Eighteen years ago, we married and moved to a new town, population 3,000. We had a hard time finding a church to call home, but eventually, we settled into a rather denominational church. It was as dead as a doornail, but my husband was convinced God wanted us here. I like to point to this significant moment of wifely submissiveness—I kept coming to church with him. Like the children of Israel, I frequently asked God if He’d “brought us here to die!”
Ever since the Spirit visited me and filled me at the age of eight when I “went into my closet to pray,” I’ve loved the Holy Spirit and His gifts. Within two years of attending this church, we were asked by the elders to stop talking about “all that Charismatic stuff.” I’m afraid I went through a period of much internal adolescent raging against my circumstances, but eventually, I settled into growing up and learning to love well. My husband was still convinced we were called to this place. It was hard, but Jesus taught me to really love His people in that time, even more than His gifts. It was tough. But He can do hard things!
About ten years ago, I began to hear things about Bill Johnson and Bethel in Redding, CA, but it was all coming from people in my past who I’d experienced as spiritually controlling—people who didn’t know God was in a good mood. I KNEW He was in a good mood, so I wasn’t interested in anything they were peddling. I’d smile politely and move on.
One day while surfing Amazon to feed my book addiction, I started to notice that every single “recommended for you” title was the same: When Heaven Invades Earth by Bill Johnson. I started to test it out. Whether I searched for Dickens or Grisham or Polly Pockets, the recommendation remained the same. Ha! I’m not stupid, and I know enough about algorithms to know this was supernatural, so I hit, “Buy now!” and I’ve been thanking Jesus for you and the ministry of Bethel ever since. I couldn’t put that book down. I subscribed to Bethel.TV, and it’s been feeding me ever since. Suddenly my desert season was punctuated by wine and dark chocolate.
One day a while later, God clearly spoke to me to pass that book along to the most unlikely person. In spite of the “gag order” the church elders had placed on me, I gave them the book. From there, it spread through the church like wildfire!
So much has happened since then, but the short story is that the Holy Spirit has broken out in our church, and I’ve been licensed as one of the first women pastors in the whole organization. That season of learning to love His people well is bearing so much fruit! Something like 25 people from our church have gone to Bethel for conferences and training. In fact, the Holy Spirit has broken out in our denomination all over my country in the last few years with our national President leading all the pastors in repentance for quenching the Spirit and inviting the Spirit to move among us as He did in the early days of the organization. We are seeing it happen! Miracles, healings, salvations, signs, and wonders.
Recently at a Randy Clark Healing and Impartation conference, I was blessed with a beautiful and terrifying impartation. Someone (whom I later learned is one of your spiritual sons) prophesied over me that God was using me “to set a precedent of doing significant things in insignificant places as He did at Bethel.” I can only say with awe and trembling, “Let it be unto me according to your word!”