During my early teenage years, I would spend several weeks every summer in Pocatello, Idaho visiting my aunts, uncles, grandparents and cousins. One summer when I was 15 I was staying with my aunt and uncle and cousin who lived south of Pocatello in Arbon Valley. During one of those weeks, a church reunion was being held at a camp on Scout Mountain which was in the Utah-Southeast Idaho District at that time. The guest ministers were: Arthur Oakman, Aleah Koury and Gene Chaney.
There was quite a number of kids my age in attendance. We went to all of the services and one that was very meaningful and important to the youth was the morning prayer and testimony service. I listened very attentively to the testimonies shared by my new friends. It didn’t take long for me to realize that I did not have the kind of testimony being shared by my friends which were very spiritual, powerful, insightful, meaningful and pertinent to the issues, needs and problems of everyday teenage life.
All of the boys were staying in one large cabin a distance from the center of the campground. It was a heavily wooded area which was very dark when the cabin lights were turned out.
I remember climbing into my bed, turning off my flashlight and laying in the silent darkness. Everyone else was asleep. I began to reflect on the prayer and testimony service of that morning. Knowing that I was not in tune with the spiritual level and understanding of many of my friends, I asked God if He would help me to better understand His ways and purposes as they relate to my life that I might also be a servant for His cause and have a testimony of my own to share.
The event that took place next would change my life forever: In the air above the foot of my bed appeared a bright light that radiated from the center in all directions. In that moment, every cell in my body was aware that I was in the presence of the Holy Spirit. That experience lasted about 15 seconds but will always be a part of my life – a FOUNDATIONAL spiritual experience! I felt a sense of total acceptance and unconditional love.
As I reflected back on that event I was able to draw a conclusion as to what it meant: The greatest thing that can happen to a human being is to have a personal, powerful, undeniable encounter with the Holy Spirit. The life of anyone who has this kind of experience will never be the same again. To some degree you begin to think like Jesus thinks and when you begin to think like Jesus thinks you begin to see the world and everything in it through His eyes.
I have a testimony!
For it is the God who said, “let light shine out of darkness,” who has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ. ( 2 Corinthians 4:6)