#246. God’s Blessing of Multiplication

Photo by Rob Collins

My name is Adeboye Taiwo and I was born into a Christian family in Nigeria. We attended the Anglican Church. I served in children’s ministry all the while, taking care of children in the church, teaching them the ways of God. 

I met my wife, Ajibola, at church. We met as children’s teachers. She was born into a Muslim home and converted to Christianity. She had a calling into children’s ministry too. We started a relationship and got married in the year 2000.

In Nigeria, when somebody gets married, immediately a few months after that, the wife is expected to be expecting a baby. So, after a year or two, if there is no sign of pregnancy, pressure starts coming in.

It was not too easy for us when we started waiting for five, six, eight, nine, ten years. In our culture, if it takes such a long time, you might be asked to divorce the person you are married to and get another wife because there was no child.

Even if no child is coming, provided we are living happily, I think ‘I’m okay,’ though it was not easy.    

“Even socially in our culture,” my wife said, “people don’t reckon with you if you’re having issue of having a child. They look down on you. We prayed. We sought the face of God but nothing was coming.

“But, to the glory of God — after 17 years — God decided to answer us. And He gave us … a set of sextuplets.”

“It was an assisted pregnancy through in vitro. We had four eggs transferred,” Ajibola said.

We were prepared that from the four, maybe two or one would survive, but to our surprise two eggs split, creating six viable embryos.

“When we confirmed the pregnancy in Nigeria,” Ajibola said, “the ultrasound did not reveal six. The first one revealed three.” Because of the joy, we made plans to visit Adeboye’s family in Northern Virginia for two or three weeks.

“When we came, a few days after, I found that I wasn’t feeling good and I was taken to an emergency room and it revealed six,” Ajibola said.

She’s laughing because when they first mentioned six, I was so excited, but she wasn’t. She wasn’t because she knew the implication of what she was carrying. 

When the complications set in and we saw this, we realized that going back would be like endangering our life. We had to find out how to get a hospital. It was not an easy thing and we — I was praying anyway. Then one day I made up my mind that, well, we have to go back to Nigeria. We cannot sit down here without having a doctor, without getting treatment that is expected. So while I was doing that, our host family called. They now said that a hospital had accepted us.

It was like, wow, is it possible? They said the hospital is VCU in Richmond and the doctor said we can come, they will take up the treatment in order to save our life. At the time my wife was admitted, and for the whole two months we were together in the hospital.

It was the most fearful period of our lifetime.

“It was tough,” Ajibola said. “It got to a time that I couldn’t eat, I couldn’t sleep. I carried the pregnancy for 30 weeks and two days. I was on hospital bed for eight weeks for bedrest.” 

She was so tiny and oh, she has gone through a lot for me and for our babies.

At birth the babies’ weight ranged from 1.5 pounds to 3 pounds, so they were in the neonatal intensive care unit for some time.

“All of them did well,” Ajibola said.

So while we were in the hospital for these 60 days, a lady — a nurse — in the hospital, just approached us asking if we were Nigerians. She said there is a Nigerian who has worked in the hospital, but she is no longer there, she is now in another place. The nurse asked if she could tell her about us.

Well, we said, good. At least let’s be able to see somebody. And, when Mrs. Christiannah came in, she spoke our dialect. Oh, we were happy. She accepted us like as if she knew us long before then. 

When the babies were to be discharged, they were not all discharged together. Because of their medical appointments, we cannot go back to Northern Virginia. We needed somewhere very close. Mrs. Christiannah said, “No, I have a big house! You are free to come in.”

She’s a wonderful lady.

While in the hospital we also connected with Mrs. Judy, a volunteer in the NICU who met our babies when they were there. Mrs. Judy used to come every week and she’s like a mom to us. We call her our white grandma. She has shown the Christ light in her. We said we’d like to join her church – First Presbyterian Church of Richmond.

Everybody in the church accepted us immediately. They made us feel that we belong to a family, a church community. It gives me more courage and assurance to tell anybody who is trusting God or believing God for anything that no matter what, God can do it. No matter how difficult the situation is, God can turn it around.

The sextuplets were given names that honor and glorify God:  

Morayo (I have found joy in the Lord, Morayoninuoluwa)
Sindara (God still performs wonders, Oluwasindara)
Jubeelo (God is not quantifiable, Oluwajubeelo)
Funbi (God gave me a child, Oluwafunbi)
Setemi (God has perfected my own, Oluwasetemi)
Semiloore (God has favored me, Oluwasemiloore)

When it was that 17 years, I had made up my mind that no child was coming and there was no longer to be anything, but at the same time I had concluded there was not going to be anything, that was when God said, “I will do a new thing, now will it spring forth.” (Isaiah 43:19)

Is anything too wonderful for the Lord?

– Genesis 18:14 

Video by Rob Collins

In a recent letter to the entire church family, Adeboye and Ajibola expressed their sincere gratitude for the hospitality, love and concern they have received since joining FPC-Richmond in 2018. This is an excerpt:

You gave us hope when we thought all hope was gone. We lost count of how many times you drove your cars to our house … fit car seats into them, carefully buckled our children to their seats, and drove us to and from church.

You got me a job by which I am able to put food on the table and a roof over my family. My children are not left out as you always plan and guide us in making good decisions about their education, including plans for their summer school to ensure they have a better future.

All our grandmas and grandpas have been so wonderful. They have always been there at all times to help and assist us whenever we needed them.

Special thanks to Adeboye and Ajibola Taiwo, the Rev. Mary Kay Collins and Rob Collins at First Presbyterian Church of Richmond and Paul Seebeck, Presbyterian News Service, for sharing this God story with us.

