I was very excited about treasure hunting today. The weather was just beautiful with the sun shining and everything. This week I was hoping to see some of the clues that the Lord spoke to me during our prep time show up on our trip out.
My group ended up being Daniel (the pastor whose family I live with), Izzy, and me, and when I was sharing my handful of clues, one of them was clearly the word lonely/loneliness...which Daniel had heard as well! It's always exciting to see when more than one person has the same thing. One of my other clues was the name Matilda. What? Matilda? I refused twice to write this down because I'm pretty sure it's not an English name or common name at that. As it turns out though, there is a street in Sheffield called Matilda not far from where we were. I got so excited when Izzy said this!
One thing about treasure hunting that Danielle had reminded the group before we started was that we need to be creative with our clues. For example, a name might not be the person we end up talking to on the street but the name of a family member who they want prayer for, etc. Well, we didn't end up making it out to that street because we ran out of time, so Danielle said she would go with me tomorrow so we could check it out. I'm just so curious!
Anyway, my group of 3 ended up going to the Peace Gardens (a central location in the city centre) because Daniel had a picture of this location, specifically near two restaurants. The three of us were walking around looking for someone sitting by themselves and saw a few people but decided to go to the specific area between the two restaurants. As we rounded the corner, we saw a guy sitting on a bench. We knew we needed to go talk to him. Izzy and I decided to give it a go while Daniel waited close by (so we didn't overwhelm the guy). We sat down next to him, explained what we were doing, and asked if there was anything he wanted prayer for. He said no, he wasn't feeling well, and then started convulsing. I couldn't really understand him at this point and wasn't sure what to do. Daniel walked over, and we all tried to talk to him.
Izzy and I went to grab some water from a nearby cafe and brought it back to him. Daniel told us his name was Aaron, he was from India, said he was a Christian, and was a student at the university here and didn't like it. He was lonely and hated Sheffield. All the while, he's still convulsing. Daniel prayed out loud while Izzy and I prayed. We started to talk to him about sin in his life and asked him if there was anything he needed to confess. I asked him if he had an addiction to anything, but he never clearly answered. The more we talked to him about spiritual things, the less Aaron could talk. He seemed to try but nothing would really come out.
After a long while of praying and trying to talk to him, we had Aaron take a walk around the gardens with us to gain back some control. He was able to talk more clearly again. Pretty soon into our time with Aaron, we realized he was not just sick but possessed by a demon. Something was clearly not right with him, and when we started mentioning Jesus and confessingsin, he became more and more mute.
This was my first time to be around this kind of situation, and I truly believed he would be set free from his oppression. When he wasn't, I was really confused. Jesus' disciples cast out demons all the time. I have faith and truly believed it could happen so why didn't it? Did I do something wrong? As I talked to Daniel, he said that it all comes down to Aaron having to confess his sin not just us praying for him or rebuking the demon. He had to be willing to do this, and he didn't seem to want to confess anything.
I know we found and talked to the person God intended for us to. It makes me sad for Aaron that he wasn't willing to let go of things, but I pray he's still thinking about it. I pray he realizes someone cares for him and that he doesn't have to be alone and depressed in this city, far from home. I'm hoping he'll come to church on Sunday and find community, so we'll see.