Baptismal Waters & Freedom from Demonic Oppression
There may be nothing more beautiful in this world that we get to witness than a life surrendered to Jesus, and that same life being transformed as Papa’s love begins to permeate the soul.
On August 8th we celebrated the 17th birthday of Kenner, and not too long ago, we were blessed to celebrate his heavenly re-birthing into the family of God! Yay Jesus!
Kenner’s story of redemption is a beautiful one, as all are. But to us, his is extra special.
Kenner used to be a student enrolled in The Isaiah Project and spent about 5 years or so with us before we had to suspend him indefinitely from coming to the Project due to his unwillingness to abide by the expectations we have for our students. Although it doesn’t always work out this way, we desire to remain on friendly terms with our kids that leave us, as we want to show them grace and forgiveness no matter what the reason was that caused us to part ways.
With Kenner, things were a bit different as he continued to show a desire to maintain communication with us and would stop by from time to time to say hi and let us know how he was doing in his studies (most kids that leave the Project don’t make an effort to maintain communication due to shame).
Some months ago I decided to contract Kenner to do some painting in the Project so that he could earn some extra money to help out his family (he lives in a single parent home with his often unemployed mother and little sister). A few days into painting the Project, Kenner and I were talking about spiritual matters and I sensed Holy Spirit telling me it was time for Kenner to come home to the Lord and that his heart was open to sincerely repenting and laying down his will to pick up Christ’s.
So I was blessed to be able lead Kenner to the open arms of Jesus, and it was just beautiful!
In the picture above, you can see me and Katherine (my sister-in-law who also came to Jesus not long ago) baptizing Kenner in a nearby laguna. But before his baptism there was about a month’s time or more where we got to bear witness that the Lord truly was working in Kenner in ways we hadn’t seen in all the previous years we had known him.
Kenner’s new heart that Papa gave him was so tender that he would often just begin weeping when we would listen to worship music, even English worship music that he didn’t understand. He could feel Holy Spirit’s presence and would get overwhelmed with His love and goodness!
Kenner and I have shared many conversations over the last few months and I have been blessed to be able to take him under my wing for a time and share with him some fundamental truths that I’ve learned in my almost 12 years with the Lord (and at the same time, reminding him that Holy Spirit is his real spiritual guide and the more time spent behind closed doors learning from Him, the better 🙂 ).
Speaking of Holy Spirit, when I prayed with Kenner to be born again, we also prayed for him to receive the baptism of the Holy Spirit. It really was a beautiful thing to be a part of, however, Kenner didn’t begin praying in tongues as evidence of receiving the baptism that day or for some time as he felt like he was being stifled by something each time he tried. I would ask him from time to time how it was going with praying in the Spirit, but even up until after we baptized him in water, it was still a struggle for him.
I kept encouraging Kenner to not stress over it and to just keep his heart open to Holy Spirit and believing for it to manifest, and it would sooner than later.
And God is faithful to His word!
Not many weeks after his water baptism, Kenner came to our Sunday morning Bible Study as usual, but that morning was different for him as he felt much anxiety throughout the whole study and was really quiet. After we finished our study and began breaking bread together and then cleaning up, we noticed that Kenner had disappeared for more than a few minutes and as I was discussing with another one of our kids about where he had gone.
Kenner came out of the bathroom looking flustered, sweaty, and like he was about to pass out. After asking him what was wrong several times I could see that he wasn’t in his right mind and that a spiritual battle was taking place. So we sat Kenner down on the couch and began praying over him and commanding this unclean spirit out of his body and to leave him in peace. While we were praying I asked Kenner what he was feeling and he said that he felt pain in his feet, which soon turned into a numb sensation which was beginning to travel up his legs.
So we kept praying, and within a few minutes, that numb sensation (an unclean spirit) came up and out and Kenner began praying in tongues!
It was amazing! As soon as that unclean spirit left, the blockage that was hindering Kenner’s heavenly language was removed and he instantly felt free and has been praying in the Spirit ever since! Praise God!
Freedom from Religion
While religion tells us we have to “do” and “do” and “do” in order to receive, the Gospel declares to us that by receiving we shall be inspired to do more than ever before.
I want to share with you one more quick testimony about the journey of another one of our kids here at the ministry.
Brisney has been with us a few years now and we have recently begun to see the Lord do awesome things in her life.
She comes from a single parent home where she lives with her mom and younger sister. Upon joining the Project I already knew that Brisney came from a super religious home due to the numerous conversations I had had with her mother concerning spiritual matters, and while her mother would acknowledge that she was stuck in a religious rut, she refused to leave the rut due to familiarity and the condemnation she would feel for abandoning the church that she has been attending for a long time.