#214. Praying Wives: Only God Has Such Power

Photo by Jeff Rogers Photography

I have mostly good memories of my childhood. We didn’t have much but we had love. However, my dad wasn’t very loving. Although our mom and dad didn’t go to church, they sent us kids to church on the bus. 

My dad cheated on my mom a lot. He would go to work, come home, dress up and go out. When I was about 16, my parents started going to church. They both were saved before they passed away. After my dad was saved, he stopped cheating on my mom. As I got older and got to know my dad, I forgave him and really grew to love him. 

It’s funny that I ended up marrying a man kind of like my dad — a man that cheated on me and who wasn’t loving. I married in 1975 when I was 18 years old. In 1976, our son was born, followed by our daughter in 1980. I wasn’t going to church and didn’t really have a relationship with God then. 

Thirteen years ago, I began going to a MISSION Church of God (Mobilizing, Ignited, Selfless, Servants, In, Obedience, Now). A friend invited me to go, and she went with me. My husband did not go with me. He had a girlfriend and had been cheating on me for years. He drank a lot. He was mean to me and I was afraid of him, very afraid. I prayed and prayed for my husband. I prayed that the Lord would touch him and that he would get saved. I prayed that God would stop him from cheating and being mean.

Even members of my family told me to divorce him. But I felt strongly that God didn’t want me to do that. I never gave up on him. I never gave up on God’s ability to change him. 

I asked the people of the church to pray for him and I could see it working. My husband had a lot of booze at the house. One day I poured it down the drain. He was going to a party but came home to make shots before he left for the party. He yelled for me and I thought “I’m in trouble now.” We were on the steps and he pulled his fist back to hit me. I sensed a shield of protection came in front of me. I stood there and wasn’t afraid at all. I had no fear. He just dropped his hand. I know God protected me. If he had hit me, he would have killed me.

I prayed for my husband for a couple of years before I saw a breakthrough. The preacher’s mother told me that I wasn’t laying the situation down to the Lord. It was true. I wasn’t completely surrendering the situation to God, trusting that God would change him. But, finally, I did. I gave it to the Lord completely and that’s when things started happening. 

My husband got more and more miserable with his lifestyle. I could see that he was not happy. He was staying home more and not going out. Occasionally, he would even go to church with me. Finally, he tried to kill himself. Thank God he didn’t. When he came back from his attempt, he said, “Let’s go to church.” (See story #210) He stopped drinking and stopped seeing his girlfriend after that. For about a month, he would cry and cry in church. I know he was under conviction. Finally, he surrendered to God and was saved. 

Life now is totally different. We’ve been married 45 years this year. I feel like I have a new husband. He is a completely changed person. My husband is a man of God now. I don’t worry about him cheating on me now. I trust him wholeheartedly. I tell him, “If I had to go through that again to have you where you are today, I would go through it again.” He has become a minister. He preaches every Sunday in the jails. He preaches at our church sometimes and sometimes he preaches at his sister’s church. 

I am so thankful to God for giving me the husband that I wanted all my life. Only God has the power to make such a change in a person. I have seen that God is faithful. Everything is in His time not our time. There are times when you might wonder if God is really there, but I think that is the evil one causing us to question. God is there all the time. When I began to trust God completely to handle the situation, that’s when things began to change. I have learned that God can be trusted completely. 

I want people to know that with God you can do anything. If you trust Him and believe in Him there is nothing that He cannot do . . . nothing. I want people to know that God is there for you. Just believe and reach out to Him. He is waiting for you to reach out to Him.

From one man he made all the nations, that they should inhabit the whole earth; and he marked out their appointed times in history and the boundaries of their lands. God did this so that they would seek him and perhaps reach out for him and find him, though he is not far from any one of us. (Acts 17:26-27)

#185 Praise and Purpose in Pain, Part 2

 Photo by Jeff Rogers Photography

Does every girl grow up dreaming of reaching the stars? I sure did. From the tender age of two or three, I remember craning my head back, marveling at the night sky, and being awed by the beauty of God’s creation. As I grew I wondered about seeing His works from a new perspective, what it might be like to escape Earth’s atmosphere and explore all that vast space. Growing up I thought my path to the stars would be through NASA. As a freshman in high school, my parents took me to visit the National Aeronautics and Space Administration campus where we met with people who gave us information about the steps of pursuing a career with them. My path and passion for space seemed to have a straight trajectory at that point, but what I didn’t know was that passion would be a shooting star, shining brightly, and falling quickly into darkness at the age of 15.

On June 7, 2017, Jacob, my 23-year-old brother, was in a car accident and tragically passed away. I was 15 years old at the time. The moment my brother died every desire to go to NASA dissipated. I was overcome with a deep need to fall into worship and into praise of the LORD who had created the heavens, who had given so lavishly to me, and who now had taken away. I felt myself drawn to my piano… 

So that you might fully understand the magnitude of this change, let me backup for a moment. 

Starting at age six, upon the prompting of my parents, I had unenthusiastically taken piano lessons. Learning to play was born out of duty and obligation simply because my parents wanted me to, not because of my own desire. I never sang and had no real interest in music.

In February 2017, a few months before Jacob’s death, I was in a youth group and they needed someone to play the keyboard. Because I was trained, I agreed to help. Shortly thereafter, the worship leader had an evening when she couldn’t sing and asked if I could fill in for her. I sang for the first time that evening, but again it was an act of service, not of passion. My worship was dutiful, not driven from the deep wells of my soul.

