a few weeks ago there was a young man who was living in amsterdam as a student in masters commission amsterdam noord. he, along with the other members of the team, went to moldova to do some missions work and serve one of the missionaries there. upon the return of the group he had some trouble re-entering the european union. he was from the united states and therefore had some visa issues and the officials at the border simply would not allow him in. his only option was to fly back to moldova to stay with the missionaries that hosted them. while there in moldova he had decided to take a shower in hopes that the steam would help relieve symptoms of a head cold. he had steamed the room so full that there had been an issue with his breathing and apparently he passed out and suffocated, all this according to the examiner. completely random to us finite individuals and an accident, but make no mistake god was fully aware.
needless to say, this traumatic event emotionally rocked the students. there was a much needed break from the regular routine and activity. because of our (ninth hour) close relationship with the director of the school we were able to minister to the group while they stayed in brussels. during their stay we led worship, taught, ministered, prophesied, and counseled the students through the week. it was very unfortunate in the reason they had to come to brussels but in this experience we came alive. the lord did some amazing things through the team as we ministered to the students.
particularly, i was able to apply those very things that i had learned in my studies to be a counselor in the states. one of the sessions i wanted to do was a grief sharing moment for the group as a whole (the group dynamic is essential to the exercise). this was a time that the students could share memories and thoughts about the young man who had passed. this proved to be very healing for most of them. there was not a quiet moment as the students reflected on first encounters and random thoughts that the young man had while interacting with the students. it was as if they could relive those times of getting to know him and they truly convinced me this guy was someone that left a positive mark on everyone who encountered him.
i came alive as i felt the healing anointing of the holy spirit in these moments with the students. the great thing is that i received some of this healing as well as god reminded me of the hunger he gave me many moons ago for individuals to live and walk through tough times yet allow god to actually grow their faith in him.
the students have been enormously encouraged throughout this last month and i was so happy to be apart of the journey. i am trying to make this as encouraging as i can while not just skimming over the fact that a well loved and magnificent individual has passed on to the place his soul was longing. paul, to the church in corinth, exhorts that "if the earthly tent which is our house is torn down, we have a building from god, a house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens. for indeed in this house we groan, longing to be clothed with our dwelling in heaven...having put it on we will not be found naked" (2 cor. 5:1-3).
the director was able to go back to the states for a few days to take part in the memorial service. the parents, who are committed believers, had been talking with him about how they have been walking through this difficult time. the director of the school, upon talking with the parents, comforted them with the idea that after entering into god's presence as their son has, he truly would want that more than anything else in the world. i can only imagine how such an experience would be so great that we would be willing to not come back, if we had the option. being in god's presence is truly an AMAZING place to be. i recommend you spend all the time you can on this earth, here and now, in his presence.