We just returned last night from an Encounter weekend (November 30-December 1). Even though these weekends are a ton of work, it is always worth it ten times over in seeing lives touched, changed, and completely transformed. It is amazing what God can do with hearts that are open to whatever He would have for them.
I was impacted by several things. First, it was powerful to me to see a married couple whom we only met the week before the Encounter come for the first time to a Christian event and walk away with huge smiles and hearts full of the love of God, excited about their future in our church.
It was powerful to me to see two families that have been a part of our church for a long time be transformed. The women attended our last Encounter, and the men attended this Encounter. Neither one of the couples were married even though they have kids that are pre-teens. Last night at the testimony service, both men proposed to their soon-to-be wives. One of the couples are Nancy and I’s contacts, and this decision has been something that we have been praying and fasting about for months. I screamed for joy so much last night. The other couple called the entire extended family on stage and the man asked the mother-in-law for permission. When they stepped down from the stage, their pre-teen son was crying, and it was clear to see that his dad had set a huge example for him in the love that his dad showed for his mom.
It was powerful to me to simply be a part of the lives of each of these people, to talk to them and to share life with them. I didn’t sleep much during my time there, because I wanted to spend time talking with the girls in my cabin. I was humbled in so many ways.
At the end of the testimony service last night, our worship team stepped up to play one last song. A bunch of the people who attended the Encounter (including several men) linked arms, jumped and sang with all their hearts in worship. Wow. Powerful stuff.
It will never cease to amaze me how the Holy Spirit touches hearts. I was impacted so strongly by the fact that we as missionaries did nothing extraordinary by putting together an Encounter. The extraordinary thing was what God did. I for one don’t think that I said anything life-changing. The songs are just songs. The times of ministration were simply prayer and music. However, the supernatural met the natural. Thousands of tears flowed. People wailed as the Holy Spirit healed deep wounds in their hearts. In a little more than 30 hours, a foundation of faith was set and lives were made new.
I never get used to what God does. I am constantly amazed and thankful that He lets me have a front row seat to the action. Thank You, Lord, for the opportunity to be a part of this Encounter. Even though I wasn’t a participant in the Encounter, I can say as well that I will never be the same as I was before.