I was born in a Christian home with a father that was driven to witness, regardless of interest or openness of the audience. He never meet an open mic that he didn’t like. I respected him and his drive but it always made me feel like I didn’t have a choice in the matter of accepting Christ. Frankly, I think it still makes me tend to not like to talk as much about myself. Instead I prefer the person I’m talking with to talk more about themselves.
When I was at a church camp in the 6th grade was when I accepted God and was given the gift of the Holy Spirit. It was a large camp with at least 80 cabins each cabin split in half holding at least 10 in each side and a couple of councilors in a middle bedroom. So the camp had like 160 to 200 6th, 7th and 8th graders. But there lies the story.
Well in our 6th grader half of the cabin was a 6th grader named Brian Den Hartog from Sheldon Iowa. Brian had participated in a church witness program referred to Lay Witnessing. The Lay Witness program was when various lay witnesses come to a church for a weekend from other churches. The leaders come on a Wednesday with evening church meetings and day planning sessions. Then starting on in earnest on Friday through that Sunday the church has multiple meetings and small groups meeting with these other lay witnesses all giving their testomonies in the meetings or in small group meetings, witnessing and basically helping to facilitate and create an environment for the Holy Spirit to move.
In the week evenings we would all talk in our side and Brian would tell us about his experiences with lay witnesses that he had participated in. About the Holy Spirit and how he had witnessed it moving. Being at camp I was free to make my own decisions and didn’t feel I was being pushed. So it was easy to ask questions and truly do so from my own interest. Then one Thursday evening after lights were out the Holy Spirit started to move in our half of the cabin. We all received the Holy Spirit that night in our side and it was such that our counselors joined us that night. But it didn’t end with our half of a cabin that night. The next day we went out and our side of the cabin started witnessing to the rest of the camp. The Holy Spirit moved through the whole camp, actives were suspended all were in the church or out on the camp grounds accepting the Holy Spirit. If you can picture the scene, you had adhoc groups coming together then that spreading to others. I suspect our counselors helped pave the way with the other councilors. The camp was filled with tears of joy and open hearts.
When I attended the camp the next year the counselors told us too how they were moved and amazed at seeing the Holy Spirit move the prior year.
Of course that was just one step on a long path which I am still having God take me through. I say initial rescue story since there have been many other events and people that God has blessed my life with to form the collage of his mark that is on my soul.