We returned from VOA 2016 a few days ago, but the memories of the week continue to flood my waking moments. Our Agape Board had planned on heading to VOA as a team, and as the Lord gloriously moves we ended up having over 25 people come to Pennsylvania for VOA. If I remember correctly over 10 attended for the first time. Some of us flew into D.C. a day early and drove from Dulles to Lancaster, PA. The beautiful drive and the laughter filled both cars as we drove closer to Lancaster was refreshing and began an anticipation in hearts that God was going to move in marvelous ways that week. That evening we arrived at our hotel, and attended the Network meetings before VOA began on Tuesday night.
The Tuesday opening night of VOA was amazing as we reconnected with precious friends we have picked up along the way from various conferences. On this very first night, several of our friends who attended were touched dramatically by the love of God. The Holy Spirit was already answering many heart cries of “is there more of you God.” I watched as the Lord began to minister to His kids individually but also through each other. This was just the beginning of a week of the Lord burning away hurt, trauma, wounding, and creating new hearts. Reminding me of the verse “I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh.” Ezekiel 36:26
The next few days seemed like one long day of encounter with the Lord with a little sleep carefully placed in between. The days were filled with teaching from Randy Clark, Bill Johnson, Will Hart, Joseph Garlington, and a few others. Every teaching combined the truth from God’s word with the love and power of the Holy Spirit. An excitement was thick amongst our group every time God encountered one of our friends. By encounter, I mean they felt the Lord’s presence so close either with love, power, or peace. For many this was the first time they have experienced such a life-changing touch from God. I personally had been struggling with a sinus cold since the day before we left and the first two days of the conference, but amazingly day 3 my cold was gone. One of our friends that same day came up to me and asked for prayer because she could feel the symptoms of sinus cold, I immediately prayed and watched as His peace came over her and the symptoms disappeared.
Whenever we attend a conference, especially VOA because it is such a powerful week, I know the lingering question is “will this last?” “will we bring this home?” The desire of my heart is always to be used, not just at a conference or within the walls of a church, but to be used by God to bring Him to a lost world. The last two years He has quickly reminded me while traveling back home, that yes, indeed we do bring Him home, and all that He has shown and done in our lives truly remains. This year as we piled into our Uber to head home the driver began to tell me his struggle with asthma. All of us in the car spent the next 40 minutes praying and ministering to our Uber driver. When we arrived at the airport, he gave all of us strong hugs and said he felt so overwhelmed with joy and the tightness in his chest had lifted. Then as we stepped into the airport to check in, our Airline attendant could see we were bubbling over with excitement over how God had just touched our Uber driver. We chatted with her and prayed with her and passed Agape information on to her. She has continued to remain in contact, actually even calling one of our board members while we were in air.
God’s desire is for us to pour out as He pours into us. “Freely you have received, now freely give.” We cannot give to others what we have not received from our Father. We are called to spread His love and truth, and as one of the speakers said, “plundering what the enemy has stolen from our Father.” He has given us the tools, and if we don’t feel equipped, we must, we must, we must pursue the more of Him! What an incredible week!