I also heard the Lord speak very clearly to me one year around this same period of time. It was during the church annual missionary conference. Mr Charles Marsh, a friend of my parents from Pakistan, was the speaker, and he preached on
John 20:21 “As the Father has sent Me, I also send you”.
I knew immediately that the Lord was calling me to some kind of ministry, although I didn’t know how that would work out, or what it would look like.
Regarding the Holy Spirit, I think the assembly took the view, along with other Brethren churches, that one receives the Spirit at “conversion”. This receiving seems to happen “automatically”. In other words, when one believes, the Holy Spirit comes but there may be no conscious experience of Him. However, because the Bible states the Spirit comes with conversion then it must be the case for all.
Conversion is a term used to describe an individual’s coming to faith. The word is used in Acts 15:3 when Paul passed through an area and described
“the conversion of the Gentiles there”.
A similar word occurs in Luke 22:32 when Jesus says to Peter
“when you are converted, strengthen your brethren”.
There are many references to “conversion” being translated “turning”, “turnabout”, turn again”, “to bring back” etc.
Usually an individual coming to personal faith in Christ would be described in terms of them “being converted”, “giving their life to Jesus” or “inviting Jesus into their heart”. Conversion seems to be related to repentance which means a change of mind. It is this change of mind that results in a true conversion, a turning to God from idols as in
1 Thessalonians 1:9 “how you turned to God from idols to serve the living and true God”.
Conversion however is not the same as regeneration. A person may have an experience where they have a change of mind and come to an understanding of their need of a Saviour. This does not necessarily however bring a person into new life, where there is an inward working of the Spirit of God resulting in a person becoming a new man or woman.