Posts tagged ‘family’

August 14, 2013

My mom knows Jesus (Nok)

I became a Christian 14 years ago in Thailand, in the Buddhist context. Almost everyone in Thailand are Buddhists. It is not easy for one person to accept Christ. It means a major paradigm shift. Since I came to faith, I told my family about it, hoping that they too will come to know Him one day.

God has indeed done a lot in my family. I saw the softening of the hearts in my family, I even saw curiosity in their life about Christian faith at times. I always felt I needed to move to Thailand soon, because the only way my family would know God is through me, the only person who is a Christian.

But then about two years ago, my aunt and my cousins came to know the LORD. I was so amazed by that. They witnessed to my mom a lot. My aunt said Buddhism never made her happy. And her neighbor kept witnessing to her for four years. One day she just got up and walked to church. Since then, her life and her son’s family have changed, filled with true love and true joy for the first time. And my mom saw that.

Meanwhile, God has already put a lot of believers in her life, myself, my husband and his family. Then came my mom’s neighbor who came to know Christ through Moody Bible Institute team’s visiting Thailand, and then her mom. My mom saw the life before and after, and the joy in them. God also put another witness in her life, a blind masseuse (In Thailand, it is $5/hour of massage). This person while massaging could not stop talking about the goodness of Jesus.

My mom probably noticed how God ambushed her in His grace. These past few months, my mom’s heart has been opened more to the Good News. She visited my aunt’s church regularly, and started listening to the message. When we talked on the phone, she liked to say the Christian messages are really good and easily applicable to my life, unlike the Buddhist teaching. Then, she began sharing with me more excitedly about lessons she learned, such as Jesus is the Good Shepherd. What a joy that brought to my ears!

One day she told me that she was looking for something to fix a pair of pants and came across my old Bible and started reading it. That is when I knew she was close to accepting Christ. Her heart has never been this open before, so that is when I told people to start praying for her. A Korean missionary who does the bible study with my sister (she is still not a believer) wrote me that he would pray and fast for her salvation for twenty days. I myself prayed and prayed, asking the LORD to reap her soul.

Then, this past Friday, all the prayer for 14 years from many many people was answered. My aunt invited her to a revival service at her church. My mom did not want to go but God gave her a dream on Thursday night that she was sitting in a church, so she decided to go. The sermon was so captivating to her that, she could not resist any longer and went to the front to accept Jesus.

When I heard of the news, I was so amazed and I called her the next day, just to check her faith. She believes that she is a sinner (very hard for a Thai Buddhist to accept that) and she believes that Jesus came to die for her to liberate her from sin. She still has some fear about the business, now that she can no longer offer incense and food to or worship the little guardian gods/spirits. What would happen to the business? I asked her if she wanted all the fear and doubt removed and she said yes, so I prayed for her. She was in tears during the prayer (And my mom is a tough woman who does not cry.) I know the Spirit was moving in her heart.

Next day my sister took her out for a special dinner, celebrating Mother’s day one day early. (It falls on august 12 in Thailand). It was so neat that my dad even noticed the change in my mom. He said from now on I will give you a new name, Mrs. Patience (because she is quite an impatient person and liked to fight with my dad daily). My sis said Dad has a new wife (a joke) but that is the same thing with the transformation message that Steve preached today.

The American mother’s day this year was May 12th. That was the day when I called my mom to share with her something in my heart and she said on the phone “Nok, let me tell you what your problem is, you trust your God too much.” Those words really hurt me that when I bear my heart to my earthly mother, she could not relate and even told me the opposite to the truth, that I ought to trust God for He alone is good and sovereign. God knows my desire to have a mother who is both earthly and spiritual. But now, just a few months later, that prayer has been answered. My mom is now in my family of faith. She will no longer told me to not trust God too much, for she too knows the riches of His glory.

Many people told me when I came to Christ that they prayed for their parents for 10 years, some 20 years. I was hoping that it would not take too long, but now 14 years past, I know that the return of joy from this persistent prayer is so worth it. My mom knows the Lord. She is saved. I am amazed at God’s mercy. Praise the Lord. And I believe that my sister and my dad will come to know Him as well.

So if anyone of you have an unsaved loved one, do not give up. Just keep praying and waiting to see with expectancy when God’s wind is moving. And let us be faithful in prayer :> God hears our cry.

– Nok

 

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Wow. An amazing story of God working to bring salvation — a perfect follow-up to what Steve preached on Sunday.  Let’s trust for more stories like this one!

