Jojo was coming home late that night. It so happened that Dennis was standing at the gate in front of his house. “Hi, Jo. Home from work?” Dennis has been trying to reach out to Jojo ever since he became a Christian about a month ago. But Jojo has been parrying his every attempt so far. “Yeah,” he said, aware that Dennis might try to invite him again to this event that he has been eagerly attending recently. “I’m tired,” he said, “Sorry I can’t talk with you anymore.” “You should come with me,” Dennis said, “I want you to meet my new friends. You will like them.” “Sorry, bro, next time,” he answered. Dennis would always try to invite Jojo in spite of the fact that he would always reject it. “I wonder when will this guy get tired of pestering me,” Jojo thought to himself.
One day Jojo heard the bad news that he was one of those who would lose their jobs because of the economic downturn that has affected his company. He couldn’t believe it. He was so convinced that he won’t be included because of his stellar performance. “I’m sorry, Jo” was the only thing his boss could say to him. He went home that night feeling defeated and worthless. As soon as he got home, his wife told him another bad news. His youngest son was sick. They need to bring him to the hospital. Jojo didn’t know what to say to his wife. He quickly prepared his son’s clothes. They took a taxi and went as fast they can to the hospital. At the hospital they were told that their son had dengue. Jojo started to sob uncontrollably in one corner. His wife tried to console him but he wouldn’t stop crying. Just then Jojo felt a hand on his shoulders. It was Dennis. Together with him were four other guys he didn’t know.
“These are the friends I told you about” said Dennis. He introduced them one by one to Jojo. Jojo couldn’t remember all their names but he was glad that they would care to visit him and his son in the hospital. “But what can they do?” he thought to himself.
“We came as soon as we heard” said Dennis. “Thanks” was all that Jojo could say. He was so weak because of depression, but he wouldn’t say anything except “I’m so tired.” Dennis and his friends didn’t say anything also. They just looked sad and deeply concerned.
Jojo’s son was brought to the ICU. He needed blood transfusion. Now his wife was also crying. Both of them felt helpless. He saw Dennis and his friends talking with the doctors at the further end of the corridor. He could not understand what they were talking about. They were murmuring. Then they disappeared from his sight together with the doctor. They came back after a few minutes smiling.
“Sorry, bro. We were just talking with the doctors to ask permission if we could go in to the ICU to lay our hands on your son and pray for him.” Dennis spoke with quiet assurance that baffled Jojo. Before he could say anything, Dennis added, “By the way, my buddies and I will be donating blood for your son. We have also committed ourselves to help you in every way we can financially. We have already informed our whole community about this and they are praying right now. Money will arrive soon. Don’t worry about anything.” Jojo stood there speechless.
Dennis and a couple of his friends went inside the ICU and laid their hands on Jojo’s son. He was there with them watching. It was the first time he heard such a powerful prayer of faith. He could not explain it but somehow he felt an assurance inside his heart that his son will get well. “Are you priests?” asked Jojo. “No,” they laughed, “we’re just born-again Christians from RLCC.”
After three days Jojo’s son was ready to be discharged. He couldn’t believe what had happened. Immediately after the prayer his son quickly recovered. Even the doctors and the nurses couldn’t explain it. All they can say was that “It was a miracle.” Jojo and his wife wept as they saw their son quickly recovering.
“Why is your face so sad, my friend? Aren’t you happy that your son was healed and he will soon be discharged?” Dennis asked him. Before Jojo could say anything, Dennis added, “By the way, you don’t have to worry about anything. My friends and I were able to raise the money for your hospital bills. God is so good. You will go home from here without any debt. Also, one of our brothers in our community owes a company. He said he can offer you a job. Just report to him as soon as you’re ready.” Jojo listened but he could not believe what he was hearing.
A week later, Jojo, together with his wife, his eldest son, and his youngest son, were at a house filled with people. They were all smiling at him, as if they knew him and his family for a long, long time already. “We have been praying for your son. How is he?” said one lady. Another said, “We’re so happy that you’re here. We really want to meet you and your whole family.” “Our prayers have been answered,” said an older man, “We knew God will be there for you. To God be the glory!” Many others approached them and showed them great love.
Someone led them to the dinning table. It was filled with all sorts of food. Jojo heard a young girl pray. She said, “Lord, we acknowledge your presence here tonight. We thank you for Jojo and his family. Thank you, Lord, that by your grace we can become one family in your name. Thank you for dying on the cross for our sins and rising again to save us. Amen.” Jojo smiled, a bit embarassed and unsure of what to say. He has never heard such a heartfelt and sincere prayer just for food.
“Go ahead, enjoy your food.” Someone gave each of them a plate. Everybody started eating. Other people arrived. Conversations started buzzing everywhere. Jojo asked Dennis, “Bro, what’s happening here? What’s the occasion?” “Don’t worry about it, bro,” said Dennis.
After a few minutes, Jojo felt a little more relaxed seeing that everything was just normal. It was a real party. So Jojo asked Dennis, “Who’s birthday is it?” “No one,” answered Dennis, “This is our community event. We do this every other week.” Afterwards, someone stood up and said she wanted to offer a song to the Lord. The children stopped playing and gathered at fhe feet of this young lady. Everyone listened in awe as she sang. It was one of the most beautiful songs Jojo has ever heard. Then someone testified about God’s goodness to their family. What he said felt so real and exciting. It was like God was really doing some great stuff in his life. Then a young man stood up and quoted a verse from the Bible, explaining what it meant for everyone present. It was so practical and useful for everybody. It was the first time that Jojo understood something from the Bible. What more he did not fall asleep in the process! Then people started singing a soft hymn. Jojo just stood there together with his family, mesmerized. “What’s going on around here?” he said to his wife. “I don’t know,” her wife answered, “but it’s beautiful.”
Time passed quickly. Some had to leave early. Others stayed on and talked about their lives or about God. One by one people were saying goodbye, although a bit reluctantly. Someone shouted, “Hey guys before you leave, let us close our time together in prayer.” He prayed. Then he said goodbye to everyone. There was joy in the air even as people walked out of the door. It was like they don’t want to be separated from each other anymore. “This is weird,” Jojo thought to himself.
Finally, Jojo and his family said goodbye to Dennis and his wife, the host of this unusual party. “We hope to see you again,” said Dennis. “We don’t know how to repay you,” said Jojo. “What payment, bro? All has been paid for” Dennis said. “You don’t owe us anything. Then Dennis and his wife prayed for Jojo and his wife and children. They said goodbye to each other. But Dennis hugged Jojo and told him, “I’m always praying for you, my friend. Cheer up! Everything will be okay. God loves you and He has a wonderful plan for your life. You’ll see.”
Jojo went home that night together with his wife and two sons. They were very quiet as they walked home. Finally, Jojo’s youngest son said, “Daddy, can we join them again next time? I felt that God was really among them.”