Food for the Soul

By Shirley Haworth, Alliance missionary to Mexico 
     It was late morning, and the hubbub of the city was in full swing. I was sitting in a local restaurant, praying and looking up Scripture. Out of the blue, I had received a disturbing phone call from a desperate woman I’d met only briefly.  
     Anita* had spent 73 years filling her life with every kind of worldly pleasure. As she ran from God, she had talked with priests, psychologists, sexologists, and doctors. She had tried meditation, yoga, and any kind of self-help she could get her hands on to ease the torment in her soul.  
     Humanly speaking, I was nervous. I knew my short-comings all too well and could have said that Anita was way out of my league. But I knew that God had put her in my path for a reason, so I was filled with His peace. She was a half hour late—normal in our culture—and when she finally arrived, she made quite a scene with her flamboyant attire and loud talk. 
     In Mexican culture, greetings take up a good bit of time, but Anita knew what she wanted. After smiling and kissing me on the cheek, she sat down close to me, got right in my face, and said, “Now tell me what I need to do to be saved!”  
     I was so taken aback at her abruptness that I sheepishly asked, “Don’t you want to look over the menu first? We can talk while they prepare the food.” Anita said, “Yes, I’m hungry, but my soul is even hungrier.” I explained how God loves and accepts her just as she is. I told her we don’t have to clean up before we take a bath, that when we come to Jesus with a repentant heart, He forgives us and makes us new.  
     Every step of the way, Anita agreed. She read aloud each verse I had picked out for her, sometimes stopping to wipe away tears. Every time the poor bewildered waiter came by to see if we wanted to order, Anita shooed him away. “Yes—I will order when I am ready, but I just can’t eat until I do this,” she said. “My soul needs food more than my stomach does!” 
     In less than half an hour, Anita was at the feet of Jesus, the Bread of Life, ready to be filled by Him and Him alone. When we were finished praying, she lifted up her head. With a satisfied grin on her face, she declared, “Now we can eat! And by the way, how are your children?” 
     It was an experience like no other, even after 10 years of being a missionary. It has been a tough climb out of the pit that Anita had dug for herself, but she is taking life with the Lord one day at a time. She recently accompanied me to a Women’s Encounter, where she solidified her faith and saw that she has many sisters and new friends in Christ who share some of the same struggles that she has.  
     Little by little, Anita has begun to see changes in her children, grandchildren, and even great-grandchildren. Just when she had thought her family would reject her and that none of them would believe that the transformation in her heart would stick, she showed up at my women’s class with a younger sister and a granddaughter.  
     God is on the move in Anita’s family members as they begin to open their hearts to Him. Pray that the Lord will continue to use Anita so all of them will find Him as their soul-satisfying Bread of Life.  
*name changed to protect identity 
About the author: Shirley and her husband, Kevin, minister among the unreached middle and upper classes of Guadalajara, Mexico. They are laying the groundwork to begin the Alliance’s third church in Guadalajara.  
“The middle and upper classes of Mexico City and Guadalajara are the most unreached people groups of Mexico and perhaps all Latin America,” says Shirley. “In Guadalajara, only three in every 100 people profess to be Christians. In spite of this, the evangelical Church there has doubled during the last decade. What an exciting place to be working in! About half of Guadalajara’s 6.8 million residents are from the middle and upper classes, and that is where the fewest churches exist.”


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