Thank you God for working in our lives and our youth. We experienced your power over evil on this past Missions Trip to Jacksonville, FL. God moves in many ways and his presence can be felt anywhere. I will say that this particular Missions Trip was different than our previous. We did reach out to the community, did beach evangelism which was an awesome experience but we realized that we were there more for their church, their youth group and even for ourselves. We grew more spiritually on this trip than any of the others in the past. Our lives were truly changed. I had the least amount of sleep but spent many hours in prayer and reading God's Word. It was all well worth it. It was an incredible experience! It is a testimony of God's great power over evil. Before taking this trip, we had already had attacks from Satan; we knew it was his way of trying to stop us from going and keep us from being focused on what God had in store for us. We always have a curfew but I let some of our youth break it as long as there was a leader with them and it was what they felt God was leading them to do. I found out that God moved quite a few times in the very early hours of the morning. It was amazing to see how God worked in some of our youth. The Holy Spirit fell upon me and some other youth as we were praying. At the same time, the Holy Spirit worked on some of our other youth as were praying, they were reading their Bible and praying when God laid something upon their hearts. After our experience we went back to our rooms. I was up half the night still praying and reading, could not sleep. It was such an amazing night in the Lord. We each grew spiritually on this Missions Trip and had an experience in which we will never forget.
I would like to share one experience that myself and 4 other youth (Tommy - youth leader - 18, Erin, the only girl other than myself - 14, Neal - 15, and Chris - 16) experienced. Our lives were forever changed. In the early morning hours of Sunday, July 19, two of our youth, Tommy and Neal were praying in the stairway. As they were praying, a group of us were outside my room, I felt the need for us to go into the room and begin to pray as a group. We began praying with a boldness, for we could feel the presence of evil around us. When finished, we noticed a symbol of a snake on my bathroom door, it had 2 people on the bottom, 2 people beside it and 2 people at the top. I immediately told the others we needed to go check on the others praying in the stairway. We explained to them what had happened. Feeling like everything was alright, we decided to call it a night. Then everything changed within a few minutes. I went back out into the hallway speaking to some of the youth, they wanted to see the snake symbol on my bathroom door. We then began hearing noises (like doors closing all around us but no doors were closing), then we felt an evil presence around us. We decided to go down the hallway and lay hands on each door and pray. As I was going back into the room to get the other youth, Tommy noticed the devil's number and a saying on the Bible. I began to read it out loud. The Bible had "666" under The Holy Bible and then on the back of it had "The devil is coming." After reading it, I immediately dropped the Bible and with boldness said "No he's not." I ran out of the room and began laying hands on each door praying in tongues and in the name of Jesus, the other youth immediately followed. We went down the halls praying boldly then felt led to go up to the sixth floor to pray. We were praying as we were running up the stairs. The lights in the hallway of the stairway were flickering on and off, that did not stop us, we knew it was of the devil. We felt the presence even stronger on the sixth floor. We preceded to go down the halls and lay hands on each door praying. How anyone did not wake up is a God thing because we were praying loud not softly. During this whole time, we were still hearing the noises. We knew Satan was trying to scare us but it wasn't working. If anything it made us stronger in Christ. Satan could not enter us because we were a child of God. After praying for the entire floor, we prayed as a group, then preceded to get the Bible out of my room then went to the lobby then outside where we boldly prayed over the Bible. We soon felt peace and the mighty presence of God all around us for the evil presence had left. We each prayed in our own heavenly language and we even began to sing songs to God. We prayed over our youth group, the hotel and the occupants. We knew God was with us the whole time. We truly experienced God's great power over evil. I saw how God used 4 of our youth and myself. God overcame evil, He was victorious. We were obedient to what he had us to do. When evil strikes, don't be afraid, trust in God! I have had encounters before of evil but not like this one. We were forever changed that night. It was a very humbling experience. God was with us every step, he was watching over us protecting us from the evil forces that surrounded us that evening. We give God all the glory. It is hard to explain everything that happened that night, how the snake (devil's symbol) appeared on our door and how the devil's number and saying appeared on the Bible except it was the work of the devil. It appeared when we were praying and out of nowhere (that is how Satan works). The snake symbol could be explained Satan being driven out as 5 people boldly prayed in the name of Jesus and their own heavenly language and the sixth one being God who is with us always. It was real and it happened. Evil is around us and is present on this earth. We must not be afraid but pray with boldness in the name of Jesus, trust Jesus, he will see you through to the end. I will not forget this Missions Trip or this experience. It is a testimony of God's great power over evil. Needless to say, I did not get much sleep that night. I spent most of the time in prayer and reading God's Word. God allowed me to grow even more stronger in Him through this trip and for that I am very thankful. God has truly blessed us and our youth group. I would like to share a scripture that God gave me. Hope you find encouragement and strength in God. Blessings to you all!!!
"Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword?" As it is written: "For your sake we face death all day long; we are considered as sheep to be slaughtered."
"No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord."