Since Caledonia I have been filled, filled with life, love, peace, joy….The more I reflect on what happened on that river bank in Caledonia the more I get that I was baptized in the Holy Spirit! Even though my futile mind can’t really wrap my head around that. All I know is that I want more of God, more of Him, His presence, His breath, His life. I want to relive that experience in Caledonia. And this is not a bad thing….necessarily.
But you see the thing is when we keep looking back at the past to relive what the Lord once did, we miss what he is doing in the here and now. When things in the past are the “best ever” we truly miss out on the promise that the best is yet to come.
A hard lesson on just this
Last month, I had the awesome opportunity to lead some AMAZING friends from Master’s Regional Academy. This was their schools 4th year coming to Belize serving at Ladyville Evangelical School, The Youth Hostel, and Dorothy Menzies Child Care center in Belize City.
For 4 years, Master’s Regional has been LIVING our pillars of ministry. The genuine partnership they have with Ladyville Evangelical School is truly amazing. Through the years, they have brought books down to start a library, started a scholarship fund to pay for Standard 6 students to someone from Master’s speaking at Ladyville Evangelical school.
Here’s how deep the relationships are between Master’s Regional and everyone they met. One evening, I was sitting down and they brought me a stack of letters and asked who these kids were. The letters were addressed past participants to children / teens they had met and ministered to and with in Belize. I was BLOWN away at how heart-felt and emotion-filled these letters were. One past participant wrote 5 letters to different people! They truly have a long-term relationship indeed!
To say that this week was a great week is an extreme understatement!
Anyway, for one of our ministry times, we headed to the Youth Hostel. I had set up this time weeks in advance with my dear friends at the Youth Hostel and knew we were on the schedule. For those that don’t know the Youth Hostel is a home for non-violent teenage criminals and those with bad behavioral issues. To say that this place is a challenging and hardened ministry soil would also be an extreme understatement.
However, I knew the team was prayed up and ready for a Holy Spirit encounter. I had envisioned girls crying, huge sobs, snot bubble tears. I pictured guys breaking down as well. I pictured revival, real and tangible. In short, I pictured an event. I had one in my head.
So I get there a little bit later than the team because I was busy with some other stuff and right away I noticed the whole team just sort of standing outside of the girls dormitory. Undeterred, I marched up to Lorelee and asked what’s going on and she explained that the girls couldn’t come out and they didn’t know where the guys were. At this point my blood started to boil. “We were going to have a spiritual experience dammit!” “This place is ruining my trip!” Those were the thoughts running through my head.
I go and talk to the cooks to find out where the guys are, grab my guys from the team I am leading and head up stairs into one of the classrooms. I am dumbfounded when I see that the guys are with another team, scheduled at the same time as MINE! Blood pressure climbing. Anger building inside. I get the leader of the other mission team to step out and ask what’s going on. He says he scheduled through the director. I told him thank you through gritted teeth and went back down stairs stewing. “Who does that team think they are, etc?” Not my finest hour for sure. I
I thought if I just get the girls to come out of the dorm then this is salvagable. I go to the dorm and am promptly stopped at the door. The supervisor tells me that no one is coming out of there and none of us are going in. Hmpf!
I get my phone out and call the director, thinking to myself that I am literally on the board of directors here, what I say goes. She says she was sorry that she doubled booked and really wanted us to minister to the girls because she is having a hard time with them. No problem I say but they wont let us in there or the girls out. She asks to speak to the supervisor of the girls dorm and I am telling my team no problem, we’re in!
Ha! A few minutes later I am handed back my phone and through tears the director told me of the troubles she was having with the girls and fighting and trying to run away and well just about everything. “Pray Josh. Just pray. Can y’all do that?” “of course I answered”
So the one super athlete that was so excited for his time to shine on the basketball court with the guys from the orphanage, picks up his guitar and leads us in worship. We sing. We pray. We proclaim. All the while, the enemy and his demons through those girls are shouting the most terrible, horrible, offensive, and awful things imaginable. During that time, it was a true war! We were fighting on planes unseen. 4 songs, 5 songs, 10 songs. War still happening. You could feel the darkness around and I realized THAT was the source of my anger. I had given the enemy a foothold and I was missing what the Lord was going to do. I had almost taken my team away and then I saw it happen. One by one girls came out to sing with us. Two of the leaders started walking around praying for each girl that came out of the building. We stood side by side and prayed and sang and worshiped.
And darkness lifted. Literally the screams vanished and they were replaced by praises. People with one heart and one mind, literally in the Spirit, worshiping one God.
That day at the Hostel, the Holy Spirit was there, and miracles happened. And I would have missed it because I was too concerned about re-living a God moment than living in the moment God had me in.
My prayer for you all is just that. Stop trying to relive God moments that happened in the past and pursue God in the present. He is revealing Himself each day, we must search for Him, wait on Him, and realize He is a creative God. The same God that designed you me and the whole earth will do miracles in a variety of ways.