Amidst cloudy and slightly chilly January temperatures, Peter spent a week in Philadelphia with a new cohort of students (a US cohort for the Palmer Theological Seminary Masters of Theology Latino/a Studies program). This is the one-week intensive that occurs before every course that Peter teachers on Spiritual Direction. This intensive week proved different in a variety of ways than any of the other intensive weeks. Many were moved to tears, allowed God to minister to the depths of their hearts and experienced His redemptive power. Tears are God’s gift to us, as I remember someone once telling us. Tears allow us to express deep joy, sorrow, happiness, hurt, and best of all healing! During this intensive week, the tears that were shed were a gift from God.
First, Adalia Gutierrez Lee accompanied Peter this week and assisted as needed. It was an incredible blessing to be able to work with her for the first time where she observed Peter in action. One particular moment of working with Adalia, stands out more than others. First, she is a wonderfully sweet, caring and loving person but she is also a great encourager! As you all know Spanish is our second language and we have only been learning it and using it in ministry for a few years, so it was a little intimidating to have your boss who is a native Spanish speaker working with you and listening to everything you speak. It is always a concern that the heart of the message and teachings will not be communicated as intended. But God always proves himself evident in each message and teaching as the receivers always confirm to us what was the intended and hopeful message. This group of students asked many good, insightful and difficult questions. One of the questions in particular was going to be difficult to communicate the answer in Spanish, since Adalia was there and willing to translate if needed that is what we did. We were both able to communicate in our heart language and the Holy Spirit moved among all of the students and both of us too. Later on that day, Adalia pulled Peter aside and said that he did an excellent job answering not only that question but did an excellent job of teaching the whole week. It was needed encouragement from The Lord through Adalia.
Secondly, the way Peter planned to teach the week, he was hoping the teachings would culminate at the end of the week with a heart transformation. Again, God proved himself evident as it was a powerful week of teaching and watching God work and move in the hearts and lives of the students. It was an impactful week for all who attended. The Holy Spirit moved many to tears and revealed areas in individual lives that needed the transformational touch that only God can do. One student, who had been carrying unforgiveness in her heart towards herself for many years realized her need to forgive herself. She had thought that forgiving the offender was sufficient, but God in His redemptive power revealed to her heart the need for self-forgiveness. She was able to walk away from that week a transformed woman. God revealed to another student, who had been carrying resentment towards his deceased father, the need to forgive and let go of the resentment he had been harboring in his heart. In releasing the resentment to God and allowing God to heal the hurt in his heart he has experienced a new found joy in his life.
Join us in praising God for His gift of tears and His redemptive power!