Uganda Day 1: From Tears to Triumph

It was Monday, September 2, and the conference was getting into full swing. I was scheduled to give my kickoff presentation at 1 pm. Kathy and I showed up and were escorted into Kampala International Christian Center (KICC). Something was off. There was an eeriness in the air. I was just not comfortable.

I started praying as I knew I would be introduced shortly. I said to God, “Please keep Satan and any evil spirit far from me. Protect me in the name of Jesus. Fill me so completely with your Holy Spirit that there is no room for any other spirit, in the name of Jesus. Give me a heart to love this audience. Give me the words to say which touch their hearts and moves them to action, to a higher potential. In Jesus’ name, I pray.”

Even after this prayer, I was still off. I couldn’t stop thinking, “What’s wrong?”

After I was introduced, I gave my opening remarks, including showing gratitude to Pastor Elijah for inviting us. I felt flat.

I began to speak, and the rain came.

I started my introductory story, which would set the theme for the conference, and it began to rain harder. Then the wind came with even harder rain. There are no glass windows in KICC, just twenty by twenty-foot openings along the sidewall for ventilation.

The rain on the tin roof was so loud I could not hear myself talk. Then the wind was blowing with such velocity. The rain was coming through the windows sideways. It was blowing the rain all the way to the middle of the stage where I was standing, which was fifty feet from the windows.

I yelled to Kathy who was sitting twenty feet from the window, “Come up here with me. You are getting drenched.”

Chaos ensued.

There were people running everywhere to get away from the wind and the rain. The techs were clearing all the audio equipment, trying desperately to keep it from being ruined. I was still getting wet. Then the wind lifted the stage carpet five feet into the air. I told Kathy, while now holding an end of the carpet, to stand next to me behind the uplifted carpet where we might stay dry.

Eventually, the security detail came and got Kathy and me. They rushed us into an awaiting SUV and took us back to the hotel. This was day 1 of Youth Ablaze 2019.

On the way back to the hotel, I didn’t say a word. I was consumed by negative thoughts. I knew the thoughts were not from God, but I could not stop thinking them. When we arrived at the hotel, Kathy kept asking me, “What’s wrong with you? Why aren’t you talking?”

I began to spew negative garbage.

I bashed the conference, the venue, the people attending, the organizers…you name it. It was about that time I received an email from Dave Mims of the iTeam (intercessory prayer team) of the High Tech Prayer Breakfast. It simply asked, “How can I pray for you?”

I immediately responded, “Satan has got me in his grip. Pray for me. Please pray for me.”

Two hours later, I felt this negative spirit begin to lift. I went to bed and heard God say, “I brought you to Youth Ablaze. The schedule will be recovered. Just do what I brought you here to do.”

The next day, after an unusually good night’s sleep, I woke up with a more straightforward message for the first, second, third, and fourth talks of the conference. I got up and started writing. An hour later, I was positive, confident, and excited to present at Youth Ablaze 2019.

I wrote back to Dave, “Thanks for the prayers. They worked. God is good!”