Kathy’s Story!

AUTHOR’S PREFACE: This is the first of any sort of personal testimonies/stories about spiritual life. Taking a moment here: understand I am sharing the person’s story and personal journey. I take careful note to protect their views and allow them to be what God has them to be. Their views are not always my views…although the Spirit is awesome between me and my storytellers!! This isn’t a place to debate things, that is for other sites…this is sharing stories somewhat similar to Moth, which I just discovered myself in the last week(they have been going 20 years…call me a late bloomer on that one!). Most of the stories on #3 here will read sort of like an interactive magazine article would…I think it adds a lot of flavor of the process and I hope all of you enjoy what it is. Many varied people and testimonial stories are on the way…each one it’s own entity! Thanks for reading…

AUTHOR: Tell me about your spiritual background. Kathy: My spiritual background was very conservative. I came from a very traditional church. It would be considered a fundamentalist church. I actually grew up in a pastor’s home. AUTHOR: So your father was a pastor you mean? KATHY: Yes, I, uh, uh…. I don’t know how to say this without saying (denomination). A good laugh between author and Kathy! We started out in the East and dad was ready to attend seminary. So he moved us to be near the school. He became a pastor of a small congregation near there and that was where I was raised. AUTHOR: How old were you in this process? KATHY: I was born in the beginning of the pastorate, so I was essentially born in the church! AUTHOR: So he had already been to seminary by the time you were born then? KATHY: Yes, I was born at (church name). Some of my earliest memories are of me being passed over the half door of the nursery. AUTHOR: (chuckling): The old barn door huh? KATHY: Yes, you know what that’s like! So I grew up with this very conservative (denominational) teaching.

As far as the Holy Spirit goes, it would be Truth in God’s Word. We believed that the Holy Spirit indwelled each of us as Christians, but the charismatic perception of it… AUTHOR: It’s kind of like most people’s traditional background perception, not that they don’t believe in the Holy Spirit, they just think it is kind of an automatic kick-in at salvation. It doesn’t go much further than that. A Helper, but very limited view of ‘help’ I guess. That is what I see now after what I have come from. KATHY: From my traditional background, charismatic teaching was something that was to be avoided. Speaking in tongues and all the gifts were simply considered wrong and not for today. I didn’t grow up with any of that. We grew up with the idea from our denominational church (not that they meant to be mean about it) that it was something you practically laughed at. The idea that people are slain in the Spirit, and there were catchers for them, and the televangelist. It just wasn’t anything you would ever take seriously.

With that backdrop in mind, I can’t believe I really knew the Holy Spirit at all. On the other hand, when I think back to childhood (and even up through grade school), I have some very distinct memories. I remember very distinctly my sister and I speaking in another language that was not English. AUTHOR: How old were you did you say?  KATHY: I would have been around seven. I didn’t think much of it at the time, because my sister and I would just talk back and forth having a good time just doing that. I didn’t think of it as another language at the time…  AUTHOR: Kid stuff! KATHY: Yes,that we simply made it up. When I was eighteen, I was working at the local ice cream shop. The owners were charismatic and asked if I had ever received the gifts of tongues. I said “No, that is not something that I have ever done”. They asked if I would like to and if they could lay hands on to pray and receive that gift. I was going with a friend to a highly charismatic church at the time, which was totally non (denomination), but I was interested in learning more about it. I knew a little bit about it, but not a whole lot yet. My bosses asked me if I was interested in doing that and I said yes. They laid hands on me and prayed. They told me to speak whatever comes to mind, whatever God speaks to you. What I started speaking that night I recognized that language as the one I had talked as a little girl! AUTHOR: Oh wow!

