It’s going to be awkward. I’ll probably be the oddball out. Surely the only chocolate chip in the mix.
Those were all of my thoughts before entering training camp. I heard training camp was extreme. I also heard it was way worse than the actual field would be.
Each day, our meals consisted of food from a different country we would travel to. Some days we could only eat with our left hand, other days only our right hand, and some days only hands–no utensils! My favorite day was eating with chopsticks, though, because I’m a pro at that! Lol.
Our facilities were made up of bucket showers and Porta-Potties! That was probably my least favorite of camp. We also slept in tents and other days shared tents in order to simulate different scenarios that could happen–lost luggage, market days, etc.
However, it was the sessions and worship that impacted me the most. I’m going to be honest–no frills. I was 1 of 3 chocolate chips (aka black people) at camp. Cultural differences are real. “Charismatic” is what I’m used to at the churches I grew up in. I consider my fairer skinned brothers and sisters of the faith to be more tamed in their worship, so it was a joy to see them worship freely, jump up and down, and clap (still off-beat lol).
The organization (Adventures in Missions) emphasizes Holy Spirit (not “the” but truly Holy Spirit as the third person of the trinity) and all that He gives. Knowing this, I thought the gift of tongues was going to be taught and enforced, but it wasn’t. No gift was necessary lesser or higher (as should be). There was more of a focus on the gift of healing, but that’s because they’ve seen the Lord move in that way. I’ve also heard that healing is more evident in countries outside of America. Why? I don’t know that answer, but I never want to neglect the gift of the Spirit and how the Lord uses it to draw people near Him.
Personally, I experienced healing while I was there. During one of our sessions, the speaker, Deon, spoke about the gift of healing and the Lord’s ability to do so. He asked us to break into small groups and pray for anyone who needed healing. I was already feeling sick that day and Deon prayed for healing of my headache, and honestly, the pain went away! So when they asked us to break out, I was hesitant because I thought, “Should I ask for healing in more than one thing?”
Well, I had surgery on my left leg when I was a senior in high school and periodically it still hurts. The headache seemed small, but my leg…that’s been a lifelong issue. I wanted the Lord to prove Himself in this area still, so I asked our team leader, Landry, to pray for the healing of my leg. When I first had surgery, I had a friend tell me one thing I never would be able to do again was sit on my knees. Therefore, after she prayed, I tried to sit on my knees and I couldn’t. I went back to the wall saddened. However, something in my spirit still believed.
I went back to Landry and asked, “How does this thing work? Do you keep praying until there’s healing?” She said, “Yes!” So she prayed again. I tried to sit. No luck. She prayed again, I sat, no luck. Then she asked Paul to join. He prayed. I tried to sit. And I could sit a little more. I could never sit all the way because it would hurt too much. So he asked me the level of pain on a scale of 1-10. It was an 8. We repeated the same cycle until I was at a 6. After that, Landry and Paul got others to join around me and pray.
Sidenote: I’ve believed in healing, but I’ve never seen it in person, so I’ve always thought any healing on TV was fake and hoaxed. I thought they set the whole thing up before we ever entered the room. For that reason, I vowed if my leg wasn’t healed, I wasn’t going to say it was and pretend something happened that didn’t. I remember before becoming a Christian, we would have to go up to the altar and receive prayer. Those praying over us would push us so hard (assuming the Holy Spirit would knock us over) and I never budged, but some of my friends did. After service, I asked why they fell down and their response was, “Well, he was pushing me so hard I just decided I needed to fall.” Yet, that gave the appearance they were experiencing something through the Holy Spirit that never really happened.
Therefore, as the pain dropped from a 6 to a 4 to a 2, I was grateful, but I wasn’t healed. So they kept praying. And eventually, I sat fully on my knees without any pain. I WAS SO HAPPY! But then I broke into tears for doubting Him. Why did I have to test Him? Yet, the Father still showed me His goodness!
The next day, however, I couldn’t sit on my knees and I didn’t understand why. Did I not receive healing? NO, I know I did. I physically was able to do something I haven’t been able to do in 12 years and there are witnesses! I wrote everything in my journal so that I would not forget! I also didn’t feel any pain while I was exercising or going up the stairs anymore as I had at the beginning of the week. So why couldn’t I do the one thing that was proof of His healing?
Honestly, I don’t know.
I sought out answers to that question.
There wasn’t a clear cut answer, but one that resonated with me was this:
“Healing takes time to manifest, but a miracle happens instantaneously.“
Deon, the speaker, told me sometimes we pray for people and they don’t receive healing and they believe “God didn’t want to heal me.”
But the healing is busy manifesting.
In one instance, Jesus immediately healed a blind man. In another, He did it in stages. On another, He told him to go to a pool and wash the mud that was placed on him.
Since then, I have been able to sit on my knees again. Ironically, it’s only been during worship. Essentially, I have no “need” to sit on my knees other than to prove I can. It is only praising my Lord and Savior that I even desire to. As I think back on the character of God, everything He does is with purpose. I remember one of my squadmates (pictured in the image below) telling me that this position on our knees was one of the most freeing ways to worship and I thank God that during those times, I can.
P.S. That’s not all camp taught me. There’s more. Stayed tuned for Part 2!
Support Raising Update:
I have approximately $14,000 of the $15,000 I need for my September 1 goal.
Please pray that the Lord will allow me to reach that goal! We’re so close!
This song ministered to me as I wrote. May it wash over you. Mosaic by Aaron Barbosa.
Until Heaven or Sooner,