When Jacob died in June, all of that shifted. An intense need to call out to the LORD through song burst into life. Every moment of solitude after my brother’s death drew me to my piano. Worshipping God was the only thing I wanted to do. I didn’t play out of anger or frustration. No, I was never angry with God about losing my brother. I truly trusted Him with it. Yet, I was overcome with my need to talk to the LORD and nothing expressed it the way music did. The song that carried me away in praise during this painful time was “What a Beautiful Name” by Hillsong. Since it was such a balm to my soul, my parents asked if I would be willing to sing it at Jacob’s funeral.

Until that point, my worship was a sacred space between only the LORD and myself. Agreeing to this request was letting those closest to me, and to Jacob, join in with the pain and the hope I was feeling. I had never sung for my extended family before, but when I sat down at the piano the day of the funeral, the Lord took all nervousness from me. He filled me with His melody and with new purpose. At that moment, I felt God’s call into a career in music. Just as my parents invited me to sing for Jacob, God was now extending His hand and inviting me to sing for Him.

Four months after Jacob’s death, with “What a Beautiful Name” still on my lips, I made a video of the song dedicated to my brother. The video reached many people, including a talent scout in Nashville who asked me to meet with him to share my story. Although unexpected, this turned out to be the first confirmation of my calling from the Lord. I went to Nashville in January of 2018 and met with a recording artist manager. I was overwhelmed with peace the day we met with him and I knew God was going to do something special, but I was only 16 years old and my family wanted to proceed cautiously.

Over the next year God gently guided me in this calling. He planted a seed in my heart the day Jacob died, and now I saw it growing slowly, delicately, and with such beauty. I was (and am) in awe of His guidance. As my family and I trusted him during this time, He faithfully showed us each step. I began working with the manager, took voice lessons, and even went to Nashville to put my thoughts and prayers to music. What an honor it was to work and praise alongside such talented Christian song writers! After that first big writing session, the LORD sent another confirmation. Three Christian music labels contacted my manager to request meetings with me.

I met with them throughout the summer of 2019, in May, June, and July. Each time I was given the opportunity to talk with other believers, to meet with record label executives, and to explore the depths of my grief and the heights of my eternal hope through the songwriting process. In August, all three labels asked me to join their teams. After much prayer, I decided to accept the offer from Capitol records. I will be moving to Nashville in June 2020 and with their help will be releasing the songs that I have written. I look forward to the days ahead, to inviting others into that sacred space of worship. I can’t believe that the LORD has opened a way for me to lead others into praise. He is so worthy! I want God to get all of the glory in my story, in the hard parts and in the redemption.

And the God of all grace, who called you to his eternal glory in Christ, after you have suffered

a little while, will himself restore you and make you strong, firm and steadfast. 1 Peter 5:10

After he died, we found this verse in Jacob’s apartment, written in his own handwriting. We felt like he was talking directly to us and we have clung to this verse. Jacob was my best friend and I will always be heartbroken by his loss. But somehow in the midst of all of the pain, God has taken the deep crevices of my grief and let them run over with golden praise. I find myself wanting to be like the woman with the expensive alabaster jar, breaking it over Jesus and anointing him with the most expensive thing I own, my own heart. God has given me a purpose, and that has been a great gift to me in this sorrow. I have learned about His faithfulness. I have learned that when God promises you something, He fulfills His promise. He does not let you down. When you choose to trust God, blessings come.

Thinking back to those childhood days when I had my life all planned, I can see that my desire to explore space and reach the stars was really a deep desire to grow close to the Father and to worship Him in a new way. He has provided that to me, just not on the path I expected. God took my longing for the stars and said Look higher, child.

Look to the Creator of the stars.

Lift up your eyes and look to the heavens:

Who created all these?

He who brings out the starry host one by one

and calls forth each of them by name.

Because of his great power and mighty strength,

not one of them is missing.


Why do you complain, Jacob?

Why do you say, Israel,

“My way is hidden from the Lord;

my cause is disregarded by my God”?


Do you not know?

Have you not heard?

The Lord is the everlasting God,

the Creator of the ends of the earth.

He will not grow tired or weary,

and his understanding no one can fathom.


He gives strength to the weary

and increases the power of the weak.

Isaiah 40:26-29

This is what I have found in this journey– my God is faithful. In my own weakness, He is strong. May my lips forever praise the name of the LORD!

A Million God Stories is a Christ-centered ministry which offers a platform for Christians from all streams of Christian faith to give praise for how God has worked in their lives. Christ heals in infinitely creative ways and we acknowledge that His way of helping may differ from person to person.

#184 Praise and Purpose in Pain, Part 1

 Photo by Erin E Photography

During the summer of 2017, with Father’s Day approaching, I purchased matching journals for my husband and for my 23-year-old son, Jacob. As an English major, Jacob loved taking detailed notes and ruminating on concepts presented during the worship service. Embossed on this new journal cover was John 3:16: “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.”

On June 6th, Jacob visited our house and I gave him my gift. We talked about the Scripture on the front—that God so loved the world—and Jacob said, “Mom, where would we be if we didn’t know Jesus? I can’t imagine. We would be hopeless.”

Looking back, everything about that visit seemed golden. Jacob appreciated his gift. He spoke with us in-depth about God’s word. As he turned to leave, I said, “Hey Jacob. Can I have one more hug?” He said, “Sure, Mom! You can have all the hugs you want!” That was our last conversation with Jacob. Despite his willingness to give me all the hugs I ever wanted, that would be our last one.

