Lessons from Cross-Cultural Marriage: The Power of the Holy Spirit

The service had ended and I was walking down the church aisle drinking from a water bottle. The people around me chased after their children. The worship band packed up instruments. And a woman stood on the stage giving what I assumed were general announcements in Spanish.

Then my brain translated her saying “the girl that only speaks English.”

Earlier in the evening my monolingual skills had been introduced to the church, so I knew it was me. Confirming it, a boy of about 10 walked up to me and said, “She’s talking to you. Go down to the front.”

Oh, dear.   

Nervously, I walked towards the stage, making frenzied eye contact with my husband who was helping pack up the band.  What I had believed to be announcements, I now realized were prophecies.

Sure enough, the minister was speaking enthusiastically in my direction, and I couldn’t understand a word. Thankfully, a 14-year old boy near me generously translated, which became awkward when he started talking about God blessing my womb.

A couple of weeks ago, I began a three-part series on lessons from a cross-cultural marriage.  Therefore, today I give you…

Lesson 3: The Power of the Holy Spirit

I grew up in churches where the Holy Spirit wasn’t necessarily talked about. I don’t think anyone was particularly avoiding the topic, it just never seemed to come up.  The Holy Spirit did come up the first time I met my future mother-in-law, and it has been a major area of faith and spirituality that I have learned from marrying a Latino. 

Billy has talked me through services where worshipers fell to the ground and he pointed out to me how Godly leaders can guide and direct this activity. He has taught me to listen to prophecies, hold them loosely, and to give glory to God if they are fulfilled because that is the proof that it was from God.  He is emphatic that you do not connive or manipulate a prophesy to become true.  If it is from God, it will be true.

Billy has witnessed modern-day loaves and fishes being multiplied to feed more than is humanly possible.  He has prayed for people with leprosy and seen God decide to heal.  It’s incredible to hear these stories of God’s power, and it encourages my spirit and faith with fresh fire.

When I hear him talk of being in the Spirit’s presence, I am captivated with new longing to know God.  Miracles, prophecies, healings… these are not areas of Christianity with which I am familiar or, quite frankly, often comfortable.  However, I cannot deny that they are Biblical.  And though there are certainly manipulators and deceivers out there, I cannot throw out the baby with the bath water, if you will.

This area is probably one that has been the most transformative, most exciting, and most frightening for me.  I definitely cannot say that I can speak confidently about the work of the Spirit.  I can, however, recommend some books I’ve read: Fresh Wind, Fresh Fire by Jim Cymbala and Forgotten God by Frances Chan.  I will also add that I believe this is one of the most powerful things that the American church could learn from immigrant congregations in our midst.   

What role has the Holy Spirit played in your spiritual walk?  What is comforting or exhilarating to you?  What is unsettling or frightening?

If you'd like to read the rest of this series, start at the beginning.

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