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Caitlin Mead Encounter Testimony

Have you ever thought about how easy it would have been to believe, being one of Jesus's disciples? How do you not believe when right in front of you, Jesus is healing the paralytic, or raising someone from the dead? I have had a foundation of faith pretty much my entire life. We went to church 90% of Sundays, I served at mass, went on mission trips, and helped out with religious education. Through this time, I have always struggled to build a deep and intimate relationship with Jesus. I felt like I was not enough or like I had to earn God's love. Even though, in our day-to-day life, there are little miracles all around, I would pray for something big that was an undeniable, "Yes, I do believe!"

This past weekend, I had the opportunity to attend the Encounter Ministries retreat. It was amazing, life-changing, and unexplainable. Up until this retreat, I never really knew much about the Holy Spirit or what baptism in the Holy Spirit was. The first night, they discussed having an encounter or being touched by the Holy Spirit. The priest talked about other retreats he was at and as he started praying, people just started resting in the Spirit and I thought, “I want that!” As I was being prayed over that first night, I felt I was open and ready to receive by praying, "Come Holy Spirit, come upon me, make me rest in the spirit, I want to feel you." Unfortunately, I did not rest, but that little baby step helped me to continue to be open to whatever God had in store for me that weekend.

The second day, we talked about prophecy. I think that this is such an amazing gift. As I was being prayed over, I heard a lot about the Blessed Mother. This has particularly resonated with me more lately, being a mom of 2. The wonderful women that prayed over me kept saying to lean into Mary as she will bring you to Jesus. I think this is a great visual of Mary grabbing our hand and guiding us to her son. Just like Mary, the Mother of Jesus does with Mary Magdalene on “The Chosen” to ask for forgiveness to show us Jesus' gentle loving nature.

The third day was the most powerful. At this point, it was difficult to not be physically and mentally exhausted as well as having the desire to get home to see my children. The evening of the third day, they mentioned that there was another chance to receive the Holy Spirit. I thought, okay, here is my chance to rest in the spirit. We start praying "Come Holy Spirit, come upon me, fill this place." I started to hear people shouting "Praise God" or speaking in tongues and saw people's bodies just starting to shake.

Unfortunately, at this time, I was a little bummed as I had not had an encounter yet with the Holy Spirit. The priest invites anyone who would like to be filled with the Holy Spirit, to line the inside of the church. It was at this time that the priest started going around and praying over people and as he slightly touched their heads, they fell to the ground. I had to start moving out of the way as they were lowering people to the ground. In addition to the people resting in the spirit, there were also people speaking in tongues and laughing. At this moment, my fear started to set in on how my body was going to physically respond to the Spirit and if I was okay with that. I realized that God will not manifest in a way he knows we are not completely open to or comfortable with. I saw this wonderful woman, Sarah, who was one of the main speakers coming toward me and I was able to set my focus back on God. I really started to feel this burning in my heart and desire to want to encounter the Holy Spirit. As she placed her hands over my ears, I remember hearing her pray "More, more, fill her, overfill her with you." At this moment, my legs got weak and I rested backward with the spirit and started to weep. I was filled with how much God loves us and how sorry I was for not fully believing and wanting "proof."

Now immediately after this experience and before I was able to process it, my humanness, unfortunately, came over me. I was trying to understand or analyze how that just happened and questioning if it truly was the spirit or just me desiring to have that encounter so much. Here I sit, witnessing this amazing miracle to everyone around me as well as myself, and yet still question it.

"Because you have seen Me, do you now believe? Blessed are they who do not see yet believe." John 20:29

Even though we see these amazing miracles such as the disciples did, as humans we try to understand how the miracle actually "worked." The truth is, there is not a way to explain miracles but it is our FAITH that helps us believe.

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