Last night was glorious. And it took all I had.
The event organizers billed Saturday night as a concert, and we certainly started off in that vein. But after an hour of music, something happened.
I felt prompted to invite all the adults forward to pray for the youth. What I had imagined as a simple exercise in generational blessing, turned into a 2 hour session of impartation, repentance, and of adamantly seeking God. Many teens who – just earlier that morning – were non-enthused with being at the conference, suddenly transformed into passionate worshipers – weeping, shouting, dancing, and basking in the manifest presence of God’s love.
Even though emotions were running high, none of my band would hug me at 11:00pm when we ended, as my shirt and jeans were soaked through with sweat.
Many God-moments made, many memories shared.
This morning I had the privilege to lead worship at the host church, followed by yet another powerful message by Mark Pugh of England, head of Elim’s international youth movement. Joseph also sat in on drums and did a fantastic job.
I taught again in the afternoon, and then opted just to lead a few songs of worship to close (as they wanted me to preach the last session, but my voice literally couldn’t handle it). It took less than 36 hours for a group of largely complacent, if not well-meaning, teens to be transformed into Jesus-dedicated, soul-hungry, presence-seeking fools.
And I love every one of them.
Saying goodbye to Mark, Jesse, Ben-J, Joel, and Julie, as well as Pastor Christophe & Sanbine, was as hard as it gets. Because the more I do this, the more I value the people of God. That’s one reason why heaven will be so epic: all the people you adore in the same place at the same time.
Finally, this evening, Joseph and I were treated to an amazing meal of raclette by our hosts. I don’t know if I’ve ever seen Joseph so happy – definitely trumped kebabs.
Flying home tomorrow. Couldn’t be more excited about seeing my tribe. I think I preached about Jennifer and her love for God in every session. (You know you’re crazy for somebody when…).
Tonight I go to sleep utterly spent and exhausted, but for good reason: I’m convinced I must demonstrate to the next generation of French leaders what it means to worship God with everything you have. (I suppose that’s why Jenny packs me 3 t-shirts per day).
Bon nuit. ch:
[Photo credits: pics of me by Joseph Gilchrist; thanks to anyone else who was handed my iPhone in the moment]