Friday, February 20, 2015

Through Him, We Are Victorious!

Restoration and Victory

2 years ago I had to walk through the most difficult experience of my life. The fact that I'm alive today and completely fine is a miracle. Jesus has done so much healing physically, emotionally, and spiritually in my life the past 2 years. For those of you who don't know, I spent about a year and a half, right out of high school, doing missionary work off and on in Mozambique, Africa with Iris Ministries and Pioneer61 Ministries. When I was in Tete, Mozambique serving as the first intern with Pioneer61 something terrible happened to the missionaries who I was serving with and I. This is a lengthy story but I feel like I'm supposed to share the whole thing in detail once more to be able to give God the glory over and over again for protecting us and healing us. He gets ALL THE PRAISE AND GLORY for redeeming this horrible situation into something beautiful....

It was  February 21 at 2:00 am. I was in my room in Nick and Marlene's house, where I had been living for the past three months after Harvest School, and I was sleeping because it was the middle of the night and everything then out of no where I was woken up to two guys talking in my bedroom. Now when I initially heard them, I didn't freak out because I thought it might have been some of our boys that we minister to because often times when something happens to them in the city or the police show up, they will come to our house no matter what time it is, for us to help them. So I assumed it was some of our boys and something happened and they came to my room first since it's closest to the front door. The lights were all off and I couldn't see who it was, so I reached for my phone to turn the flashlight on, which I always keep on my bed by my pillow, only to discover that it was gone. As soon as I realized my phone was gone, I knew these were not our boys and these guys were here to rob us. My heart began to race and my stomach was turning in knots and I didn't know what to do. By this point, the two men realized that I was awake and they came over to my bed and turned on a small flash light so I could at least see their faces, ripped my mosquito net off of me and started saying (in portuguese) "where is the money, where is the money, where is the money?" They were two men probably in their 30's, very angry and sweaty. I was trying to calm them down a bit and distract them because I knew why they were there. I then began trying to communicate with them with what little portuguese I do know and I said "wait, how are you? My name is Brooke, what's yours?" They ignored me and repeated to ask me where my money was. I told them I was a missionary and I didn't have very much money but I handed them my purse and they dumped everything out and took what little cash I had, my iPhone, iPad, video camera, headphones, and any other small things of value.

Once they discovered that I only had 1,000 mets which is around $30 US, they were even more angry and upset. Then they started tearing up my whole room just ripping everything apart and throwing stuff around trying to find anything of value at all and didn't find anything else. I told them I'm sorry I don't have much for them. Then the main guy who the other guy kept calling "Biggie" grabbed my arm and sat me up out of my bed and attempted to abuse me but the other guy was like "no we came here for money" and I began crying and was begging the guy to let me talk to my friends (Nick and Mar). He didn't know there were any other people in the house. I was like please I just need to talk to them. So he was like "ok fine" and cut the strap off of my camera bag and he tied my hands behind my back super tight to where i had cuts on my wrists. This whole time the second guy is standing over me holding a huge machete at my neck so I couldn't scream or anything. All I could do was pray in my mind and speak the name of Jesus over and over again. Once he got my hands all tied up, he took me to Nick and Mar's room and I yelled for them to come out and I told Nick to come first and grab something! Mar knew what was going on, right away. Nick grabbed something to hit the guy with but as soon as he opened the door, the guy grabbed it from him and almost hit him with the knife and pushed us all on the bed and tied up our hands and feet. One guy stayed in the room with us the whole time and the other guy went around the whole house and started grabbing everything and stuffing it in Nick and Mar's luggage. They took our TV off the wall, 3 iPhone's, 2 iPad's, 2 video camera's, and all their chargers, 1 super nice Canon camera, a bunch of money, headphones, 1 MacBook Pro with all the videos and pictures of our boys on it, and so many more little things of value. They didn't take any of our credit cards, passports, documents, or car praise Jesus!

