Today when I entered Iris Global church in Pemba, Mozambique, worshipful African intonations flooded my ears. Over six hundred voices sang love songs to God, English, Portuguese and Makua lyrics blending together in sweet harmony. I made my way to the back of the open air church to take it all in.

As I stood there watching and worshipping, a stranger tapped me on the shoulder.

“David,” he began, “Is this your first time to Mozambique?”

“Yes,” I replied. “It’s my first time.”

The man continued, “My prayer for you is that your life would be transformed during this visit.”

Suddenly he wrapped his arms around me, gave me a bear hug, and began prophesying over me.

“Yesterday at Mieze Childrens Outreach, I was watching you playing with the kids. God is enlarging your father heart. Your life will be poured into many more young people, and they will sense God’s love and affection through your life.”

As the man hugged me, a sudden burst of divine emotion poured over me. I looked around at all the Mozambican children. Their cheeks were lit with a warm glow, their eyes luminescent, their smiles so wide I thought their faces might crack with jubilance.

That was how my Father’s Day in Mozambique began.

During worship, I was invited to the altar. A crowd of African children surrounded me and began praying God’s blessing over my life. I began to cry, overwhelmed by the moment. A young Mozambican boy laid his hand on my head, then blew on my face. Instantly I felt a rush of the Holy Spirit’s presence, and fell to the altar.

I laid there, flat out at the front of the church, and God whispered over my heart. “I want you, son. I love you.”

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Heidi Baker, president of Iris Global, spoke about God’s deep love for us. “I want you!” she repeated over the microphone. “I love you!”

The Father heart of God permeated the room, infusing my being.

There are times when as you step outside your normal surroundings the voice of God becomes uniquely crystal. I heard Him today. His words were those of an affectionate father. And He poured another portion of His affection into my heart in Mozambique.

After service, I returned to the Iris Global visitor center. I was greeted by my three-year-old daughter from Thailand.

“Daddy, I love you so, so, so, so, so, so, so much!” Her squeaky voice brought joy to my heart. I felt her adoration. I am hers and she is mine.

There is something so powerful about the love of a father. It empowers. It comforts. It inspires. It propels.

It’s Father’s Day today, and I wish I was able to adequately describe for you the beautiful atmosphere of Mozambican children singing to their heavenly Father. But whether you travel to Pemba or not, the father heart of God is ready to meet you right where you are.

His love knows no boundaries. There are no limitations within His embrace.

Today I am again reminded of my heavenly Father’s affection. It came through a bear hug. It rushed over me at the touch of an African child. It washed over me at the advent of the Divine.

I pray that wherever you are today, you would sense the Father heart of God as well. Let Him permeate your being with the power to be a father to your children. But lift up your eyes and see beyond your family. He wants you to join His paternal heart for young lives all around the world.

They need to know the love and affection of a father, and you are God’s chosen vessel.

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Happy Father’s Day.

David Joannes
Founder/President at Within Reach Global
David Joannes is the co-founder and president of Within Reach Global, Inc, which serves the advance of the Gospel in some of Southeast Asia’s most difficult places. He is the author of The Space Between Memories: Recollections from a 21st Century Missionary. David has a love for language, culture, and creative writing, and for the last 20 years, he has witnessed God’s Kingdom established in forgotten parts of the globe. David lives in Chiang Mai, Thailand, with his wife, Lorna, and their daughter, Cara.
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