05 March 2021
Reflections from Brazil: Anointing oil and Vicks!
Shortly before the pandemic hit, Carolyn Lawrence visited Brazil to see at first hand the work and mission of the Methodist Church in Brazil.
One thing I always carry in my handbag is a small vial of anointing oil which I use whenever I have opportunity to pray for people, particularly when I pray for healing. In response to the words in James 5 vs 13-15, I will anoint people on their forehead if they so desire it, and pray for healing – whether their need for healing be physical, spiritual or emotional. One thing I noticed as I attended various services and meetings in Brazil was that in every church there were large bottles and decanters of olive oil on the altar which made my tiny vial seem puny in comparison! The leaders in the Methodist Church in Brazil use the oil during meetings and services at every opportunity – the pastors and bishops would anoint people not just on their foreheads but also on their hearts and hands as they prayed for healing, for blessing, for commissioning as a symbol of the presence of the Holy Spirit. On my return I bought a large bottle of almond oil to carry around the country on my travels but it is still sitting here waiting for the day I leave the house and meet people in person again!
When we were with Bishop Fabio Cosme visiting the Amazonian Mission Boat, we had a wonderful time of prayer together with the team and Bishop Fabio shared with us the testimony of his difficult childhood and how he had at one time considered suicide. He testified to the saving grace of Jesus who redeemed him, called him to his ministry and anointed him to share the love of Jesus. As we shared this special moment together, Bishop Fabio anointed each one of us with oil and prayed over us with the laying on of hands. He had an encouraging word from God for me personally which was that while others in the past have overlooked my potential, God has seen it and has chosen me for this role as Vice President of the Methodist Conference. This was such a blessing to me because that has certainly been true in the past when I have been ignored, rejected and bullied and as I stand amazed that God has chosen one as ordinary as me for this awesome task.
During the trip, I was poorly for a few days with a heavy cold which was not at all convenient in our packed schedule and we all prayed for a quick healing! Sandra Lopez (co-ordinator for the Caribbean and Americas) shared with me the advice of all Latin American mothers to use Vicks vaporub for all ailments! I bought some at a pharmacy and Sandra advised me to rub it on my feet at night and wear socks which I duly did! Apparently it is also a good cure for headaches, sore throats, insect bites, aching muscles and practically anything that is wrong with you! Since returning from Brazil I have used it for all of these ailments and can testify that it works!
So the upshot is that now as well as my small vial of anointing oil in my handbag I now also carry a small pot of Vicks so I am now prepared for all eventualities!!
Carolyn Lawrence, Vice-President of the Methodist Conference, 2020-21
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