By: Donna Zabel
Shortly after arriving at the MARK Centre, one girl in our group of 24 felt extremely homesick. Hannah was struggling with anxiety and fear and was adamant that she was not going to stay the week. We talked and prayed for over an hour before she agreed to “go and listen for just 20 minutes” to what Steve was sharing with our group. I quickly sent a short text message to some prayer warriors – “PRAY!”
As we entered the Great Room, Steve was ending a session about how we can listen for God to speak to us. The first full sentence we heard him say was, “Take the next 20 minutes and just listen to God!!!” So we all enjoyed a short solo time with God, and Hannah tried her best NOT to listen, as she knew that what she wanted and what God wanted were not the same.
As the group started trickling in, Steve began to play “Great Is Thy Faithfulness” on his trumpet. After a few minutes, he introduced Raly, a Nigerian woman with an amazing faith in God. Raly shared a personal experience of a time when God spoke to her about staying in a difficult setting that she felt like running away from. At one point when she was sharing she looked directly at Hannah and her exact words were, “God said to me…you are to stay here.”
Raly passed around her story on paper titled, “The Cave”. It spoke of how fear and anxiety ruled her and how she felt imprisoned to it. This was exactly the way Hannah had explained her feelings a few moments earlier. Then Steve shared a story from his life when he was stressed about financial challenges and a word came to him from one man in a group prayer time. The message spoken over him was, “Stay where you are”. Neither Steve nor Raly knew anything about Hannah’s situation. In fact, neither of them knew what the other one was going to talk about either!
After the group session, Hannah and I went back to discuss how she felt about the “20 minutes” of listening that had turned into 2 hours. Although she was still a bit hesitant, she knew God was guiding her to STAY for the week. As Hannah allowed her fear to turn into trust, God helped her to embrace the adventure of staying for the whole week. God gave her boldness as she served with our group in a variety of settings. She prayed daily for people on the streets of Vancouver and for members of our group. She became a bundle of energy and joy that spread to everyone around her! There are many stories we could tell from our group experience. God captured our hearts and minds with the simple truth that he is speaking today and we can hear his voice. The MARK Centre proved to be a very peaceful setting for us to return to each day and we’re working on our booking for next year!
“May you trust God that you are exactly where you are meant to be…Let this presence settle into your bones, and allow your soul the freedom to sing, dance, praise and love.”
(― Teresa of Ávila)