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April 30, 2013

To The Awesome Aggregation Of The CITC Community (Marie)

Hey everyone — Thank you for helping & blessing Marie! Read her thanks/testimony below:

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TO:  The awesome aggregation of the CITC community ……

 
When the Lord told Moses to build the temple, He gave him specific instructions.  Moses then asked Israel to bring their resources of gold, silver, bronze, linen, jewelry and so on.   The people brought their freewill offerings so the workers could start the work on the temple. The Israelite came morning  after morning bringing their offerings. The workers soon came to Moses and told him the people are bringing TOO much.   So, Moses gave an order for the people to restrain from bringing their offerings because the laborers had quite enough or I should say more than enough to build the temple.
 
Now, I said all that to say, Hands and Feet Ministry sent out the call for whosoever will to be a blessing to one of our family members.  CITC responded in such an abundance that the recipient, Marie Fields, is requesting you to restrain from bringing your offerings of food.  I appreciate every dish and they all taste like more…..I even have some left-overs in my freezer.
 
CITC, your generosity has truly baffled me…… you have gone out of your way to be a blessing to me….. you have spent of your resources, labored in your kitchens ….. took time out to visit and pray with me and much more …. if that isn’t LOVE, I don’t know what love is.
 
It rejoices my heart to be part of this body of believers.  I thank the Lord for each of you and I love you all so very much.
 
Yours in Christ …. love always ….
 
marie fields
February 27, 2011

Reborn, Into a family (Danielle)

Danielle sent me each of these testimonies in January, hoping to replace the first with the second one, but I think the two together give a moving look into the story of her journey with God over the past year. Thank you for encouraging us Danielle!

Reborn… (testimony #1)

I consider myself a born-again Christian; and a very new born-again at that.

I am still getting used to praying, reading the bible, and hearing God speak to me.

I grew up in a Christian home but unfortunately never got the true teaching I should have gotten.  For various reasons, I never grew up in the church nor had that core group of Christian friends.  Growing up, I always said I was a “Christian” but never really knew what that meant.  During high school, I had a major falling out with Christ.  I started hanging out with the wrong crowd as they say.  My grades started dropping.  My priorities in life were diminished.  I started hating life, hating my family, hating God.  I became in the mindset that life wasn’t worth living.  Why be alive in a world where I didn’t care for anyone or anything?

I cannot explain how or what triggered my mindset away from this negativity.  I left high school behind and entered college where I proudly said I was a Christian again, though still not realizing what this meant.  My last semester at The School of the Art Institute of Chicago, I was lucky enough to find a new group of friends who happened to all be Christians. Perfectly, I found them during the best time ever.  I was spending my last semester in school with a “Yes, can do!” attitude.  I would say yes to a majority of the invites sent my way.  They asked me what church I was going to and I admitted I hadn’t been to church since I was the wee age of four.  They invited me to Church in the City so I went.


After a few months at the church, I realized this was where I was supposed to be.

On April 18, 2010 I asked Jesus back in my heart.

On September 8, 2010, I decided to get baptized in chilly Lake Michigan.

God is so good.  He is answering my prayers.  He speaks to me, shows me love, provides me blessings.  I cannot be happier having Christ in me.  I look forward to an eternal life with God’s love shining brightly in me.

~~

For you have been born again, not of perishable seed, but of imperishable, through the living and enduring word of God. – 1 Peter 1:23

…Into A Family (testimony #2)

I was privileged enough to be taught by Francois. He is awesome.
The worship band had a practice and teaching with him during his visit here in January.  We sang songs to Jesus and filled our hearts with His love.  The last hour, Francois decided to pray and prophesy over us individually.  He made his rounds with each person while I stood anxious for my turn.  I was fantasizing about the words he would give me; something amazing I hoped.  Or what if he got to me and gave me some lame two minute prophecy with no song to go along with it?

Francois finally stood in front of me and began his prayers.  I immediately starting crying, overcome with God’s love.  He started out by saying that this time in my life was a new season; a season filled with a new and fresh start.  God has been showing me new things and providing me with new things.  This was amazing to hear because I just asked God into my heart on April 18, 2010 and reassured it with a baptism in chilly Lake Michigan on September 8, 2010.

I am not to get frustrated, prophesied Francois, at the pace God is giving me blessings.  There have been a lot of new relationships, new opportunities, and new goods He has blessed me with instantly.  But I am not to get upset with God if He is taking a longer time to deliver His blessings.  In mid thought, Francois became silent.

I was afraid my turn was over.  No, please, that’s it?  That’s all I get to hear?

