August 31, 2013

the Spirit falls at Christian University - Testimony #1 - Lifelong Stuttering

Yesterday, I witnessed one of the most powerful moves of the Holy Spirit I've ever seen in a short period of time at a Christian University where I was invited to speak in two lectures by a Professor who wanted me to speak about the supernatural stuff of the the Kingdom.

What follows is the testimony of a miracle that I had never seen before. A young man with a stuttering problem that reminded me of the challenge portrayed in the recent film "The King's Speech". I HAD NEVER seen this type of condition healed until what we witnessed yesterday. It was one of the most powerful and moving things I've ever seen God do, EVER!

"Today, I encountered God like never before. The day started off as usual, waking up, getting a cup of coffee, and reading research about stuttering and speech therapy while doing some vocal warm ups. As I was walking to my Old Testament class, I kept on thinking, "What day is it?" being that I haven't had a Friday class since high school year ago hoping class would be nice and go by quick so I could start my three day weekend.

On the way to the room, I heard people talking about the guest speaker we had. Once he started speaking, I knew why.

His name was DJ. DJ is a Middle East missionary and regularly, through the power of God's Spirit, heals people. During the lecture, he kept emphasizing God's love and healing powers while stressing that we have that same power today; the power of God, seen at it's fullest through Jesus, and the same power that Jesus gave to us at the day of Pentecost as the disciples' remember, "I am sending you an advocate even greater than I." Now, even as great as all this sounded, I was a bit skeptical. I mean, I've grown up in a Christian household, went to church, knew of God, and have read through Acts and the Gospel. All that sounds nice, and I believe it happened, but never thought that could happen to me.

During class, I listened so intently to what DJ was saying. The passion and conviction in his voice was moving. Slowly I felt something come over me, like a wave of fear and intense anxiety; something I'm use to feeling, but never like this. This, this was God. I felt Him, throughout my body, stirring all that I was, calling me to trust Him and His promises and to believe what DJ was saying. By the end of class, I wanted to leave so badly. I couldn't stand the way I was feeling and was just freaking out. I mean, I've heard charismatic speakers before at youth camps and stuff speaking on the same thing, but this was different. Freaked out, uncomfortable, and feeling sick, I left class and went to the bathroom.

But I couldn't leave. Something (someone) was pulling me back. I've experienced altar calls and all that stuff before and walked away, I'm fine and I don't need prayer, but this time, I simply couldn't. So I walked over and joined the rest of the class in prayer outside the Heath hall.

As I walked up, DJ and my professor, Ms. Jackson, were praying while others laid hands on one of the girls who has had headaches and pain for many years since her accident. And then, after one simple prayer, she was healed. And then that happened again….and again…and again. I was freaking out! Coming from a seeker sensitive church, the Holy Spirit was basically never mentioned. But I knew it, I mean Him. He was real, alive, and present in that moment. DJ then asked again, "Is there anyone else suffering and need healing? The Spirit is alive and present here!" Then, I walked up….

There were probably about 20 of my classmates left at this time and everyone was very emotional. Once I was up front of the group, DJ simply said, "What are you suffering from?" As I started to speak, I said I stuttered out the words, "I have had a speech impediment all my life" and just broke down sobbing. Like not just teary-eyed or even regular crying but wailing and wheezing. The entire class gathered around me forming a tighter circle and everyone laid hands on me or someone else close by. Then DJ began to pray.

I wish I remembered everything he prayed; the words were so beautiful and powerful. He said something along the lines of,

"Father heal Rick of his stuttering….free him of his constant worry, pain, anxiety….of his feelings of shame, guilt, fear, and regret…of those that have called him names and teased him…rid him of the moments he saw himself as a failure….bless Him with your healing and your love….only you can heal father….change and rewrite his story, use his stuttering as a witness to you and your name for your glory….that he may use his new found fluency to speak your name. Amen"

I cannot fully describe what I felt in that moment. Looking up, I saw everyone else crying and teary-eyed. Then, I felt something come over me; my chest and lungs felt like the were revived, my throat and larynx felt opened, my mouth, light and free, and my brain, full, complete, and at peace. Peace. I have never felt anything that way before. I then began to speak….and speak…and speak without any stuttering. At this moment, everyone else started crying and was in complete shock. I overheard some people saying, "Is this real? Did he really stutter before?" Graham, who was in a class of mine last year testified that I really did have a stuttering problem before. Mariah, one of my closest friends, was bailing and saying to the class, "I've never heard him talk like this before." DJ then encouraged me to go off to the side and spend some alone time with God so I did.

Then, DJ's friend came over to me and we began to talk. He told me that one of his family members also had a severe stuttering impediment. He then went on to say, "I have this feeling that God is going to use you and your history of stuttering in profound ways. I believe that it isn't a pain but a purpose, a gift. A gift you're now going to share with others." I then went on to say that recently I have had some thoughts about going into speech therapy as a career. He confirmed that word of the Lord by saying something like, "Yes, that's what he said to me too." During that time, another guy from my class Joshua was sitting there. He said that during my prayer encounter he spoke in tongues for the first time and wanted to thank me for that experience. He also remembered what he said and told me that he'd let me know what the translation means. Can't wait to hear that.

Then I spent some alone time with God. Still crying, I broke down even more. I didn't say anything but invited God to. He said something like: "Well done Rick. You have worked hard and long enough. You have completed the task I have placed in front of you and are ready for what's to come. I rid you of this burden you've been trying to carry for so long. Good work but it is finished and it is now mine. Do not live in fear any longer for those days are gone. This is it. Freedom. Now go share this story and do good works in my name." I just sat there for a little bit longer, being still in God's love and embrace. Feeling closer to God than ever before. Peace. Free.

Then I went back over to the group and they asked me how I was feeling. So I started telling them, fluently, freely, and without fear. I then read Exodus 4 aloud, in front of everyone, most who I didn't even know, which says, "Moses said to the Lord, "Pardon your servant, Lord. I have never been eloquent, neither in the past nor since you have spoken to your servant. I am slow of speech and tongue." 11 The Lord said to him, "Who gave human beings their mouths? Who makes them deaf or mute? Who gives them sight or makes them blind? Is it not I, the Lord? 12 Now go; I will help you speak and will teach you what to say." Upon hearing this, people were amazed. And I was too. Not only did people say I didn't stutter, but I read the verse very well, like I've been fluent all my life.

Then many more were healed through the power of Jesus and the Holy Spirit. People heard what was going on and they joined our group. One guy showed up to our circle, skeptical and on crutches, we prayed, then he laid the crutches down and walked off to his next class. To close out our time, I prayed over the group as a whole, something I've never done before. I then went and called my Mom on the phone and talked to her for 30 minutes, perfectly. After that, as I was going to eat some lunch, a small group of people were gathered on the lawn and Graham was telling them what happened. They called me over and I shared my testimony. Others heard, and then they joined as well. Some of them I just met, others I knew last year, but all were amazed and touched by God.

Throughout the day I kept sharing my testimony and did not stop talking. Now, as I write this almost 12 hours later, I have not stuttered once.