Around midnight the very next day, Tuesday, June 7, Jacob was killed in a car accident. In the wee hours of Wednesday morning, we awoke to an insistent pounding on our door. The sight of police lights and the uniformed officers made us assume that something was going on in our neighborhood. When we opened the door though, dread came over me. As they told us the news, I immediately went into emotional shock and verbal denial “No, that can’t be. No. No. No.” I kept thinking they must be wrong. It couldn’t be real. This was my son that I just saw the day before. He was fine. He was healthy. He was happy. He was not dead.

As our two daughters came down the stairs, my husband told them about Jacob’s accident. Devastation upon devastation. We had just lost one child and now we were faced with crushing the other two with such painful news. The girls adored their older brother. They, too, could not believe that this was real.

Frankly, that night it felt like our insides were being ripped out. It was devastating. There are no words to really describe it. Questions surged through my mind about where Jacob was. I knew he loved the Lord and he gave his heart to Jesus in a treehouse when he was four. I had no doubt that he was in heaven. When he was in sixth grade, he rededicated his life to Jesus and was baptized. He loved God and was so intentional about his relationship with Jesus.

While this knowledge gave me comfort from the very beginning and still carries me through, the first two days we were simply overcome with our grief. At this point we were just going through the motions of living. I couldn’t eat. I couldn’t even drink water. Nothing would go down. We were trying to survive, but I was convinced I was not going to make it. The grief was suffocating.  As people flooded our home with their concern during those first days, there was no time or space to be alone with the Lord. Truthfully, we didn’t even know how to talk to God about what had happened. Even though we deeply loved the LORD and relied on Him for all things, we could not reconcile this tragedy with our understanding. It did not make sense that our son who was so good, patient, forgiving, and deeply kind could be taken so quickly and without warning.

Jacob was a young man full of so much potential and so much goodness. Honestly, you truly don’t understand how much you love your son or daughter until they are gone. No person could ever fill that void. If I bore a hundred more children, they could never fill the hole left by Jacob.  This must be how God sees us, as His unique, precious children, each with our own blueprint, each irreplaceable. This must be why He pursues us so lovingly and consistently, so that none may be lost.

God did continue to pursue me and He met me in my grief 48 hours later, again in the dark of night. I wasn’t able to sleep. As I lumbered down the stairs, the Holy Spirit reminded me that we are to give thanks in all things. I couldn’t do it though. “LORD, how do I give thanks in THIS?” I opened my Bible to a random place and began to read. It just so happened that in my sorrow, He opened His word and His heart to me through the book of Psalms. The words poured out, speaking to me about praising God, the very verses that I needed to believe, the very verses that I needed for my next step with Him. I read the word desperately and longingly, like a soul starving for nourishment, and then I said, “God, as bad as this tragedy is right now, I know I am supposed to be thankful. You will have to give me the strength to do that. I love You so much. I praise You and praise Your name. Thank You for the time we had with Jacob.”

I surrendered everything to the Lord. I had been trying to handle Jacob’s death on my own strength. I was unintentionally closing God out, not including Him in my pain and sorrow. That night I gave Him both my sadness and my praise, and everything changed. I knew I was going to be okay, that I was going to live. It truly felt like a great healing took place. Whereas before I had no strength, suddenly I was given supernatural power and my soul was upheld by His own mighty hand. I have never experienced anything like that moment, like the change that washed over me in His presence. A few moments later, my husband came downstairs to check on me. I told him, “I can’t believe what just happened.” He prayed the most precious prayer for me and all of a sudden I felt physically hungry for the first time in days. Total surrender to the Lord altered everything. As people came the next day, I couldn’t wait to tell them about it. “Please tell anyone who is suffering they have to surrender to the Lord. They have to look to the Father.”

As we moved forward and prepared for the funeral, we longed for someone special to sing at Jacob’s service. Since we have family members who regularly perform, I thought finding a singer would be simple. After asking multiple people that were close to us, we realized that it was not so simple after all. How can a person sing when their grief is so utterly overwhelming? I wanted someone to sing for Jacob to honor him, but our extended family was overwhelmed with their own sadness. I was disheartened, but my husband said, “Let’s just pray.” We cried out to the Lord, “We are trusting that You will either give us a peace that no one is going to sing for Jacob or send us someone to sing.”

The answer was quite unexpected. Since the night of Jacob’s death, our youngest daughter Anne had found solace in playing the piano and singing almost continually about Jesus. The song on her lips and in her heart was “What a Beautiful Name.” It occurred to us to ask her to sing that very song in honor of Jesus and in honor of Jacob. When we asked her, she did not say no. Instead she took time to seek the LORD in prayer and then she returned with a yes and with a group of friends willing to stand beside her and play during the song. When they came over to practice, I could do nothing but stand outside and weep.

The day of the funeral was beautiful… the weather, the service, our daughter’s song. About 1,000 people were at the funeral that day and until this point, no one knew that Anne could sing.  Even when we told the family before the funeral, they asked us in surprise and disbelief, “Anne is going to sing?!?” When the moment came, you could feel the Holy Spirit in that place. It felt like all of heaven was with us. I felt like Jacob was with us. In hindsight, I’m so thankful we went through with having the funeral even though it was difficult. I’m so glad Anne chose to lift her voice in a song of praise despite her grief. Once again, the LORD’s strength carried us through.

People were so kind and gracious to us in the aftermath of Jacob’s death. They showered us with love and prayers, some so powerful that we could only drop to our knees in surrender. I could honestly feel the prayers of people. They were grieving alongside us and the Holy Spirit kept giving them words that we needed to hear. During those days when I felt constantly drenched from my own weeping, God kept comforting me with verses about tears. You keep track of all my sorrows. You have collected all my tears in your bottle. You have recorded each one in your book. Psalm 56:8. I felt His love in a way that I have never felt before.

