Comments Off on News from the Fresno Retreat: Our Master Gardener
by Cat Young
Over a hundred people gathered from as far away as Ontario, Canada and New York State to attend the two-day MPC Spiritual Retreat in Fresno, California at the end of March. For many of those present, it was the first time they had ever been introduced to Leanne Payne’s writings and teaching. It was water to a thirsty church.
I felt a deep stillness come over the room as Sarah opened the retreat with the teaching on the Holiness of God, and it seemed to me everyone was leaning forward, drinking it in with parched souls. After decades of confused teaching it was a relief to be reminded who God truly is, and He himself confirmed the message with a palpable sense of His presence.
The power of what He was doing became apparent by the first break. Three separate women ran up to me, hugging me, sharing stories of how God was already opening their ears, speaking to their hearts. Each of them had received messages having something to do with rocks.
The first lady saw a triangle made of stones, representing the Trinity. One particular stone at the top of the triangle stood out very clearly to her in her imagination. Later she found a stone exactly like the one in her vision in the courtyard. She joyfully picked it up and now keeps it at home.
Another one received a word from the Lord about her hobby of rock collecting, which her psychiatrist had labeled as a symptom of bipolar disorder. The Lord affirmed the hobby as a practice of His presence and told her it’s one more place “where dirt meets grace”, a theme he had begun speaking to her in the days leading up to the retreat.
The third was given an image of a doorway which represented the way to her heart, and it was completely blocked with stones. She was told that together, she and the Lord would name each stone and then remove it.
The three of them shared their “rock” stories with one another and found a unity of fellowship in them. All this happened in the first two hours of the retreat.
Despite the many challenges we faced surrounding our worship team, we were blessed with an amazing fullness of sound thanks to the combined skills of John Cannon with local musicians Tony Manjarrez on guitar and Brenda Myers on percussion. Tony later said of John, “There’s a touch on that man’s life. I’m not an organ man—I walk out of churches when I hear an organ—but when he touched that instrument I felt like I was being lifted heavenward!” Both he and Brenda truly enjoyed John’s joy-filled presence and hearty laugh.
We had around twenty attending who are involved in the fields of mental health and counseling, and each of these were deeply encouraged as they began to see an integration between their faith and their training and calling. One young woman asked if the team would pray for all the counselors, and Sarah, Anjie and Sill graciously led them in prayers for wisdom, discernment and equipping for their ministries, as well as for their own personal growth. These will soon be regularly gathering via Zoom to continue reading Leanne’s works and begin applying the truths in them to their counseling work.
Bishop Eric Menees was at first impressed, and then profoundly moved by what he experienced at the retreat. He gave a glowing endorsement to his clergy, testifying to the sound theology of the teachings and the testimonies of Sarah, Tommy, Sill, Anjie and Melanie, naming them a blessing to all in attendance. Later, at the Chrism Mass during Holy Week, he made an appeal to the clergy to join him in attending the Wheaton school this July, saying, “it will truly change your life.”
In the aftermath of the retreat, I’ve had the privilege of seeing some of the seeds planted begin to bear fruit. Some of the most colorful fruit has come about in one of the women I referred to above. The teaching on forgiveness gave her a bit of drama as the Lord apparently cemented her bottom to the floor of the sanctuary until she was ready to forgive the birth mother who had twice rejected her. Days later, the Spirit led her to write four pages of people and actions to forgive, to weep over them, and then to burn them. Then he led her to create some wonderful paintings with the ashes. The change in her countenance has brought strangers to her, asking her what “that glow” about her is. She answers, with great passion, it’s the power of God in forgiveness! As an added bonus, she has enjoyed a remission of her dystonia since the retreat.
One thing I’ve noticed at each MPC event I’ve attended: there’s something about the renunciation and forgiveness of sin which opens us all to the unifying work of the Holy Spirit. By the end of the retreat Saturday evening, it seemed everyone was a little in love with each other, and it was simply an outcome of people releasing their stuff to the Lord. Once God has a straight path to each heart, he brings us all together. I’ve also noticed after each MPC event that sometimes fruit springs up right away, and other times weeds start surfacing that those who attended never knew were there, allowing the disciple to present those weeds to the Lord for redemption. Please pray for all these tender shoots, that the Spirit will continue to water what he’s planted. Pray especially that the latter people will be granted the will to face into what the Lord is showing them, and will continue on the path of healing.
Comments Off on A mighty Cross: a testimony of freedom from terror
An MPC attendee graciously shared this testimony of His healing work in her soul. She hopes that others may also receive healing by hearing her story, particularly given the recent violence that has devastated our brothers and sisters in New Zealand.
