Katie Shaw Ficker
"God took that small seed planted the day we turned in that proposal and grew it even bigger as we moved into the most miraculous and most difficult years of our lives."
"As we prayed for wisdom, the rains stopped, the clouds cleared, and we were given a small window of time to fly into the
City and get to the hospital - the first of many miracles we
would witness during this pregnancy."
I moved to Guatemala in 2006 right after graduating from nursing school.
It was only supposed to be for 10 months, but during that time, I fell in love with the
people here, the ministry I was working with… and the oldest son of the missionary
family I was staying with. 16 months after I first set foot on Guatemalan soil, Aaron
and I were married, and the next few years brought our three oldest
children: Anna (born 2010), Ethan (2011), and Levi (2013). The day before
Levi was born, we handed in the final draft of a proposal for a nursing school that
would provide a career path and job opportunities for the people of our remote valley
as well as staff for the hospital that our ministry (Adonai International Ministries) was
a couple short years from opening.
God took that small seed planted the day we turned in that proposal and grew
it even bigger as we moved into the most miraculous and most difficult years of our
We received approval for the nursing school to open in January of 2014, but
due to some last minute changes, we ended up with a group of registered students
and the inability to legally open the nursing school. As we prayed about what to do,
we watched God miraculously open doors to start a brand new two year high school program that would prepare kids for studying medicine. Over the course of that year, we also began an English academy, a coffee shop, and watched as God miraculously opened doors again for us to start a three year nursing program in January of 2015. In addition to the programs that opened over the course of those first two years, our small ministry also grew exponentially as several families and individuals came to work with Adonai as well.
By the middle of 2015, we were still in awe of all that God had done in such a short time, but also very aware of how full our lives were. And it was right in the middle of this time that I found out that I was pregnant… with twins! We were overjoyed, despite being slightly overwhelmed! At about nine weeks, our first little one went to be with Jesus, and from that point on, the pregnancy grew more complicated. At 15 weeks, I started with heavy bleeding one evening that we couldn’t get to stop in our small clinic, and we knew I needed to get to a hospital. The one we had knew well was in Guatemala City, which was either a seven hour drive or a 25 minute flight from our home. We knew there were risks in taking the time to drive in, but also were aware of the risks of flying at night in our mountainous region. On top of these risks, it was also raining, and the airport in Guatemala City was closed in by clouds. As we prayed for wisdom, the rains stopped, the clouds cleared, and we were given a small window of time to fly into the City and get to the hospital - the first of many miracles we would witness during this pregnancy. I was given some medicine, and a little bit later we were miraculously watching our son, Gabriel, moving around on ultrasound. After a few days of monitoring and medication in the hospital, they were able to get everything under control and I was sent home with medicine to help prevent premature labor.
However, a few weeks later, I started to hemorrhage again, and the blood loss was worse this time around. After another frightening and risky flight into the hospital in Guatemala City in the middle of the night, our medical team advised that I stay in the hospital where I could remain on bed rest, receive medication and blood transfusions more easily, and be monitored more closely. And so began my two month stay in that hospital.
Even in our young lives, Aaron and I both had countless personal stories of
God’s faithfulness and protection. We had no doubt that He could heal Gabriel
and/or keep him healthy until it was time for him to be born, and we had people all
over the US and Guatemala praying for both mine and Gabriel’s life and healing.
We stood in faith, and our goal was to make it to 28 weeks of gestation. But right
around 26 weeks of gestation, there was another hemorrhage that could not be
stopped, and I was brought to the OR for an emergency c-section. Gabriel passed
into Jesus’ arms sometime on the way the to the OR, and I was given several liters
of fluids and several pints of blood as the doctors fought to sustain my life inside
the surgical suite. After the surgery, I was brought to the ICU, and the doctor told
Aaron and my mother-in-law, Leslie, that if I made it through the next 12 hours, then
I should be okay. A few weeks later, I would learn that hundreds of people were praying for my life that night, a testament to the beauty of the body of Christ and the power of prayer.
While I did make it through the night, fluid had built up in my lungs from all the transfusions - a situation that only continued to get worse over the next few days. God had surrounded me and the room I was in with a sweet peace that could only come from Him during my whole hospital stay, but now in the ICU, I was not only grieving the loss of my baby, but also battling strong fears that I might not leave that hospital after so many near misses with death. I desperately missed my family, and longed to be back home with them during this time of grieving.
On the fifth day of my ICU stay, the doctors pulled Leslie aside and told her that my lungs were getting worse, and that if they didn’t improve in the next couple of days, they would need to sedate me and put me on a ventilator for a week or more to give my lungs some time to heal without having to work so hard. A few hours later, we were eating lunch when a lady knocked on the door and introduced herself as a friend of friends of ours that attended a church in the area. She asked if she could come in and pray with us and also share a word that God had given her. She said that God had told her to tell us that “it is finished,” and then we moved into one of the most powerful prayer times that I had ever experienced up until that time in my life. Over the next 20 minutes, this lady prophesied over the valley that we lived in, and among other things she saw hundreds of people fall on their knees before God in worship while the cloths that held them bound fell at their feet.
After prayer, we took communion right there in that little ICU room, and thanked Jesus for the gift of salvation that He brought for everyone through His death and resurrection.
