We never told any human that we wanted C.J. but God sent her anyway. We were young missionaries in a completely Muslim country, we knew that Jesus had specifically told his disciples to pray for more workers to spread the gospel (Luke 10:2), so we asked God for a nurse. We also asked that she be older, as elders are respected in Asia, and we asked that she also be trained as a midwife. This was just a prayer and our little team didn’t tell anyone about it.
One week later I was emailed by our missionary organization in America saying that the nurse that we had requested was currently in training but was not an ideal missionary candidate. Although she had moved from South Korea to California twenty-five years prior, she hadn’t learned much English and couldn’t understand the training. They recommended that she be sent back to California.
After several back and forth emails I began to see what God was doing. Two-years earlier, someone in our organization had guessed that a nurse could help the mountain people group that we were trying to reach and had put in a job request that had accidentally stayed on the books. CJ, a fifty-five-year-old nurse/midwife, had answered that request and was now on her way to us. She was everything that we had asked for and had the added benefit of being Asian, a trait that would turn out to be of enormous value to the team. “She is just what we have been praying for,” I wrote back to the agency in the US. “Please send her as soon as you can.”
Two-months later CJ arrived in our country. We were in language study so, for a short time, she joined another team that needed a nurse. After a few weeks, they also wrote to me. “I don’t think CJ is going to work out,” they said. “She doesn’t speak much English and she isn’t sensitive to the Muslim culture. She talks back to the men and makes the women take off their burqas to be examined. We think you should send her back to America.”
“Send her to me,” I said. “We prayed for her and God sent her.”
When we finally met her, we saw that CJ was perfect. She led more people to Jesus and did more to advance the Kingdom than any ten missionaries that I know. She didn’t speak much English, but if you were patient you could understand her. She didn’t give quick, curt, Anglo-style answers. She gave answers like an Asian, usually prefaced by a long story. But the message that she would slowly convey was often a pearl of wisdom. Oh, how we loved her.
Prayer was an integral part of CJ’s life and strategy and she showed me how a disciple is constantly in prayer. On one occasion, I was given a hotel room next to her. After a late dinner, I was ready for sleep. Laying in the dark I could hear the sound of CJ footsteps, marching her room, and her voice singing, “Blessed be the name. Blessed be the name. Blessed be the name of the Lord.” After two verses of the song, I could hear her familiar greeting to God, “Kansahamnida Abuji,” which I think means, “Thank you, Father,” and then she went into a long, not-very-quiet prayer to God.
Seven hours later, as the sun was coming up, the same sound woke me from sleep: “Blessed be the name. Blessed be the name. Blessed be the name of the Lord. . . Kansahamnida Abuji.” I went to sleep hearing her pray and I woke up hearing her pray. We were with her for three years and, by her understanding of prayer’s primary importance, she led us all to be a team of prayer.
Main Point: Our battle is primarily spiritual and must be fought with constant prayer. If it doesn’t come naturally to you, I suggest you pray, and look for someone who can make you better at it. Over the years my most common prayer has been, “Lord, help me to be a man of more prayer.”
I love this story! I will remember the importance of pray-ers much better than I would remember just the admonition to pray more.
Our family is going through some changes in jobs and futures and we are so prone to decide what’s best on our own smarts. But God was working on your own prayer 2 years before you even prayed it! (And long before that of course!) How wonderful if we could just ask, and then move straightforward without the angst of worrying that God may not know what we need.
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The story shows the real meaning of “all things work together for them that Love the Lord and are called according to His purpose.” It sounds as if you and your mission benefited greatly from this relationship. I’m sure CJ has a very compelling story to tell as well – after being “passed around” so much to finally end up in exactly the place she could do the most good, for so long, must have been really rewarding for her also – a real “match made in heaven.”
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