By Lena Danneberg
When I left Germany and came to Canada last fall I knew it was an opportunity for me to strengthen my relationship with God. How that would happen was unknown to me. At first I thought I would be doing a discipleship program in Abbotsford, but that door closed. The next door opened and in January I found myself in a Youth With a Mission (YWAM) training school in Florida.
From day one we learned to listen for God’s voice. During intercessory prayer times in groups I struggled, “Is this my imagination or am I really hearing God speak?” I never knew that God could speak to me in ways like this. Can God put thoughts into my mind and lead me in such practical ways?
I learned to test what I thought God was saying by stepping out and sharing it. I started taking risks, trusting that what I was hearing was coming from God. In prayer groups there were times we all heard similar things and it was clear that God was guiding us in unity. I began to believe that John 10:27 is true – “My sheep hear my voice”. I was thrilled with this new way of living. Friendship with God was becoming a reality for me.
Numerous times during my training phase I felt God was speaking to me about my personal story and that I would be sharing my life story in front of others on my outreach assignment in Indonesia. Sure enough, it happened. In fact, near the end of my outreach I spoke to thousands in one meeting about how God has worked in my life.
One day in Indonesia a few of us asked God to give us pictures of people he wanted us to go visit. As we prayed, I saw a woman in my mind with short hair wearing a black shirt and a skirt, holding a purse under her arm. Another team member saw a shopping mall in his mind and we agreed to go there looking for her. We walked by a woman that fit the description, but I went past her, doubting if she was the one. The farther I walked away from her the more I felt unsettled and knew I needed to go back. So I approached her and explained why I wanted to talk to her. She was surprised and grateful and went on to tell us she was the only Christian in her family. “So why would God guide you to pray for me?” she asked. “What did he lead you to pray for?” The interesting thing was I had already felt God guiding me to pray for her family. So as she shared her passion to see her whole family come to know Jesus, she was really encouraged that God would lead me – a German from half way around the world – to pray for her and her family!
A week later a guy approached our team and asked, “Did you pray for my friend at the mall?” He wanted us to know how much it had impacted her and others who heard about it. This confirmed to us again that God had led us to her, and that God was revealing his love to one Indonesian believer and her family and friends. A little while after this the young woman came to us and brought three friends who were interested in knowing more about God and how we can hear his voice. The effect of this one experience was sending ripples beyond what we could have imagined.
I know I have a lot to learn but I am excited about how God speaks. There are many other stories I could share, including supernatural healings, but all of them go back to this simple truth that God is speaking and guiding people today. He is inviting me to trust him and keep stepping out in faith. His promise is sure – My sheep hear my voice.