One week. One supernatural encounter. More than 20 lives that will never be the same.
Going into this “encounter week” it seemed like a last-minute, under-planned activity that we invited more than 20 people to be a part of, the majority being Nicaraguan teenagers from several different ministries around Managua. It is amazing what God can do with one simple “yes” when we’re willing to trust Him with the details.
The first half of the week was hard because most of the teens were cold, closed, distant, and distracted. The leaders felt like we weren’t getting anywhere or seeing any of the progress we had been hoping for. Wednesday was the most challenging day, with very obvious attacks from the enemy from pretty much every angle on both the students and leaders. But soon as we woke up the next day, we could tell that something in the spiritual atmosphere had shifted and were expectant to see what Jesus had in store for us that day. Sure enough, before worship even started, the Lord began stirring in hearts all around the room. Our 20 minute pre-teaching prayer time turned into a 2 hour worship session and Holy Spirit moved in mighty ways. We got to pray for deliverance for several of the boys and when they got up they chose to fully commit their lives to Jesus and asked to be baptized. So we piled everyone in a truck and a van and went to a Laguna to baptize 5 boys and celebrate their new freedom and life in Christ. There is nothing better than watching Jesus set His children free.
Thursday was so good we couldn’t imagine how Friday could possibly be any better, but we were excited to watch the Lord pour out His presence and have His way in the lives of His children again. The teachings the whole week had lead up to this final day, where we wanted to put Holy Spirit on full display and impart His power into each of the teens as we closed out the week. Michael (founder of the Isaiah Ministry and another long-term missionary here in Nicaragua) shared a teaching about what the Bible says about the Holy Spirit and what it means to do life with Him. Then I shared my testimony about my journey of seeking more over the last year and how much my life has been totally transformed in the last few months since being baptized in the Holy Spirit. Towards the end of my testimony, several people in the room started getting touched as Holy Spirit giggles filled the room. As soon as I finished, one of the teen boys named Josue pulled me aside and said, “Heather, I’m shaking so bad and I can’t stop. I don’t know what’s wrong with me.” I honestly wasn’t sure either, so a couple other leaders and I began to pray for him.
As soon as we started praying, he closed his eyes and it became clear we had entered into a battle for freedom from the darkness that had weighed him down for many years. After more than 30 minutes of super intense prayer for deliverance, we saw that his spirit shifted and he wasn’t fighting anymore. He was peaceful. We waited and stayed with him, but the things he was saying took our breath away. He said, “I see the light…. It’s so bright and it’s coming closer. He’s coming up to me… He’s washing my feet. He sprayed me with perfume. He’s so beautiful! Thank you Lord.” We realized that He was talking about Jesus, and he was with Jesus. Then he was silent for a few minutes so we waited with him. He started mumbling under his breath but none of us who were sitting around him could understand what he was saying at first. But then his voice changed and the words became clearer and we realized that even though his eyes were still closed, he was speaking to us. We were confused at first by the things he was saying, “Seek me. Seek me my children. My presence is with you. I’m coming soon. I’m coming soon!” And with those words, we realized it was no longer Josue speaking, it was Jesus.
In awe and disbelief, I started trembling and weeping uncontrollably. Could this really be Him? Am I really sittingwith my Savior? How can I be sure? I couldn’t take my eyes off of him as he (while still laying down on the floor with his eyes closed) began to reach out and touch each one of us that were sitting at his side. He reached out to me and pulled my head to his chest and quietly said to me, “Thank you my daughter for doing this week with the teens.” That was the moment in my spirit where I couldn’t deny it, I knew it had to my Jesus because I recognized His voice.
And He was saying “thank you” to me? I continued to weep even more uncontrollably than before. It was this lovesick heart-cry from the deepest parts of my soul. I was sitting with Jesus, closer than I’ve ever been to seeing Him face to face. But then He wrapped His arms around me and said to me, “Don’t cry. Don’t cry! It’s better if you smile. I want you to smile. Please be joyful in my presence! Your smile is beautiful, and you are beautiful! I love you.” As soon as He said that I was completely overwhelmed by the joy of the Lord and began laughing hysterically. And that spread to each person who was sitting in around Him. Then there was a big gust of wind outside, and He said, “Did you see that? Do not doubt, my children. That was me, I am here with you!”
I cherished every word and every moment, in awe that He was everything I imagined Him to be and so much more: sweet, peaceful, loving, tender, gentle, funny, captivating and beautiful. One by one Jesus called everyone in the room by name (with his eyes closed the whole time), and spoke to each one individually. It was the most beautiful thing I’ve ever seen in my life. I watched as, one by one, Jesus touched and transformed His children. He called them by name to set them free from religion, from demons, from the pain of their past. He healed the hearts of many and several got healed physically. He whispered intimate secrets that made people sprint across the room and jump for joy. He kept giving us new spiritual gifts – to many tongues, to others talents and to a few the answer to their prayers. He sang worship songs with us. He understood and responded to both English and Spanish. He loved hearing people all around the room speak in tongues and he would smile and say “Do you hear those heavenly languages? Isn’t it beautiful? Keep going, say it louder. I hear you and know what you’re saying!”
After several hours of being completely undone in His presence and watching miraculous moment after miraculous moment pass by, Jesus asked everyone in the room to come gather around Him. He waited and asked 3 different times, because (with His eyes still closed) He knew every time there were still people missing. I was so overwhelmed as I saw people piling in to be close to Him, realizing I was seeing a glimpse of what it was like in the Bible – everyone wanting touch Him, hear Him, be with Him. Once He knew He had everyone in the room around Him and listening, He wanted to leave us all with these words:
I am filling your jars with fresh oil. Don’t cry my children. Smile instead! I love it when you smile and enjoy my presence! Be crazy for Christ! This day will be marked in your hearts forever. Keep seeking me. All I ask you to do is pray and praise. You are all my children and I love you.
I’m coming soon.
I’m coming soon.
I’m coming soon!
Once Jesus said goodbye and left Josue’s body, Josue woke up not having any idea what had happened during those three hours. When we tried to explain it to him he was totally shocked and had no memory of any of it. But when he woke up he had his own stories to tell us about the things the Lord had told him and showed him while he was in heaven. One of the best parts about the whole day was seeing a complete transformation in Josue from before to after this divine encounter. I had always known that Jesus could radically touch and transform someone’s life in a moment but didn’t fully believe it until I saw it happen with Josue. He got up as a completely different person – his voice had changed, his eyes were brighter, his smile was sincere, his face almost looked like it was glowing, and his spirit was at peace.
So last Friday, heaven crashed down. Jesus came to visit us. It was the most supernatural encounter I’ve ever experienced. And He touched us in a way that will forever be marked in our hearts. Keep seeking His face above all else. There’s nothing and no one that’s more worthy of our time than Jesus. He is revealing Himself more and more as He is stirring up revival in hearts all around the world. He is ready and waiting to have personal encounters with every single one of His children – no exclusions, no conditions, just the gift of a relationship that is more real and intimate than the air that we breathe.
Heaven is here and our King is coming.