Hope International Ministries

Encountering an Intense Fire

by Eric Emmanuel Surbano

Encounter Camp has been an annual tradition for Oasis Church for the past fourteen years. During the Songkran holidays, the famous Thai New Year celebration when the whole country gets into a big water fight, the church takes a trip to a province two hours away from the city drenched and steeped in revelry to seek God and receive from Him. Every year, the Spirit moves differently.

Ablaze. Not to be confused with the name of the youth group in many HIM churches globally (Oasis Church launched the Ablaze Group in this camp), but the word itself means burning intensely. That was the theme of this year’s camp. As always, it was timely. The church was entering a new season: just a month or so earlier, we had finally moved into our venue, something that had been promised to us ever since we started back in 2010. The Lord, always working and ever-present, was up to something—it seemed He was going to do some heavy work in this camp.

He did. Pastor Torch and Lisa Leung were gracious enough to spend the four days and five nights with the church, teaching and praying for everyone from the leadership to the members. They prophesied over the church as a whole and to individual people and also delivered timely words from characters in the Bible like Phinehas and Apollos. 

There was extended worship time as the Lord moved with convictions to pray for each other. One worship session ended with a breaking of bondages where everyone, by faith, acted out the breaking of chains as freedom in Jesus’ Name was declared all over the room. Another session turned into a time of ministering as people got baptized in the Holy Spirit. Another turned into an all-out praise party, everyone worshipping with abandon in celebration of Jesus and who He is. 

It wasn’t just in the “spiritual” programs that God was present. In the conversations over coffee and breakfast, in the bus and car ride going to the venue and going home, and even in the indoor games, the Lord built up each one in loving one another and working together. Even before the camp started, everyone was split into teams to prepare presentations about the Bible characters where the camp lessons were based. Each team did prayer walks and evangelism around the city. Even then, God was already building something in the people. Some of it is already evident. People have testified. For other things, the fruit is yet to come. 

This yearly Encounter Camp has always been a time when God meets us as a church and readies us for what’s ahead, but how He does it is always a surprise. Looking back, this camp was something completely different. And yet in the unexpected, God was still faithful to pour out His Spirit on all the people who were there.

But like every move and infilling of the Spirit, this is just the beginning. We know that the Lord has done this because there’s a move that’s going to happen in the coming days, weeks, and months. Whatever it may be, we’re excited to see what God is up to.