The great American evangelist Billy Graham said the following in regard to difficult times: “Mountaintops are for views and inspiration, but fruit is grown in the valleys.”
In the midst of everything that is happening around the world, it is easy to feel like we are in the valley. But that is precisely where we will see the fruit God has promised us. This is not a time to disconnect and stop working in the ministry, on the contrary, it is an opportunity to grow in prayer, dive deeper into the Word of God, win our neighbors for Jesus, and have family fellowship.
Today, we want to share two testimonies from women who attended the encounters we had in MCI Bogota back in February. We pray that these testimonies will remind us of the value of just one soul and that it is always worth the effort to sow hope to those around us.
I was born and raised in a Catholic family, who raised me in their belief. When I was four years old, my dad was unfaithful to my mom and she decided to do the same to him. Since then, I cannot remember one single day without one of their big, loud fights.
When I was six years old, they began to leave me home alone for more than 16 hours a day. I had to learn how to cook on my own, by the age of eight I knew how to bake and decorate cakes. I dreamt of being a chef until the age of nine, which was when my first dog died. I then began to gain interest in the wellbeing of animals and decided I wanted to be a vet when I grew up. Months later, the man I had as a father-figure passed away because of cancer. I began to question God and little by little lost my faith.
When I was 10 I became an atheist as the fights at home worsened. I grew up feeling alone and scared, I had to learn to solve my own problems at that age without my parents´ help. I have been bullied at school for as long as I can remember, which resulted in very low self-esteem. When I was 12 years old, I began to suffer sexual harassment and attempts of rape, which is why I decided to cut my veins. So many bad things had happened to me, and I had to face them alone that I questioned my existence, that of my parents and my brother (I hadn’t mentioned him before because I don’t remember him ever being there).
As time went by, I looked for comfort and care in the wrong people. When I was 13, my parents found out that I was cutting myself. They told my brother, who attended a Christian church, to see if he could help. One day, he came to our house to help me with homework and put on music in the background. I did not like Christian singers because I was decidedly an atheist, but he played Trapstorno from Redimi2, and I immediately liked his music. So much so, that I memorized his entire album in two weeks, that’s all I would listen to!
One day I called my brother and told him he had one chance to take me to church: it was either this Saturday or never. And so, July 28th, 2018, my brother took me to church. Generación 12 was playing the song they did in collaboration with Redimi2 called Your Love Has No End (Tu Amor No Tiene Fin). Though I had heard the song many times before, I still didn’t know how to worship God. When I saw my brother Daniel do it, the first thing I thought was, ¨He’s crazy!¨. But I didn’t want to be the only one not worshipping, so I closed my eyes and opened my heart to hear the song. When Redimi2’s verse started, I felt something in my heart; I wasn’t sure what was happening but I wanted to cry. No one knew me at church, but I heard someone say my name and when I opened my eyes to see who it was, there was nobody there. However, the tears came flooding. During the sermon, they said that God knocks on the door of our heart and we need to open it so we can be called His children. These words made the cup overflow.
A year and eight months ago, I gave my heart to Jesus. I am finishing Life Class, which has been a supernatural experience, without a doubt the most difficult thing was to forgive, but I did it! My parents always made up excuses to keep me from going to church, like not having enough money for transportation for example. I decided I would sell candy, stationery, and other little things at school to have money for my transportation and not miss any of my meetings. Today, I can say that I am a daughter of God and I will do everything I can to defend my new name.
A few years ago, God told me that my name was His predestined one and that I was very loved by Him. But, as much as I tried, I could never have real intimacy with God. Two years ago, I began to seek Jesus, but I was lukewarm; I had one foot in and one foot out. I was afraid to fail, so I never fully committed.
A couple of weeks ago, I met someone at work from the church. She is definitely someone very special, and because of things only God understands, that meeting became an opportunity. She invited me to an encounter and God told me this was my moment. I accepted her invitation, and there, the Lord transformed my life. On the first morning of the encounter, I was finding it hard to connect with God. Although I knew and understood all of the sins that were weighing me down, I was not fully surrendering. I began to ask God to help me because I did not want to leave the same way I had entered. My objective was clear: I wanted the Spirit of God to let me encounter Him, I wanted to meet Him on this path.
One of the guides hugged me and that’s when God told me, ¨You are My daughter, a very beautiful daughter¨. She began to speak in tongues and in that moment my heart broke, I saw all of my sins before me. I knelt down and felt a different presence try to speak to me and fill me with fear. It wouldn’t let me concentrate; I think Satan was determined to disconnect me. But I prayed to ask that by the blood of Jesus it would leave me alone, and it did, I stopped feeling that strange presence. I continued to repent and I began to feel relief in my heart.
In the afternoon, pastor Perla preached, a person who has impacted my life since the Pre-Encounter because every time she prayed I felt something very special in that place. I remember something she said that really stuck to me: ¨If we want the Holy Spirit to be in us, we need to empty ourselves first of everything that’s inside so He can fill us¨. I continued to ask God for forgiveness and was given freedom from all oppression. After this, we began to worship the Holy Spirit. One of the guides came near to me speaking in tongues, and I fell to my knees. My mouth began to speak in a way I could not control, but I could hear the real language of the Spirit, I felt very happy and at peace.
Sunday, the last day of the Encounter, I showed up with the same willingness in my heart. I listened attentively to every message and testimony. In the afternoon, the Holy Spirit continued to work in me that I longed to experience His presence again. And I did! Once again, I spoke in tongues and felt His fire on my back, throat, and arms. The more I prayed, the freer I felt. After the Encounter, I stayed for the church service and God confirmed that this church is the place for me.
The week after the encounter, I woke up at 4:40 in the morning to be with God but had not been able to speak in tongues again. I heard a sermon about the doors we open to the enemy, God showed me there were still things I was doing wrong and needed to repent. I felt a deep sadness that led me to true repentance, I prayed along with the closing prayer of the sermon and felt a special presence. I must’ve been speaking in tongues for half an hour! As I prayed, I kept thinking about my family, and I believe it was the Spirit leading me to pray for them. My home feels different, there are more light and peace. Thank You Holy Spirit!
These women’s stories remind us that we have the answer the world is looking for in times like these. Maybe the commotion has made you ask yourself, where is the joy God promised me at the beginning of the year? What about abundance and peace? Today I want to tell you that His promises are still standing. Isaiah 55:11 tells us that His Word will not return to Him empty, but that it will accomplish what He pleases and prosper in what He sends it to do. God will fulfill the promise of saving your home, restoring your relationship with your children, and growing your ministry. Mountaintops are great to be inspired by the work we have to do in the valleys. Yes, even in this valley of uncertainty, God wants to glorify Himself in every area of our lives.
Go up to the mountain every morning, seek His presence and fill yourself with Him! By staying connected, you will be able to flourish in this valley. It’s time to evangelize, grow your cell group, and see the power of God flow through you!