Forgiven & Free

Amazonian Wednesdays 🌴

Today’s post is a jungle story from November 2021

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Isabel peered at the image on the screen. Facebook was suggesting she might know the face looking back at her. “Ahhh yes! Maria from high school.” Isabel’s eyes re- flected the memories that began to flow through her mind. But how different Maria looked in her picture! Isabel counted sixteen years since they had last seen each other. On an impulse, she began to type out a mes- sage to her childhood friend.

A few days later, they were reunited. Isabel sought Maria out at her house. After the initial moments of en- thusiasm, Isabel soon noticed her old classmate’s eyes looked troubled. “Is everything okay?” she asked.

Those three words cracked open the dam in Maria’s soul. A torrent of emotions and anxious recollections came gushing out of her. The pandemic had ruined her financially. Malicious troublemakers had taken her to court on false charges. They had gotten her neighbors to testify against her with lies. She was afraid she was about to lose her home.

Jesus’ love stirred Isabel’s heart as she listened. Maria vented until all her pent-up distress was spent. When Maria fell silent, Isabel was ready. Gently, she began to share hope with her. “I know Someone that can help you,” she expressed. “It’s Jesus.”

Her face lit up with His presence, Isabel shared a recent testimony. “I just got back from a mission trip into the jungle. There was a girl in one of the villages. She was seriously ill. I prayed for her, and Jesus healed her! He is so loving. You know, even my own home was in sham- bles. God restored my marriage. I just know He wants to give you a new start too!”

Maria listened, amazed at how much her old friend had changed. Just then, Isabel’s mentor, Consuelo, walked in. Isabel had asked her to come. “Consuelo, I want you to meet Maria.” Consuelo and Maria stared at each other. “I think… I know you!” exclaimed Maria. “I think so too,” smiled Consuelo. “I sold you bananas at the market, didn’t I?” asked Maria sheepishly. Consuelo nodded. “Can you forgive me?” Maria blurted out. “I know I charged you too much.”

Consuelo forgave and embraced her. Immediately, she invited Maria to her cell group. A short time later, Maria was baptized at one of our retreats. Joyful tears poured down her cheeks as she was raised to life with her Savior. “I have found Him!” she exclaimed. “I will never turn back. I have so much peace!”