- Healing - That it happens, first off saw a few brothers and sisters, Deli of a foot thing, which now means she can walk properly, which is awesome. Jon of a tooth thing, his teeth actually changed angle in his mouth while being prayed for, awesome. The biggest lessons I learnt though were to celebrate the little successes, like we prayed for our deaf friend Jack to be healed, and he was, he heard for an evening, that's a success, but we all seemed rather glum the next day the healing had not been permanent. Also, to be as creative as Jesus was, try weird stuff, for me it was pouring water in Jack's ears and making Zach eat sugar, they didn't necessarily work, but it was putting my reputation on the line to show I cared for them and to show God I had faith in him, plus it makes healing a hell of a lot more fun.
- Father - That I have an awesome heavenly father, who loves me very much, has overseen every moment in my life (got a guy give me a moment from my past, one of the saddest, when my dad left, saying God was watching over me), and wanted nothing more for me than to forgive my earthly father (reminded by covering my face with my scarf while Zach was praying with me, and then finding it covered in blood, not forgetting that day in a hurry), and understand that he is a normal person who makes mistakes, and I should forgive him for that. I know you read these dad, I can check the stats and have 16 views from Mexico ;). So dad, consider yourself forgiven and loved, I harbour no resentment towards you and would love a phone call soon to catch up.
- Freedom - I stood when they asked if we wanted freedom from demonic forces. I was sceptical, always have been of demonic forces. As Simon Holley prayed, with my eyes closed I heard noises, wails, screams, coughs, and quickly got distracted. I wanted these things to happen to me to prove I was free, but they didn't. Then I realised I was focusing on the manifestations and not on God, so my attention turned, and I began repeating the phrase 'I accept your forgiveness' to myself. I have a problem with pornography and masturbation, born out of events in my childhood, and I need to drill into my head God forgives me for anything that has, will and is happening. As a friend cam and prayed for me (cheers Joel), I feel to my knees, and then as that happened, completing not desiring manifestations, my hands began to tingle. It got stronger and stronger, and my hands fizzed, like they were filled with pins and needles. I finished praying yet the sensation continued, and i walked around with my hands in praying position, talking to friends, having to ask Zach to get me a drink as I couldn't use my hands. Mad, but I didn't desire the manifestation, it was just a cool side effect. For me it symbolised that while I may use my hands to sin again, in God's eyes they are cleansed, and he was just re cleaning them to remind me.
Testimony was one of the key ways in which this environment was created, by allowing people to come up and share the deepest and often darkest in front of a room of 100+ people and rather than be judged, be cheered, many receiving standing ovations. People who made me especially proud being Jo Nathan, Rhoda Areington and Abigail Smith, while special mention for me goes to Phillip Drew Smith and Victoria Myers. This was addictive, and before you knew it people were going up twice to share (guilty as charged). These honest testimonies broke right into the hearts of those sitting watching. Rather than the audience looking on judging and trying to distance themselves from those sharing to make themselves feel better, quite the opposite happened, instead they identified with those sharing and had many of their own flaws highlighted.
Another great thing about this environment was the amount of failure (including me asking a girl out, and falling flat on my ass, ha!). With many bring prophesies, words of knowledge about healing and praying for healing and freedom, there were bound to be some unsuccessfull stories, and indeed there were, but what was phenomenal was that rather than wallow in our own self pity, we could look around the room and excite in the joy of our brothers and sisters.
This lead to trust. Many I talked to expressed their reservations about obvious expressions of The Spirit, often saying they were dubious and though people might be 'faking it.' In this environment of joy and trust though, there was just joy that our brothers and sisters were experiencing the power of The Spirit, and no resentment that they were feeling it more than us, instead just joy watching them enjoy The Spirit.
Many of us were sad to leave centre parcs, and wished it lasted longer, but I was excited. The mission starts now for many of us, and it is our job for those of us that were there to bring back this environment into our home churches. This in no easy mission, and we will face resistance and challenges, but if we have seen The Spirit move so powerfully yet have no desire to see everyone one of our brothers and sisters in Christ impacted in the same way what are we? This our mission, there are so many Christians that have never experienced this kind of freedom, so many who feel alone, just like we have, and it is our job to bring that home.
Please feel free to contact me about anything you've read in this :)
Thank you for reading, god bless,