For awhile I thought ‘Oh, this isn’t real, this is just the same thing I spoke when I was a kid’. The power I recognized even then convinced me that this was so real. I would speak in this language, especially when I was overwhelmed and didn’t know what to pray or say to God. The passion that comes out of that language was so tangent and helped so much when I didn’t know what to pray or even how. I was then with a family centered revival ministry for four years. The teaching was closer to arch conservative even in comparison to my denomination I grew up with. AUTHOR: So you really bounce around from one extreme to the other don’t you? (laughing loudly) You get the best of both worlds! KATHY: I was fundamentally (denomination), but with a seeking heart and spirit! Even though I joined the revival ministry that had nothing to do with speaking in tongues, etc, I was hungry for it after the four years. I recognized that what was happening in my church experience was hard to admit. It seemed like a very sad reality: I was simply bored with church! I was just bored silly sitting in that same pew doing the same things I had done since I was born. It was then I realized something needed to change and that this was not what God intends. This is not who God is. Feeling that the Creator of the universe could be boring was absurd! AUTHOR: Right! KATHY: It was at this pivotal point that I knew I had to search for more.

I started off visiting various churches and finally settling into a particular Bible study. The people I met were of a charismatic bend and a certain charismatic denomination. They weren’t overwhelmingly charismatic like some churches might have been. This was another step for me in the process of coming to know God from a different perspective. I began to realize and see that God had given me a gift of speaking in tongues. I began to realize that the gifts of the Holy Spirit were for today. I began to see it and experience it in other people and in my own life. My full realization came that there was more!

I was very grateful for the fundamentalist teaching I received. They were so strong on Biblical truth. The Biblical truth I had been taught did not agree with what I knew in the Spirit. I was always taught growing up that this was not Biblical. It is in Scripture! AUTHOR: The traditional church will go 99% Biblically saying “right on, right on, the Word is true”, but when it comes to the Holy Ghost, a wave of the hand and we say “that is not Biblical”. It is like a wave of the hand does it and we are done. We dropped the ball there somewhere! These are issues I have written about a lot, we cannot in honesty dismiss the Holy Spirit. If we are to model ourselves after Jesus and the disciples, then we have no choice. Did God change His mind? This is what Jesus and the disciples did! How can we now say it isn’t relevant or needed today? When you looked at their lives it was all they did. Everything was by the Holy Spirit (laughing)!

KATHY: Are there those who go over the top, I can’t say they are abusive… AUTHOR: They are out of balance! KATHY: Yes, absolutely, there are those who are out of balance in the knowledge aspect of Scripture too. AUTHOR: There are theology wonks too! I know people like that too that are way over the top with their theology. KATHY: Just because they are out of balance does not mean it isn’t Scriptural. Meeting and coming to know people in whom I did see a balance between Biblical Truth and the Spirit has helped. Witnessing those who operate in gifts that truly love God, the Church, and the Word in good balance helped me see that this is something He intended for us to have. These gifts are intended to be a part of our daily walk and experience. There was power we were missing because we were ignoring what God had for us! I began to see the Truth in the lives of people I knew who also were not from a charismatic background, who had come to discover these truths. I saw that balance in their lives and finding that balance in other people is very attractive. I found myself hungry for Biblical Truth and balance in my life.

Once I was able to accept that as Biblical Truth, He began to open up my personal spiritual gifts. I saw the world from a spiritual perspective that I had not before. I recognized the power we are intended to use in spiritual warfare! The power He has given us to fight the evil forces. His power He shares with His children to change the world! To walk in what He has provided to do all He says behind His power. It was something that had been totally ignored in my life. I found so many others that found that Truth from every imaginable background. I found someone from nearly every denominational background. AUTHOR: They may be from whatever background but are all the same personality: truth seeker! I have found that those who end up in ‘the more’ are really hard truth seekers. Others tell them things, but that is not good enough, they gotta have the full proof of what is or what is not!

KATHY: I am finding that I cannot label people by their backgrounds or put them into a category. Simply because there are so many different experiences, I would not want to compartmentalize a person. AUTHOR: Not only that, it is the way God works in that. There exist threads, similarities, and general things we can teach each other that are true. What He does in me, in you, others may be altogether different. He will custom fit to our needs. KATHY: I saw the balance of Scriptural Truth with a leading of the Spirit too. I recognized His voice as He spoke to me through His Spirit. I had always known through His Word, through others praying, and wisdom from other people. Hearing the voice of His Spirit speaking to me now in this instance was simply awesome!

