February 7th was a historic day for the small town of Oglesby, Texas. Highways Ministries along with a group of passionate teenage worship leaders decided that a 600 mile drive to Oglesby was worth it. The talk of the town during this time of the year is usually the annual “Rattlesnake Roundup” held in the community center. However, after God attended a one day conference in the high school library, the usual talk of the roundup was replaced with testimonies of the miraculous power of God.
Over the course of the day at the Youth Encounter Conference, I saw the kids begin to step outside of their comfort zones in worship. Their hearts started to soften as they saw the reality of who God is. Right before their eyes, a boy with one leg shorter than the other experienced the healing power of God rush through his body as his back popped and his leg grew out. The boy had heard about Jesus healing people, yet this was the first time that he saw it for himself! The youth group also heard multiple testimonies of the mighty work of God in the lives of other teenagers and young adults. After the conference was over, almost everyone who came walked away with a testimony of their own!
However, I believe the biggest response from the youth took place during the ending worship service and message. During worship, the youth decided that they weren’t going to be satisfied with just “having a good day”. After Brooke Pebworth (one of the worship leaders) told the unresponsive kids that they were missing out, almost every hand was raised to God in surrender. The youth began to wholeheartedly respond to the Living God with lifted hands and passionate praises. As they responded, the power and presence of God flooded the atmosphere increasingly.
After Levi O’Brien (the main speaker at the event) preached an urgent message of hope, the kids rushed to the front of the room to receive prayer. During prayer, the youth group melted in the presence of God as the prayer warriors spoke words of freedom over and into their lives. They began to realize that God is greater than their circumstances. Many of the students truly dedicated their lives to God and decided they wouldn’t be satisfied with visiting Him just once a week.
Because of the Conference, many of the students have begun devoting time to God on a daily basis. An everlasting hunger for God has risen in many of the youth, and they now feed that hunger with the Word of God and prayer. The youth group is also beginning to understand the urgency of the hour and what God is calling them too. Every Wednesday night when the youth group meets, there continues to be an increase of response from the students, and an increase of the presence of God in the room. As young people come with expectation, God continues to do more than we expected. I am extremely thankful for Highways Ministries and their willingness to go wherever God desires, even if it means coming to a town like Oglesby with a population of 476 people. Highway Ministries goes where the Spirit of God leads with one all-consuming desire: to carry out the dreams of Christ.
-Charles Graves, Oglesby