Thank you very much for preparing a retreat in the Lent season. It really helped me focus on God and search my heart. The experience I would like to share is about my last few minutes in the last session (healing of the memories) and Eucharistic service.
When I was about to leave the last session, all of a sudden, it pop up the memory of the June 4th massacre (Tiananmen Square Massacre) in Beijing in 1989. I was born and raised in Hong Kong. By that time, Hong Kong had been arranged to return back to mainland China. The people in Hong Kong were very worried and so followed the student movement closely which started in mid-April, 1989. We hoped that it was a chance for mainland China to be more democratic.
I was 18, a college student, and quickly identified myself into this student movement. I read the news every day. It was very likely that I would have joined the movement if I had lived in China. After enforcing martial law in Beijing, the news in Hong Kong was almost about the movement all the time. We were soaked into the worry. Since June 4th, we were shocked by how a government could send troops to kill the innocent students and by how they cleaned up the evidence professionally. It was a collective painful memory to the people in Hong Kong, especially to that generation.
I came to the US in the following year and accepted Christ in three months. The people in Hong Kong still keep annual memorial events. My tears still dropped when I saw the news about the memorial events. This year is the 30th anniversary of the massacre. I am very proud of the people in Hong Kong who have the courage to stand the ground for justice even after returning back to mainland China.
During the Eucharistic service, it mentioned,
“The Lamb who was offered for us has taken away the sin of the world.”
My tears just came out. I have never associated the quote with the sin done by the Chinese government to its people before. It will take some time for me to unpack my pain to God about this.
What a gracious God, who touched this place so wounded by evil with His healing power! The words of the liturgy came to life for this dear one, and now she desires the same for her brothers and sisters. We know that the Lord will tend to her soul intimately and tenderly, as she takes time to share her sorrow with Him and receive full cleansing and healing. Truly, no act of evil is too great, no human grasp of power too mighty, that the blood of Christ cannot free us from terror and restore the supernatural gift of hope. Let us look and see such a mighty Cross! Praise God, praise His name now and forever!
Painting: Fra Carnevale, 1450, Crucifixion, [Public domain] via Wikimedia Commons
Comments Off on God’s perfect healing after harmful counseling
I have the privilege of sharing here a beautiful testimony that came through email correspondence. This dear woman had sought out prayer ministry and counseling for early childhood abuse, and wrote in asking for guidance in how to deal with the disturbing effects of some sorely misguided interventions. She graciously granted me permission to share these excerpts from our correspondence. I believe many will gain important wisdom from the cautionary tale of the dangerous counseling method she suffered through. Even more, I am eager to share the beautiful encouragement of how the Lord led her through as she listened for His voice and acted on the words He spoke for her healing.
After introducing some of her background, she described this current difficulty:
… I went to see a professional counselor to pray for me… She did a specific counseling technique and in this, I had a ritual abuse memory. This shocked me to the core. It did not feel like this was my memory, and I left the counseling utterly confused and deeply troubled. In prayer I sought more wisdom from the Lord and I sensed this was indeed a repressed memory but at this point my senses and my discernment were already defective and infected.
I worked through this terror of a memory, and did all the forgiveness I could think of. And then my body started going crazy. I had what Leanne describes as “the wall coming down” and all these repressed emotions came to the surface. I struggled with this for almost a week. Nausea and vomiting, convulsions, insomnia, diarrhea. I booked 3 days with the counselor to resolve this, and the approach they used made me extremely uncomfortable. They ask the demons to manifest and then speak through you to give details on the ritual abuse. This is their deliverance technique. Then they do normal dissociative counseling, where they map the alter systems and then integrate them, after they let you experience a specific ritual abuse memory.
I had terrible body memories during this time, and the counseling did not leave me feeling more free or healed. In fact, I felt horrified (but at the time I thought it was due to the content of the memories). I then attended a training school with this counseling group on dissociation and deliverance and found myself terrified afterwards. In their teaching the power of the Cross seemed diminished to me, and the way they speak and command demons to reveal legal rights, unraveled me. … After the school, I still had terrible problems with insomnia, panic attacks etc. They said it was partly body memories, partly demonic. And that I need to keep on addressing the demonic and take authority.
This did not work very successfully and I was starting to get very confused with the healing process. I booked another 2 full days of counseling with the main head counselor, and he did more dissociative work, mapping alters, letting me work through memories (in the memories, they make you abreact to ensure you do not deny that it is real). After two days of this I felt like death. It was so hard to discern if my abreaction was voluntary or just as a result of what I saw in the memories. …
They said now that all the parts are removed, I just need to work through the memories (the parts are away and will no longer repress or block the memory, and as I go through the memories, I will abreact through them and then healing will come as Jesus enters every scene. Except my body kept going bezerk, and I could no longer see any memories.