I remember the first time I heard the word ‘Rhema’ and thought was is that? All the teaching I had received from seminary professors, pastors, etc. since I was a little girl gave me no clue about what Rhema was. The fact that it was the Truth of God applied right now in this moment for me is huge. Hearing the voice of His Spirit and knowing this is His Word actively speaking to me made me realize He had been trying to do this all my life! I could think of instances where God had spoken to me about different things and I did not recognize His voice in it. I didn’t know He was really speaking to me constantly, that all I had to do was listen. It gave me a sense of the immediacy of God. It has opened me up to how He is active in the world and all of our lives. I don’t know how to get away from saying He has opened up a whole new world to me!

I began to have understanding of the power of prayer and the power of His Church! The working together with the gifts He has given each of us, while learning about God and each other! The application of the Word and the gifts together affecting the lives and the community around me. Seeing all that is going on in the spiritual world around me has greatly affected my perspective. It isn’t a matter of seeing demons everywhere, under every rock, but the fact is they are all around us just like the Spirit of God and His angels are there. It is a constant spiritual truth. I had to have a new spiritual world view to realize and recognize that. It showed me that God intended me to have a part in that battle. It is now such a part of my life!

AUTHOR: History, experience, and talking with others has proven that each denomination was started with a powerful move of the Spirit (well at least most denominations). A lot of fundamentalists now are against what their denomination started on doctrinally! The things many are staunchly against are often the things their founders were for! That part seems to amazingly slipped out down through history.  KATHY: Having you say that reminds me of another reason why I was drawn to this. I had always felt very limited as a woman in my church. I had taken all the tests to find out what spiritual gifts I had. I took some through my pastor and some from the internet and they all came back prophet. The problem was he had no idea how to use that in this denominational church! A prophet and a teacher were always my strongest, and I thought, “there isn’t any place for a woman, and I had no idea what to do with the idea of prophet”. Teacher? Yes, you were allowed to work in the nursery and with the grade school kids. I began to ask these questions because I worked at a Christian college. I teach Biblical truths and ideas to college kids but can’t really teach in the church? Where is the line drawn? Can I do it in a college setting but not in a church building? Can I teach if not behind a pulpit? I didn’t know what to do and what I was offered at the church I was attending was to work in the nursery or teach Sunday school with the lower grades.

Drama was another option but only raised more questions. Was not drama essentially teaching from the stage? I found myself asking more questions and getting fewer answers. I found myself seeking God more and more on the use of spiritual gifts. The first church I went to seeking answers invited people to come up at the end of the service and receive hands on prayer. They wanted to offer that corporately for anyone to use their gifts also. I thought: “I am allowed to lay hands on someone”? “I am allowed to pray for someone”? I practically ran down that isle! The idea of joining with brothers and sisters to affect the life of someone else in prayer was different than going to prayer meeting. Going to prayer meeting was always dull and rote…. AUTHOR: Put ol’ Pete on the prayer chain! (laughing) KATHY: The immediate involvement of prayer for that person. The freedom to just do that made an immediate change for me! I found myself beginning to seek more opportunities to minister immediately to someone else. Whether it was prayer or for spiritual warfare (which was really prayer too), it pushed me to seek the gifts God has given me. How does He expect me to use them in watching the lives of other people? These people I admired were teaching Biblical traits about the Spirit.

I was so drawn it was opening up a new world of what He expected the Church to be! Life and vitality were so present in this new power. I had never seen this in my church experience before with Christians. AUTHOR: I think that is what everybody longs for in their relationship with God, but there is so much traditional backlash against anything that looks even close to that.

Our idea growing up in traditional church was the only prayer going on was on the back of the bulletin. It listed all of people’s prayer needs on the back of the bulletin so there is all the people you need to pray for! KATHY: And all that was the people who were sick. AUTHOR: Right, so could you pray for them. KATHY: You prayed for them because…  AUTHOR: and you need to pray for them too, yeah. That is what I am saying… KATHY: No one really expected to see any results out of that. Other things people didn’t even ask for, it really didn’t occur to anyone that answered prayer in power was to be a daily experience. That you were affecting people’s daily life and the spiritual world just wasn’t on the radar. I am sure if people in fundamental churches knew that, and were powerful prayer warriors, but that hadn’t been my experience. Prayer was something you did because you were supposed to.  AUTHOR: It didn’t always fit in the system; this is what it looks like, and it was always very limited in scope. It wasn’t necessarily led by the Holy Spirit, it was just, you know, names on a paper! KATHY: Nobody else’s experience of it seemed that exciting either. It seemed that was why few people went to the mid-week prayer meetings.

