Prior to attending the Encounter School of Ministry (EM), we had been active within the parish, praying on prayer teams, attending, and helping with the adult retreats, and sharing witnesses at healing services. All the activities included meetings for planning and preparation. It was during these meetings that we heard about EM. Five parishioners were already students at EM and shared their experiences. These experiences had a lasting impact on our faith, and we were drawn to the confidence and spirituality that our parish leadership demonstrated. We began to feel that being on prayer teams was a calling from God.
In early 2019 we attended the Encounter Conference at Toledo Ohio. The experience was transformative! There were about 1750 attendees, all on fire for Jesus, we could tangibly feel the excitement. Attending the Encounter Ministries School became something we discussed, it would be a huge commitment, 64 weeks over two years driving to Brighton every Monday night. Prayerfully we came to the conclusion that we would attend the first year.
Right from the first class we felt drawn to the classes and looked forward to every Monday night. Encounter school was a very special place, like a taste of Heaven. We learned about our identity as sons and daughters of God. That listening for and hearing God speak to us should be common (John 10:4,27). How we have the authority to pray as Jesus did (John 14:10-14). We had activations where we could pray healing over people as Jesus did, to listen and know how to discern His voice, and how to use prophetic words to awaken the faith of others. Encounter was a place where we could gain faith and pray with understanding and confidence.
About halfway through the first year of Encounter School we knew we wanted to complete the schooling and attend year two. To be honest we grew so much, and it was so exciting, that there was no way we would miss the second year.
Year two we were required to decide and put together the steps toward our ‘Kingdom Dream.’ A Kingdom Dream is our plan that will grow the Kingdom of God, how we were going to bring more people into a relationship with Jesus. We knew our Kingdom Dream was to continue praying for people in need. Encounter school gave us many tools to pray for physical healing and/or inner healing or prayers for people just wanting more of the Holy Spirit.
Since graduating from EM School in June we have had the opportunity to pray with a number of people. Being Jesus’ hands, feet, and voice is a special kind of personal blessing. The people we have prayed over, whether they have received physical healing or not, always express experiencing the Holy Spirit or Jesus’ presence. We have seen a few physical healings whether it be a shoulder, an ankle, and foot numbness to name a few. Inner healing deals with issues like anxiety, trauma, pornography, fear, emptiness, and unforgiveness, for example. Using the EM tools, we have become Jesus’ assistants to identify root causes where the source of the inner turmoil can be identified and corrected. Usually, the person we pray with comes in looking very distressed and hopeless. With Jesus and the Holy Spirit, we see new life in their eyes and a sense of new freedom. A great weight lifted.
So, with this article we are going public and hanging out our shingle, so to speak, and to let all of you know that we are willing to pray for you. Simply call 989 640 6006 (Vern) or 989 640 1931 (Bonnie) and we can set up a time and place. Your home, in church, our home, or anyplace you desire. We keep all our sessions in complete privacy.
Let Jesus be born in you anew this year. Have you ever wondered if your faith could offer you more? Ever wonder what drives people like us? Jesus can and does change desires. Take a chance! Go to the Encounter Conference. Go to one of the MHT adult retreats. Check out Anne Wilson’s song ‘My Jesus’ on YouTube and Let my Jesus SAVE YOUR LIFE, ALLELUIA!
Thanks for reading and Merry Christmas!
Vern & Bonnie Thelen