Dear Messiah Christian Church and Dear Encounter Sisters in Christ,

I was asked to share a testimony of God’s enduring love and faithfulness by a dear sister in Christ, Becky Qualls.  She invited me on a journey to a Messiah Encounter Weekend, hosted by Messiah Christian Church in Midlothian, in November 2010.  I truly experienced the love of God, the healing power of God, witnessed the redemption power of God, and the transforming power of His amazing love that precious weekend.  I have to admit that it is not typical for me to “join” a group of women that I do not know, nor trust in a church I am unfamiliar with, to go on a retreat.  In my natural self, I would not accept such an invitation.  But there was a loving drawing I felt in my heart by the Father that touched my deepest longings for more of Him, so much so that I could not resist the invitation. 

I encountered the love of God as I witnessed self-sacrificial hospitality, extended by each precious woman working for the Father that weekend.  After a short time, I began to feel safe and comfortable, and God transformed our group from “visitors” and “stranger” to “sisters” by the end of the first night. 

I encountered the transforming power of God’s ability to change and deliver our souls as each woman gave Him her heart, her pain, and her fears.  I saw first-hand, a transformation take place in the countenance of women who came burdened, suddenly realizing she could place those heavy wounds/worries at the foot of the cross and walk FREE! 

More than a year before this weekend, I had a ‘labral-tear’ in my right hip, requiring surgery.  I had persisted in prayer for healing after the diagnosis in 12/09, and believed that God would heal me completely.  I had surgery in 2/10 and experienced a miraculously fast recovery.  I continued to praise God for this recovery, but still experienced some off and on minor pain in that area until the Encounter weekend.  On Saturday night, after the sessions and evening’s activities had ended, I went to bed continuing to experience an anointed presence of God.  After falling partly asleep, I woke up a short time later and noticed a warm sensation in my right hip area, which lasted for awhile and then ceased.  At the same time, I sensed an overwhelming love and peace that can not be described adequately in this testimonial.  I cried tears of joy, overwhelmed by the very love of God, and fell back to sleep. 

I can recall this happening so clearly now, but at the time, I did not realize what had taken place.  It wasn’t until after hearing another sister’s testimony of healing and deliverance that same night that I realized what had taken place.   The most amazing thing is what transpired earlier that Saturday afternoon on the retreat.  We were challenged to take past sin, pain, burdens, and anything we were weighed down with, to the cross in a very special ceremonial way.  After I had done this and sat back down to simply meditate on the precious gift of salvation and redemption God had given me, I sensed Him challenging me.  He asked me why I hadn’t taken my ‘hip problem’ to the cross.  I also experienced some soul’s-resistance because it had been such a long struggle to believe for this healing to be complete.  I knew He was challenging me to BELIEVE HIM for something miraculous and so I obeyed.  Wow!!    What a gift He has left me with!  As I reflect on that amazing moment with Him, I realize that He is interested in the things that hurt me personally, the pain (both physical and emotional) that hinders me, and the worries I choose to keep close.  He NOTICED that I had failed to release something that was very important to me, but wasn’t sure about believing Him for it any longer! 

That brings me to my final comments and experience with the Encounter weekend.  I witnessed God’s deliverance power.  I witnessed Him perform loving “surgery” on the hearts of all of the women involved.  Not only did He restore my CONFIDENCE in His power to heal, but also in His ability to restore me and others to become the beautiful women He meant us to be.  I give God Glory for His great personal and transforming LOVE! Thank you Messiah-Christian, for being obedient to His call for such a wonderful experience!

Margaret St.Clair