There were those who went faithfully, and I have to believe that there were those who understood it was powerful and affecting the world. I can say that I didn’t know that or see it happening. I knew a lot of people who were bored silly from saying the words over and over each week; tired of not seeing powerful results. AUTHOR: Earlier you had gone to some what you called ‘Glorybarn’ style churches in your late teens/early twenties? KATHY: I had started going with a friend and the first thing I noticed was the purest worship I had ever experienced. People were worshipping with all their heart, with great love and joy. That was when I started experiencing more of the Spirit’s work speaking in tongues. Part of it was the time(it was the early 70’s), going to the Glorybarn was kind of the thing to do at the high school. It definitely had a huge affect on me personally. I know they got out of bounds later, but they opened up my heart and mind to the truth of God’s Spirit. It opened me up to the idea that people actually moved in the Spirit.

Mostly at that point I would say that in my experience it was the truth and power in the worship. I sat under a Hobart Freeman in those days. In less than two years I was back to more of what I had grown up with. These were experiences that made me hungry for more of the Spirit.  Those experiences opened my heart and mind to seek for more. AUTHOR: Did your parents know that you were…KATHY: They did…and they even came to the Glorybarn one Sunday evening. AUTHOR: So it didn’t have the…even though it was charismatic…it didn’t have the modern connotation like it does in the 2000’s? Like it did 35 years ago? At least society wise a lot different perception I would assume back then. KATHY: Yes. AUTHOR: Although you were dealing with the issues of 40 years ago with a different mentality. KATHY: Totally different.

The denomination I grew up with (Grace Brethren) actually kicked Hobart Freeman out of the Seminary at Grace College because of his beliefs. AUTHOR: I didn’t know he had any roots in Grace Brethren. KATHY: My family came one Sunday because honestly they were concerned. They wanted to find out what it was. They were not disturbed by it. They did not hear anything unbiblical. I am not sure if anyone spoke in tongues that night or not. I remember that their minds were set at ease because they knew that I was simply worshipping God. Part of it was they would rather have me going there than not to church at all. AUTHOR: Sure. KATHY: They were aware of it and I was fully aware of it being absolutely controversial! They were teaching and writing books against the gifts of the Spirit.

I didn’t grow up in a church that just ignored, but actively taught against it. AUTHOR: I have never understood where the basis for that comes out of. Scripturally I can’t find it, I’ve tried to find it. I’ve heard it taught but I…it’s just words in the air to me. I can’t quite put my finger on what the big deal is. There are a few isolated issues I can see people divided over, but we can pray those out. The non-gift thing…I didn’t grow up in a church that was really charismatic, they didn’t even know what gifts were. It wasn’t on their radar, they were just a traditional church. Haven’t been able to put my finger on the controversy of that, at least from their point of view…why do they care what those other people are doing? KATHY: One of the things I truly appreciated about the Grace Brethren is that they are very committed to Truth. I don’t know the whole process over the years how that developed.

AUTHOR: I always thought your main guy back in the earlier days (Billy Sunday) was a unique guy. He was known for his charismatic personality. KATHY: Are you talking Freeman or who? AUTHOR: Oh, sorry I was thinking Billy Sunday since he is best known in Grace Brethren circles. KATHY: Oh…Billy Sunday was Presbyterian. AUTHOR: I always thought he was Grace Brethren because of how revered he was in this area. KATHY: Grace Brethren took hold the Billy Sunday home. Billy Sunday was Presbyterian because Ma Sunday was Presbyterian! AUTHOR: Grace Brethren as a name did it even exist then? KATHY: He was of course known well here in the historic days of Winona and always had his home here. Grace brethren was incorporated in the 1930s during Billy Sunday’s heyday. I’m not sure that Billy Sunday would have been aware of what was happening with the Grace Brethren at that time.