Luckily, he spoke up and makes a request to the rest of the worship team.  He asked them to just pray over me through the spirit out loud.  Fifteen or so people started praying, filling the room with such beautiful noise of tongues, words, and singing.  Again, the tears poured out, more heavily this time.  After the prayers silenced, Francois said he did this to show me the love and support I have right here.  He told me to stop fighting my battles alone because I have just witnessed the support that will help me.  He then asked one of the ladies if they could just hug me as everyone prayed over me again.  As I balled my eyes out, two of the most wonderful women hugged me and whispered, “Thank you, Lord” in my hear.

God does not call us to walk along the battlefield alone, so why am I?  I have been trying to be Miss Independent all my life so struggling spiritually has always been my own battle.
Christianity is a new thing for me so everyday is a new experience.  I cannot be happier to have God as my daddy.  I am thrilled to see what He has in store for me and for the amazing relationships He will bless me with.

Danielle

February 4, 2011

God Puts the Lonely in Families (Mel)

The following testimony sent by Mel V. is great stimulus for my New Years resolution: Be more conversational with strangers. I’m well over 12 years old now and it’s time to start talking to people I don’t know and see what God will do! Who’s with me?

stolen from the "girl at the coffee shop". Thanks Brittany!

I think this story may be more common for other Chicago residents than a lot of us realize. I grew up in the church: umpteenth generation Christian, my dad read devotions to us each night before dinner, church twice each Sunday, Christian school education, Bible studies and youth group retreats. And then college was done and it was time for real life. Well, graduate school at least, in a public university that was out of state. And I knew no one in the big city I was moving to. For a while, I tried to continue walking in faith. Having felt called to this degree, this program, and this city; I tried to press on. But the stresses of school, the homesickness, and lack of Christian community took its toll.

So my quiet times ground to a halt. I stopped trying to look for a new church. And then I stopped really paying attention to my relationship with Christ at all. I found new friends, in bars and clubs around the city. I went from never drinking due to personal beliefs and lack of interest to purposefully going out, on my own mind you, to drink as much as a I could to take away the pain of my loneliness and emptiness. Finally, months later, broke, sick from my poor diet and partying habits, and generally heartbroken, I fell on my face next to my couch, pleading with the God I vaguely remembered to place someone or something in my life to prove that He had called me here and still cared about me.

The next night I went out, looking for anyone to talk to who would listen to me, and I found myself talking to a coffee sample seller in the window of a coffee shop. A girl walked up, who I tried to encourage to take a sample of the coffee, just to have someone else to continue talking to, but she declined and moved on. I stayed for another half hour, irritating the coffee sample hawker I’m sure, until the girl actually came back. She asked me if I was going to go in and have a cup of coffee, which I blindly claimed “of course.” I walked in and she invited me to sit with her. Slightly confused, I accepted, and she started talking to me about her work, her family out of state, and her friends. She asked me questions about my life as well, about my school work, internships, and family. Abruptly, she asked me if I was a Christian. I must have looked surprised; she said she was wondering because of my necklace. Of course:the cross necklace my mom had given me for making profession of faith when I was 16. I never took it off. “Yes,” I responded, “I guess I am.” “Oh cool, I go to this church that has a lot of 20-somethings in school or recently graduated. I’m pretty new there, but I like it. You should come check it out.” She gave me the address where her church met, and told me to be there around ten if I was interested.

I decided to give it a shot (what else was I going to do on a Sunday morning? The rest of my “friends”were either studying or sleeping off the activities of the previous night). The service was pretty good,but I remember more being greeted by more than one person, genuinely interested in who I was and why I was there. After the service, a group of the girl’s friends were going out for a picnic and to play Frisbee. They invited me to come along and join in the fun. I did, and immediately felt more like I had a family than I had in two years. God provides what we need in His timing, and in, sometimes, the most surprising ways.

Thanks for the encouragement, Mel, and for being a part of the family! We love you! What a great God who loves us and sets us up to be loved by others. Stay tuned for the fascinating Prequel to this story involving 2 other people you may know and the same little coffee shop.

