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 Spiritual Training

This section describes my first experience venturing back out into public after my surgery.  In this outing God gave me an experience which was best described as a spiritual training lab where He let me practice witnessing in a controlled environment.  After the events of this day, I knew my life as I had been living it would never be the same again. 

As I stated earlier, I was discharged from Parkland hospital on Monday, May 7, 2007.  During that first week at home, He taught me through His living written word how to pray and gave me an orientation to His plan for salvation.

First Evening Out of the House
On that coming Saturday, May 12, Lynita and I decided that we would take our three sons out for some fun and to let them get out of the house.  So late that afternoon we took them to their favorite local Chuck E Cheese restaurant (in Lewisville, Texas at I-35 and Hebron Parkway) so that they could have some fun.  This was a significant outing because it would be the very first time that I left home to go out in public since my surgery one week earlier and the first since my encounter with God.

I remembered how when I was in Parkland hospital I could not stop talking about how Jesus had carried me through the whole medical crisis.  I knew that it was no coincidence that He had me reading about His plan for salvation during those recent nights and when I went back out into public I needed to tell people.  But I was somewhat nervous because I did not feel like I knew it well enough to be able to witness effectively.  Earlier, I had spoken on the phone with my Pastor, Billy Grate, to ask him for advice in how I should approach people for witnessing.  He told me to keep it simple and tell them a little about what God had done for me and then be prepared to cite the plan using some of the well known Bible verses (like John 3:16).

As we entered the restaurant, my level of nervousness was fairly high.  Keep in mind that I still had the metal staples in the incision on my skull but was wearing a loose cap to keep rain from getting into the surgery site.  As I entered, I mentioned to the attendant at the entrance that I had just had brain surgery a week before and that God has saved my life and strengthened me.  She acknowledged my comment and responded back with something about how great God is.

God Getís My Attention
The restaurant was experiencing a typically busy Saturday evening as we entered and there were plenty of people all over to talk to and share the good news.  However, after meandering around a bit and ordering pizza for the kids and a salad for me, I let my apprehension and nervousness about speaking to people get the best of me.  I sat down at our table and decided to just eat my salad.

However, God made it clear to me that He had not prepared and brought me here this evening simply for pizza and salad.  As I began to try to eat my salad, I experienced the following sensations:

  1. I felt what appeared to be a finger pressing and applying pressure to the side of my forehead.
  2. As I looked down at my salad, the plate seemed to move away from me like the tunnel effect in one of those old Alfred Hitchcock movies.
  3. When I pulled the fork towards my mouth, I could now feel pressure pushing my hand away from my face.
  4. After a brief pause, I brought the fork back to my face and placed some of the salad into my mouth and began to chew.  Now the food that was in my mouth suddenly became really unnaturally cold (much, much colder than even a chilled salad).

After I considered these things that had just occurred, I realized that what had just happened was Godís touch nudging me and saying that this was not a time to eat.  I placed my fork back next to my salad and got up to go talk to some people.

Still not sure of what to say and not remembering all of the simple Bible verses that Pastor Grate had earlier suggested, I went out to the foyer of the restaurant and called him on my cell phone to get more encouragement.  As if to say ďYou donít need anymore help, you already have more than you need,Ē God made my calls repeatedly drop without connecting.  After about the third drop, I realized that I was in a strong reception area and had never before had trouble with calls in this area.  This was another gentle nudge from God and maybe I should just start talking to people.

A Spiritual Training Lab
The rest of that day at Chuck E Cheese was an experience that I will never forget.  The people there appeared to be in a trance and whenever I would approach them and start talking with them, their eyes would seem to glaze over like clear glass and they would stop and talk to me.

During the course of that evening there were not very many people in that crowded restaurant that I didnít talk to.  I felt like I was driven and being pushed to talk to everyone.  It was almost like when I spoke to someone we were somehow attracted to each other.  I would tell them about my surgery and my encounter with Jesus.  I would then reassure them that He was indeed real, loved them also, had died for them and wanted to help them.

In covering all of the people that were present, God provided me with a wide variety of responses, including some who thanked me and said that they already knew where they were going; some who said they wanted to know more; some who could not understand and just didnít want to hear more; at least one man there responded to me that he wanted to accept Jesus into his life that night; I encountered one person that night who only spoke Spanish and I delivered the gospel to him in Spanish.

There was one gentleman there that night who had a spirit about him like Satan.  Even his look was different and unlike everyone else, he seemed to be aware as was I that this scene was being controlled supernaturally.  He was very skeptical and antagonistic about everything that I said especially about references to Jesus and the Bible verse.  He thought I was wasting my time.  I remember this man clearly because he was the only one like this and I felt a very strong evil spirit on him.  Looking back, I realize that he was definitely there as an important part of my training.

After what seemed to me like it had been several hours of talking to everyone present, we prepared to leave to go home.  Please note that during this time, no one approached me or asked me to stop what I was doing.  Lynita realized that I had not eaten my salad and packed it up in a carry-out plate that we took home.

On our drive back home to our house in The Colony, we stopped at a gas station to get some gas and a carwash for our SUV.  As we pulled up to the car wash, an attendant approached the truck and as I looked at him, I saw the same look in his eyes (glazed over like glass) that I had just been experiencing at the restaurant.  So, without hesitating, I got out of the truck and went up to him and witnessed to him.  Again, much like the people at the restaurant, he seemed to be a captive audience.  When I got back in the truck and as Lynita drove us home, I reflected back on the events with her and I remember wondering out loud if that was how the rest of my life was going to be (witnessing to anyone that I came in contact with).

 

 

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© 2007 Gerald L. Prater

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