Holy Spirit Baptism Radically Transforms Struggling Missionaries—And Believers Across Denominations by CHRISTINE D. JOHNSON for Charisma News
As a self-confessed “arrogant seminary student,” Brad Long thought he had it all together theologically when he and his wife, Laura, moved to South Korea as missionaries. But without the baptism in the Holy Spirit, they found themselves struggling in ministry. That’s when something wonderful happened.
“We were introduced to the work of the Holy Spirit in a new way,” Long says. “It was just extraordinary what God was doing. It was there in South Korea, where I was actually teaching theology at a large Presbyterian seminary, that both my wife and I really found out how helpless we were despite our great education. Despite the good training we had, we found ourselves powerless. We were struggling. We did not know how to share our faith. Working cross-culturally was hard, and frankly, we were desperate. We were desperate for more of God.”
The Longs observed other missionaries and the Korean believers, who, he says, were “incredibly effective” in their ministries.
“They were doing wonderful work,” he says. “Some of them were running hospitals. Others were presidents of colleges. But the thing that so impressed me was that these people had a living vital faith in Jesus Christ. I mean, they were alive, and I wanted to know their secret.”
Eventually the couple discovered the power of the Word and Spirit of God working in tandem in their lives.
“The secret was, of course, being grounded in the Bible and knowing Jesus, but it was [also] the empowering work of the Holy Spirit,” Long says. “I was so hungry, as was Laura, and the two of us then, while we were there as missionaries in Korea, were baptized with the Holy Spirit, and it completely changed our lives.”
The Longs saw the power of Spirit baptism in believers from across the denominational spectrum.
“These people weren’t flaky, and they were from all denominations,” he says. “They were Presbyterians. They were Baptist. They’re also Roman Catholics. These were all people who loved Jesus and were filled with the Holy Spirit.”
Today, Dr. Long is executive director of Presbyterian Reformed Ministries International (PRMI, prmi.org), an organization serving Christians of all churches and denominations that started in a small group of Presbyterian ministers in the 1960s. But first, he had to experience the baptism of the Spirit for himself.