By Christian Winter
I'm so excited to share this experience with you. This is one of my most foundational experiences which established my faith in what is possible with God. The day started off pretty normal. We had class, worship, and afternoons sessions. This night, however, was about to mark my entire life with faith.
Every Thursday night, we gather as a community to worship and someone brings a teaching. This night Max Lucado, a world renown author and pastor, was speaking. I don't even remember what he was speaking on, but something hit my heart. I felt like my mind and heart were unlocked.
During this week, I was in a state of pure bliss. It felt like nothing could take me down. After worship, some friends brought my backpack to me, it was soaking wet. I wasn't even mad because I was so in love with Jesus.
Somebody asked me to move the podium back to the tent it came from. I agreed and walked it back to the tent. As soon as I walked in, rain began to pour. It had already been raining earlier that night, and I was a little annoyed that I would have to walk through the rain. I walked back to the entrance of the tent and just stood there. The rain was torrential.
I didn't even have a lot of faith when this happened, but I knew Jesus loved me. I looked up and said a small prayer, "Jesus, could you stop the rain?" Immediately the rain stopped. I began to walk and figured that this was normal. Only later did I find out that this wasn't the norm.
I walked out happy that I wasn't getting rained on, but I had no reverence of the miracle that just happened. Some may call it coincidence and that's fine. I didn't believe it at first either. I made it back to the Ohana Court (our covered outdoor basketball court that has a stage) and began walking back to my room. I felt the Lord speak to me so clearly. "Go back through the Ohana Court, I want you to meet somebody," I responded, "I don't really want to." I knew I had to go back. He kept nudging on my heart.
Annoyed, I walked back through. I saw a kid with cerebral palsy in a wheelchair and I knew I'm supposed to meet him. Full of fear, I walked right past him. I stopped, built up the courage and walked straight to him. I introduced myself and he just looked at me. He couldn't respond, but he tried. I continued trying to talk and the Lord gave me His heart for my new friend. My heart shattered into a million pieces. I was so choked up that I just left.
My heart was so burdened for love for this person I didn't even know. This love was weighty. It was unlike any other love I had ever experienced. I asked God, "What is this?" He said, "I am giving you my Father's Heart." I didn't understand what that meant.
I could hear His voice so distinctly. God began prophesying over me, "You are called to be a leader of leaders. I am calling you to be like my son Jesus." I wept more. I was still so scared. I'm a really good follower, but I've never led anything. How could this be possible?
I didn't know what to do so I called my brother, Brannon. He came over and it started raining again. As I spoke about what just transpired, I couldn't even speak. I was being transformed and marked by His love. I would call this the moment I truly gave my life to Jesus.
My baptism and "accepting Jesus into my heart" salvation had already happened, but this was different. I felt secure in the love of Jesus. I felt like I could rest in His presence. Whether I was already saved or not I don't know, but I knew that this was real. What I was experiencing was real and that truth couldn't be taken away from me.
This was the moment I was ruined for anything other than Jesus. I needed to do a DTS. I never even went on a mission before. The closest thing I had done to mission work was wearing my brother's "Orphanage Emmanuel" t-shirt and moving furniture at an orphanage. I was only there because I had to be and I got free pizza.
I heard Jesus calling and I decided to finally step out of the boat.