Ibarra's First Encounter
“Since, then, we know what it is to fear the Lord, we try to persuade men.” -2 Corinthians 5:11
Everyday I find myself understanding more about the truth of God and realizing that mediocrity not only doesn't cut it with God, it's spiritually unhealthy. We are designed as humans to grow in our relationship with God, not stay in the same place.
On April 12 and 13, we had our very first Encounter with God. An Encounter is two days of conferences that are designed to confront the areas of your life where you are not right with God. Whether it's an issue of forgiveness, resentment, habitual sin, low self-esteem, or something else, these issues are confronted at the Encounter. For some people, the Encounter is the first time that they ever experience anything about God. I had already attended an Encounter in Cali, Colombia, with the rest of the team, but attending it and leading and organizing it is a completely different experience, and in my opinion, it is a far greater blessing to lead it.
Ten people from our church came to attend, some excited, some nervous, some a little reluctant, having come on our insistence. By the end of the conferences, even the least emotional were crying, and the ones who were hesitant to come did not want to leave. From the houses of prayer that I share with my partner, five people went (at least one person from each house) and I cannot express the pride and happiness I felt that weekend to see them open up completely to God and let Him take control of their lives.
We saw families restored, sin rejected, spiritual healing happen and God embraced wholeheartedly, and now we have ten people in our church on fire for God and eager to tell everyone they know about the goodness and mercy of God, and eager to grow spiritually in their own faith.
And the part of this whole weekend with the most impact was the presence of God in the room during the conferences. He is the One Who made this all possible and responded to our prayers that this Encounter be something incredible.
And after the Encounter, we had the most attendance to our service that we've had yet, as family and friends came to receive their loved ones from the Encounter.
Paul says in 2 Corinthians 5:20- “We implore you on Christ's behalf: Be reconciled to God.” As we saw this weekend, sometimes the people who seem the most righteous need help from God the most. We cannot lose time. God wants us reconciled to Him NOW. He can see the destructive things in our lives that we cannot. Many times I have heard this testimony after an Encounter (I in fact said the same thing as well after the Encounter in Colombia): “I thought everything was fine with God. I pray, I read my Bible, but God showed me the truth. That things were not right with Him.” God wants to heal every area of our life, even the ones that we don't know about! I am so grateful to God for the opportunity to not only attend an Encounter, but to organize one, and I wait with anticipation for many more to come.