Network News: Ben's Story
A trip to Germany changed Ben’s life for good, and gave him new purpose to pursue the life that God has planned for him.
Hi my name is Ben, I’m a third year history student and I’ve been attending St George’s for about 2 years now. I’m part of React, a missional Network that aims to challenge each other to live bold and radical lives for Jesus in Leeds. Being part of a Network has been such an encouragement to me as our work with the marginalised and broken in Leeds consistently reminds me of God’s kindness, faithfulness and love for us all. I have been struck by the amazing work God is doing in this city and the prospect of working with Him really excites me.
Over the summer of 2015 I attended a conference in Nuremberg, Germany, that was set up to call on God to bring revival to Europe. I went there with intrigue to see what God had in store but was completely unprepared for the impact it would have upon my life. Held in a large football stadium, I was completely taken back by a crowd of 25,000 people from a variety of nations desiring to worship God and make His name famous in Europe.
With a variety of talks held throughout the day, on the first night over a thousand people gave their lives to Christ. It was incredible. I had waited to see this for years. I had heard of the stories of Billy Graham’s crusades where many people were saved, but to witness a similar event with my own eyes was something I don’t think I will ever forget.
Whilst there I was fortunate enough to take part in one of the outreach days set up by the organisers of the conference. Our task was a simple one. 25,000 of us were to enter the city of Nuremberg, tell people about Jesus and then see what God wants to do. When I arrived in the city centre every corner you went round there was public displays of evangelism taking place from simple conversations to large worship bands and open air preaching. There was such a buzz around the place. Stories of people throwing away crutches and getting healed were circulating. Many were taking busloads of people back to the conference to hear more about Jesus and many of them were saved. God was moving powerfully.
On the plane home the events of the previous few days kept rushing through my mind. I had witnessed some amazing things but was very aware that I could not leave Germany without knowing that I needed to change. I needed to change the way I viewed God. The way He demonstrated His power and love became evermore real to me and I had to do something about it in response. The thing was, I always saw God as someone I was working for, and when in actual fact he is someone that I should be working with. I had exposed myself to new and exciting ways of evangelism and became aware that God could use me to show His love. I never thought I was good enough for him to work through me.
Over the following weeks I decided to buy a whole range of books on evangelism, healing and the power of the Holy Spirit to work through us with the intention of applying this to my life. After finishing them, I took it upon myself to tell people about Jesus at every possible occasion as well as praying for many and seeing people healed. Over the course of a few months I saw close to ten people healed from a variety of issues.
Since coming back to university in September I have been keen to continue the work that God has been doing through me and so a few weeks ago I organised what I called ‘A Meal and A Message Evening’ where I would prepare a free meal for a group of my friends and tell them about the gospel and how it has changed my life. With many of those I invited bringing along their own friends just fewer than 30 people were able to attend.
As a result of the evening we have seen two of those plugged in to churches and with many more reading the Bible with their friends with the intention of finding out more. It has been a real encouragement to hear about the response the evening got and I’m continually amazed at how God has used it to encourage others.
To this day, I’m continually seeking God’s guidance in my evangelism and witnessing people come to know Jesus. My heart is to encourage people to realise how loved we are in God, to see him as our father and walk in a way that demonstrates the gospel boldly. I believe that God is ready to use us to change the world if we are only open to trusting and listening to His Holy Spirit.