by Christie Michaud
TOGO, West Africa – The heat was intense. In a foreign land, I sat under the few trees I could find for shade at the makeshift medical clinic. This was my second time to experience life among the people of Togo. Dust coating my flip-flops and sweat soaking through my scrubs, I questioned what help I could be at a clinic. My medical background extended to administering liquid Tylenol to my young children. Little did I know, God had me there for more than explaining to patients how to take their medications. He had another purpose.
A petite, young woman clothed in bold and vibrant fabric, typical of the culture, sat down at my medical station. She appeared to be near my age, in her mid-thirties. Her name was Akoua, and as I reviewed her chart of symptoms and diagnosis, my attention caught on the word “depressed.” Underneath in blue ink was scribbled, “going mad.” When I looked up into Akoua’s dark eyes, I recognized that quiet desperation.
I, too, quietly struggled with depression. In the U.S., it had its stigma, but it was nothing compared to in Africa. Seeing Akoua’s desperation, I felt God’s presence like never before, whispering, “You need to tell her you deal with this.”
Tentatively at first, I opened up to Akoua through a translator, sharing my similar struggles and how I was learning to fight for the life that Christ died to give me…give her…give us. The look of hope that spread across her face is something I’ll never forget.
The following day, Akoua traveled on foot for hours to other villages looking for me at our new clinic site. It wasn’t me that was drawing her there; it was Truth. We continued our discussion, and that day we left as sisters in Christ.
It didn’t matter that Akoua and I lived on opposite sides of the globe. We were in the trenches together, fighting similar battles and tendencies. The same enemy was deceiving us. As I flew home from that mission trip, God made it clear he wasn’t done, once again whispering: “Now go home and do this.” While I didn’t know the specifics, I knew I needed to obey.
One vulnerable step of faith at a time, he led me to create the Battles to Breakthroughs Ministry and the accompanying 10-week course.
The Battles Ministry is a community of believers learning to recognize destructive thinking patterns in their lives. We use practical, biblical tools to promote healing and breakthrough.
Since 2012, more than 300 women have taken the Battles course. In 2013, the course expanded to the Men’s Ministry at Seacoast, creating the opportunity for over 150 men to learn to break strongholds in their lives, through the power of Scripture.
It has been humbling and amazing to see how God opens people’s eyes to his Truth, and to see lives change. I am so thankful to Seacoast’s CARE ministry for providing a nurturing environment for this ministry to be born. I believe this message can help all believers grow spiritually and find freedom in this life. I hope this message can be used to help:
- Individuals who feel stuck, hopeless and isolated
- New Christians who are just learning about this great battle
- Veteran Christians who refuse to allow the enemy to steal any more of their lives
- Groups looking to grow and spiritually develop within a community
A Willing Heart
I never set out to create this ministry. I’m an example of what God can do through an unlikely person—all you need is a willing heart. I encourage you to take steps of obedience, big or small, wherever God’s leading you. Then watch him work and use your story for his glory.
Beginning the week of September 11, the Battles to Breakthroughs class will be offered on Monday mornings, and Tuesday evenings. Also starting November 7, the men’s class will meet on Tuesday mornings. For more information, contact Christie Michaud (women) at firstname.lastname@example.org or Shawn McCarthy (men).