The local pastor’s home was made out of two metal ship containers in a dusty part of South Africa. After a busy morning of visiting people in her area, my mission trip team and I sat down in the pastor’s metal home to quickly eat our boxed lunches. Preschoolers had been following us all day, playing with us and hoping to catch us with food. The door suddenly opened, and a three-year-old saw a bag of chips in my hand.
“They have chips!” he yelled, and in seconds we were swarmed by more than fifteen hungry kids.
Thinking to myself, I don’t need to eat today, I grabbed the two extra lunch boxes we’d received that day plus my own. I guided all the children to one side of the container so the rest of my team could eat in peace. With each box holding only two sandwiches, a banana, a bag of chips and a candy bar, it was clear I was going to run out of food. I opened the first box and handed it all out anyway. Then I opened the second and third and did the same. Then I reached again for the first and-
It was full of food again! I couldn’t believe it!
I kept rotating between all three boxes and found them full each and every time I picked them up. I was amped! At one point I asked, “Who wants a banana?” Four kids eagerly raised their hands. There were only three bananas to begin with- one per box-but all four kids got one!
Finally, I asked one last time who wanted more food. Every child was happily satisfied with food in each hand. Some of the kids probably hadn’t eaten yet that day, but I knew they were full when they all left to play in the park.
I didn’t hand out the candy bars because I didn’t want the kids to fight over them. In the end, after the kids left, I had the candy bars plus three whole sandwiches leftover! My teammates and I filled a garbage can three feet high with the trash left behind from all the food the children had eaten!
This may sound crazy, but we were so caught up in the excitement of feeding the kids that what had happened didn’t fully hit us until later that evening. One guy joked, “It’s like we were multiplying food!” We started to laugh and then suddenly stopped and stared at each other.
“Is it possible?”
“I can’t believe it!”
Slowly, we all realized the miracle God had done. He had taken three small lunches and stuffed more than fifteen hungry kids until they couldn’t take another bite! And there were even leftovers!
I realized that when we love unselfishly, we can live in the realm of miracles. I was perfectly happy to miss my lunch so the children could eat, and that selfless love ushered in a miracle!
But the miracles didn’t stop there. The next day God again revealed the power of love and compassion. Because the local witch doctors had taught people how to inflict curses, many were suffering from various physical illnesses. We met a Christian woman whose arm was grotesquely twisted by a curse placed upon her. We prayed for her arm and saw it dramatically shoot out and straighten! Another woman was healed of tuberculosis. After only five minutes of prayer, a man who hadn’t walked for ten years got up and started dancing in the street! It all happened so easily. We were listening to the leading of Holy Spirit, so anything seemed possible. Though many people were suffering physically from the curses put on them, we knew the power of Jesus was stronger and used the authority Jesus gave us to see people healed and freed.
One woman had barely been able to breathe for thirty years. When we prayed, her symptoms got worse. A righteous anger came over me and I told her, “This is a spirit of darkness affecting you. I don’t know where it came from, but it’s going to leave, and you’re going to meet Jesus today.”
Looking back now, I never would have had the courage to be so bold, but Holy Spirit empowered my words. We prayed and she was completely healed. She was able to draw a full breath for the first time in three decades! Then she and her family all invited Christ into their lives. Later that day we went to a different village and saw another twenty-five people healed of spiritual oppression. Spiritual darkness got drop-kicked in the face that day, and those people will never be the same. God’s heart of compassion flowed through our team, and it resulted in great freedom!