Weekend with Wayne
In this story, Richard Bartoo tells how God used him in a way he'll never forget.
Everyone on our Tres Dias team for that weekend were asked to help out while the candidates came in – get them registered, find out their room number, and assist them in getting them and their luggage to the room and getting settled in. We were also asked that each of us pick out one or two of these candidates as a person of special interest – so that we would say extra prayers for that specific person, that they would be “Changed” as a result of this weekend. I picked one person, whom I’ll call “George,” who seemed to me to be a little slow in his thinking and actions – not handicapped, and not exactly retarded, just slow. And I did say prayers for George, every night at least, and often during the day as I did my usual chores. Now I wasn’t supposed to interact with most of the candidates – My job was working behind the scenes, to see that everything they needed was done on time, without their necessarily being aware I was involved at all.
I think it was on the second evening, when I had finished up almost all of my chores, except to lock the front door for the night. There were several people still wandering about, indoors and out, so I just stood nearby and waited. Then I heard the sound of a piano in the meeting room – I realized it was one of the pastors playing, so I wandered over to the doorway and thought to myself perhaps he would be playing for a hymn sing – Myself, I would really enjoy that. So I decided to walk in. The instant I walked in the door of the meeting room, the pastor stopped playing and wandered over to the snack table, helping himself to a few potato chips or something. I watched him for a moment, thinking he may return to the piano; meanwhile, I sat down at a nearby table where George and four others were having an animated discussion.
Now, I wasn’t really listening to the discussion among these five fellows – not at first. And I was not supposed to interact with them, but I did listen in a bit, and it sounded like it was four-against-one, and went something like this:
“But you have GOT to stand up and resist this! You need to stop somehow - the longer you are involved, the harder it will be to break off.”
“But it’s not possible! I’ve tried to! But once you get these chemicals in your system, they are much too strong to resist” protested Wayne. After his third reply, he turned to me, across the table, and brought me into the discussion by saying, “Isn’t that right, Richard?” They all became quiet and everyone turned to me.
I was wearing a name tag, and I guess I had been introduced to the entire group at the start of the weekend, so it was not too surprising that
Wayne nodded his head in agreement, and folded his hands in front of him on the table. I went behind him to put my hands directly on his shoulders, then the other four gathered around and put their hands on his shoulders and upper arms, and we prayed. I spoke out loud, saying something like this: “Lord, we gather around our friend Wayne, who has a problem. The Devil has his claws into
Then the four – including George – got up and congratulated Wayne, pounding him on the back and giving him as much immediate support as possible, and saying several other things. I don’t know what all they said, because at that moment I felt I could not sit there one more second – I was astonished at what I had said, so I jumped up and practically ran outside.
For the next hour or more, I was pacing up and down the sidewalk outside the building trying to sort all this out in my mind: What had happened? Those words I had said to the group – those were not my words, I didn’t talk like that, nor did I normally pray like that, I had never prayed in public or out loud - I had hardly been listening to the discussion, even! Then slowly I realized those words came directly from God! God had chosen to work through me that night – to make me his messenger - me, one of the least of God’s creatures, to minister to those five fellows. I felt extremely humbled – extremely humbled, by all this. I felt as if I was about an inch high, I was so humbled by it all. It took me several hours to get myself calmed down enough to go to bed that night.
I will remember that evening until my dying day. God touched all six of us then. He had me reach out to those fellows, especially to Wayne, but also to George and the others. And as for me - there is no doubt in my mind that God was active there that night. God had arranged everything – the piano music to lure me in, my sitting down at that particular table at that particular moment, for Wayne appealing directly to me for support, and those words – not my words, but words that came direct from God. All six of us experienced something special that night.
Later, when the weekend was over and we were all wrapping up, I happened to be close to George when his sponsor met him to give him a ride home, and asked him for his opinion of the weekend. George only said in his slow way, “Powerful! Very powerful!”