The following is an account written by Nelly Jones of her experience at the latest Encounter Weekend for women, run by the leadership of Imago Dei Anglican Church and hosted at the Sky-Hi Conference Center in Topsham, ME. Ms. Jones is a friend of the diocese and a first time guest at Encounter. We are thankful for her testimony of God’s love and ministry in her life, a testimony that reflects so many other experiences at both the men’s and women’s conferences.
The Encounter God Weekend is a life-changing retreat designed to bring each believer into a renewed relationship with the living God through teaching, healing, and prayer. For more on the Encounter weekends, please visit the Imago Dei Anglican Church information page.
My first exposure to the Women’s Encounter weekend was through a friend. I knew that I was thirsty for God, trying to find my way through what has been the darkest season of my life. I took a risk and registered, even though I had no one to go with or hardly knew anyone there.
On my way to Topsham, ME, I prayed to the Lord and asked Him to make himself real to me. As I was close to arriving, the Lord put a song on my heart called “King of My Heart”. The chorus is simple: “You are good, good . . .” As I sang the chorus over and over, the Holy Spirit began to cement that truth in my heart by the time I pulled up into the retreat driveway. I got myself together, registered, and settled into my room. When I entered the space where worship had begun, the same song was playing, and I could hear them singing, “You are good, good . . . “ I realized then that God really did have something special for me there.
The worship music that led into each session was filled with a tangible sense of the Spirit’s presence and prepared the people’s hearts. Each woman who got up to share on a specific topic also shared their own personal testimony of freedom they have received by going through the principles of healing shared at Encounter Weekends: the four R’s: Repenting of sin, Renouncing the sin, Releasing it to Jesus, and Receiving from Jesus. These women did not hold back. They didn’t make their testimonies nice and neat, but rather shared their past with the confidence of their newly received freedom. After each session, those same women would be the ones ministering through the power of the Holy Spirit in prayer to each woman there.
I began to realize what it was that God was doing in me. I was bound by anger, depression, and a sense of worthlessness that came from my relationships; men who had hurt me and the Enemy who would not stop whispering in my ear that I wasn’t good enough. As the prayer ministers laid hands on me, I felt God’s embrace. I confessed my sins, the ones I knew I never told anyone before but were keeping me bound and burdened for years. As those women prayed with me, they guided me to renounce the lies I had believed for years; I began to feel the Holy Spirit breaking off those emotional shackles. Releasing my fears to Jesus allowed me to receive what I never thought I would feel that weekend: new-found freedom.
In that place, I felt that I had many sisters; women who were also being transformed by the power God’s freeing grace. At the end of the retreat, women shared their testimonies of what God had done in them and how they had received freedom. I knew not only was I leaving there a changed woman, but many other women were also freer that day. What an amazing experience I will never forget. I can’t wait until the next Encounter!