Even though His presence was near and prayers of our friends uplifted us, the next six months presented problem after problem. Our roof caved in, our daughter fell out of bed and severely fractured her arm requiring surgery, and I experienced a horribly painful case of shingles. When my husband lost his job during this same time frame, we wondered how any of this could be working for our good. But God. Always God.

The Lord took our tragedies and wove goodness into them in such miraculous ways. While singing at the funeral, our daughter Anne felt the Lord calling her to a career of worshipping Him in music. Since we didn’t have a good recording of her singing at the funeral, we decided to make a YouTube video of her rendition of “What a Beautiful Name.” Not long after that, we were contacted by a talent scout. He invited us to Nashville and we decided to step out in faith and go. We met with a recording artist manager who was very interested in working with Anne. Seeing that she was only 16 years old, and we didn’t have the funds to proceed with the manager’s fees, voice lessons, and an apartment in Nashville, we slowed down the process and began to pray. We knew that God had called Anne into worship, but we didn’t know the exact route or path.

Meanwhile, our middle child, Elizabeth, was busy with her own business. She started designing clothing and sewing years earlier when she was 13 or 14. When she opened her designs up to the public through Etsy and Instagram, her business boomed and she could not keep up with the sales demand. The LORD was giving her favor in her business and eventually she had so many orders that she needed to hire additional help. She found a factory willing to produce her designs and again her company grew.

The LORD was truly weaving together the plans He had for all of us. Because the Lord blessed Elizabeth’s design company, she volunteered to finance her sister’s Nashville career. Anne was able to hire the manager, take voice lessons, and get a Nashville apartment. She has now signed with Capitol records and will be releasing her first songs in 2021. She will spend her time writing Christian music and lifting her voice to praise the beautiful name of Jesus.

And the loss of my husband’s job? Well, that too has been a providential work of the LORD. God lovingly gifted my husband Kent with an intentional time of mentorship and service to our girls who were in the midst of such profound change. Kent has been able to spend a lot of time with Elizabeth, giving her advice, guiding her with finances, and helping her to grow her business. This would have been impossible with his previous job. He also has been a companion and mentor to our youngest daughter as she has traveled back and forth from Nashville. Now he is able to walk alongside both his daughters as they follow the path God has set out for them. Working with our girls has ministered to his heart in a way that his previous job never could have.

I can honestly say that losing Jacob changed our perspective. The things we worried about before were things that were so insignificant. Now our priority is to give to others and love others. We care for people on a deeper level and feel the pain of others in a way that we didn’t before. A lot of things have changed for the better, but I would love to have Jacob back. I wish I could be the person I have become and still have my son. I think for all of us, experiencing that depth of pain led to switching gears in our lives. You won’t really know God as your Comforter, Provider, and Father until you really need Him in those ways and lean into Him and surrender to Him in those desperate times. Gratitude and praising Him, even in the sorrow, changed everything. Perhaps that is why He instructs us to give thanks in all things. Gratitude changes us. The Lord has been so faithful to us; it is hard to put it into words. He has provided for us in miraculous ways. It’s so beautiful to see how God can pick you up and put you back together, even when your heart seems broken beyond repair. In a time of such loss for our family, God gave Kent such gain through deep relationship with his girls. He gave Elizabeth incredible openness to minister to her family through generosity and service. He gave Anne vision and opportunity to lead others into worship of Him. And He has given me the gift of Himself, over and over again in my grief. I am thankful.

Through all things, may the name of the LORD be praised.

Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the

God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in

any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God. For just as we share

abundantly in the sufferings of Christ, so also our comfort abounds through Christ.

Corinthians 1:3-5

A Million God Stories is a Christ-centered ministry which offers a platform for Christians from all streams of Christian faith to give praise for how God has worked in their lives. Christ heals in infinitely creative ways and we acknowledge that His way of helping may differ from person to person.

#180 Thankful Nevertheless

 Photo by Jeff Rogers

I met Rick my freshman year of high school. We dated in high school and married young. I was saved and baptized in January of 1980, and three years later, Rick was saved. The first time I heard him share his testimony, he said he couldn’t figure out why I would go to church not just once, but twice on Sunday, because that was our only day to be together since he worked six days a week. Rick said he wanted to know more about this man called Jesus who I loved more than I did him.

My husband loved basketball and coached a little league basketball team. He coached two little boys, Todd and Earl Reed, who went to my church. Every Sunday, between Sunday School and church, those two little boys would run to the church office and call Rick and ask him if he was coming to church. The boys were in two separate Sunday School classes, so they would both make calls to Rick as soon as they got out of Sunday School. They kept calling every Sunday and didn’t give up. They knew they were waking Rick up, but they didn’t care. They just wanted him to come to church. I cannot tell you how thankful I am that God placed those two little boys in our lives.

Rick was saved during a revival service at our church in 1983. He promised the two little boys that he would come to that revival service. When he came in the door that morning, they flocked to him and wanted to sit with him. When the preacher gave the invitation to come forward and accept Christ, he asked that we bow our heads and close our eyes in prayer. Rick shared with me later that he bowed his head, but he didn’t close his eyes. During that invitation, he saw one of those little boys, Earl Reed, pointing to him and then pointing toward the altar in the front of the church. Rick told me that was Earl Reed’s way of praying that he would give his life to Christ that morning, and he did! The Bible says a little child will lead them, and those two little boys did lead him. Rick got involved in church right off the bat, mainly working with the Youth. We didn’t have children of our own, so we had the time to devote to them.

