Our neighbors are noisy. And not just one neighbor–nearly all of them. Maybe it’s do to the fact that we live across the street from a construction site. So they feel the need to yell out and play music over the constant sound of breaking rubble and drilling. Or maybe it is because we live on a street wrought with Spiritists and drug addicts. Either way it is noisy. I think my friends and fellow missionaries Zach and Jordyn Osburn knew the noise the best. Their room was right by one of our neighbors who loves to play music and yell for a good portion of the day–especially during Joel’s (their son’s) nap time.
One night, several months ago, I heard a bunch of yelling, but really thought nothing of it. Later, that night I found out that one of our neighbors had accepted Jesus! Earlier Zach heard yelling and saw a man hitting a woman. So he grabbed a Portuguese speaker ran over and stopped it. The girl, Letitia, was very broken and wanted prayer and to give her life back to Jesus. After this incident we saw Letitia a lot, mostly because she wanted money. Her stories were always frantic: my boyfriends in jail and I need to visit him, I took this kid from a drug house and I need to get him to his aunt who lives far away, someones trying to kill me—and always “I need money right NOW!”
During these times we learned a lot about Letitia. She is pregnant, has two other children, a drug addict, a liar, and a thief. She was adopted by her family, who lives across the street from us, but is not allowed to go inside because she of her stealing problem. Instead, she gets all of her meals passed to her through a gate, and lives in a upstairs loft a few houses down from us without a door–she sold the door for drug money. Yet, all at the same time Letitia is sincere and somehow sweet. She really wants God and she really wants to change–she just doesn’t seem able to do it. She always wants prayer, and nearly every time gets misty eyed when we pray.
About a month ago, I told her we weren’t going to give her money anymore. I told her that we loved her, and we knew she was using it for drugs so we couldn’t give it to her. She said she understood and we prayed, and I cried because I was afraid of loosing my friend. After this Letitia stopped coming by as often, but was always across the street, often yelling at her mom for not giving her money. I made it a habit to stop and talk with her when I saw her there.
We often talked about her baby, and I would firmly tell her to stop using drugs especially while she was pregnant. Last week, during one of these conversations she explained that she didn’t want the baby, she didn’t care if the baby lived or died. She said she hated the baby’s father, who she found out was a prostitute, and when she discovered that she was pregnant she used so many drugs she didn’t sleep for a week. !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! It was heartbreaking, and as I urged her that the baby was a individual person with a purpose and a future, she didn’t seem to care at all. When I went inside the base I was distraught. I shared with some of the missionaries and we prayed for Letitia and for the person growing inside of her.
Saturday, after the children’s program, one of the missionaries came to get me because Letitia was downstairs. When I came down to the front courtyard she was talking with Herb and Lorelei (the base leaders) and seemed very afraid. She said, bloody knife in hand, that she had stabbed her sister and now the cops were after her. Again, she wanted money to take a bus and escape. Letitia was very broken, and as Herb and Lorelei preached the Gospel I sat down and prayed beside her. Herb shared about the prodigal son, and that he actually had to get up out of the pig slop and return to his father’s home. Letitia said she wanted to return, so we prayed with her and she asked for Jesus’ blood to cover her again.
After this, she came inside to take a shower, get some new clothes, and eat with us. During lunch Jenn, a missionary and delivery room nurse, offered to use a fetal doppler so Letitia could hear the baby’s heart beat. Letitia seemed a little excited and agreed that after we ate she would listen to the heartbeat.
After rice a beans, we laid out a blanket across the couch, and Jenn got the machine and gel. Before Jenn started Letitia looked at me and asked if the baby was alive. It was the first time I had ever seen her concerned for her baby. Jenn said “there is only one way to find out.” Jenn began moving the little wand over Letitia’s belly searching. We were all intently listening to the swooshing sound. I think we were all praying “God let there be a heartbeat.” Then it was there, a little fast galloping sound. Jenn stopped moving the wand and began to smile “That’s it, that’s your baby.” Letitia didn’t need me to translate those words, she knew, and she began to smile and tear up too. “Is it good?” she asked Jenn. “It is perfectly normal.” Jenn responded. When Letitia heard this you could see her whole body relax. Juliana (one of the missionary team members) then asked if we could pray for the baby. After we prayed Letitia asked “Can I pray too?”
So she prayed that God would protect her child, that He would help her change, and He would forgive her. Tears ran down her face as she prayed.
Shortly after Herb came back downstairs and talked with her about taking her to Rehab, turns out she hadn’t stabbed her sister (the bloody knife is still a mystery). He promised that we would cover the cost and take her, but she had to be back on Monday before noon. She agreed and went on her way with bus fare to spend the weekend at her aunt’s. Over the next day’s we could hear her yelling again in the streets–she hadn’t gone to her aunt’s. We had a team prayer meeting for her on Sunday.
As Monday morning came my hope of her returning was small. As we were making breakfast, someone came into say “Letitia’s here”. I looked at the clock–before 9am!!! It was a miracle. She told us that her roommate had tried to poison her, and in her desperation she prayed, and God came with an encounter. God said “If you stay here you will die.” This happened the same hour that we had the prayer meeting for her!
So the rest of the day we spent getting her all the things she would need for her months at Rehab, helping her say goodbye, and then several missionaries took her to center! It was beautiful, and Marcia, who has been though the program, was coaching her the whole time.
Now she is there, and God has set her and is setting her free!
So, thank you God for heart beats! Thank you for creating us to have a heart that needs to move and be moved by you. Thank you God for moving on our hearts. Thank you for life, and for protection. Thank you for Leticia’s heart; that despite all destruction and sin you move on it, and you cause it to move at the sound of her baby’s heart. HEARTS, HEARTS HEARTS THEY BEAT!!
Please continue to pray for Letitia and her baby!! God is good!!
A picture from our balcony of Letitia’s parents house–and her spot she used to sit at.
You can also see the constructions site