They then asked me to return for more counseling, to check the demonic legal rights, and I just couldn’t face another round. I felt like drowning, and kept on seeing demonic images and kept on wondering if I was having body memories or if it is a spiritual attack.
It is then that I went back to Leanne’s books and I asked the Lord to guide me according to His truth. That somehow I do not trust to continue any more healing or counseling with this group. It is here where I sensed the Lord was telling me that they were practicing the presence of demons when they take authority over them, and say they are our servants. Leanne’s chapter on doing spiritual warfare the wrong way, was a BIG confirmation on this. So I immediately stopped speaking to the demons and rebuking them and instead I started practicing the Presence. I also worked through all the prayers in both the books of Healing Presence and Restoring the Christian soul.
It is in the Restoring of the Christian soul book that I found two insightful things and this is really my question. Leanne talks here about the wall of repressed memories breaking and describes all the symptoms I have been feeling. She also says that this is a natural part of the healing, and it can take months. I started doing the sample prayer she has there, about standing at the cross and hurting, and giving it all to Jesus.
She also has a story in there about a woman who came to a PCM conference who was a ritual abuse victim and who was petrified as Leanne prayed for her. From my understanding in Leanne’s writing, this women did not have to mentally and emotionally “see” and relive every single memory of what happened to her in the ritual abuse. Is my interpretation of this correct? In your MPC conferences and experience, does a ritual abuse victim have to relive every single memory to be healed?
In the meanwhile I am still having body memories, they normally last from 2 to 4 days. I now do the prayer, stand at the cross and hurt and try to endure. I do not have any memory at this time, just the body pain that bleeds out, and I do the forgive anyone who caused this to me as part of the prayer. My next question is, is it normal to have such intense body memories (it is now 7 months). Is it ok, to release to Jesus and the Cross, and stand and hurt in Him, or must every memory be seen and “relived”?
My response to this dear sister:
Thank you for this heartfelt letter, and for giving us the privilege of being involved in your journey! My heart goes out to you for your incredible perseverance in seeking wholeness, and in compassion for what you’ve suffered along the way. I am glad that you have had Leanne’s books to bolster your discernment about the counseling techniques that have been offered to you. I agree with your caution about the deliverance techniques and focus on demonic that was being used, and am so glad to hear that you have stepped back from that treatment. Yes, you have understood Leanne’s writings correctly: it is not a necessary element of healing to bring memories into consciousness or re-live them emotionally or physically. As you have so unfortunately experienced, that is a nightmarish misconception that comes from focusing on the darkness rather than practicing God’s presence. We never direct someone to relieve painful memories, or to strive after discovering memories that are not spontaneously brought forward by the Spirit.
It sounds to me like your present strategy of yielding your pain to the Cross, when it emerges, is right. You asked if it is normal to be having the level of intense sensations, and I understand that you’re wondering if, in our experience, that is a normal path of healing. I suspect that the somatic experiences you are having are at least partially related to the negative focus of your previous counseling, to which your body responded as a trauma, inadvertently adding to the suffering (rather than being a normal part of a spontaneous healing process). I believe this is good reason not to turn inward and focus on these sensations, trying to discover where they come from or to try to relive memories.
I encourage you to keep your eyes on Jesus, as the healer of that pain, the One who bore it on your behalf and is even now radiating His healing power in your body to restore holy order, health, and well-being — whether the pain comes from earlier life experiences, or is the confusion your body is expressing as a result of the misguided counseling, Jesus is the bearer and healer of it all. In your times of standing in the Cross, yielding to Him, ask the Holy Spirit to draw your attention to His goodness and up and away from the pain you are feeling. Additionally, when the time seems right, you might also consider acknowledging before Him the error of that counseling, choosing to forgive those who led you astray, and renouncing any word or belief from that counsel that is remaining with you.
But most of all, I encourage you to fill your heart and mind with HIs goodness, to set your eyes on His beauty. I am praying for you even now, knowing the Holy Spirit is eager to pour into you images of glory, even new sensations of peace and well-being in your body. You may like to look at chapter 12 in The Healing Presence, in the second half which begins with the heading “Being and Creation.” Let me be clear, I am not suggesting that your suffering is related to introspection. But I do suspect that the remedy Leanne shares here will likely be tremendously helpful for you. Where she speaks of introspection, you could substitute “a focus on the specifics of the past or seeking after memories and painful details”. As Leanne so beautifully writes, “We come to know even ourselves… by turning outward to love all that is real and other than ourselves.” I believe you will find it wonderfully healing to focus on becoming incarnate of, to participate in, the good, the beautiful, the just, the true, even God Himself.