My husband was a wonderful, selfless man, always putting others before himself. He was all about helping and ministering to people. He went on two mission trips a year; one with World Changers, an organization that goes all over the United States helping people who can’t afford the needed work on their homes, and one with Joshua Land Ministries to help build churches in Kentucky. In 2011, he was working with a crew to help put a roof on a new church in Mt. Sterling, Kentucky, when he fell off the roof and landed on his head. There didn’t seem to be any indication that he tried to catch himself, so we think he passed out before he fell off the roof. They flew him to the regional university hospital, and he stayed there approximately two weeks. He never regained consciousness and had two strokes during that time. After about two weeks, the doctors told me Rick’s brain was dead, and that I was going to have to make the dreaded decision to take him off life support. Immediately after the doctors telling me I was going to have to make that decision, my pastor called to check on us. I asked him, “How do you make a decision like that? I feel like I’m taking his life.” He told me, “You’re not taking his life. If it’s God’s will for him to live, even if you remove the life support, he’ll live.” God knows what we need and when we need it, and I needed to hear that. Rick’s family and I made the decision to remove the life support. The doctors explained to us that, after we took Rick off life support, it was possible he would live for a few days because, even though his brain was dead, physically he was very strong. He lived almost a week. I got to bring him home to our local hospital under Hospice care, and he passed away on July 17, 2011.

It was really hard and very lonely for me, but God was always there. You don’t know God is all you need until He’s all you’ve got. My family, Rick’s family, and my church family were wonderful, and my work family was too. They stayed with me at the hospital during Rick’s illness and for a couple of weeks after his passing. My church family came by often to see if I needed anything and tried to keep me busy. My job gave me a reason to get up every morning. But, it was during those times by myself, especially in the evenings and at night, that were my loneliest times. It was just me and God. At the end of the day, I would pray, “God, I made it through today. Tomorrow is another day, and I’m going to need you to help me through tomorrow”. In the mornings, I would say to God, “Your Word tells me that your mercies are new every morning and your grace is sufficient. I need your grace and mercy today.” I grew more spiritually during that time than I ever had. I know God was with me every minute. At night when I was lonely and sad, I would open up the Bible and it would give me comfort. I drew such strength from God’s promises.

“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” (Jeremiah 29:11)

Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the Lord your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you.” (Deuteronomy 31:6)

In September 2013, more sorrow began. My middle sister was diagnosed with cancer. She went through various treatments and surgeries, and we had to watch her suffer terribly. She passed away in February 2015.

Then God, in His infinite wisdom and perfect timing, sent someone to me. I had bought a new car and someone hit it in the parking lot of Food City right after I bought it. I called my current husband, who owned the body shop and had repaired cars for me before, to repair my car. We were married in January of 2018. He’s a wonderful man. God has blessed me doubly – with a whole family! My husband has two children, a daughter and a son, who are both married, and we have two grandchildren and one on the way.

I have so many things to be thankful for. First and foremost, I am thankful for my salvation. I’m thankful for the time I had with my first husband and for my new husband and new family. I’m thankful for the closeness I have with my mother, father and my sisters; for Rick’s family with whom I am still close today; for my church family; and for my job and my work family. God has given me many people to love, and who love, support and encourage me. He is so good!

A Million God Stories is a Christ-centered ministry which offers a platform for Christians from all streams of Christian faith to give praise for how God has worked in their lives. Christ heals in infinitely creative ways and we acknowledge that His way of helping may differ from person to person.

#178 Longing for Love


Photo by Nicole Tarpoff

I didn’t think I had a “testimony.” I grew up in a Christian home, always believed in God’s power and love, and never had anything I saw as life-changing happen to me. I thought my story would be boring, nothing anyone would want to hear, until I heard MY story being told by someone else at my church. She had a story that was so similar to mine that I no longer felt alone and “typical,” and that my life was not as similar to others’ as I thought. I know the things I’ve gone through have shaped me, but I never imagined they could help others from feeling alone like she helped me. God’s word tells us in Revelation 12 to conquer with the word of testimony, so here’s mine.

My story began in Amarillo, Texas where I grew up. My mom married a man when I was 4 years old after a messy divorce with my biological father, and my stepdad quickly became the father figure that I knew. Eventually, his drinking became alcoholism, and his emotional and verbal abuse became physical. I’ll never forget the night when my mom called to tell me not to come home because she didn’t know what he would do to me. He found himself in jail for assaulting my mother and grandmother, and divorce quickly followed.

When I left for college, I took with me a longing to be loved. My father figure had not shown me a father’s love, and he had not shown my sister and I how a woman should be treated by her husband; he had betrayed my trust and love. During my first semester in college, I began drinking, partying and looking for love in the wrong places. Friends and men treated me poorly and I became involved in a relationship my freshman year that looked functional from the outside, lasted 3 years, but was unhealthy and abusive – first emotionally, then physically. After living together for two years, one day I realized I shouldn’t have to wear long sleeves to cover the bruises on my arms. I packed up, bit the pride bullet and moved back in with my parents.

In the midst of this, in my sophomore or junior year, I started going back to church because I knew something was missing from my life. The first time I went back to my church I attended in high school, I felt a rush of emotions and began to cry because I knew I was home. It took some time, but I started getting involved, serving in guest services and other volunteer opportunities. At this point in my life, I felt like I was living two separate lives. My church life was filled with joy and supportive friends, and my day-to-day life was darkened by sin, fear, and pain. After moving back in with my parents, I never fully felt the joy God intends for us through contentment. I jumped from fling to fling looking for the love I needed, not realizing I already had it.

