Hello, my name is Amy Feldpausch! I attended the Encounter Conference in Grand Rapids December 27th-29th. Going into this conference I did not know too much about it but I had heard some crazy but cool stories about what other people had experienced. I did not have big expectations or questions that I wanted answered going into the conference, I was looking for more of the Lord. My prayer life had been inconsistent for a long time and I wanted to get back into a prayer routine. I wanted a deeper yearning for prayer and the ability to listen to God in prayer as well. I don’t know if it was the stress of moving out and college starting, training for my new job, or trying to stay in touch with family and friends that led me to lose my desire to pray. I no longer had the desire to pray and didn’t realize the impact that it had made on my life. I could go weeks without saying a single prayer and was still thinking that things were going good, life is crazy…but I’m good. Once I committed to going on this retreat I realized all of this about myself and the thoughts raced back through my mind: I wanted the desire to pray again!

Throughout the conference I heard and saw God speak to me more than I ever have before! God worked in my life with help in forgiveness, my thoughts on self image, and doubts about belonging. Through others praying over me and my own individual prayer, there were barriers, such as my negative thoughts, that were broken down.

At one point during the conference we were asked to close our eyes and imagine Jesus on the cross in front of us. I saw Jesus on the cross and He immediately broke Himself off of the cross and came walking towards me. We all then prayed, “Lord, I believe in your love for me,” and I did! I felt weight taken off my shoulders. I felt real peace and comfort in believing that the Lord loves me. I then saw Jesus reach out to me and He held my face in His hands and smiled at me. Then I was wrapped into a huge hug with Jesus and I accepted His love for me! Finally! I felt the warmth of His embrace and love within myself completely for the first time! I always have known that God is real and He loves His sons and daughters, but I had never been convinced that He loves me. But I felt the embrace of Jesus and I knew that His love for me was real.

I now see God and His love differently and see myself through God’s mirror. I am now aware of where I truly belong: my life in God’s hands, fully overtaken with His joy and love for me as a daughter. I now strive to pray everyday with the Lord to learn and follow His path for me. My encounter with Jesus at the conference sparked a desire to pray in me that was stronger than ever before. And when I pray my mind is taken back to those moments where I am fully in the arms of Jesus and filled with love! Now, I know that stress with jobs and school will still come up, but what God showed me at the Encounter Conference was that He will continue to shake the grounds beneath me with His perfect love, and I am going to fully trust in that!

I am so thankful to have attended the Encounter Conference and encourage you all to reflect on the desires placed on your hearts by God. I pray that you find peace and comfort in God’s love like I have.

– Amy Feldpausch