When Ma Sunday died after Billy and all her children she willed the home to Winona Lake Christian Assembly. When the Winona Lake Christian assembly folded later, it was purchased by the Grace Brethren. AUTHOR: Aha!!! KATHY: this was the start of Grace College and the connections all around. Grace College has owned the home since. AUTHOR: I had always heard that Billy Sunday was charismatic at least, but I don’t know if that is just my perception from stories I have heard. KATHY: He was charismatic in a different sense of the word, he wasn’t charismatic in the sense of…AUTHOR: Spirit-filled… KATHY: Yes, he was just a very charismatic individual…dynamic. AUTHOR: Ok I see.

AUTHOR: So your introduction into the baptism of the Holy Spirit was a long one? Helen: Yes it was a long one. AUTHOR: yours was not a suddenly… I know mine was for 37 years this is all I know and then there is this other thing for me!! It was like ‘oh wow, I didn’t know this existed like this!’ Helen: I grew up in a home that taught me to seek and to question. The result of that is that I tend to be a bit of a rebel you know… Spiritually. It was because I kept asking questions and people thought I was just acting foolishly in asking the questions, but I wasn’t getting answers. AUTHOR: (chuckling) I always thought that if you keep getting peppered with questions, it may be because you’re not providing good answers!

Helen: I’m always comfortable asking questions. When I was on a Bible team I was constantly asking questions to a point that many thought I probably could not be saved (laughing)!

It was something I always found necessary and good until I found answers. Until I found answers to those questions I could not quit seeking until I was comfortable. If there was something that wouldn’t fit for me, I had to wait. AUTHOR: so what is a good testimony and all that regarding the baptism of the Holy Spirit…For somebody who has questions about the baptism of the Holy Spirit, if there were any unanswered questions about the authenticity of it…With all the questioning you did, you certainly would have talked yourself out of it if you did not find it real! It is kind of like if it were possible to talk yourself out of truth I sure tried!!!! Helen: I receive that teaching all my life so I kept asking questions again and again. No one was giving me satisfactory answers, because I looked in Scriptures and it was there!

The main scripture used is “now we see through a glass now darkly, but then face to face…”the idea that which is perfect has come (in this set of beliefs Scripture is perfect), and that which is incarnate is done away with. I was taught that the gifts were partial and just for a certain time, but when the perfect came the partial was done away with. We thus didn’t have the gifts anymore. AUTHOR: Noooooo…and we now know that the Perfect would never refer to Scripture, because it wouldn’t call it the Word. It would call it something totally different. KATHY: In the Word it is talking about seeing Christ face to face.

AUTHOR: The canon was not high on God’s list at that time I am sure!! (both chuckling). I had the same thing, I went to traditional Christian college. If the thinking of Christian college and theology school were enough, believe me sister I would have been fine with everything the way it was! But there were nagging questions that were not fulfilled. I always knew God was bigger and would read about all these other things and asked: Why am I stuck with God as boring here when there are all these things happening? KATHY: The idea of God being so limited, and the idea is so boring. AUTHOR: It is so unfortunate that is the norm, of course it is not when we get outside of our society into other countries. I did hear that before the Soviet Block broke down in Russia that the people there were in one accord because they truly needed the Holy Spirit to survive. The trouble started after the Block fell and the denominations broke in. Most of what they taught I am sure is true. Hearing from the Holy Spirit and being dependent on that is crucial though.

KATHY: That was another thing that kept me seeking, I remember taking evangelism explosion classes…learning how to evangelize and share Christ. What bothered me at that point was, the end result being before they would come to Christ, they would have to be taught. I knew I couldn’t invite anybody to come to my church, I thought that would be a horrible thing to do to them. What in the world am I going to do with someone who has just come to Christ? What am I going to do? Tell that person ‘come to my church to be taught’ or ‘come make friendships and grow with other vibrant Christians’. I didn’t know any vibrant Christians! I knew people that I truly loved in that church, but no one that I was wanting to introduce to a new Christian to. AUTHOR: Especially if you are in a big city working with homeless/street people, you are really not going to do that! You don’t want to have to say to this person ‘well this is their views and this may not be a fit for you right now’.

