Pastor Dennis Smith (USA), author of 16 books on the Holy Spirit, presented four deeply provocative devotions on the Baptism of the Holy Spirit. The presentations, challenged attendees to allow Jesus to live His life in and through them and to daily seek the infilling of the Holy Spirit. Pastor Smith highlighted that the Holy Spirit desires to provide healing from emotional oppression. He led the attendees through the prayer of forgiveness, in which he modelled how to forgive those who had wounded them in the past. Tears freely flowed down faces, as the Holy Spirit moved upon minds and hearts. Pastor Aris Vonzalidis, SEC, Church Growth Director, touched by the message, stated that it needed to be heard, throughout the BUC.
Colin Hone (Australia), International director of Holy Spirit ministries, shared how he attended a revival weekend in 2009, conducted by Pastor Dennis Smith. Colin subsequently completed Pastor Smith’s ‘40 days of Prayer and devotion’ book and sought and prayed for the daily baptism of the Holy Spirit, which resulted in a new spiritual life. Colin was then inspired to preach about the Holy Spirit and his experience, as a result thousands have experienced revival and many have been baptised.
Dr Maga Parks (USA), a Counselling Psychologist and author, focused on emotional healing and mental well being. Her inspirational presentations were based upon biblical, Spirit of Prophecy and sound research. Dr Yesudian, a retired paediatrician, heard her speak at the 3ABN camp meeting 2013 and attended the retreat mainly to hear Dr Parks presentations, with the hope of hearing in particular a presentation on ‘psychological growth from trials and adversity. He was not disappointed and the presentation was worthy of being heard several times.
Dr Scott Grivas, MD, has 40 years of medical experience, mainly gained at the Wildwood Seventh-day Adventist Hospital and Lifestyle clinic. Dr Grivas’s presentations were all informative and focused on the laws of health and the causes and treatment options for a number of common diseases including cancer. His presentation on the role of botanical medicines (herbs), in the treatment of common diseases in particular, elicited much interest and an extended discussion.
The uplifting praise and worship sessions were led by Fen Braithwaite and Richard Christie. It was Richard’s first time at a MOHAP retreat and as a musician his main reason for attending, was to hear the Croydon Gospel choir. However; by the end of the retreat Richard, enthused that he “didn’t realise how much he had needed to be here, as his needs had been met and his experience had been truly life changing”.
Richard in addition to Paul Lee, SEC Music director also provided solo musical items. Lloyd Lambert, pastor of the Coventry church and an ex-physical education instructor in the British army, led the outdoors Prayer walk each morning, which focussed on light exercise and prayer with an emphasis on thanking, praising and supplication to God. Corporate, individual and small group prayer sessions were an essential aspect of the retreat, coupled with personal reflection time, which punctuated each day.
On Sabbath morning, Janet Hamilton, MOHAP founding director, facilitated the discussion session, which provided an opportunity to discuss questions often posed by those struggling with an illness. Questions were posed to two sets of panels, which were chaired by Pastors Ian Sweeney (BUC President) and Lorance Johnson (NEC President) respectively. It was concluded that we should trust and have faith in God, even in difficult circumstances and that faith in God should not preclude medical intervention, where appropriate. On Saturday night, the celebrated Croydon Gospel choir, directed by Ken Burton produced an outstandingly splendid musical visual performance, on healing for the soul, which touched many hearts.
Pastor Sam Davis, SEC President, on Sunday morning, introduced the anointing service and its biblical authority. Ten pastors in total assisted with the anointing service, with five of them arriving on Sunday morning. The anointing service took place in a number of private rooms, near to the main hall, and was efficiently facilitated by Pastor Michael Hamilton, TED Prayer Ministries director. This service also provided the attendees with an opportunity for pastoral prayer and brief pastoral counselling. Pastor Terry Messenger, SEC Executive secretary concluded the service with corporate prayer.
Sunday afternoon afforded an opportunity for social time and relaxation, some attendees rested in their rooms, some sunbathed, others used the gym, sauna / steam and swimming pool facilities. The more energetic walked around the lake at Virginia Water, whilst some played rounders with a tennis bat and ball !
Grace Walsh (NEC); Elsie Staple (SEC); Sharon Platt McDonald (BUC) and Stephen Cooper (TED) Health Ministries directors commented on the blessings received and the many positive aspects of the retreat, such as the food. Delicious vegan wholefood was served throughout the retreat, which modelled the Adventist health message and the nutritional element within the health presentations. David, the chef had never before cooked vegan wholefood, but he rose to the challenge and produced an array of tasty delightful dishes, for which he received many compliments, such as;
“Delicious, nutritious and wholesome meals for us Vegans, Whaw!.
David is now keen to learn more about vegan cooking and promised it would be ‘even better next time’.
A number of non-Adventists were in attendance and stated they were “thoroughly blessed” by the retreat including an Anglican, Pentecostal and a senior English non-denominational gentleman called James. James, saw the retreat advertised on a poster and phoned the MOHAP director to enquire if only “members of the Seventh-day Adventist church, could attend?” He was delighted to hear the retreat was open to anyone who wanted to
attend and he quickly arranged a bank transfer payment the same day. James had a wonderful smile and a radiant face and a personality to match. He felt a bit shy initially; however that was short lived, as he felt comfortable enough to stand at the front and teach the attendees a lovely song called ‘Shabbat Shalom’. James summed up the MOHAP objectives in a few key experiential words, when he declared on the last day that he experienced;
“…a wonderful welcome by all! Words of warmth and wisdom, singing of our Master’s glorious return, Fun! and fellowship at a deep level with dear souls, Christ centred, Praise the Lord !“.