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Transformed

My main goal for this trip to Puerto Rico was to not come back to the US the same person I was before. I wanted to be so transformed by serving, evangelizing, and growing in my faith with fellow believers that I would experience the presence of God like never before. I needed to get out of the rut of habitually praying, reading my Bible, and going to church without expecting to hear from God or desiring to know him better. 

Romans 12:2 says, “Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is–his good, pleasing, and perfect will.”

I can joyfully say that the truths that God has taught me on this trip have transformed me, and I am definitely more perceptive of his will. However, I am still a work in progress, and i hope that I will continue to allow God to transform me and work in and through me for the rest of my life. At training camp, our team talked a lot about listening prayer. We talked about asking God questions and waiting and expecting responses from him, or even simply waiting in silence for God to speak. 

Listening to God has never been easy for me. I always get distracted, and most of the time, I feel like I never hear from God. I was extremely frustrated at training camp and for the first couple of days in Puerto Rico because any time we would stop what we were doing to ask God to speak to us, I never heard anything. I didn’t know what I was doing wrong. Why could everyone else hear from God but me? How was I supposed to know who to talk to during street evangelism and what their needs were if I couldn’t hear God tell me those things?

I felt ineffective and inferior to those who were given messages, words, and visions from God. One of my leaders Meg sensed my frustration and promised me that I would be able to hear from God by the end of the trip. I didn’t believe her. She prayed with me several times, telling me her visions of how God was working in my heart and praying that the Holy Spirit would be revealed to me. I was amazed at Meg’s visions because she saw exactly what God was doing in my life to draw me closer to him without me ever telling her anything related to the visions that she saw.

Step one of my transformation was truly sensing the power of the Holy Spirit and how powerful we can be when we are in tune with God. While we evangelized, Meg would know exactly who we needed to pray for and what God wanted to tell them. I was fascinated, and God used Meg to reveal a part of himself to me that I had never even thought about before. I will forever view the Holy Spirit as active and powerful. 

After I saw the effects of hearing from the Holy Spirit on the people to which we evangelized, I wanted so badly to be able to hear those messages and see those visions myself so I could help change lives too. I didn’t like being dependent on others to tell me what the people who we prayed for felt and what God wanted them to know. I wanted with everything in me to be able to hear from the Spirit too.

Soon enough, I began to recognize the little ways that the Holy Spirit was speaking to me, especially while we evangelized. I had never experienced such guidance before. While I was praying for a team member, God told me exactly what I needed to pray. The Holy Spirit led me to people for whom I needed to pray, even during our free time when we were done officially evangelizing. It was amazing to go from hearing next to nothing from God to feeling him guide me in nearly everything that we did for the remainder of the trip. 

I have a long way to go, but I can definitely say that I am a lot closer to being able to “test and approve what God’s will is–his good, pleasing, and perfect will.” God has transformed me here in Puerto Rico by transforming the way I see His voice.

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