TESTIMONY OF TESS CASTANEDA

 

2 July 2002

 

Dear Brother Tony,

 

When the Lord spoke to my heart in August last year to help feed His flock in the UN, I had no idea what the Lord’s plan was.  Little did I know that one month later, on September 11, 2001, New York City will be attacked by terrorists causing great sorrow, grief, pain and fear in the hearts of many.  In His Omniscient Mind, who knows the past, present and future, Almighty God knew that many in the city, including the UN community will seek Him in these perilous times.

 

During the planning stage, the Lord supernaturally brought to my path “earthly saints” whose only desire is to obey the Will of the Lord.  I praise the Lord for Sister Francine Schmatz who readily answered the Lord’s call to serve the UN community.  Sister Francine then led me to Father Bill Halbing.  I met with both of them for the first time and within 30 minutes, they had stitched their hearts with mine.  I praise the Lord for their obedience to Christ and their faithfulness to help spread His wondrous gospel.

 

Week after week, as we planned and organized the bible study, the Lord taught us to completely rely upon His mighty provisions, and not on our own resources. I stand in awe of what the Lord continues  to provide us – practically everything we needed to accomplish His purposes for the UN community.  This includes a room, anointed speakers, Father Bill Halbing, and Sister Francine Schmatz, volunteers for the choir, as well as fervent prayer intercessors whom He has personally appointed to intercede with their heart-felt prayers. 

 

This bible study has been, and will always be soaked in prayer.  Week after week, many of our colleagues fall on their knees, and/or gather together to invoke the power and presence of the Lord in all aspects of the bible study: the speakers, volunteers, choir, and the attendees.

 

It is humbling to see the Lord’s Mighty Hand at work when His people call on His Holy Name.

 

The first EWWJ bible study was scheduled on 13 Sept., (Thursday), 2 days after the WTC attack.

 

On Sept. 12, after hearing the news reports on street blocks closing the UN to vehicular traffic, Sister Francine, Fr. Bill and I decided to defer the opening for 20 Sept.  The UN was closed on 12 Sept. 2002.

 

On 13 Sept., the UN re-opened.  I was led to go to the Executive Dining Room and pray.  There were some 5 or 6 others who came by to ask if there was a bible study.  We decided to form a circle and pray to the Lord on behalf of the World Trade Center victims, the city and the entire nation.  I opened the bible and read verses as the Holy Spirit led us.

 

In that prayer meeting, I began to understand why the Lord wanted to put the bible study in place - with such urgency that I found hard to explain.  I was in awe of His Infinite Wisdom, and I wept like a child when my "eyes" were opened.

 

His Majesty, the Lord of Hosts Himself, was inviting us to be in His Holy Presence during a time of crisis.

 

I reported everything that happened to sister Francine and Fr. Bill. Individually and collectively, we prayed to the Lord.  In my prayer time, I received the Lord's insight to change the posters and announce that the topic is "How to overcome fear" in the midst of a national tragedy.

 

Somehow, I could not reach our speakers by phone or e-mail, and decided to follow the Lord's leading. Later, sister Francine contacted me and confirmed that this was also what she got in the spirit.

 

The next Thursday, 20 Sept. despite gloomy news reports about the state of the city, our faithful speakers braved it all and took the train (bus?) from Newark, New Jersey to the UN in order to preach the gospel of Jesus Christ and dispel fear among us.  The room was filled to capacity.  In the midst of brokenness, we experienced the comfort of the Lord.  There were more than 77 colleagues in attendance.

 

I hope this sheds light on the anniversary date of the bible study.  As far as I am concerned, it was 13 Sept. but in terms of the celebration of the first year anniversary, I don't think it will make a big difference which day the Lord chooses.  He Himself will appoint a day when He will bring together all the things you need - room, speakers, etc....  Abide in His leading.

 

The most important thing is that we honor the Lord and remember this awesome miracle of the year 2001.

 

I wish to thank all those who have been faithful and obedient to the Lord’s call to service. 

 

            Jesus said “If you lift Me up, I will draw all men unto Me.”

 

Brothers and sisters in Christ, let’s keep lifting Him up so that many in our midst will be transformed by this powerful, awesome gospel.   

 

 

It has transformed my life FOREVER!

 

My utmost for HIS HIGHEST,

Sister TESS CASTANEDA