Before my last semester of college, I moved to Kentucky to live with my sister and help around the farm while she was pregnant. Her husband was a truck driver, so he wasn’t home much, and it gave me some time with my best friend. I started going to a church in Lexington. At the end of the summer, I returned home to Texas to finish my degree, and I realized the path God had intended for me. After graduation, I moved back to Kentucky to live near my sister and niece, and to get a fresh start.

I decided my fresh start would be centered around Christ, the only rock I had in life, the only true example of agape I had known. I needed to make friends and thought church would be the best place to do that. After a short email to the church I had attended over the summer, I got involved in a dinner group that met every other Thursday for fellowship and food. The first time I went, I had to force myself to go and talk to people, but the people I met were so welcoming and made me feel right at home. I found true friendships, encouragement and accountability in this community of young people who loved Jesus. This helped me realize that not all people take advantage of you – there are good people who truly care and can be trusted.

Now I lead a Bible Study for 8-10 women from the dinner group every week in my home. We talk about where we struggle and how God can help. I am so thankful that God provided a new community for me; there is always someone to talk to and to hold me accountable. Before, I never felt I could talk to my friends about God. Now I have a group of friends that shares my love for God.

When I talk about God to others, I always call Him my Rock. He was there for me when times were ugly and painful, and never threatened to run out or hurt me. He is the same God for me now that He was in Texas during those times I never thought would end. He provides unconditional love to those who feel unlovable, forgiveness to those who have burned bridges here on Earth, and is a father to those whose fathers have betrayed them. Growing up, when approaching my step-dad, I always wondered, “Is he having a good day?” before I even considered asking a favor or starting a conversation. This is never the case with God our Father. We can approach Him anytime and always trust Him to listen. He is the same yesterday, today, and tomorrow, constant, unchanging, loving, and always with us; “Immanuel.”

A Million God Stories is a Christ-centered ministry which offers a platform for Christians from all streams of Christian faith to give praise for how God has worked in their lives. Christ heals in infinitely creative ways and we acknowledge that His way of helping may differ from person to person.

#177 God Goes Before Us

 Photo by Chelsea Jo Photography

It is the Lord that goes before us. He is with us. He will never leave or forsake us. Do not fear or be dismayed.

Deut. 31:8

I had memorized this verse a couple of weeks before heading on our trip to Alaska . . . not knowing that we would see this promise in action.

We left for our 50th anniversary trip on July 31, 2018. Ardon and I were in good health and looking forward to visiting this “last frontier” of beauty and nature. We first flew to Seattle, staying two nights to become accustomed to the time change. Before leaving, I had contacted an old friend. I knew she lived in the area, but as we did not have a car, I knew the likelihood of seeing her would be slim.

On August 1, we purchased an all-day pass on the Light Rail that went from the south side of Seattle to the north side. We rode all the way to the end, determining sights we would see on the return trip. When we got off the train, we found we were at the University of Washington Huskie stadium. I remembered that my friend’s husband was a professor there and guessed they wouldn’t live too far away. I called her and found out she had the time to visit, and she picked us up at the university. We spent time in her home, went for lunch, and caught up with hours of good conversation. This friend and I had not seen each other in 54 years. God went before us.

Our trip continued on a flight to Anchorage, a train ride on the Alaska Railroad to Denali, an eight-hour tour through Denali National Park, then back on the train to Fairbanks to enjoy a couple of days and a riverboat Discovery tour that passed Susan Butcher’s home and a native village. Now we were homeward bound to the “lower 48 states,” but our Heavenly Father wasn’t through with us yet.

The next day we flew to Anchorage for rest before heading home. But that wasn’t God’s plan. During Ardon’s first void of the morning, he passed a one-centimeter kidney stone. The pain, the bleeding, and the shock of passing something that large put him back in bed for a half hour. I asked him if he wanted to go down for breakfast. He did and so we did. During the time we were eating in a very warm dining room, I noticed that Ardon was beginning to shiver. I asked him if he wanted to go back to the room and he said yes. Fully dressed, he got under the covers and said he was freezing. I recognized the “shocky” symptoms and said I needed to go get help. He said, “No, let me rest for a little while.” I could see that things were not improving and finally said that I was going to the desk to get help. I went down and asked if there was a physician in the hotel. He said no, but asked if I would like him to call 911? I said yes but would need a wheelchair to get Ardon down to the lobby. They had a wheelchair, and a staff member came to the room with me. I gathered my tote bag and Ardon got in the wheelchair. When we got down to the lobby, Ardon was shivering violently. I asked for blankets which were kindly provided. The EMTs arrived and Ardon was sensing that his body was failing. The ambulance took us to JBER (Joint Base Elmendorf/Richardson AFB) where the only VA medical center in Alaska was housed. Our ER doctor was a graduate of the University of Nebraska, our home state. God had again gone before us.

The doctor recognized the signs of septic shock (blood sepsis) and immediately started two bags of saline as Ardon’s blood pressure was going down severely. The EKG indicated the heart was being attacked and a PIC line was inserted with two kinds of broad spectrum antibiotic administered via IV. Four IVs were running simultaneously. Urinalysis, chest X-rays, and blood tests were also being done during the next eight hours. Ardon was at that point stable but in very serious condition. Meanwhile, I was contacting children and siblings, getting all the prayer warriors on board. Within six hours, prayer warriors from coast to coast were praying. Another of God’s provisions.