November 10, 2010

It’s Never Too Late to Heal (Dana)

Dana so sweetly took the time to write out this powerful testimony for you all to be encouraged. Never give up on your families! What is impossible for man is possible with God.
11.7.10
As I was unable to come to church this morning, I spent time reflecting on what God has done in my life, where he has brought me and the work He is continuing in my heart. I have been coming to CITC for a couple of months now, know only a handful of people, but am certain that this is the church God wants me to invest in while living here in Chicago. I plan on joining the church and getting to know all of you. 🙂 In the meantime, I am burdened to share with you what God is doing, particularly in the lives of my family members.
I grew up on a farm in Missouri with my parents and 3 older brothers. Our house was filled with fear, control, and manipulation. My father was an abusive alcoholic, and my mother would not allow me near him. Shortly before Kindergarten, my mother was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis and has been in a wheelchair since my earliest memory. The disease has since taken over her life, causing her to be paralyzed from the neck down throughout the rest of her body. My parents’ unfaithful marriage ended when I was 8 years old, causing great divisions in my family. Two of my brothers chose to live with my Dad, my oldest brother had already enlisted in the military, so I chose to live with my Mom. Due to circumstances beyond my control, I was left to take care of my mother’s every need. At first I loved it, because she was my best friend and I wanted to help her. As time surpassed, I gradually grew resentful, bitter, depressed, and angry. I desperately wanted out, and I needed an escape in order to live. When I turned 17 years old, I moved out of the house and have basically been on my own for the past 10 years. My family has remained disconnected and apathetic… despite my prayers for reconciliation since my salvation in high school. That is, until…
Shortly after I moved to Chicago in August 2010, my Grandmother died unexpectedly. For the first time in years, my entire family gathered together. I was extremely nervous to face these giants of tribulation. But, God, in his magnificent mercy and grace, prevailed!! For the first time, my family (believers and unbelievers alike) smiled with expectation, laughed with each other, and shared stories of the many things we learned from my Grandparents on the farm. No hatred, no bitter walls, no sarcasm. It had been nearly 10 years since my brothers and I reunited, and that was glorious! We live states apart now (Illinois, Missouri, Mississippi, and Virginia), but I could sense God rebuilding our relationships and making them into something beautiful. I had an intimate conversation with my Mom, and we talked for the first time without yelling or blaming. She introduced me to people as her daughter, while before she disowned me. She let me hug her, which before she would refuse. I walked through the halls of the house I lived in with my Mom, and it was liberating to be in the physical place where Satan ruled my life, where I attempted suicide, when I daydreamed of an escape to take me far away from the hell I was living in. God intimately spoke to me… telling me that He had his hands around me the entire time, that there is purpose in suffering, and God is using it all to make me into the person I am today. I was afraid that by being back in the places with much devastation with the people who hurt me the most would somehow undo the work that God has done in my life. But, that is not the case! Praise God… only He could turn something so ugly around. My life is so much richer with my family in it. With God’s guidance, I will continue to pray and seek opportunities for relationship building with my family members. I desperately want them to know the power of Christ.
God is a faithful redeemer!! I encourage you to seek reconciliation with your family members and those who have hurt you. Earnestly pray for their salvation! No one is too far from God’s embrace. No one is too dirty for salvation.
Desiring to live like I’m His,
Dana
September 17, 2010

Free to Love (Dennis)

Dennis told us this testimony this past Father’s Day of his salvation and how God healed his relationship with his father. Thanks for passing on such an incredible story of how God brings His kingdom in our lives, Dennis!

I became a Christian in August 1966 through the witness of my sister, Rachel, who accepted Jesus as her Savior and Lord a few months earlier. I was twenty. Two years later, the Lord spoke to me and said that I needed to tell my father that I loved him. At first, I said no.  Here’s why….

My earliest memory as a child, I must have been about three, is my mother sitting in front of her vanity’s mirror, combing her hair and telling me she hated my father and wished she had never married him. There is not much from Sigmund Freud that I ascribe to, but I do know that his transference theory – transferring one’s emotions to someone else and they receiving them as their own – is right on.  My mother emotionally and spiritually transferred her hatred for my father to me, and I unknowingly received them as my own. From that point onward a wall was formed, which I now know was demonic, that kept me spiritually and emotionally estranged from him. Mom telling me that she hated Dad when I was three was just the beginning of how she criticized and ridiculed him throughout my childhood and teenage years.

Dad was a large strapping man and a super athlete.  During his senior year in high school in 1927, Dad won a full football and basketball scholarship to Eastern Michigan University in Ypsilanti, Michigan. His dream was to become a physical education teacher and a coach. The Great Depression of 1929 shattered his dream.  Financial pressures forced him to drop out of school and move back home to Toledo, Ohio, to help his father run a laundry business. Dad never fulfilled his dream of becoming a coach, but that did not keep him from playing sports.  Athletic federations and neighborhood sports booster leagues were popular in the late 1920’s and 1930’s.  As soon as Dad returned home from college, he started playing football and baseball  with his neighborhood buddies.  One was Jack LaPorte, who had a beautiful younger sister, Sylvia. Jack’s father, an Italian immigrant from Naples, loved having the team over for homemade Italian food and wine. Wilford Belkofer met Sylvia LaPorte at one of those feasts, began dating and married in the fall of 1936. Somehow between 1936 and three years after my birth in 1946, they fell out of love.

