Thursday was no ordinary day. I’ve been to a lot of summer camps and a lot of mission trips with teenagers in my ministry and the events of yesterday we’re anything but common. Everything yesterday was so connected (even God ordained) and such a great learning experience for our team. Little did we know that the theme for the message last night would be the Holy Spirit when we began our day.
Yesterday started pretty normal as we went out to ministry sites. But as we returned from track groups we learned that 14 children at one Bible Club accepted Christ. Then it was on to our “Free Time.” Normally on this day at M-Fuge they give church groups an extended free time to spend time in town. So, we loaded the bus and headed to the waterfront to go out for dinner. Free time is our downtime. I wasn’t expecting it to be ministry. God had other ideas. Our plan was to have all the students back on the bus at 8:30pm in order to be at the 9:00pm worship service. As a few of us were hurrying back to the bus (at 8:30pm) we passed by a small street festival when all of a sudden three darkly clothed men jumped out in front of us and said, “Do you believe in Jesus?” Quickly a couple of the teenagers said, “yes” and we kept walking and not really thinking much of it. Seconds later these same men ran out in front of us and started yelling and telling us we were stupid for believing in Christ. “How could we believe in some mythological creature that doesn’t exist,” they said. “How can you be so manipulated by the government to believe such a thing.” “Jesus may have been a real person – but no different than you or me.” How can you believe in a God that kills his people and allows us to be in so much pain?” For what seemed like eternity these men shouted and raged out at us. I was stunned. All of us were stunned. These men never introduced themselves. Yes, they looked as if they were stoned or high on something, but I could sense it was something more. You could see the depth of their pain and the emptiness of their hearts.
Spiritual warfare is something that is alive and well. It’s not too often that I’ve seen it as clearly as last night. The eight of us who were standing their took a stand in that moment. Chase & Paul and I began to speak to these men about our faith. LeAnn and a few others went back to the bus to pray and the rest of the girls and guys who were with us stood by our sides. In that 15min encounter it was like heaven and hell were right their in front of us doing battle. Satan wanted nothing to do with what we were about. I was so impressed with the students who were standing there in that moment eight of our older teens said, “yes we believe.” They said, “it’s not about religion, it’s about the change that Jesus Christ has made in our lives.”
The leader of the group of men was completely out of his mind. Once he new he wasn’t going to deter us, he ran off and the younger man was left standing there talking with us. I’d love to say that man listened and believed, but not at that moment. He simply ran off a moment later after his attempts to scream at us failed. As we headed to the bus I told the teenagers that they just saw spiritual warfare at it’s darkest. We boarded the bus had a prayer for those men and then headed to worship. (We’re now running about 15min late)
As we entered worship the worship leader began to sing, “You’re the God of this city…You’re King of these people, You’re the Lord of this nation…you’re the hope for the hopeless, you are…there is no one like our God…there is no one like our God. For greater things are yet to come, and greater things are yet to be done in this city….” We worshiped and our spirits were comforted and calmed in those moments. Then the camp pastor preached on the work of the Holy Spirit. Wow! This was no ordinary day. We closed our day in church group time praying over one another and asking the Holy Spirit to give each of us boldness to step out into Kingston on Friday ready to face the darkness that would love us to leave and stop telling the Good and Great News of Jesus Christ.
Free Time? Our time is not our own. What was supposed to be our group free time was really God’s in the end anyway. We’re called to be ready at anytime to give an account and take a stand for the God of this City…the God of all Creation…the King of Kings…and Lord of Lords…Jesus Christ.