The next morning, a technician came in to take the daily x-ray of my lungs. About an hour later, one of the doctors burst into the room in shock. In his hands were two of my x-rays: the one from a couple of days earlier was covered in fluid, and the one from that morning was completely clear! “I thought we had a new patient!” he said in disbelief. “This is not possible!”
God had worked a complete miracle.
A little over 48 hours later, I was out of the hospital and on my way home – an obvious and extreme contrast to the discussion only a couple day earlier of sedation and ventilation for several days or weeks.
I was overjoyed to be back with my family, although my journey with grief as well as reconciling the miraculous acts of God and my near-death encounters was just beginning. It took much longer than I thought it ever would, and I faced fear and anxiety as I battled through with God. We went through changes in our education program, friends moved back to the States, and there were days when I didn’t think I could take one more loss. I wondered where this revival was that had been prophesied? Insecurities that I had never faced before rose up inside of me as I realized just how fragile life is, and how quickly we can pass from this world to the next, and I wondered if God could really still use me in such a weak and broken state? Fears that I would die - or worse yet that someone I loved would die - crept up, and I wondered how to trust God in the midst of the fears.
But God came right down into all of the angst, and He never left us - not
one time. No matter what I brought His way – tears of sorrow, questions, anger,
confusion – He was always there when I turned and called to Him. He didn’t always
give me answers to my questions, but I learned that when I didn’t understand, I could
still trust His goodness and His love. I found good friends who listened and helped
me process, encouraging me of God’s heart on the rough days. I clung to scripture,
sermons, and the promises that flowed from God’s own Word, even though the
promises didn’t always seem evident or show themselves in the way that I expected.
And I prayed for my family, our staff and students, my neighbors and friends, and for
God to bring revival to our valley.
What I slowly started to realize is that He was already bringing revival to my
own heart, my family, and our group of friends and neighbors, even though it didn’t
look like the massive crowds of people falling on their knees. Instead, it was happening
in the refining of my own heart, and in the seemingly small conversations with
students who walked away understanding God in a new and personal way, maybe for
the first time in their lives. It was happening every time we moved forward in faith, even though we were still afraid.
It didn’t look like I thought it would, but it was happening. And I am still praying for the cloths of bondage to be unwrapped from the people of this valley, and for hundreds to fall on their faces before God in worship and surrender, but in the meantime, God has opened my eyes to the many ways that revival is still happening here.
We have also experienced the heart of God as He has brought redemption to so many of the places that seemed to be hopelessly lost the year after I got out of the hospital. One example started in the spring of 2017 when we found out that any future pregnancies for me would be very high risk. After another time of prayer and seeking God, we felt led to move forward with adoption. We had always wanted to adopt, and we walked into this next step with excitement despite the grief and shock we still felt over the loss of being able to have more biological children. Even in our excitement, though, we understood how long and rocky the adoption road often is, and so we stood amazed at another testament to God’s grace and power as we brought our daughter Genesis home less than one year after our first informational meeting with the government agency. Through the gift of adoption, redemption has been brought to our family on many levels - just as we have all been offered the gift of adoption into the family of God because of the Jesus’ redemptive death and resurrection.
Another little piece of revival as the power of the gospel has been experienced in a new way in our family.
A year and a few months after we brought Genesis home, in January of 2020, Adam came down to Guatemala for a visit and started to share what God had been doing in and through Him with the writing of songs. He asked me if he could show me them before he left, and finally on the last night of his stay, we stood next to each other with our phones ready to airdrop the songs. But, I am really bad with
technology, and we were standing only a few feet from the keyboard in Adonai’s
prayer room, so I asked him if he could just play and sing them instead. As he started
on the first song, It Is Finished, tears filled my eyes and spilled over as the power of
the words resonated with something deep inside of me. I felt that there were aspects of the song that I could relate to for sure, but as we sang it through together, the Holy Spirit filled us and the room, and it was obvious that this was something much greater than Adam or I. As Adam shared more of the heart of the songs and how they came to be, and as the words “it is finished” kept pounding in my head, I heard myself telling Adam that “these are songs of revival.”
These songs tell the story of the gospel: the incomparable life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ, the Son of God. He is the only True Savior and King, and He alone is worthy of all of our praise. God tells us in His word that He inhabits the praises of His people, and I believe that as He is worshipped and His story is sung out through these songs. The Holy Spirit will continue to move in the hearts of the people who hear them, drawing them into a real relationship with the Trinity: Father God, our Savior Jesus Christ, and the Holy Spirit Himself.
Oh, God, let revival come.
"A few weeks later, I would learn that hundreds of people were praying for my life that night, a testament to the beauty of the body of Christ and the power of prayer."
"She said that God had told her to tell us that “it is finished,"..."
"But God came right down into all of the angst, and He never left us - not one time. No matter what I brought His way – tears of sorrow, questions, anger, confusion – He was always there when I turned and called to Him.."
"He didn’t always
give me answers to my questions, but
I learned that when
I didn’t understand,
I could still trust
His goodness and
"Through the gift of adoption, redemption has been brought to our family on many levels - just as we have all been offered the gift of adoption into the family of God because of the Jesus’ redemptive death and resurrection. "
"'...These are songs of revival... '"