that wasn’t enough, standing inside the store was a young family. The mother was wearing a head scarf and it was obvious she was undergoing cancer treatment. One of her children had a little backpack that was a lion’s head.

At that point the five of us were totally undone by the love of God. As we prayed for this young mom you could literally see the power of God go through her body. She didn’t experience outward manifestations but the sovereign power of God was evident in a way that is not possible to describe. It was insufficient to say that all of us were in absolute awe of God at this point. His joy and His hope and His healing presence were all over this little family. She told us that this was her first time out of the house in several months.

We went outside to try and find a taxi and for the first time that whole day, we saw a woman sitting on a bench. Her knee was bandaged and she had a crutch leaning against the bench. After introductions she told us that she had suffered a back injury at work that had caused spinal fluid to leak from her back and it had affected her legs. She had pain and weakness in both legs. Heat came on her leg as we prayed. The traffic was heavy and she had to leave quickly to catch her ride so we don’t know to what degree she was healed but we encouraged her that God would continue to heal her body.

The five of us have all been on many treasure hunts but none of us have experienced the presence and power of God like we did in the Mall. It felt like we were walking around under an open heaven with a level of spiritual authority that none of us had quite experienced in the kind of risky, public ministry that is involved in a treasure hunt. 

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