I have the impression that over this last year your attention and experience became increasingly focused on what might be wrong within you. I want to encourage you to consider that even in moving you to write to us, the Lord may be inviting you to pivot into a new season. This new season may be focused on His wholeness already present for you, His love which has always been and will always be over and around you, and the goodness that is present to you right now, even as simple as noticing your beating heart, the sound of HIs divine energy alive in you, His word to you, “Live!” It is clear from your letter that He has been with you through this storm, whispering guidance even in the darkest moments.
Please accept my deepest gratitude for your carefully crafted response. It came into my spirit like a gentle rain, and I carefully soaked each particle in. … I downloaded the Wheaton teaching on the “Disease of Introspection,” and then I did the repentance prayer that complimented it so beautifully. I also listened to the True Imagination teaching and did the prayer that accompanied that teaching. I found both teachings incredibly insightful and powerful.
The Lord did a beautiful “cleansing” work in the True Imagination teaching, and I felt in my spirit, when one of the team members were asking for the Gift of Divine Objectivity, that what transpired in my counseling sessions were not from God’s heart, and that it was simply not true. I truly sensed once my True Imagination was cleansed, that what I “saw and experienced” in the sessions were not my own memories, but projected there by the demonic. This is a relief but I do not feel fully delivered from all of the effects of this. My body will still go into spontaneous anxiety or panic attacks, in the middle of the night, and I still have trouble sleeping well. For the first 4 days after doing the True Imagination teaching and prayer, I slept wonderfully. But then as this weekend approached, the insomnia and the anxiety returned. I have been very deliberate about not practicing the Disease of Introspection, but looking upward and outwards.
I also listened to your teaching on the Healing of Memories and in this session, I forgave these counselors and their practice and I renounced what transpired in our sessions. I wept before the Lord, for all the physical and emotional damage this has caused.
Her further thoughts:
When I asked this sister her permission to share some of our correspondence, she realized that some reading this might wonder how she could have been so deceived. She shared one more important piece of background that gives good insight and another valuable word of caution. One of the ministries she sought help from recommended a book that chronicled the work of counselors with a ritual abuse survivor, which she read. In hindsight, she recognized that much of the raw material that the enemy used during her torment was gathered from her reading of this book. She believes the contents of this book helped feed the deception and her readiness to believe what transpired in her own counseling. This is a good reminder that we need to seek the Lord’s counsel about whether a book that may be popular is His best for us.
I am deeply grateful to this dear sister for sharing her story, for we need the wisdom it offers. In the pursuit of healing and wholeness, both counselor and counselee face a temptation to what Leanne Payne called the ‘carnal striving to make things happen.’ Methodological approaches to soul healing, however well-intentioned, are a dangerous way of taking matters into our own hands, and because they displace dependence in our triune God, open the door to the demonic. The gospel alternative is wonderfully simple, yet takes great courage and faith: we must await God’s timing and His divine direction.
There is more to this dear one’s story, and our correspondence continued in wonderful ways from here. It’s been an utter joy to hear of God’s perfect faithfulness to her. He has attentively and wisely answered each one of her questions and met every one of her needs. He has brought healing to each place where she’d been harmed in her pursuit of wholeness. He has even helped her repent where she’d made an idol of healing and come into a deeper trust in Him and acceptance of herself as she is today in Him. Our Father is a wonder-working God, and He is already bringing much good out of this dear one’s trial, including blessing us with this edification and encouragement. All honor, praise, and glory be unto Him, now and evermore!
Photograph: Gero Crucifix, late 10th century, Cologne Cathedral, Germany, photographed by Elke Wetzig.
We were delighted to receive this testimony from an MPC school attendee. In this prayer is expressed the wonder of how God descends to each one of us, reaching us right in our place of greatest need. Encounters like this change everything and we praise our gracious God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit, for His perfect faithfulness!
