House Fires, Drunks, and Crazy Equipment Can't Stop The Gospel

March 27 2008 / ShareHim in Dominican Republic A, Mar. 14 - Mar. 29 '08 #256
by Alicia Nieb

Personal Testimony of Alicia Nieb.

Hello, my name is Alicia. I am 15 years old, and I am a freshman at Thunderbird Adventist Academy. I really wanted to go on a mission trip this year. I have been out of the country three other times before this trip. I went to Cambodia, Ireland, and Russia with my old school, Arizona International Academy, but I never preached. We went and saw how life really was, not touring, but learning. I had seen so much poverty in Cambodia that I was sure that I wanted to come preach. I always want to find a way to make a difference. I wasn’t put here on earth for no reason.

I really have learned a lot on this trip, and God has shown himself to me more than ever before. I have had a lot of unexpected things on this trip that have been answered with a prayer or two. Here are some examples: Even before this trip started, I knew that my parents wouldn’t be able to pay for it. So it was amazing when I found out that my ticket was being paid for, and then my church paid for the rest of it. Some people from my church even gave me a couple hundred bucks personally. I love my church; they are like family to me. I go to Adventist Worship Center, and they were very supportive of me going. They never have, nor do I believe that they will, let me down.

At first the meetings were going smoothly; a lot of people were coming. I am preaching in a tent in what you might describe as a small parking lot, right next to a really busy street. The first day I couldn’t practice much because my videos wouldn’t work, so we spent most of the day working on those, but when I did preach, I loved it. It was so exhilarating. And the best part was that it wasn’t because of me but because there was something so much bigger than me working through me. The feeling of hope is a powerful thing. Especially when it isn’t your hope but someone else’s who might never have had the hope otherwise.

A lot of miracles have happened on this trip. Some small and some big, but a miracle is still a miracle no matter the size. Things have randomly gone missing—things that I swore I had just a little while ago. I don’t know what happened to it, but I feel horrible. While it was still near the beginning of the trip, Karen needed a USB drive, so I told her that she could use my MP4. But when I went to go get it, the cord to hook it up to the computer was missing. I had just had it! So I looked everywhere, and finally we found it later with my roommates stuff. And none of us had any clue how it got there. It was in plain sight, but no one could find it until after I didn’t need it. That same night I couldn’t find my clicker to change the slides. That was finally just about the breaking point. That I KNEW I had. My friend Katy and I had just seen it when we were looking through the bag that had my projector because we were trying to find the USB cable. So I looked through the bag, took stuff out, put it back in, and I couldn’t find it. Katy looked through the bag, too, and she couldn’t find it either. Also, when I got to my site my translator looked for it, too. I was so desperate. Katy finally convinced me to take hers because she said that she didn’t use it. But for some reason it wouldn’t work in my computer. UGH! Now this is the part that really bugs me. When we were packing up all my stuff, my computer wouldn’t fit back in. We didn’t know why because it had fit every other time, but it seemed like it was pushing against something so I took my computer out again and felt through that part of the bag. The little drawstring pouch that held my clicker was jammed in a pocket that all of us had already looked through. It was hidden plainly—not secretively. But still, no one could find it until, of course, after we needed it. I am convinced that Satan had something to do with that.

I’ve been having a lot of random crashes in front of my site—just drunk people who don’t know what they are doing, and, of course, that is frustrating because everybody runs out to see what is going on. Every time I get to a good part of the sermon, it is almost dependable that my microphone will stop working and I will have to shout. That hurts. And when you are outside, your voice has no walls to echo off of. I think my clicker is possessed because, sometimes, even when I set it down, it goes crazy. It will go back and forth between slides when I am not touching it. Now that is annoying--especially when you are trying to preach and the notes you need to use are flickering back and forth with things that you already have said and things that you are going to say. It goes from the past to the future, but hardly ever the present.

My projector hates me. One night, it kept on displaying my notes on the screen that the audience sees and putting the Spanish slides on my computer. It said that everything was right when I opened up the synchronizer, and it had worked at the hotel, but just not at my site. My translator and I tried to get it to work over and over again, but it just wouldn’t. We couldn’t figure out what was wrong. My computer said that everything was right, but when I would open the slide show it wouldn’t work. I tried turning it off and turning it back on, but it just didn’t like me. I put on another song and then my translator went and prayed. When we came back it didn’t work again. So we tried for a couple more minutes, put on another song, and then went and kneeled down on the black, hard, and dirty asphalt in front of the whole singing audience and just prayed. When we came back it didn’t work again. I decided that if it wasn’t going to work I was just going to preach with my computer and not the projector, but while my translator was frantically pushing buttons and clicking things on my computer, I closed my eyes once more and thought, when I open them, this is going to work. So I opened my eyes, and it did. Then I said to my translator that we had to go thank God. He said to just do it after the sermon, but I said that when someone gives you something you don’t wait until you are done with it to thank them. You thank them once they give it to you. So we went once again to pray.

Another time, there were some drunken people in my audience. I didn’t know at first. I have never been around a drunken person before. But one person got up, and Johan (my translator) and I both thought he was fine. But he came up and stopped the sermon, and no one stopped him because no one knew that he was drunk. He started babbling things to me in Spanish, and then I could smell the reek and despair of alcohol on his breath and his blue shirt. His unfocussed incoherent eyes and his slurred speech were evident. When we realized he was drunk, Carlos (who is kind of like a pastor) came and ushered him away. Then in the sermon, he started yelling that I should be speaking in Spanish, not in English, and other nonsense. Then later that night another drunken man, who was also wearing a blue shirt, started yelling stuff in Spanish. I was told that he was yelling about the devil. He said that if the devil was already going to take him then he might as well take him now. Then he stumbled out of the tent with a beer bottle in his hand and lies in his heart. That was really weird, but Carlos had it under control.

On a different night, the house across the street caught fire while we were still having the song service. All of a sudden I had no audience and I didn’t know why. It was then explained to me that the house had caught fire. But Johan and Carlos wouldn’t let me go see what was going on. Pretty soon everything was under control though, I had my audience back, the fire was put out, and everything was fine.

As you can see, in this trip, God has shown himself to me. Through the hard times when nothing worked he has always come through and said “Here I am, all you have to do is ask.” It makes you wonder if you should pray for the hard times so that God can be visible or for the sight and awareness to see the little things that he does everyday. I think that latter is what I want and what will be hardest to achieve. God is very real. He is not a fairytale. And that is a hard thing to say when you are 15 and everything is so unstable. I can’t imagine what it must be like for other teenagers who don’t have parents like mine. My parents are wonderful, amazing, supportive, and protective. They always know what is best and do what is right for me. They have taught me God, showed me God through themselves, and given me the opportunities to get to know him on my own. I am still struggling. It still doesn’t change the fact that I am a 15-year-old just trying to make my way through. But it gives me the foundations that I need to make my way through and find my own way for myself.

I really want to thank everybody who made it possible for me to come on this trip—GOD, ShareHim, The Quiet Hour, my parents, my family, my church, my Pastor and friends, Karen Glassford, and so many other people that it would take forever just to write down all of your names! Thank you guys! I love you so much!!!!!!
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