I’m not sure of what caused their marital problems. But I  do know that Mom suffered severe post-partum depression after my sister, Rachel, was born in 1937, which was the beginning of mental and emotional problems Mom suffered the rest of her life until she died in 1985. Dad died eight months earlier; both were 74.

During the 1950’s, Mom’s  life became  a roller coaster of highs and lows, long stints in mental hospitals and shock treatments to snap her out of crippling depression that followed  manic episodes. Eventually, she was diagnosed as bipolar. Many of her bouts with depression and hospitalizations happened during the Christmas season, leaving me to be cared for by an Aunt Jo who lived next door. Sometimes my paternal grandmother would move in with Dad and me to help run the house with my aunt until Mom came home. Haunting memories of going to visit Mom in the mental ward, and the clanging of the nurse’s keys as she unlocked the huge metal door that kept patients from escaping, grip me to this very day. So do memories of the patients What I remember most are their  eyes. Lifeless. Expressionless. Blank.  Frozen. It was as if a dead person, a zombie if you will, was staring at me.  And I saw the same deadness in Mom’s eyes. I now know that Valium,  a drug that is used to supposedly stabilize emotions,  is what stripped the life out of the Mom’s and the other patient’s eyes.  And along with the Valium came shock treatment therapy

Whereas Valium is a quieting agent, shock treatments activate the nervous system and literally jolt the patient out of depression. What looks like earphones are placed on both sides of the temple, and bolts of electricity run through them directly into the brain. You can see why it is called shock treatment therapy.  Indeed,  shocking the brain with electricity energizes the nervous system. And  it also  temporarily erases the short-term memory. It’s based on the theory that erasing the short-term memory will help the patient forget what made the depressed. And valium is supposed to keep them stable when the memory returns. This is one huge problem, however: Most people don’t know why they are depressed. And for most people it’s a never ending cycle of sinking into deep depression. Receiving shock therapy.  Feeling better for awhile. Falling back into depression – actually caused at least in part by the valium. And back for more shock treatments.

That pretty much sums up  my mother’s life in a nutshell.

During the time that Mon functioned fairly normally, which could last a year or two, Mom subtly relentlessly vented her bitterness for Dad on me.   Routinely she would say things like he was a sloppy dresser. He ate too fast and had bad table manners. He was always in a hurry and made a mess around the house.  He neglected making house repairs. He talked too fast and stuttered. Never once did I hear Mom praise him and say she loved him.   I don’t remember Dad criticizing Mom. Neither do I remember he praising her. Dad’s method of defense was silence, except occasionally when he blew up and vented his pent-up feelings. What happened one evening at dinner is an example.

Mom made it a habit during dinner to silently get my attention while we were eating and with her eyes and facial gestures let me know she thought Dad was eating too much and too fast. The tension around the table hung over us like a curtain every time we gathered to eat. One evening as usual Mom had gotten my attention and was silently mocking and ridiculing Dad. Though he and Mom did not make eye contact,  Dad felt what she was doing and exploded. He jumped up from his chair, picked up the dining table and toppled it over.  Food, plates, glasses, and silverware  flew everywhere.  Terrified, I ran outside in tears. From that day onward for the next five years, I refused to eat dinner at the table. Instead, I ate on the floor in front of the TV. It was the only way I knew to protect myself emotionally.

I never remember gathering as a family to talk about things like school, sports, religion, politics, or whatever else families talk about.  We never laughed. Joked. Told stories. Or shared what our days had been like. For all practical purposes, we were strangers bound only by the same last name. Even as a young child, I felt the need to be rescued, but from what I wasn’t sure. Physical abuse victims have tangible knowledge of what they’ve suffered. And that can help them to identify the pain and move forward into healing and wholeness. The deadly silence that filled my home was, in many ways, more damaging than physical abuse – because I didn’t have anything tangible to link my pain to. I only knew that I hurt inside and I wanted to be freed from it. Figure skating became a way of escape.  escape.