AUTHOR: That is where the Holy Spirit is so critical. Before I had even been baptized in the Holy Spirit, I did believe in the Holy Spirit, I just didn’t believe it was as big as it was, as a third and equal part of the Trinity. Most church teachings don’t teach that, at least not using that third much! I had felt the Holy Spirit before, but like you said…when you come into the Baptism of the Holy Spirit and realize that God will use that whole part of Him to lead you in every way, it is an everyday thing from then on! It isn’t supposed to be a rarity. In many churches unfortunately they never experience the more.

(Fast forward!) KATHY: I met some people at church that came from an hour away to come to Winona Lake to pray here in warlike fashion. They came while I was doing my Ma Sunday reenactment. They told me that the Lord had sent them to do spiritual warfare here. If I hadn’t had the preparation by going to the Glorybarn, by learning the Holy Spirit…AUTHOR: Right…right! KATHY: by finding people at mutual Bible study…if I hadn’t found that, I would have been in a position where the church would have left me with a response when it came to any charismatic teaching or people of laughter and dismissal. They would automatically say that is not true! So when these folks came God had prepared me for this season just to be able to pray with them as opposed to literally mocking it!!

My preparation had created the opportunity to receive them. They prayed their way through the Billy Sunday museum and brought a shofar to declare His power! They even asked me “where does God want us to go pray!” I knew where it was! I hadn’t been expecting these people whatsoever. I was caught off guard but I instantly knew where God wanted us to go! He literally had me focused on the trouble areas spiritually speaking just the week prior. Historically there had been a lot of dark things performed in this small region. I knew there was spiritual battling that He wanted to do to break the dark yoke over this area. I was overwhelmed by His Spirit wanting to usher in victory in this way. I was so blessed being able to participate in this. AUTHOR: You are literally one of the only people who could be working here at the museum who would have a clue about all this and say “oh for sure, let’s go!” Anybody else would have been like “what? What is a shofar?”

KATHY: I am glad we are going into the background, because it was definitely a preparation all my life for this moment in time. It is not that this moment was the most important in my life, it is just that I would not have been prepared would some pieces of my experiences been left out.

 

 

I live and work in a small evangelical Christian community with a long religious history. A few centuries ago, many spiritual battles were fought and won here. Many Christians made their homes here too. It too often happens, but the Christian community became comfortable in their Christian homes, schools, businesses, clubs, and with their Christian neighbors. More and more churches were built, and the more Christians wrapped themselves in Christian culture, less reliance rested on the power of God’s Holy Spirit to change lives. AUTHOR’S NOTE: Unfortunately, this is common all over our nation. I sometimes wonder what those who blazed the trails before us originally would say to us now! If they could be brought before us, I wonder if they would plead and cry for a fresh touch of the Lord in our lives. No matter what denominational community this mirrors, let us pray together for a new move of His Spirit!

That was the culture I grew up in. I was in church at least three times a week, but I had no idea that spiritual power was missing because I’d never experienced it. I also had no real idea of what had been happening in my community over the years. As the Christians grew comfortable, gradually (and without disturbing the spiritual facade) the power of evil grew stronger behind the closed doors of Christian families and local Christian institutions. Pride, jealousy, performance, rage, abuse of women and children, prostitution, spiritual bondage, murder, and evil worship. No one talked about it all, and many weren’t aware of it, because things like that weren’t supposed to happen in “Christian communities”. A religious spirit covered it all and blinded God’s children to the spiritual battle raging.

God always maintains a remnant and He guided me to a prayer group of Spirit-filled Christians in my community. I’ll admit it was a little awkward for me personally at first. These were people my conservative evangelical upbringing had taught me to avoid and ridicule. I simply couldn’t deny the power of God’s Spirit among them, and the strong Biblical basis of all they taught and practiced. These were people who loved God and loved His Word. I began to learn to recognize the voice of God’s Spirit and how He works in power through His children to build and strengthen His Church.

