Throwing a Soaking Party That Lasts
Our first contact with the Toronto Outpouring was in August, 1995, when a Catch the Fire Conference came to Dallas, Texas. A large group had attended from our church, and we were so overwhelmed by the presence of God that it changed us forever.
We had grown up in a Pentecostal background accustomed to loud music and noisy manifestations. We were also used to "falling over" in the presence of God after receiving ministry. But what amazed us this time was that the ministry team member who prayed for us did not leave but rather continued to pray and to “soak” us. Our past experience was to fall down, get right back up, without experiencing the fullness of God, but as these people prayed over us and "soaked" us, we realized that we were being refreshed and renewed, our hope was being restored. God seemed to want us to linger in His presence.
We had been going through a particularly rough time back then in our family. We had two daughters that were both in rebellion in spite of our efforts to raise them in a Christian home. We were devastated and totally perplexed about what to do. God used this soaking experience to change our hearts, to comfort us and make us hungry to know Him more intimately. We became desperate to know Him and to be in His presence.
After the Catch the Fire Conference, we immediately started attending weekend renewal meetings at a local church. Every Friday, Saturday and Sunday night, we were in church and on Monday nights, we opened our home. We were desperate for God and HAD to have more. My husband, Bob, and I both completed ministry team training and started ministering on the team at their church. It was such a blessing for us to be able to start giving away what we were receiving. We were ministering out of our overflow.
THE SOAKING PARTY
One of the workshops that I had attended at the Catch the Fire Conference was entitled, "How to Have a Soaking Party in Your Own Home". We decided that when we left that conference, we were going to start one. So on Labor Day 1995, Monday night, we opened our home for our first "Soaking Session." That meeting has continued now for eight years.
As we began to soak in His presence, life took on new meaning for us. We would both go to work, and couldn't wait to get home and soak in the presence of God. We became totally “hooked” on God and soaking. It became our way of life. Then prophetic words began to come forth that the prodigals were coming home. We began to “call” our daughters home. We would- and still do- keep soaking music going on in our home 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. (We are on our third CD player in 8 years.)
There were many nights I would stay up all night long praising God and pray, calling our daughters home, back to their Heavenly Father’s House and to the Father’s Love. We decided that regardless of what "news" had come to us during the day, we would give it to God and "soak" every night and ask God to show us what to do. In every case, He would show us what to say or give us peace and comfort. At times He gave us encouraging visions of them coming home or sharing with us in a church.
Gradually our daughters both began to see the change in us and to see how the people that came to our house on Monday nights were being changed. They saw how happy and free they were. Within the next year and a half, both of them were back home, serving God and flowing in the River of His Presence.
A PROPHETIC WORD COMES TO TORONTO
The first time we went to Toronto was in November of 1995, Mahesh and Bonnie Chavda were there. Bonnie prophesied over me that night saying that we were to do what God had called us to do, and that he would take care of our daughters. She also prophesied that people would be drawn to our house from all over the world. She said that our house would actually be glowing on the outside with the presence of God and that people driving by would stop to see what was going on.
We are seeing this word fulfilled now, as people have been to our group from several different countries, but also people are driving 3-5 hours just to be in our meetings every Monday night. We are in awe of what God is doing in this group. We are excited to see what will happen next, because we are seeing an increased hunger and desperation level for more of God.
God has been faithful to show up EVERY Monday night.
All we do is provide the place, and He comes. Each week is different, because we say, "Holy Spirit, you come tonight and do whatever you want to do.” All we do is stay open to Him, and whatever He tells us to do, we do it. As we soak in His Presence, He will give someone a vision or a prophetic word sometimes accompanied by prophetic symbolism.
Every week we pray that God will bring who He wants to be there that night, but all we ask is that no one is allowed to come in with their own plans or agendas. What people say they like the most about Monday nights, is the freedom that we have. Our goal is to provide a safe place where people can come and receive more of God but also learn how to flow in their God- given gifts and talents, to know that they can be filled up and give it away. We need to learn to hear the voice of God, and then act upon it.
We make every effort NOT to quench the Holy Spirit in our group; we just allow Him to move and to do what He wants to do. We allow the manifestations to continue unless we come to realize that they are not of God. If we don’t know, then we ask the person, "What is God doing in you?” If they know and are able to explain, then we want them to be set free to flow.
THE WINE BARREL
One Monday night, one of the members of our group ordered a wine barrel, and stenciled "New Wine" on the side of the barrel. It has come to be symbolic of the “new wine” that is served every Monday night. We have people that will symbolically dunk their heads in the barrel to get a “drink” of the new wine. There have been people healed, mentally, physically and emotionally over the past 8 years as they feast on God’s wine.
John Arnott called me in the spring of 2003 and began sharing the vision that God had given them to see 10,000 Soaking Centers raised up all over the world. Excitement rose up in me because that is where our heart is. He told me that my title would officially be, "The Mother of all Soaking Centers." I love this because I love being a mother and grandmother. None of the other titles that people had tried to apply to us just never seemed right. I told John that I would receive that “mantle” and wanted to be a part of this vision in any way that we could.
We have assisted TACF in the Soaking Center Schools in Toronto and Chicago to teach and train people how to have Soaking Centers in their homes. John Arnott came to our house in June, 2003 and brought the TV crew to interview Bob and me for the “Catch the Fire” television program. They recorded testimonies from people in our group and actual footage of our Monday night meeting.
In the past three years, we have seen tremendous growth in our group. There will be anywhere from 50-75 people show up at our house every Monday night. We finally had to choose a name to call our group and finally decided on "The River Center".
We have started a monthly renewal meeting the last weekend of every month and invite speakers from all over the world that are flowing in the renewal to refresh and bring encouragement to the Dallas-Ft.Worth Metroplex and surrounding areas.
God has told us, "Don't make it complicated".
Anyone can have a Soaking Center in their own home, if they are willing to surrender control to Him. Just remember that, and that all things are possible to those that believe. John Arnott preached a message at the Pastor's Conference 2003 entitled, “The Most Unlikely". We are definitely the most unlikely, and if God can use us, He can also use you.
SOME SOAKING CENTER TIPS FROM OUR EXPERIENCE
- Make a place for Him and He will always show up.
- Be open to the Holy Spirit.
- Specifically invite the Holy Spirit to come and wait for Him.
- Allow freedom in the group.
- Ask the Lord to perform healing: physical, emotional and spiritual.
- Let people share how they are being touched.
- Have them write out their testimonies. Keep a record of what God does.
- Do NOT have a plan or an agenda other than allowing the Holy Spirit to move.
- Do NOT use this time to allow the chronically emotionally needy to share their problems. Don’t counsel, initiate deliverance or inner healing sessions in the middle of your soaking party. It inevitably “muddies the River” and changes the focus from Jesus to people and their problems. If it is to happen, God will do it.
- Do NOT allow other ministries to promote what they are doing. This is a time to soak and receive.
And above all, DO have fun with the Holy Spirit!