Thank you, God,
for not rejecting me in my anger,
for showing me the state of my heart and the choice I had. Read more…
I feel like there is a stirring starting to happen of sediment that has been allowed to settle. There was such a clear picture that I got when we had the time with the Holy Water and the water touched my face. I realised that I had a lot of shame attached to my face because of teenage acne. But on a deeper level, He showed me that my face is what the world sees, it’s the representation of my identity and it wasn’t only my physical face that I had wanted to conceal (make up and any other means of hiding) but also my identity. I did not want to be inspected, scrutinised and observed in case all of my “spots” would stand out and be on display for the world to see. As the Holy Water touched my face, the water of the Word cleansed my skin and my spots were cleared. I felt the tingling of the salt and it was very significant. Read more…
The Hope of Glory
Testimony by a 2016 Wheaton MPCS Attendee
I wanted to share my experience at the Wheaton School with your team. It starts off negative and ends with glory. I have attached a picture I took Thursday at sunset that reflects “The Hope of Glory” that I discover by the end of the Friday prayer for healing of memories.
Comments Off on Healing from Fear and Releasing Her Voice
Hello Blessed MPC Ministry Team:
I have been meaning to write you for two months now. When I returned home from MPC this summer, I had to move and then return to work. I wanted to share with you all that God did in me this summer in Wheaton at MPC, but also what he has been doing in all of us [hometown] folks since returning from our time with you. I am so grateful; words cannot express all that is in my heart. To say God is good doesn’t begin to articulate his saving acts of grace in our lives. Read more…
Comments Off on Stories of Healing: Encouragement from Leanne’s Archives
By Leanne Payne
from her newsletter archives, June 1987
A fine looking young Christian father and husband, suffering with the homosexual neurosis, came to a PCM with little or no hope. His expectation, since he had so long sought help, was exceedingly low. With his lovely wife’s encouragement, and for the sake of his family, he came. Here’s the letter we got shortly after the conference, followed several weeks later by one from his wife:
Bless the Lord! My life (and my family’s) will never be the same! My walk with the Lord has quickened considerably. I am loving the Lord more, being His son from the deepest parts of my being, listening to His beautiful words and obeying Him.
A testimony from the desert: the blessed fruit of perseverance in marriage
My marriage of over 40 years has been my “place” of stabilitas. I came to Christ in a little plywood stable that my dad built for my pony, a gift on my sixth birthday. For some mystical reason I felt God calling me that day, and I was awestruck by the subtle experience of the Lord with me there. I was seven years old, and from that point on HE has dominated my life, calling me over and over again to love, obey and worship Him.
The first night after the conference I had a wonderful time visiting with some old Wheaton College friends. We spoke a lot about the conference. It was such a joy to share the hope that had been given to me. Later, when I put my children, ages 11 and 8, to bed, we had a wonderful time reconnecting and cuddling. We were staying in a hotel room so they were sharing the sleeper sofa and I was lying there between them. My son asked something like, “Tell me words, Mom, like how you love me. Say those words.” Read more…
Comments Off on Pondering Great Things in my Heart
A testimony from an attendee at the 2014 Wheaton MPCS:
I am writing to say thank you for things that are too great for words – things too holy and sacred. Like Mary, I have been pondering great things in my heart.
I am not sure I will be able to communicate fully to you what all has happened. In fact, I know that is actually impossible, as I am well aware that there are hidden things I have yet to see and understand. How could I possibly communicate them?
June 2014 was my first experience of an MPC school. I will forever be thankful to my therapist for sending me Leanne Payne’s book Restoring the Christian Soul last November. I was at a very critical point in life – actually a life and death point. I had exited a same-sex relationship a few months prior and had hit rock bottom, as the saying goes. Read more…
A testimony from an attendee at a Wheaton MPC school:
I was that kid from an alcoholic home. My father did not want me and attempted to abort me when my mother was pregnant. Then when I was three, he committed suicide. My mom truly was unable to experience grief, pain, and other feelings. She didn’t know how to show anyone else how to do it either. I remember when I was about six, I went to her with a whole lot of anger and pain, and she told me I was just selfish and only thought of myself. At that time I remember thinking, This woman is crazy, and what she told me is so wrong. Nevertheless, later on I began to internalize my feelings and to experience shame and guilt when I had a genuine emotion. I went cold and stuffed all my emotions.
I was aware of the anger, rage, and unforgiveness I harbored toward my parents and was actually able to heal a lot by going through an inventory with my AA sponsor before I came to my first MPC conference in 2010. Both of my parents had passed; so making amends and granting forgiveness was not possible. But a lot of healing had taken place just through writing letters to them and reading these to trusted friends.
I took the train to your 2010 conference in Wheaton. On the way I was reading Leanne Payne’s book The Healing Presence. A profound thing happened on that train while I was praying. My father appeared to me, sat next to me, and asked me to forgive him. It felt completely real–as a matter a fact, I know it was real. So I extended more forgiveness toward my parents going into the conference. I cried that whole week. I know I received a lot of healing. Read more…