After they gathered everything that they wanted, they came in the bedroom with us and the main guy, "Biggie" grabbed Marlene and took her into my room by themselves and he tried to abuse her as well and we just heard her screaming in the other room and we couldn't do anything, we were so helpless sitting there tied up. Nick said several times "please you can kill me, just save my wife and leave her alone" the guys didn't care tho. Later after everything happened Mar told us that while she was in my room, he was trying to abuse her and she was fighting him and he punched her in the mouth three times and dislocated her jaw and cause her top lip to swell up like crazy. They finally brought her back in the room with us and then he took me again to the living room and since my feet were already tied, he was pretty much dragging me and slamming me into the walls and i got several bruises from this. He threw my on the couch in the living room and said in english "you do this, ok, you no do this, I kill you're friends". Oh Jesus! That's all I could say was the name of Jesus and pray that He would protect me! As he was trying to abuse me, he physically couldn't and finally stopped trying and took me back to the bedroom with Nick and Mar. They then took t shirts and stuffed them in our mouths and cut a towel into strips and tied the shirts in our mouths super tight so we couldn't scream when they left.

They turned of all the lights and took all our stuff and left the house with us helpless and all tied up on the bed. Only by an angel, Mar was able to slip one foot out of the rope and she ran to the kitchen and grabbed one of our small kitchen knifes and while her hands were tied behind her back, she cut my hands free then we all began cutting the ropes off of each other. We threw some clothes on and ran around waking up our Mozambican neighbors making sure they were ok. Went to the Cain's house (missionary family that was with us at the time) and borrowed their iPhone and tried to deal with the police and everything. We grabbed the rest of our important things like passports and documents and such and went to some of our friends house there at around 5 am after everything settled down a bit. We know this AMAZING couple, mama Gigi and papa JB who are from Zimbabwe and they opened up their beautiful home to us to stay and rest for a couple days after everything happened.

SO much stuff happened that weekend right after it happened and we didn't feel safe staying in that house anymore so we went back the next day and packed up every single thing and moved it to a storage shed on mama Gigi and papa JB's land.

The day after it all happened, we got a phone call from Mama Heidi Baker (founder of Iris Ministries) and she said that she was sending Papa Rolland (her husband) in the Iris plane to come get us and take us to Pemba so we could be with our Iris family and rest and receive healing. That was such an amazing answer to prayer! We got that call, then two days later we were in Pemba receiving so much love from the Baker's and the whole Iris team and all my beautiful kids there. I couldn't think of a more perfect place for us to have gone than right there at that perfect timing.

This whole situation was the scariest thing that has ever ever ever happened to me and I never thought that it would ever happen to me, but it did! I was completely terrified the whole time and literally thought I was going to be seriously abused or killed. I've never been so scared in my life. But even in the midst of my fear, I had a peace that Jesus was holding me through it. He really gave me, Nick, and Mar a crazy unconditional love for the two men that did these awful things to us. It makes absolutely no sense to my human mind that we could actually love the men that did these nasty things to us, but we did. We still do. We know it was the enemy working through them. We wanted the police to catch these guys so we could minister to them and demonstrate the love of Jesus to them. We want to see their lives radically changed for Jesus and transformed for the Kingdom.

It was just two weeks before all of this happened, that God told me to go back to Tete in May and serve long term. Then the enemy attacks with this crazy situation and I really felt him lying to me and saying "you really want to come back here? you see what I can do to you. I can actually hurt you. You should just go back home to Tennessee where you're safe with your family." Believe it or not, this gave me more of a confirmation that Tete is exactly where I'm supposed to be. Those lies gave me more of a motivation to go back soon and show the enemy that he CANNOT stop me!

Jesus ended up providing everything I needed to go back to Tete and I did and spent 4 more months there! 

I wanted to share all of this again to remind everyone of the power of conquering fear and sacrificing everything absolutely everything and saying YES to King Jesus no matter what we have to go through. HE IS WORTH IT ALL!! 

Most people would think that this weekend would be a sad time for me to mourn and remember what happened to me 2 years ago. But I'm choosing to have JOY and to continue praising Jesus for this life He's blessed me with and for having victory over the enemy in every single situation. Through Him we are victorious over all things!