I was raised a Catholic and attended Catholic schools for most of my life. My experiences with God were pretty
non-existent as far as a personal relationship was concerned. I just followed blind tradition and just did whatever people told
me I had to do to be "accepted" by God.
Through the years I had the opportunity to meet people who had rewarding personal relationships with God. These people
let me know that it was possible to have a personal relationship with God. I was taught (overall because of my particular
dysfunctional Catholic upbringing) that God was more or less out of touch- not really caring for you unless you made great
sacrifices and suffered greatly i.e. only those of us who suffers the most might be given an opportunity to experience God. I
was taught by other Christians to abandon that thinking and to seek a personal relationship with God. So I prayed the
typical, "I want to give my life to Jesus prayer forgive me I’m a sinner etc."-Not really expecting too much but I did have faith
that something good was going to happen. What happened was seriously nothing like I was expecting.
I went to bed one night and I had a dream that I was walking along the street and there was a terrible thunderstorm raging.
For some odd reason I couldn’t find my way home-although this dream was taking place right in my very own neighborhood.
The storm grew increasingly worse. Lightning began to strike the ground all around me. The rain began to pour. Trees were
being struck by lightening and being destroyed. It was very loud thunder. I was very very scared at this moment because I
felt like at any second I was next to be struck by lightening. I was feeling very lost and overwhelmingly afraid, so afraid –
that I began to crawl around on my hands and knees along a dark alley way that I had stumbled upon trying desperately to
make myself smaller and insignificant as to avoid being struck and killed by these lightening bolts.
The storm only got even louder and the rain began to pour even heavier. The lightening was even fiercer. Although I knew
which way to go to get home I was completely paralyzed with fear. I had never before felt so vulnerable and completely
alone in my life. I just knew at any second I was going to be struck by lightning bolt and destroyed. So I just closed my eyes
and shivered like a little child.
All of a sudden a voice came from the area behind me. The voice said," Stand up and do not be afraid." The voice was a
deep, resonating and calm, I was surprised even to hear it among this great storm. My own fear kept me down on the
ground. I was still very afraid and I didn’t know who’s this voice was or really even where it had come from.
So I stayed trembling on the ground.
The voice said again, but this time with absolute authority, "Stand up and do not be afraid!" Let me speculate upon the
authority of this voice for a moment.
The authority in this voice was so definite and undeniable and reassuring that I knew, I had never in my life heard anything
like it before. It was a voice of GREAT power and authority and I knew all of a sudden this was a voice and/or person of
such power and authority that I had better summon up all what little courage I had inside to do what ever it told me to do.
The storm in all its fury was no match for the great authority in the voice.
Nonetheless and oddly enough- in all it’s power it was non-threatening. I didn’t feel for one moment that if I didn’t do what
this voice asked that I would be punished in anyway. It was a loving reassuring voice but still had an undeniable authority.
Believing this voice, I summoned up whatever courage I had inside to stand up. I temporarily pushed a side my great fear
and slowly stood up. I didn’t turn around to face this person but I knew he was standing behind me. Immediately I felt this
great Love coming from behind me, and the voice said," Do not be afraid of anything because I am in you; you are in me
therefore you and I are one." When he said these words great tears of joy began to pour from my eyes. I felt a great over
whelming sense of warmth and Love at this moment. Then he said," Take my hand" and I guess I was a little shy because I
didn’t even raise my eyes to look at him I was crying so hard and so over whelmed with emotion – the feeling of pure love
From my peripheral vision I remember seeing a just the sleeve of a brilliantly white robe. After I took his hand we began to
float upwards into the sky!
I was starting to feel a little nervous…almost afraid again because we were now flying above the earth. Without me saying a
word, he knew that I was beginning to get scared because he said," I told you; Never ever be afraid of anything because I
am in You; you are in me therefore you and I are one." I began cry again tears of joy. I began to feel the great love and
power of God and it was in me at that moment. I felt so completely loved and powerful.
Indeed I need not fear anything again. I felt like I was at home. It was wonderful. I just wanted to stay with Him forever.
At that moment I began to look down upon the earth. I remember looking at he houses and buildings. They appeared empty
and useless like cheap cardboard boxes and it appeared to me like they were burning. Not flames but orange – red hot
embers just burning them from inside. I could see this through the windows of the buildings. No words were exchanged
between us at all. He just slowly began to lower me back on to the earth. I remember feeling a great sense of despair
because I was now being sent back to the earth and I really wanted to stay there with him forever.
After I touched the ground I was in complete awe of what had just happened to me. I wanted to tell the whole world what
had just happened to me and that Jesus was real!!!! I felt like everybody should get to know what this felt like. In the dream
I began to look for a minister that I know in real life who had helped introduce me to the Lord.
After that, I began to look for the minister, so I could tell him what I had experienced and to let him know that I now knew
that God is real! That dream seemed to me to be more real than our everyday reality.
I woke up the next morning and I shared my story with my Grandmother – the only person in my family I figured who would
believe or even knew what I was talking about.
She encouraged me and told me that she believed it was in fact something very special.
From that moment forward, I knew I was saved. Shortly afterward I contacted the minister that I was looking for in the
dream. Then I went to his church to be baptized.
I have since found many references in the Bible to support the words that Jesus spoke to me in those first moments he was
with me. Here’s two (John Chapter 14 vs. 17 and vs. 27) and (1John Chapter 4 vs. 16).
Since then I have experienced all types of spiritual things and met all kinds of spirtual people. I also have suffered all kinds of
personal and family trauma and tragedy. A lot of very terrible things most people couldn’t imagine happening to them.
The Lord has worked so much in my life. He has touched so many people through me, strengthened me in times of great
heart ache and answered so many of my prayers that I intend to write a book about my experiences.
I give credit, thanks and praise to our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ for my ability to make it through such rough times.
Believe me people who are reading this; I want to tell you God is real.
Just open your heart and your mind to his healing Love. You’ll be amazed at the things that he can do for you in your life. I
have experienced my share of heartaches and pains along with the many blessings that come from knowing God. Please pray
to the Lord and receive his love. He is real and will always be there for you. He will never let you down!
Thanks Mike! May God continue to bless you on your ministry!
R. J. Pann