My outreach team piled out of the old Toyota van that (to our surprise) had already made it across most of Western and Eastern Europe. Several times every week our outreach team would hold public events at an open air amphitheater by a river in “Nis” the second largest town in Serbia. That night we had planned a worship concert, but one of the audience members had a different plan.
Did you ever notice that when the Holy Spirit starts working in people’s lives and the good news of Jesus is preached, often something (or someone) crazy starts to try and distract?
That night a young man showed up at the riverbank high on LSD. He was shouting obscenities (I guessed by the reactions he was getting – not because I spoke any Serbian)… loud enough to turn the crowd’s attention away for a while.
We were prayed up though, and felt confident that God had called us to that place. I felt that God wanted to bring His presence to these people in a real way… I had no idea how real it was about to get!
Our worship band was a lot louder than most outreach teams would have… noisy amplifiers, drums, electric guitars and a huge PA system that barely fit in our van. But it wasn’t the punk songs or alt rock versions of our favorite worship choruses that captivated that tripped out stranger who was still yelling obscenities.
As we did our best to ignore his mocking and worship the Lord… the Holy Spirit broke in to his LSD trip. He started seeing a vision of glowing lights like fires above the heads of each of the Christians in the crowd and in the band. Now he was SERIOUSLY FREAKING OUT!
The guy ran off and the evening continued by the river. But I heard the rest of the story almost 2 years later through a mutual friend.
He said that after the vision of the glowing lights he ran home and started writing everything down in his journal. He knew that he was still high and would likely forget what had happened the next day. When the next day came he read his journal. Enraged, he ripped up the pages and threw them out the window!
He was beyond mad because he read about how he’d given his heart to Jesus the night before! In his words, he spent the next 3 months “doing battle with God” and continuing his life of rebellion.
It’s not often that an outreach team gets to take a band on a rock tour across parts of Eastern Europe and see dozens of students like him get radically saved and discipled into a brand new Church, but God made it happen. The Holy Spirit lit a fire in our hearts that spread to those towns in Eastern Europe – and the Church in Nis continues today!
-Joel William Rogers
YWAM Kona Staff