Two prayer groups met together on their respective nights. Sometimes we will even have a joint meeting together. This particular meeting was close to Halloween, and my heart was heavy for those in our community. Different individuals in the group mentioned places in the town where they didn’t even like to set foot, simply because of the presence of evil there. They understood the power of Christ in them and His protection, but the evil was still very real. I asked God to do what was necessary to take back our community for Him.

The next day, I was scheduled to lead a tour of visitors through our local museum and talk with them about our local history. I had no idea what God had in store for me that day. I knew these visitors were Christians, including two pastors and church elders from a town about an hour away. I didn’t know when I met them that God had sent them to my community to battle!

My first clue was when I met them in the parking lot of the museum, and one of the men pulled a shofar out of his vehicle and asked if he could play it in the museum. My eyes and spirit lit up! (If you’ve never heard a shofar played by a Spirit-filled Christian, you’ve got an amazing experience coming! In Jewish tradition, the shofar, a musical instrument made of a ram’s horn, is used among other things, to rebuke and confound satan/his evil spirits, and drive them away.) I immediately told the man yes, please, I’d love to have him play it! So when we entered the museum, he lifted the shofar to his lips and the sound of it filled the building. I closed my eyes and my spirit was lifted to the high ceiling, along with that powerful sound.

I shared with the group some of the history of the area, and we moved on to another building associated with the museum. From the hill where that building was located, the man blew the shofar again. The sound filled the town and even with my conservative religious background, I could recognize that God was at work. One of the women in the group turned to me and asked very matter-of-factly, “Have you been having problems with the religious spirit and the spirit of Jezebel here?” I stared at her for a moment. In all the tours I had given through the years, no one had ever asked me anything like that. But she had identified two spirits that I knew were exceptionally strong in the area. The man blew the shofar in the second building, and the group talked and prayed as we walked through.

As we completed the tour, one of the pastors looked at me and asked, “Where does God want us to go and pray now?” No “thank you for the tour, it was nice meeting you.” Just recognition that this time was God appointed, and He had work for us to do. “The trail in the woods,” I answered. It was a known place of evil worship, a place where children had been abused. It was the place where the women in our prayer group had felt the strong presence of evil.

They followed me to the woods and at the entrance of a trail, the man blew the shofar again, a call to battle. The elder pastor walked on ahead of the group. One of the others smiled. “He’s our Moses”, she said. “He usually goes out first.” We followed, each praying and listening to God’s Spirit. We came to a fork in the trail. The elder pastor walked down the other fork. The rest of us stopped, prayed, all facing different directions. The man with the shofar blew it again- north, east, south, and west. We prayed against the evil as God led each of us. We claimed the land for Christ, by His blood. His Spirit identified a specific place of child sacrifice, and we mourned and prayed for forgiveness and cleansing. I felt the evil begin to lift and move away, seeming reluctant. I looked at the others and they were nodding as they prayed.

I felt the presence and power of God’s Spirit as we prayed. The woman pastor prayed in the authority of Jesus Christ, our voices raised louder in prayer along with hers. And then, without a signal from anyone, we began singing and praising God together, louder and stronger. We began to laugh and then we began to howl in victory. As far as I know, there’s no scriptural basis for howling (shouting, yes, but howling?!), but at the same time I had not a single doubt that God was pleased and that the angels in heaven were joining in our singing, laughing, and howling.

We walked a little further down the trail to where God’s Spirit told us to stop. The shofar was blown again and we prayed together. Just then a woman rounded a corner in the trail, walking her two dogs. The elder with the shofar apologized, “I hope we didn’t scare your dogs. It’s a shofar.” The dogs didn’t seem disturbed and the woman didn’t seem the least surprised. “Yes,” she smiled, “I heard it as I was coming down the trail.” She was from a local Episcopalian church. We blessed her, briefly prayed for her, and she walked on. We looked at each other for a moment and then one of the group said, “Well, I think we’re done here.” As we walked back down the trail, the woman pastor said “Listen…” We listened intently. There was the sound of rushing water of a nearby creek. “That’s the sound of revival,” she said. “Something’s coming, and it’s big.”

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