Growing up in a Mennonite community in Manitoba, Henry Abrams had a solid faith foundation. The young man had a loving wife and mentored youth at his church, but every man needs help, now and then, staying on the straight and narrow.

One night, Abrams woke up from a terrible dream. It shook him to the core and left him questioning some of his faith foundation.

“I knew in that moment how little I actually knew my Saviour,” he says. “I had been walking a superficial Christian walk, trying to do Christian things, but not actually living it out of a desire to know and love God more.”

Abrams’ wife and family were a huge support as he wrestled with fear and anxiety, learning to trust God and let God renew his mind. At the end of four long years, a friend invited him to a Promise Keepers event, in Winnipeg.

“The idea of joining a group of guys facing the same challenges, in an atmosphere of authentic worship and teaching, is what inspired me to go,” Abrams states. “We went together and ended up taking two other guys with us. I really needed to know that I wasn’t the only man facing the challenges this world throws at us. It spurred a new drive for me to live out my freedom in Christ and to help others do the same.”

The conference was so impacting that the group made it an annual staple.

“The Promise Keepers events have become a yearly checkpoint for me. It’s the time where I evaluate what God has taught me and how He’s moved me forward in my walk with Him the prior year. Promise Keepers is that weekend of refreshment, reflection, call to action, and motivation for me.”

One of the biggest impacts Promise Keepers contributed to in Abrams’ life was helping him learn to live and act from a baseline of knowing God’s love for him. Now, he says he lives from a place of “making good choices because God loves me, not so that He will love me. That is the difference between an abundant life in Jesus and struggling with never-ending guilt. I learned that I first have to come to terms with how much God loves me and, demonstrates that love for me, before I can love Him.”

Kenny Siemens has known Abrams for 13 years and has watched him grow over the years. He says Promise Keepers led Abrams to become more involved in his church and more invested in ministry.

“It is always so cool to see the renewal and how the fire within Henry is rekindled every year after Promise Keepers. It’s like a shot of adrenaline to his soul.”

Through the equipping and encouragement at Promise Keepers, Siemens says, “Jesus has consumed Henry’s heart and he wants to share the love and freedom he received. It’s all he talks about, really.”

Abrams says Promise Keepers has inspired him to help with the mission of leaving no man behind.

Though the pressures still pop up every now and again, as God renews my mind, I am no longer wavering in fear and I am back to allowing God to lead as I go all in with Him. Obviously, Promise Keepers hasn’t been the only influence in my journey to freedom, but I know this theme of a reckless love and grace is something they have done a good job of portraying and it has impacted me.

CRAIG MACARTNEY is a freelance writer who lives in Ottawa, and is the former Eastern Correspondent for ChristianWeek.

THIS ARTICLE WAS ORIGINALLY FEATURED IN SEVEN MAGAZINE.

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