You'll never guess what I did last week! It was such a coincidence. George and Manju wanted me to go for some discipleship training at the church, and the leaders were from nowhere other than Tulsa, Oklahoma, my hometown! God brought me halfway around the world to attend a session I would have never otherwise went to right on the other side of town.
Here's the team. The leader, Pastor Chene Tucker, is in the middle in orange.
I never would have gone to it otherwise because it was super charismatic. Dr. Chene Tucker, a professor at Oral Robert's University, spent the entire morning 9:30-1:00, sometimes later, leading very loud, boisterous worship, praying over people in tongues, and casting out demons, before launching into the afternoon teaching session of another 4-5 hours on such topics as inner healing, soul ties, prophesy and life purpose. (This was an all day affair Tuesday through Sunday.)
Whoa! At first I was very put off. I thought these people must be insane, or at least delusion and messed up in their theology. But then Pastor Chene sat down with me and showed me places in scripture where things like this happened, and also described various revivals throughout history that were very legitimate and resulted in entire tribes or cities coming to Christ. Manju confirmed what she said.
"Laura, if you want to plant churches in places that have never heard of Jesus, this is the sort of thing you're going to see a lot. The power of the Holy Spirit has to break through various demonic strongholds inherent in idolatrous cultures. You should not just expect to see this, you should hope to see it."
Still skeptical, I agreed to at least stay until the end. God really stretched me. I realized that I don't always have to understand something or feel it myself in order for it to be true and genuine. Everything they did was strongly backed up in scripture. Did I end up speaking in tongues or manifesting prophesy or some other "gift of the spirit?" No. But I did discover and strengthen some of my "motivational" spirit gifts which are also mentioned in scripture, such as teaching, encouraging, apostleship, and evangelism. Through the personality test, I learned that I'm a "melancholy" temperament, which explains why I'm so analytical.
At the graduation ceremony on Sunday, we all read the meaning of our name and our life mission statement. "Laura" means "victorious," and "Jane" means "God is gracious, so I say, "God is gracious to give me the victory." My life mission statement is to, "Victorious proclaim the graciousness and love of God in Jesus through my writing and teaching, especially in places where Christ is not well known." Three prophecies were spoken over me: 1.) That God has set me free to use my talents and what I enjoy doing to bring honor and glory to Him. 2.) There is a great "epistle" inside me waiting to be written (unbeknownst to them I've saved all the Christian letters and advice I've written over the years and am slowly compiling it) and 3.) That I would not always write "sitting in a chair" all the time, but through my amazing experiences and the lives that I touch.
Here we are processing:
God also told me independently that my "secret" name is Petra, the female form of Peter. When Jesus changed Simon's name to Peter, Simon meant "wavering reed," but Peter meant "rock." God told me I should be a rock, firm in my decisions, not always waffling and wavering in the winds of doubt and fear. Just as a man who begins to plow a field should not constantly look over his shoulder, so I should not always second guess myself.
Here's a symbol of the conference, a sparrow's nest we found in the backyard of SS home:
So was it a interesting coincidence or God's providence that I ended up in that seminar? You can think what you want. I've already made up my mind.
Prayer Requests: We spent a lot of time (at least 2 hours a day) praying for revival in Bangalore and India at large. Please add your own voice to this petition. Sometimes God does not give simply because we do not ask. He loves to give good things to His children!
Until next time, keep praying and loving,