I would like to share my experience of having attended the “Mission Possible” retreat held on the 8th and 9th of May 2016. Firstly, because it was my very first retreat, I had never attended a retreat earlier. When I attended it, my life was in great turmoil and I really couldn’t see a way out. My 12 year old marriage was completely undone and all I wanted to do was bolt. I was in pieces during the retreat and just having to smile and stand and try to act like a regular person was taking a toll on me.
The day before the retreat, I kept hearing a name being spoken about in excited tones, curiosity got the better of me and I asked Aunty Rita about Brother Johnson, and she told me, “he was a very anointed man of God”.
So here I beg to digress a bit. I had fallen in love with the book of Ruth. I was besotted with it, reading it time after time, as it consoled me in this life account of hope and redemption of goodness and faithfulness. So I would keep looking up for sermons, on the book of Ruth, but alas nothing ever seemed to grip me. So I gave up looking.
Back to the day of the retreat, on the second day, Brother Johnson walks up on stage and starts by saying, “that the name of the retreat was called Mission Possible and that we had come to the retreat with certain questions and situations and that we would not be leaving without our answers”. Wow! All I can now say in hindsight is how right he was. Even up till then I wasn’t really perked up in my spirits until I heard Brother Johnson announce that his talk was going to be on the book of Ruth. I could really feel something awakening in me, I just knew this was a moment that was completely orchestrated by the divine. And as I heard brother Johnson talk, I felt a great comfort and healing energy taking place in my heart. My mind was being transformed, I realized I couldn’t walk out of this marriage for a long long time. I had felt the Lord impressing it upon my heart that I needed to forgive my husband Desmond, not only forgive but to pray for him, which was the hardest bit for me to digest. When all I wanted to do was run away from him and Bangalore. But during the talk I was beginning to realize I couldn’t walk out of this marriage, not because of Des or my son but because of Jesus.
I began to realize that something greater was taking place, more than a shattered marriage being restored. Prior to this, I was dealing with a marriage where I had given up on Des as a human being. He had started to call me a religious fanatic and I had started to realize that he did not know Jesus or care to know Jesus. During these difficult dark months, there was that voice in me that could only belong to Holy Spirit who would encourage me daily by reminding me that “every knee will bend and every tongue shall confess that Jesus is king”.
But by the time I had attended the “Mission Possible” retreat, I was at the end of my tethers. Yet I had realized that I was not listening to the Lord when he had asked me to pray for Des. And as I left the retreat, I remember I kept looking at the little white JCILM prayer book. As I left for work on the 9th of May morning where I was taking catechism classes for the upcoming holy communion and confirmation classes for children at church, I felt my knees giving way and I started to pray for my husband from the little prayer book “HOW TO PRAY FOR AN UNSAVED LOVED ONE”.
When I had started to pray this prayer, I never knew that it was going to change not just my life but my family’s life forever. I know it sounds very very sudden and way too soon, but that’s exactly what happened, everything started to transform, not just our marriage but even what was happening in my heart. The atmosphere of our home was charged with peace, joy and restfulness but the greatest transformation was taking place in my husband Desmond’s heart and mind. I was witnessing a divine miracle, I was seeing someone fall in love with Jesus, he started to pray with fervor, started to take the name of our Lord with such love and awe. My little son used to fuss a lot about having to kneel down to pray our divine mercy rosary but the day Des started to raise his hands up to pray, little Denzel went down on his knees.
Today it is Des who is setting the tone in our home by praying and teaching our son to pray, to read the bible. I’m seeing a peace and restfulness settle on Des that can only descend from our beloved Lord Jesus Christ. As a mother and a wife, I got to witness not just a marriage being restored or a family being pulled back from the brinks of ruin and calamity, but a Soul was being saved. I got to witness a miracle to see someone I had given up hope on to being raised by Jesus back to life again. I thank you Jesus for saving us and for separating the light from darkness in our lives.
Thank you Sonia for inviting me to the mission possible retreat, thank you brother Johnson for the book of Ruth sermon, it changed a family’s life forever.