When I was twelve, I started taking roller skating lessons, At fourteen, I was given my first dance partner and competed in the sport through high school and into my 20’s. My partner and I became a champion team  and rose to the top level of roller dance skating. The hours of practice during my teenage years gave me an excuse to stay away from home. Getting my driver’s license at 16 and having a car gave me another way to escape. One can imagine how popular a 16 year old with a car be. I became “The Chauffer ” for my friends, which grew in numbers as more and more of my high school peers learned that I had a car. Driving around with my friends. Dating.  Practicing skating. I didn’t understand it at the time, but they were my excuses to stay away from home.  I was on the run – from what I didn’t know. I only knew that it hurt to be at home and staying away helped to deaden the pain.

Dad worked as a pipe fitter at the Standard Oil Refinery about two miles from where we lived in Toledo, Ohio. Mom’s medical bills were huge, and Dad worked a second job to make ends meets, several years as a cab driver and five as a bar tender.  I think working two jobs allowed Dad to be away from home and not deal with Mom. It also meant that he did not have to deal with me. I am sure he felt the animosity I carried against him. He may have even resented me. And why not?  Resentment ruled our home.

My sister, Rachel, was led to Christ by a Christian couple she met at a New Year’s eve party in 1965. In August of 1966, Rachel led me to Christ. The change in my life was dramatic and noticeable, so much so that my friends would ask what happened to me without me having to say a word. God’s anointing rested so strongly on me, even unsaved people felt it without knowing what it was.

Immediately with my conversion, came a ferocious hunger for the written word of God. Both sides of my family were staunch Catholics and believed that only Catholics went to heaven. In less than two months after reading the Bible, I knew that wasn’t true and started attending an evangelical church.   To say that  Mom and Dad were very angry about it is an understatement.  Dad was especially hostile.  One evening he saw me reading the Bible, snatched it from my hand and threw it on the floor. He said that too much religion would make me crazy and he just wanted me to be a normal twenty-year-old and read something like Playboy. As time wore on, however, neither he or Mom could deny the change in my life. Dad and I shared the same barber, who I found out was also a Christian. About six months after I received Christ our barber told me that Dad told him that he was unhappy that I left the Catholic church, but he could not deny how much I had changed. I was more respectful to him and Mom. I was getting good grades in college. I stopped curing and smoking and partying with my friends. And for that he was grateful.

Yes, I was a different person.  But for the most part, the wall that separated Dad and me remained. About a year-and-a-half after my conversion, the Lord told me if I wanted a relationship with my father I was going to have to tell him that I loved him. My response: “No way!” Why should I tell Dad I love him, when he’s never said that he loved me,” I  snapped back to the Lord. He snapped back and said, “Did you first tell me that you loved me?  Or did I love you first?” I felt like God had landed a “one-two punch” and split my heart wide open.  But instead of going down for the count, it lifted me into reality.  All that I could say was, “Yes, Sir.  I will do whatever You say.”

The next night, I had a date to see the Supremes. That morning, I was surprised to find that Dad had placed a $5 bill in my wallet  (In 1968, that was equivalent to $25 or $30 today.) with a note that read: Have a good time, Dad. I was pleasantly surprised.  Dad just didn’t do things like that, especially write a warm and loving note.  The Holy Spirit used it to soften my heart for what would happen before I left for my date.

Before I started to get ready, Dad helped me carry my stereo upstairs to my room. There we were, Dad and me. Alone! I knew that it was no or never to tell him I loved him. I wanted to run. Hide in the closet. Fake like I passed out. And I also knew I had to do it, because the Lord told me to.

As I stepped towards him, I was met by the unseen wall that separated Dad and me for years. I froze in my tracks. Just as Dad started to go downstairs, I somehow pressed through the years of bitterness and resentment , yelled, “Dad.! Please stop! I threw my arms around his neck, kissed his cheeks and said, “Dad I love you. Thanks for being a good father.” Stunned and taken off guard, Dad just grunted and walked down the steps. But I knew the work had been done.

For the next twenty or thirty minutes, I lay on my bed and cried tears of joy and repentance.  I did it. I obeyed the Lord and that ugly, horrible wall crumbled. The bitterness. Resentment. Anger.  They were cleansed away by the blood of Jesus.  I was free.  And heaven rejoiced! And my relationship with my father was changed forever.

During the next weeks, I couldn’t get enough of Dad. And I sensed he enjoyed being with me. Going for a ride in the car.  Shopping. Watching TV. We didn’t talk that much. We didn’t have to. The wall was gone.  We were finally bound by a father-son bond.  Enjoying the glow was enough. And we enjoyed the glow until he died in 1985. But not only that,  Dad had a minor heart attack in 1971. When I reached the hospital, I found Dad in intensive care, under an oxygen tent, with fear in his eyes. Right then and there, I asked him if he wanted to receive Christ as His Savior. He said yes and followed me in prayer to invite Jesus to be his very own Savior and Lord. Now Dad and I had the same Father. And once again heaven rejoiced over us.

