Touched by the Spirit
Blog post written by Jenni Ramsey
"Learn to do right, seek justice.
Defend the oppressed.
Take up the cause of the faithless,
plead the case of the widow." - Isaiah 1:17
The Young Women of Vision team arrived last night after an uneventful day of travel. They brought over three-hundred dresses, one-hundred pairs of shoes and an unknown number of hairpieces, jewelry, flat irons, curling irons, make up, nail polish and gifts for the teen girls who will be part of the quinceanera this week. This is the largest team that Sus Hijos has ever hosted, with a total of thirty-nine guests staying in the mission house (thirty-five women and five guys). Needless to say, there is a lot of energy and excitement in the mission house as we prepare for the big event. One of our team members, Julianna, celebrated her sixteenth birthday yesterday. What an awesome way to celebrate her birthday, traveling overseas to serve teen girls desperately in need of hope and encouragement.
This morning we had the privilege of worshipping at Monte Calvario Church, the home church of Kurt and Susan Ackermann (the founders of Sus Hijos). Monte Calvario is my second church home and I've loved bringing teams to this church for many years. I'm always touched by the joy and passion of the church members as they dance, shout and cheer throughout the entire service. I love attending Monte Calvario and look forward to being there every time I'm in El Salvador. But this morning was especially touching, and I literally wept throughout the entire service at the overwhelming presence of the Holy Spirit and the intense love and comradery of the people in our unified vision to reach the nation of El Salvador.
The team was especially impacted by one particular man, who was sitting in the front row. His excitement and expressions in worship were truly captivating. This precious man was completely uninhibited in his prayers, worship and love for Jesus and the Church. At one point, the pastor called this man forwarded to share what the Lord was placing on His heart. This brother shared that he felt impressed to pray for the United States, and invited all of the North Americans to the front of the church for a powerful and emotional time of prayer. The church expressed gratitude to our team on behalf of the generations of missionaries who have impacted El Salvador and the world. They prayed for President Obama, the future of our nation and for protection, direction and anointing over our team. Once again, many team members were moved to tears.
The team was shocked when one of the leaders spontaneously invited our team member, Kristen McGuiness, to the front of the church, and said that he believed she had a word to share for the congregation. I have never experienced this in past visits, and was blown away by the move of the Spirit. Kristen shared her personal testimony, which included her involvement with Young Life as a teen and also as a parent. The church applauded her testimony with great appreciation and support and the pastor asked if she would consider bringing Young Life to the church. During the worship time in the service, this same leader began filming the worship of the people with his phone. He explained that he had been so touched by the Spirit that he felt led to record the congregation as they worshipped. The church does not own a video camera and they are also desperately in need of air conditioning (a $5,000 cost) and roof repairs. I later challenged to the team members to prayerfully consider these needs.
It was an honor to introduce our team to the church and to invite them to partner with us in the quinceanera ministry this week through prayer. Jordan (my oldest son, age thirteen) gave a beautiful testimony from Isaiah 1:17 (see scripture above) and I was so proud to stand beside him as his mom and translator. Another team member, Alix, who is also thirteen years old, sang two worship songs on the keyboard at the end of the service. Her voice was captivating and I could see people weeping throughout the service as her melodies touched our souls.
Many of the church members commented on the fact that I had brought "angels" into the church. At the end of the service, the gentleman who had captured our hearts asked to take a photo with all of the "angels from North America." The team was commissioned to ministry at the end of the service with warm hugs and kisses and needless to say, our hearts were overflowing with the many ways in which we were touched by the Spirit at Monte Calvario.