Friday, February 24, 2012

GYC Portugal, a Life Changing Event

When I think about GYC Portugal all I can say is that God is amazing. I simply do not have words to describe how blessed I was to be there. I have experienced God's presence and I have seen Him working in amazing ways like never before. I have to admit that I was not really enthusiastic about going to this event. I was also wondering how is it going to be and how I will handle everything. No teammate was there to help me. I had also been really struggling before I left and I did not feel prepared for this event, but everything that happened there showed me one more time that the work will be done "not by might, nor by power, but by my Spirit, says the Lord of hosts" (Zach. 4:6) and that His power is made perfect in my weakness. 

Though it was a rather small event (300 attendees) I was so surprised when I realized at the end of this event that there had always been at least 2-3 persons in the prayer room to pray with. The very first people I prayed with were one of the speakers and his family - Daniel Spencer, his wife Sarah and their three children Rebecca, David and Joel (ages 5, 7 and 9). It was so beautiful to be able to pray with this lovely family who understand the need for prayer and who loves God. All of them became very dear to my heart as we got to talk more during the conference and discovered that we have a lot in common.

United prayer is not a new notion for the Portuguese brethren. Only a month ago Elder Jerry Page and his wife visited Portugal and talked about united prayer. Many people told me how blessed they were by their presence. Someone told me that they watched the live streaming of Janet presentations, but at the end they felt that they did not get everything they could out of this 10 days of prayer. So they talked about how to have a deeper experience with God and someone came up with the idea of organizing 10 days of camp meetings of prayer and fasting! Wow... It left me speechless. I was so impressed with their desire to draw closer to God!

After my first announcement about the prayer room around 40 something people joined us for a session of united prayer. This is when I met Sonia. She did not pray much. In fact, she just listened to the prayers of the other people. But I got to talk to her in the end and I asked her to come back. She did and I was amazed to find out her story. She was not sure why she came to GYC and she thought that she will have to listen to long presentations and that there will nothing practical to help her wounded heart. You see, she was really hurting when she came to GYC and she was looking for healing. Than I went on the stage to talk about the prayer room and about united prayer. She told me that when she heard the stories I shared and she saw the passion I was speaking with, something in her heart told her that this is her answer. But Satan was not ready to give up on her and told her that this is just the same old stuff. Nothing new, nothing will change things for her. Praise God that He won and Sonia not only came to the prayer and found peace and healing, but she became one of my faithful translators and helpers. 
My three angels - Ana, Sonia and Marisol
It was after this prayer session that I also met Marisol. She also did not know why she came to GYC, but she knows now why and she also spent a lot of time with us in the prayer room. Ana is another angel sent by God to help me there. So, even though I had no teammate to help me with the prayer room, God sent me the right people at the right time. I was so blessed by their presence there.

Do you think that Satan stood still? When he saw that God is really at work, he tried his best to discourage me. Saturday night, just as I finished praying with the last group of people in the prayer room, I started having chills, high fever, a strong headache, sore throat, and sensation of vomiting. I also felt very weak and I could hardly walk. I was wondering if I could present my two workshops the next day and if I will be able to handle the prayer room. So I went to my hotel room, prayed and went to sleep. The next morning the fever was gone, but the rest of the symptoms were still there. I knew right away that this is not a physical but a spiritual battle. I also realized that Satan knows that something great is about to happen and that is why he tries to keep me down. But I was not going to let him have victory so I decided to get dressed and get going, praying that God will give me power as I go. And He did!!! It was amazing how He put a smile on my face the whole day and gave me power to present the workshops and feel very comfortable speaking in front of the people. 

As I was speaking, I simply felt how God was giving me the right words. I have no doubt that it was Him who gave me power and energy, who put the right words on my lips and who also gave me joy in my heart. And the response of the people was simply overwhelming. I was happy that the Portuguese Union already printed out the United Prayer Handbook in Portuguese so those who wanted it could have it in their own language.

At the end of the workshop a gentleman and his son came to talk to me. The father told me that he came to GYC because he wanted to hear pastor Stephen Bohr and Daniel Spencer speak. Now, after he came to the united prayer workshop, he knows that God brought him there because he had to attend this workshop. He was determined to go back home and start a prayer group. And he is only one of the many who told me the same thing, that they want to start praying unitedly in their churches.

There was also a lady who came to the prayer room. She faced many trials. She lost her son some time ago and her husband was suffering of a terminal illness. There is no need to tell you that she did not know how to smile anymore. She prayed with us and came back later on to tell me that people told her that this was the first time they saw her smiling. So, I praise God that He takes our burdens and that He can put again the smile on our faces.