Fourteen years later, as I was living in Tulsa, Oklahoma, Dad called me at work.  As soon as I heard his voice, God’s presence enveloped me like a blanket and my heart overflowed with love for Dad. It was so overwhelming,  I could barely speak as tears of joy filled my eyes.  We chatted for a few minutes and before we hung up Dad said, “I love you son.” That was the last thing he said to me. The next morning, Dad had a severe stroke and died two weeks later.  His good-bye words of love were a gift from the Lord.

Truly, I had  experienced the reality of Malachi 4:6, He will turn the hearts of the fathers to their children and the hearts of their children to their fathers. Truly, I was at one with my father’s heart and he  was at one with mine. What a joy it will be for Dad and me to thank our Father when we meet in heaven – because I obeyed the Lord and told Dad I loved him.

September 10, 2010

Losing and Gaining (Drina)

Here is a testimony Drina gave to us about a year ago about God restoring a specific area of her heart…Thanks for including us on what God has done in you Drina!

August 2009

Well, there’s a long and short version of what God is and has been doing in me.  I feel like it’s important to share the big picture.  I will try to nutshell it as much as I can.

Here’s a little background.  I had a good upbringing, nice parents who were very much in love, not perfect but I was very loved, and I have a good family.  When I was 17 my mom died of cancer.  She was sick for about a year and a half. I was her primary caregiver since my brother and sister were older and already out of the house and my dad worked nights.  I watched my beautiful mom become a shell of who she was on the outside.  Cancer stole her body but not her spirit, she fought til the end, she was 41.  My dad had a difficult time with my mom’s death and it was all he could do to keep himself together so I learned to take care of him and myself at the same time.  He never really recovered from her death and became more of a buddy to me than a parent.

About 5 years ago, both my dad and my grandpa checked into the hospital together to be treated for pnuemonia (my dad moved in with my grandpa after my grandma passed away).  It was then that we found out my dad had terminal cancer.  He was 62.  The time from his diagnosis until his death was 6 weeks.  My sister and I, with the help of our brother, cared for my dad in my sister’s home with the assistance of hospice, we all 3 did it together.  My grandpa passed away 2 weeks before my dad.  That whole experience brought a lot of pain but also healing and is an amazing testimony in itself of how God was there for me and for us, but to be shared another time.

Last summer I flew to Florida to be there during the time leading up to my grandmother’s death (my mom’s mom).   I was leaned on a lot by my aunts and uncles since I’d experience caring for a loved one a few times.  I tell myself that I’m good at it.  I’m good at loss, I’m good in a crisis, I can think clearly and I can be strong for people when they can’t be strong for themselves.

After losing my dad, I spent a lot of time in the Word and the Lord kept pressing on me 2 things- that He would be both my mother and my father and that I would receive double the portion for what had been lost.  Just this week, I admitted to myself for the first time I had been trusting this whole time that the fulfillment of that promise was going to come in the form of a person, a man, a husband.  After believing that, and 5 years later my knight in shining armor has still not shown up yet? God must not be trustworthy.

Over the past few years, I’ve had a couple of disappointing relationships, some health issues and all things combined have shaken my faith to it’s core. My heart became very hard and I’ve had a pretty good case built against God.  I began to believe God has good things for some people, but for me, He has pain, loss and disappointment.  I learned when I was young to take care of myself because no one else would be there to do it for me.  I resorted back into that line of thinking when it came to God: “Don’t trust any longer because you don’t know where He may lead you and it may hurt…a lot.”

But I also remembered the good times I’d had with the Lord, the sweetness I’d experienced, and it left me torn. Which God is He?

At the women’s retreat, the focus was seeing the heart of God as a good Father, as being His “girlies”.  Talk about a laser pointed right at that old wounded spot of mine.  God reminded me He still has more to heal.  I struggle so much with allowing Him to care for me, to take care of me and to trust Him with my heart that He will protect it.    He keeps chipping away at me, reminding me of the truth of who He is.  It seems to be one step forward 2 steps back and sometimes I really feel like a turtle!  Maybe double the portion is double the portion of Himself?  And is that enough for me?  Some days, I can honestly say, yes!  More of you, Lord!  And other days, my answer is, um…I’d really like the knight in shining armor, please.  I’m still a work in progress 😉

love,

Drina

August 19, 2010

Freedom and Authority (Rob)

Here is a testimony from Rob, a pastor at Missio Dei, after some friends prayed with him over sickness he was experiencing.  It’s a pretty amazing story of things happening supernaturally as they prayed. If you have questions about any of this or are unfamiliar with God working in this way and would like to discuss it, feel free to email me. Thanks for passing this on to us, Rob!

