2014 Los Angeles/Las Vegas – Diana S

Proud Mama

“Very truly I tell you, whoever believes in me will do the works I have been doing, and they will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father. And I will do whatever you ask in my name, so that the Father may be glorified in the Son. You may ask me for anything in my name, and I will do it.” -John 14:12-14

Before going on the ministry trip to Los Angeles and Las Vegas, I was very skeptical. The last time I had gone on a US ministry trip it was pretty powerful and memorable. The team was filled with very strong active leaders. This time, we had so many who had never gone on missions before. We had one member who never had been on a plane before, many who were young in age, and a few who had just recently turned their lives towards Christ. What could the Lord do with a team that had just met for the first time, whose members were so young and inexperienced?

During our last meeting in Korea, all the team members met to talk about any insecurities or struggles we had so that we could pray for each other. I was shocked by how many people were struggling with insecurities about their role on the team, questioning how God could really use them, or even wondering if they belonged at New Philadelphia Church. I knew breakthrough had to be in store. Thus one of my prayer requests, and one area I was really contending for, was to see God personally work in and through each team member very specifically and powerfully.
And God worked quickly. On our very first day at the Burning Tree Ministry (BTM) college retreat in LA, I saw the team through a whole new lens. This was the day I found out that my father had a minor heart attack and was in the hospital. The team gathered around me to contend for my father’s healing and to also pray for strength in me. I felt very loved and protected through the spiritual family God provided for me. Interestingly enough, Judy (one of the young team members), shared vision she had before the trip, where we each had contact lenses that did not fit into our eyes. Through this vision, we knew that God was going to give us new lenses to fit our new eyes. He was going to give us eyes to see things differently- the way He Himself sees. The way we had been operating previously was not going to work. And once the team arrived in Los Angeles, indeed we saw how God was moving and shifting our perception of what was going on around us.

Throughout the day, the team was so good about being intentional with the students of Burning Tree Ministry: building relationships, sharing about their own lives, and bringing so much joy in all their conversations. At the first evening service, we had two team members share their testimony. They were so bold and strong as they spoke about their transformation, healing and deliverance, and as they spoke of God’s powerful grace. These testimonies started to move hearts all across the room. About 90 college students had come out to attend the retreat, and a good number of them were indifferent and skeptical about being there. But after hearing the testimonies and Pastor Erin’s message about living a fire-filled life, I could tell that God was really starting to shift hearts.

The team members, most of whom served as small group leaders at the retreat, also led spontaneous healing and deliverance sessions. They prayed powerfully for their small group members, releasing freedom and leading with so much wisdom. Even the team members who were not small group leaders were ministering with great authority. It was absolutely amazing to see each person step up and really carry the Father’s heart as they ministered to the BTM college students.

Because the team members really took their place, understood their true identity in the Lord, and walked out their inheritance, they were powerfully used at the retreat. On the last night, we saw the fire of God fall- from the front of the room to the back. People were really encountering the Lord, with many manifesting under the weight of His glory. And God used every person on the team to minister. We also saw so many spontaneous healing and deliverance sessions break out led by our team members. It was so beautiful to see the team move under the anointing of the Holy Spirit, binding up the brokenhearted, and proclaiming freedom for the captives!
This truth of Isaiah 61:1 was established in each of us as we continued on to Las Vegas, leading H&D sessions for the 7 core members of the Full Gospel Las Vegas Church’s youth ministry. Many of the team members had never led an H&D session before the trip. But as they were put on the spot to lead, they did so with authority, wisdom, and clarity. The team was moving with so much unity. The FGLV members shared how they kept receiving confirmation of the same kind of prayer and prophesy from our team members, even though we were not communicating about these matters to each other. This really helped us to see how God was speaking to each one of us. We were really moving as one in the spirit.

In addition to ministering in a spirit of unity, the team was also very good about applying the teachings that went out, shifting their own hearts when they needed to be shifted. One of the team members came to talk to me in the beginning of the trip because she struggled with not really feeling like they were a part of New Philly. However, she was had led a girl through a spontaenous H&D session right at the beginning of our trip. I pointed this team our to the member, explaining how she had just walked out the heart of New Philly’s mission statement and theme verse. Immediately the team member’s countenance changed. She continued to boldly and confidently minister throughout the rest of the trip.

Another amazing testimony of shifting in the Spirit is from one of the brothers on the team. He originally came to the trainings sharing how he is very introverted and how he does not like to be around people all the time. I told the team (almost all of whom are introverts) that they would all have to be ultra sanguine and appear extroverted while on this trip. They would need to be intentional about meeting new people and be fully present in all their conversations. The male team member took this advice to heart and did exactly that. Throughout the trip, he not only intentionally met with people from LA and LV, but he also started to worship extravagantly, boldly share his testimony, powerfully pray for people, and minister confidently through H&D sessions.

I am so proud of the team as a whole, but also as individuals. There are amazing stories to share about each person and how I was so blessed watching them grow. Even in the short span of a 10-day ministry trip, God did some great things in us and through us. He continually answered prayers, empowered us to do the work of the ministry, and poured out His presence everywhere we went. Thank you so much for your prayers and finances, making this testimony a reality. I truly feel like a proud mama!

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