One of my translators brought to the prayer room all the young people from her church but two of them. One of the two did not come was a young girl who refused to come because her mother was against united prayer. Monday night, just as I was getting ready to go home, a young lady came to talk to me and ask for some advice concerning some practical aspects of the Christian life. After I talked to her, she asked me if I had the prayer room open the next day (the last day of the convention). I was not really planning on having it open because the convention was suppose to finish around noon, but because she was the second person to ask me, I decided to open it. Later in the evening, while I was talking to my translator and told her about this girl, she told me that it was the same girl who was against united prayer. I don't know what made her change her mind, but I am happy that she took the last chance and came and prayed with us.

I was also happy to meet some people I met at AMiCUS International Congress in September where Irene and I facilitate united prayer. One of the couples I met there told me that they started two prayer groups in their church. There were some other people who told me that they attended the AMiCUS Congress in Paris but they did not come to the prayer room. When they came back home they were so angry with themselves for not finding the time to go and pray. Now, they were happy that the Lord gave them a second chance. So, praise God that He is a God of second and third and ...a lot of chances.

On Monday we had a united prayer session with everybody. That was really powerful. The leaders told me that people asked why didn't we have united prayer every day.

Since I came home I kept getting lots of emails and messages on facebook about what a blessing the united prayer was for them. And the GYC leaders decided that they really want me to be back for the next GYC and told me not to schedule anything for February 8-12, 2013.

So, need I say more to convince you that this was a really Spirit filled event? Believe me, it was the best event I ever went to. Seeing all these people who are searching for God with all their hearts was such a blessing for my soul. It was for the first time in my life when I was not tired at the end of the event, when I still had energy and I did not want it to end. You see, I thought that I would be exhausted at the end because I had no one to help me. But the Lord showed me one more time that His power is made perfect in my weakness. He can bless and give power and strength. He can still do miracles. In fact, one of the GYC leaders told me that he has witnessed miracles every five minutes. God was present there and we could clearly see His hand at work.

I guess it's high time I start praying more for Youth in Mission, the next big event I am going to in a few weeks. Join with me in prayer that God will bring a mighty revival among the young people from Germany and that our presence there will be a blessing for many.


  1. Hello Raluca,

    I am so glad for this testimony! Indeed, you could capture the feeling we all had.

    As of course, we were not sure how this event would turn out. The first ever GYC in Portugal, all of us lacking for experience, but also a great sense that God wanted this to happen. And this last detail proved to be the decisive point.

    I am most sure, there is not a single doubt in my mind, that two weeks prior to the event, God decided to step into action. I felt that He was telling us: “OK, you have gone as far as you can; now it’s up to Me, let Me do the rest”. And He did!

    Your prayer room was such a blessing. As I write, people are joining and scheduling meetings to start a payer group. Our Facebook is flooded with messages, just like you said. And I credit it all to the Great God we worship.

    As a member of the GYC team, I have to say that what happened in our first ever Convention is far more that all our skills combined together could ever achieve. This was the work of the Holy Spirit.

    I just hope we keep the spirit all year long. Our beloved church needs it, and God will surely work that way.

    May the good Lord bless your ministry. I’m sure we’ll met again soon.

    Filipe Reis

    1. Filipe, I can't agree with you more. The Holy Spirit was present there and God worked in amazing ways. I have no doubt that God was in all this event and that He should get the glory for everything that happened. What a wonderful Father we have! Keep up the good work in Portugal. Hope to meet you again!

  2. Meeting Raluca was a short view highlight of the spirit of the apostles growing up again among ourselves as a church. I do believe humble prayer with the brethren will unite us again for the pouring out of the Holly Spirit. He is at hand.

    1. Sarah, I was so blessed by you, guys! I am so happy we got to meet! Praying for your family and ministry.

  3. Hi Raluca, it's Raul (close...), one of the guys at the sound/imagem desk. We spoke a few times, i was next to Filipe.

    Me and my wife loved your presentation, work and ideas about praying. My wife has just read the little booklet we brought from the convention at Portugal, and i'm about to read it. Amazing, amazing, amazing ministry you got! God bless you! We we're very fortunate to have you here.

    We're moving to France in April, we don't really know what to expect from the church there, we have the impression that Adventism is a bit weak there, mostly immigrants and few native french. Think about doing some work there... i know, you like the tropics more and France is a bit more cold =)

    If you don't see each other in this Earth, we'll be toghether again in Heaven :)

    Best regards from me and Sandrine! Once again, God bless you!

    1. Raul, I praise God that he gave the honor to come to GYC Portugal. I was blessed to be there. I have been to France twice last autumn. Once in Paris for AMiCUS International Congress and once in Clermont-Ferrand, for GYC France. It is true that France is secular, but I am sure that the Lord has His people there, as well. Praying that you will be able to find there a few people to meet and pray with. I am sure that the Lord will do great things there if you are willing to allow Him to work trough you. Keep up the good work!