Paul Hunter (Belfast)
I surely speak on behalf of dozens of my brothers and sisters when I say that this year’s Kairos Weekend was a truly special time for all involved, not least for myself. Perhaps the highlight of my experience came in the men’s sessions, led by our brother Dave Quintana, who delivered a series of talks on what it means to be a son of God in the 21st century. “Man up!” was the blunt yet incisive instruction to encourage and call us on to build God’s kingdom here in our fallen world, heeded by a group of young men who, empowered by the fire of the Holy Spirit, can make a difference and inspire more brothers than we could have imagined. Seeing so many men give their lives over to Christ, maybe for the first time, was such an amazing experience to witness.
Another feature of KW16 which was the camaraderie that infuses every Kairos event. Seeing faces old and new was a personal highlight, as relationships which will last a lifetime were built up. I always leave Kairos events eagerly anticipating the next opportunity to reconnect with my brothers and sisters in outreaches far and wide, and my time in Glasgow was no exception.
On reflection, this year’s Kairos Weekend brought to me personally a renewed desire to follow the Lord, and stirred in me an impetus to live as a son of God, using the life and teaching of Jesus as a model for discipleship.
Jonasz Golick (Belfast)
“With every next hour spent with the men, I received it as a huge blessing to build relationships with my brothers in faith. I had an awesome sharing group. The lifted hands of Sunday's worship will stay in my memory for a long time. It was really powerful!”
Joanna Whittam (Dublin)
Fear has always played a huge role in my personal life. A fear of being unwanted seems to have often held me back from relationships, while both this and the terror of letting people down or doing things wrong has held me back on so many occasions from playing on the worship team or speaking at a prayer meeting. Two years ago I wrote a song named “Fears Fall Away,” in anticipation of the moment when I would be freed from fear. It’s about the secret little girl inside me, feeling small.
It was during our prayer meeting on the Saturday night that one of the women at the meeting received an image from God, an image of the very girl I’d actually forgotten about, the girl from my song. God told me at that point “Jo, she’s free to grow up now.” He released me from the childlike terror that I hadn’t understood was still controlling me! Speaking through my sisters on the prayer ministry team God reassured me, “Do not doubt that you are truly free when you go home. Instead there’s a lion inside you that today has been released!”
But God would never leave that untested, of course. Within hours of the meeting one of the leaders from home sat beside me. Hesitantly she began “Would you like to share what God’s done for you this weekend in front of the group tomorrow?” My gosh, our God has a sense of humour in his timing! She wasn’t just talking about the women. She was talking the women, men, priests, leaders, speakers, far upwards of a hundred people! During my sharing, I never once felt a twinge of fear. And I haven’t felt it since. I do not doubt that in that prayer meeting our wonderful Father in heaven replaced my fear with pure joy.
Sarah Hillhouse (Glasgow)
This year’s Kairos Weekend gave me time to spend with sisters and develop relationships with them, time to listen to God and experience his love, with powerful prayer sessions and teachings, as well as of course, time to relax and have fun. The girl’s entertainment was hilarious, and it was great to socialize with people from all over the world. Something I loved about the weekend was how relaxed I was able to feel with people I barely knew, and how easy it was to be open and honest in small groups. In the short time we spent together I really felt a deep level of trust and love amongst the girls in my small group.
The inspiring talks by Heather Semple really spoke to me. The words she shared were very fitting to my life and have stayed with me now the weekend has passed, giving me a lot of food for thought. I didn't realise how much I needed the Kairos Weekend and to take that time out. I was greatly inspired: it felt all of the talks and sharing’s were tailor-made for me, as if people were speaking directly to me.
Being in a room full of young people, worshipping and choosing to live their lives for the Lord, is always something I find helps encourages me in my faith. I witnessed two girls praying together, both very new to charismatic worship and prayer, slightly unsure of what to say and do, but whole-heartedly throwing themselves into it. Seeing their love for the Lord, setting aside their feelings of doubt and pride, and focusing on Him, praising Him and sharing that with one another was greatly inspiring.
I’ve been a member of UCO Glasgow for four years, and this was my first Kairos Weekend. During the weekend, the Lord spoke to me in many ways, and addressed many areas of my life. I wish I could tell myself to have seized prior opportunities – having now experienced the Kairos Weekend, it's not an experience to miss out on.