Heather Hunter is a recent graduate of Charis Bible College in Colorado. Shortly before she graduated, she took part in a CBC second-year mission trip to Nicaragua. Even before finding out she had been chosen to be part of a team headed to the Central American nation, Heather knew in her heart that she belonged in Nicaragua. As she prepared for her journey, people prayed for and spoke many encouraging words over her. Among the things people shared with Heather, were that God was going to show her a different aspect of His love on the trip, and that God had a specific, divine appointment waiting for her there, and that she would be aware of exactly when she had the encounter.
During Heather's first day in Nicaragua, her team ministered in a place called Las Maderas. There they worked closely with Andrew's good friends Darey and Karen Jolley and their ministry, Ambassadors to the Nations. While visiting a school, and preparing for her role in a team skit, the Lord brought a young man to Heather's attention. She immediately sensed the Holy Spirit speaking to her about him. Their initial encounter was only long enough to exchange greetings before they were interrupted by the performance.
In the skit titled, Set Me Free, Heather played a person far from God, tangled and entrapped in all sorts of sin. In the end, Jesus redeemed Heather's character, and she embraced Him. Jesus wrapped her in a white robe of righteousness, and the two danced, rejoicing in her deliverance. After the skit, Heather shared some of her personal testimony. Among other details, Heather shared that she used to cut herself.
Immediately following her testimony, the young man she had met before the skit, Jose Luis, came and grabbed her by the hands and asked (in Spanish) to speak to her alone. After the two went outside, Jose revealed lines and scars on his arms—he was a cutter also. Realizing that he was struggling, Heather explained to him that the change he was seeking would come effortlessly, as a by-product of a relationship with God. Heather could see relief flood Jose Luis' face when he realized freedom was not on his shoulders.
By the third day, Heather and Jose Luis had gotten better acquainted. Heather had learned a lot about Jose Luis' past and his current life at home. "He told me his dad never said he loved him, and I told him I had experienced the same in the past," Heather said. "I honestly don’t think anyone had ever told him that they genuinely love him, and I don’t think he had ever been able to say it to anyone," Heather continued.
On a ferry returning from team outreach efforts on the island of Ometepe, Heather felt it was time to tell Jose Luis how the Lord brought them together. Heather said, "I told him about knowing I belonged in Nicaragua, about the divine appointment that I was told I would have, and how I would know the appointment when it happened. Then I told him that he was the divine appointment."
As Heather continued to speak to Jose Luis, she told him of the deep sadness she sensed he had in his heart. She said, "You feel that no one knows, and that no one cares, and you feel alone. But you have to see how God sent me, someone from across the world, to intercede for you.”
Jose Luis acknowledged what Heather shared and said, “Yes, I felt that way, but after meeting you, I do not anymore because I know there is someone who does care.” Wanting to impress upon Jose Luis just how valuable he is to the Father, she replied, “Yes, but you have to see that it is not just me who cares, it is really God."
Heather began to see the Love of God opening up in Jose Luis, the way a flower opens to the sunlight. "The look on his face was unforgettable. I told him, 'You know what? God loves you, and the way God loves you, I love you also. God never wants His kids to hurt, and He loves you so much that He sent me from across the world, just to tell you.”
Jose Luis looked at Heather, and told her he loved her the same way.
Heather said that in those moments, the Lord showed her that Jose Luis was responding to more than her sisterly love; he was literally responding to God's love poured out through her.
For the rest of the trip, the two were inseparable, referring to each other as hermana (big sister) and hermanito (little brother). The Lord continued to use Heather to reveal Himself to Jose Luis, and through the experience, to reveal more of His love to Heather as well.
Understanding that the bond the Lord had forged between Heather and Jose Luis was meant to be maintained, Heather struggled with how to stay in touch with her little brother after the CBC team left Nicaragua. After all, Jose Luis didn't have the modern conveniences (e.g. cell phone and internet) we enjoy in more developed nations. Back in the United States, as Heather pondered the communication gap, she prayed and asked God to make a way for their friendship to flourish.
A few hours later, Heather received a message from Jose Luis on Facebook; he had just purchased a phone and downloaded the free app. Now the two can communicate any time, any place. In Heather's reply, she shared what she had prayed earlier in the day, and pointed out how God had faithfully answered her prayer. Nothing is impossible with God.
Second year mission trips provide real-life opportunities for CBC students to put what they've learned in the classroom, into action. For many, like Heather, these trips are life changing. To learn more about Charis Bible College and how you can change your life and your world, visit: charisbiblecollege.org.