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INS is a unique experience that is found nowhere else in the world. I know this from personal experience.
I would like to share with you my experience of the first time I went to INS…
Around the age of 26 (2012) the Lord was drawing me back to his heart after spending my teens and early twenties in a dark place of drug abuse. I had an extremely vivid conversion experience and my world turned almost instantly from darkness to light.
Four months later, through a series of remarkable events, I ended up on a small island 90 km off the coast of New Zealand: Great Barrier Island. It felt wild, exotic and adventurous. Being from the Netherlands, I couldn’t have gone further away from my home, and yet, on the very first day I can distinctly remember the feeling that I had arrived home.
On the first night I woke up to go to the toilet. My room was in a small wooden shack on the side of a hill with a great ocean view of Karaka Bay. The bathrooms were a little further up the hill. As I walked the stairs up to the toilet block, I turned and looked out over the water and was captured by the enchanting moonlight illuminating the ocean. Exotic birds were singing in the middle of this still night, filling the air with their music. I felt as if I’d landed on another planet, and at the same time, a strange sense of peace invaded me. This would be one of the most powerful and transformative attributes of the INS.
The INS for me was filled with wonderful experiences like this, as well as hard ones. But I have found that a combination of the two are usually the times in life when you feel most vividly alive.
For the first few weeks I listened intently to what was being taught in the classroom sessions. It all sounded very good and positive, but somehow it didn’t feel real to me.
In the third week I sat down with James Jordan (Founder of Fatherheart Ministries) and told him that. From what I could gather, the core of the message is that true life begins with experiencing the love of the Father personally, in your heart. Everything else would flow from there. But my problem was, how do I experience this love? I had already realised that I couldn’t make it happen myself. I felt stuck.
That same week, I sat in my classroom chair listening to the teaching of the Third Law by James Jordan when something came over me. It began with laughter, then joy unspeakable, warmth, peace and an exhilarating sense of waking up. This was it… I was experiencing Father’s love!
There were plenty of ministry moments in the school, times of worship, prayer times, etc. But for me, just relaxing, and hearing the true gospel being preached was the key to opening my heart to the love of the Father. These were not just mere words. It was the Living Word of God.
During this time, I remember being in the large upstairs lounge room of the Orama Community Centre and some of the school staff came in to say goodnight to the students. The response I had was very foreign to me; I wanted to jump up, run towards them and hug them. I had so much love in my heart for these people who I still considered mostly strangers. I came to realise later that this was not my love, but the Father’s heart for his children.
This experience lasted for about a day and a half. When it first started to fade I was worried I was losing whatever I had received. But looking back at it now, it permanently transformed some fundamental parts of my being.
Over the years, I’ve spoken to many people who’ve been to an INS and some have had similar experiences, but others very different. For some it was a slow dawning of light and love that was so gentle and gradual that they hardly noticed it. Then, looking back, they knew they were different. For some, nothing significant (to their knowledge) happened during the INS but then months, sometimes years later, they were able to step in.
Everyone experiences life differently. But one common factor of the INS is the transformative power of the Father’s loving presence that is so tangible when you are there.
James Jordan says that Orama is a ‘thin’ place; a place where the distance between heaven and earth is shorter. This is a very true statement, and not just in a metaphysical sense.
So again, why INS?
If you are considering applying, I am sure there are plenty of arguments going on in your mind already.
Is this really for me?
Can I really take that much time off?
What if it’s all a big disappointment?
Is it really worth all that money?
Will God really meet me if I go there?
I can’t settle these doubts for you, there is only One who can. I am not saying you should come, but if you sense even an inkling of a nudge, do not brush it off lightly. Ask Him:
‘IS THIS FOR ME?’
When He answers you, it will take courage to follow through on it. But that is the adventure of a life of faith and it is worth pursuing, even if it’s super scary.
If you’d like to find out more about INS click here:
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