Meanwhile, check out some sweet testimonies from semi-famous to famous people over at www.iamsecond.com. Amazing to hear how God reveals himself to people no matter their status. I especially loved Stephen Baldwin’s story about his housekeeper prophesying to his wife.  Augusta, I want to be just like you!

Rob’s testimony:

“Steve and two of the guys prayed over my illness.  It was pretty amazing.  The one saw a snake constricting me about the neck and chest and abdomen – representing spiritual oppression.  Another saw strings dangling from my back, pointing toward generational sin.  Together, they saw a curse upon me, and my blood – which we think was put on me in a then-crazy incident in Africa. They saw that my heart was physically tired from the cursed blood, that my spleen was enlarged and that my liver wasn’t functioning properly.  So they prayed to break the oppression.  One man shook violently as they laid hands on me.  I felt tingly/warm all over – almost as if I was being held up by something/someone else.  At one point, the one man felt led to pray the presence of God upon me, wrapping his arms around me completely. This went on for about 25 minutes or so… finally I got chills up/down my spine and heard a dark voice say, “I am leaving you…” and “I will be back,” and “you are right to fear me.”  Creepy!  I shared this with the guys, though, and they spoke truth: “that’s a lie” (the fear part).  In any case, I felt lighter, clearer, at peace.  Although I did leave wondering a little “what happened?!”

Within the next 12 hours, I started to believe that I’ve been healed.  Not because of outward stuff, but more of an inner peace.  Steve had prayed “authority” over me, not only in ministry, but over my home. That morning, I actually boldly stepped into that to pray over Aidan, who was not acting like himself. As I prayed, I saw a little gremlin-like dude teasing his ears, head, etc.  so I prayed in Jesus’ name against that spirit of stirring up.  Within a minute, a drastic shift occurred in him and in our home.  A little while later, I prayed in the shower, and was drawn to worship God – praising Him for healing, but also taking time to renounce things I had agreed to.  In the process, I also begin praying prayers of agreement with who GOD is, what is true of Him and His ways and His goodness, love, grace and mercy in Jesus.  I was literally in tears – you know, happy tears.  From there, I sensed a certain lightness all day, and a clarity I haven’t felt in a while.  I also had energy I hadn’t had in years.  And without caffeine!  There was also a renewed/restored confidence in many ways… Janel even saw the difference.

Interestingly enough, our kids had trouble on the way home from an afternoon/early evening spent with suburban friends.  Isabel projectile vomited out of nowhere and Aidan began having horrible coughing fits.  We got home and Janel and I prayed peace and protection over them and all seemed to calm… until I was awoken wide awake at 12.19p by a dream. I dreamt a white dog in our house was minding its own business (in the dream it was our dog) when suddenly it began to snarl and charged our front door, banging against it quite hard – as if there was some danger/evil on the other side.  Having been at the dream thing earlier, I recognized that this was a dream of warning from the Lord. As I lay in bed, it occurred to me to get up and lock the door.  It was unlocked.  But I was also led to pray over my home/family too, as I believe it was a spiritual dream.  I stood in the name of Jesus over Janel and the kids.  Finally, sleep came.  Ironically, Janel woke up at 1.19a and couldn’t sleep, so she prayed for quite a while. After falling back to sleep, she woke up at 3.19a.  Same thing.  Funny enough, Holly reported being awake from 3a-5a with a call to pray for us.

Some of this carried over to church Sunday, where I was committed to taking part in/leading the prayer time.  I felt drawn to pray with a new confidence and boldness – praying over this people and against oppression – from a spirit of control and self-aggrandizement to a spirit of pleasure and indulgence.  As Holly said later, I prayed with authority.  Hmm…  that’s a word God was speaking not only in the last 72 hours, but for about 9 months now.  I believe He’s working it in me and bringing me into that more and more.  Duh.

I will also add…I’ve found myself singing and whistling and even being silly ever since Friday night – as if a HUGE weight had lifted off me.  Which is pretty stinkin’ cool. I will say that it did seem as if the weight tried to come back today, while at the office, but even now I’m sensing it’s abated.

So…as you can see…it’s been quite an adventurous few days.  I’m excited to see what God is going to do from here…

All I can say is “praise God.”

Blessings,

Rob