Last year I heard that Brisney and her younger sister Leda were going to get baptized (which I found interesting seeing as how we spent day after day with the girls and saw no real interest in the things of God, or any solid evidence that pointed to any sort of relationship with Jesus). I inquired about their baptisms a little bit one day because I didn’t want to presume anything incorrectly, but sadly my perceptions were proven true that the sisters really had no clue about why they were getting baptized other than “it’s just what you do” to “do good” by God. However, I didn’t press the matter further and we continued to see the girls day by day and share with them as opportunities presented themselves during their time with us.
As the weeks and months went by I noticed that Brisney seemed to be more distant and frustrated. Also during this period of time, she was dealing with a recurring pain in her stomach for which doctors couldn’t find a cause. I prayed with her numerous times when she was having severe stomach pain, and each time we prayed the pain would lessen or completely disappear, but return later on or the following day.
I knew this was a spiritual attack and had nothing to do with any physical problem. I told Brisney about this several times, but it seemed that she preferred to turn a deaf ear to my diagnosis, and so the matter kind of dropped off my radar.
But to our surprise, Brisney, her sister Leda, and their mom showed up to our Bible Study about 3 weeks ago (actually the same Sunday morning that Kenner got delivered of that unclean spirit that I mentioned earlier in this post)!
We got to spend a good amount of time ministering to them that morning and explaining the Gospel to Brisney, helping her to understand why she felt less fulfilled than ever.
We explained that what she had been lead to believe, by well-meaning people, was not actually the Gospel, and that there was nothing she could “do” to be any more loved by God than she already was!
Jesus had already done everything - and all that was left for Brisney to do was to say YES to Him and repent of trying to do it all on her own.
You see, Brisney thought getting baptized would make God like her more, and as an added benefit, take all of her problems away. Needless to say, God can’t like her any more than He already does, and her problems did not go away - they seemed to get worse.
So, by the time she came to our study that morning, she was frustrated with God and with the religion that her mom had pushed her into. She was numb to all of it. And we learned that Brisney had told her mom that she refused to go back to her church, but that she would come to our study.
So, praise God - her mom listened, softened her heart and they came that day! Yay God!
We got to lead Brisney to the awaiting open arms of Jesus, and almost immediately, she said that she wanted to get baptized again because she felt that she did it for the wrong reasons the first time (hopefully we will get to share that with you soon in a future post!).
In the 3 weeks or so since that Sunday, we have seen a great change in Brisney - it is more and more evident each week that the burden has been lifted! The more she learns about the Father’s heart, the more she wants to know more! 🙂 Oh and by the way - the pain she was having in her stomach HAS BEEN GONE SINCE THAT DAY! C’MON GOD! WOOHOO!!!
I hope you have enjoyed reading these two short testimonies. There is so many more things I would love to share with you that have happened over the last few months: my parent’s visit; my short trip back to the U.S. for the funeral of a dear family friend; the numerous encounters we’ve had out in the streets praying for people and telling them about Jesus’ love for them . . . you know what, I’ll mention just one of those, haha! I can’t resist!
❤ Take the Time TO BE a Blessing ❤
My wife Jessica and I were out with Josiah one day at the mall picking up a birthday present for one of our staff members and we stopped at a coffee shop on our way out to get some coffee and also to let Josiah get some energy out.
I noticed that the girl who was serving us coffee looked a bit sad, and looking around the coffee shop, I noticed that everyone there seemed so tuned into what they were doing and I wondered if anyone even noticed how sad and distant she looked.
When I was paying the bill I explained to her that Jessica and I are Christians and that we pray for people for whatever their needs are, physical or otherwise, and that we’d like to pray for her.
Well, instantly her eyes welled up with tears and we could tell that she was trying not to cry as she asked us to pray for her home, her family, and her finances. So we prayed and got to bless her with a bit more money on top of the tip because we have received so much and we love to give! It was a really sweet moment, and telling her how much Jesus loves her and seeing her smile as we walked away was enough to make you wanna dance all the way to your car. 🙂
Okay, now I’m really ending this post! 😉
Thank you for taking the time to read about a few of the many awesome moments we’ve had over the past few months!
And please continue to lift up our Bible Study in your prayers as it is our primary meeting where we minister to and teach the Gospel to those whom we have encountered throughout the week.
Anyone is invited, so literally anyone could show up! For instance, the other day I got to lead a prayer with a lifelong Catholic (although not practicing) to receive Jesus as Lord after spending a few hours sharing the Gospel with him. He came over to do some maintenance on our air conditioning units and left with a Bible in his hands, a smile on his face, and a desire to begin walking out his own journey with the Lord. Maybe we’ll get to tell you more about that encounter next time!
Bless you, friends!
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