Sunday, June 23, 2019 (Niterói, RJ, Brazil)
On our morning beach walk, April and I noticed an artist painting. His paintings were so beautiful that we wanted see them more closely. But, instantly, we got intercepted by a man who asked if we were visiting Rio. He told us that he was a pilot and offered to take us on a private tour of the city. Both April and I were feeling like something was not quite right about his offer, but he kept trying to convince us how wonderful his “tour” would be. All the while, I was distracted, wanting to go over to the artist and see his paintings. During the conversation with this “pilot,” I noticed the artist disappear, which I thought was odd, since he left his guitar case with all of his donations unattended. I had no interest in a tour and kept looking for the artist. When the artist came back, I was so happy and made a last ditch effort to end our conversation with the pilot.
The artist (“Monge”) didn’t speak English nor did we speak Portuguese so we resorted to the next best thing….google translate. April and I were captivated by his art and his beauty. It wasn’t a beauty that most would see. He seemed to radiate beauty. It’s difficult to explain, but the conversation was so natural, sweet and pure. Before we left, I asked how we could pray for him. At that point, Monge started speaking perfect English to us and saying things to us that only God would know was significant to us personally. We hugged him and said good bye, and started walking to the restaurant recommended by the pilot. A few minutes later, I turned to April and said, “do you think he’s an angel?” She got goosebumps and said “yes!” Then, I said, “Let’s go back and ask him if he’s an angel.”
We knew even before we went back to Monge that he was an angel. When we asked him, he simply said “Yes” and smiled. Both of us could explode with excitement. That’s when he held us and lifted us up off of our feet. The gold paint on his hands got on April’s hand. He said sorry, but we just laughed and walked back to the hotel dancing in the glory. Thanking God and in utter amazement of God’s love and blessing over us. Thanking Him for His holiness and answer to our prayers. We asked to see angels, but Jesus gave us beyond anything we could hope or imagine. We got to experience being in the presence of the angelic. We weeped retelling the story of God’s goodness and basked in a contentment and purity that I have never experienced in my life. It’s a moment that we will never forget and look forward to living 24/7 in eternity!
We are also grateful for this angel as later when reflecting on this supernatural experience we believe the angel was protecting us from what could have been a human trafficker (the “pilot”). I also think that when the artist disappeared, the angel returned in his place. I won’t know for sure until I can ask God directly, but verses the Lord put on my heart point to this. When I asked the Lord if it was an angel, Hebrews 13:2 came to mind: "And show hospitality to strangers, for they may be angels from God showing up as your guests."
On the flight home, the Lord encouraged me to look up Jeremiah 33:3 and go through different translations. I know that verse by heart, but when I got to the New English Translation, it made perfect sense. "Call on me in prayer and I will answer you. I will show you great and mysterious things which you still do not know about.’” It was when we asked how we could pray for him that he revealed himself as a messenger from God. I’ve questioned that moment wondering if Monge was an angel or not. Recently, I felt drawn to look back at photos that day and for the first time, noticed the artist’s palette. Instantly, I saw an angel, not as they probably look like but depicted in a way anyone, including my ten year old, would recognize. Artists don’t paint pictures in their palettes. I knew in that moment what we saw.
Many passed by Monge that day and didn’t see what we saw in him. It was the way way he looked into our eyes. It was what was beyond words...Purity, holiness, and a golden glow that we sensed with our spiritual eyes. Others overlooked the beauty that didn’t measure in the world’s standards, but in this sweet, precious moment, God opened our eyes to "taste and see” heaven and be forever changed!