Ardon was transferred to ICU that evening. The social workers came alongside me to find out how to help. We were to have flown home the next day, and our suitcases were still at the hotel where we had paid for two nights’ stay. The social workers provided taxi vouchers to and from the hotel and said that I would be able to stay at Fisher House (a ministry to out-of-town vets and active-duty military and their dependents) as long as needed. Praise God. The social workers took care of all the cancellations and were able to get a percentage of our non-refundable tickets and hotel fee returned to us. God had gone before us.

After checking out of the hotel and returning to the hospital, hearing from the doctor that Ardon was still in very serious condition, an appointment was made for me to check into Fisher House. When I left the hospital, Ardon said, “If you come back to just a body, know that I am more alive in Glory and I will be waiting for you.” The confirmation and assurance of that statement was affirming that Ardon knew his eternal home was waiting for him . . . but it was also a shock to me who was accustomed to seeing him attack all his “medical emergencies” with a fighting spirit. I walked to Fisher House, introduced myself, got registered, received a tour and my keys, and told them about Ardon’s comment and our hope in Jesus’ finished and redemptive work on the cross. The social worker said to me, “We are all believers here, too.” It was comforting to know that God was continuing to go ahead of us.

At the hospital, Ardon was showing a little improvement. His blood bacteria levels were going down, but now I was seeing swelling of his arms. The doctor said the swelling was a part of the process and that in three days it should go down. Later in the morning, I received a call from a young lady I hadn’t seen in 20 years, a grand-niece of dear friends back home. She said she was married, was a nurse, and lived in Anchorage . . . and would I like a visitor? Of course I said yes—if she could get on the base. She arrived after lunch with her little three-month-old daughter. We had a good conversation and she asked if there was anything she could do. With all these antibiotics going into Ardon, I was concerned that his intestinal flora was getting upset and that he might end up with C.Diff. I felt he needed some probiotic and/or Activia yogurt. She said she would be glad to get that for us. During the time she was gone, I went to Fisher House and returned to the hospital, caught my toe on the well-polished tile and fell, cutting my chin with the key on my lanyard. The young lady returned with the probiotics and promptly took me to an ER off base. She surely was an instrument of healing and ministry to us that day. God was indeed going before us.

On Sunday, Ardon got word that his blood was clean and would be moving to the general ward if he reached some of the achievement goals. I had been using the public restroom on the floor and had started reading the bulletin boards there. To my astonishment, all the boards contained protocols and articles for sepsis. What would be the chances that this hospital had just finished their staff in-service with instructions on sepsis?!! Another of God’s provisions.

Ardon was moved to the general ward that night. The next morning brought more news. The nurse told him he could continue recuperating for a couple more days in the hospital or he could continue recuperating at Fisher House. Needless to say, when he heard that news, he was determined to be moved immediately. But Physical Therapy had to sign off that he would be able to be at Fisher House and walk around it safely. When the therapist came in, his first question was, “Where in Omaha do you live?” I said the northwest corner. “No,” he said. “I was raised there. Where do you live?” I said, “156th and Maple.” He laughed and said, “I went to Kiewit Middle School and graduated high school at Millard North.” I said, “Stop, you are going to make me cry. That is where our grandchildren go.” Again, God was letting us know He was going before us. Ardon passed his PT test and was transported via wheelchair to Fisher House.

Over the next five days, Ardon recuperated, gaining a little strength each day. His appetite was poor due to the antibiotics and lack of exercise, and he lost 11 pounds. One of the residents was a chef and made some lovely breakfasts and suppers. So with better food, exercise, fresh air, conversation (he was able to share the gospel with this resident), and sleep, Ardon was ready to travel by Sunday. During this time, I was able to pray with one of the female residents, and Ardon and I befriended a young mother and her three-year-old daughter who were in Anchorage for surgery. May God get all the glory—for who He is, for His ever-loving kindness to us, and for His leading in our lives. We could not do life without Him.

Since returning home, follow-up visits and doctors have all confirmed that Ardon is way ahead of the healing curve, and his strength continues to increase. We are so thankful. We wanted you to know with total belief and trust in the finished work of Jesus Christ, that you can have a Heavenly Father who goes before you and with you wherever you go. His love is extreme, abundant, and free. Place your trust in Him today.

For God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten Son that whosoever believes in Him shall not perish but have everlasting life. John 3:16

A Million God Stories is a Christ-centered ministry which offers a platform for Christians from all streams of Christian faith to give praise for how God has worked in their lives. Christ heals in infinitely creative ways and we acknowledge that His way of helping may differ from person to person.

#174 When God Steps In

 Photo by Nicole Tarpoff

I grew up in a very small town. I had wonderful parents and one brother. My childhood was happy and uneventful. I was close to my father and he suggested that I consider taking care of people for a living since I had been a caretaker for several people in our family when they were sick. I decided to take his advice and pursued becoming a nurse. From 1994–2001 I worked as a nurse in a hospital. Life was pretty uneventful at that time.

Then three things happened that I couldn’t deal with. My brother was killed by a friend, my mother was dying with breast cancer, and I had a hysterectomy.

I was so angry with the man who killed my brother. I fought in court trying to send him to prison. Not long after that I got hurt on the job and started using the pills I had been prescribed for an injury to help my emotional pain. I never thought addiction would happen to me, but I became addicted to the pills that took away my pain.

After my mom died in 2004, I got in trouble, lost my nurse’s license, and went to jail. The board said I would never get my license back. The judge wanted me to have treatment for drug abuse and I spent three months in jail waiting for a bed to open up in an addiction program. I was able go to a faith-based residential treatment center where I spent 180 days in treatment. The people were so loving there. They tried to show me beauty where I saw none. They started talking about things my mom had tried to talk with me about—about Jesus. 

While I was in treatment I had terrible insomnia. Someone suggested that I pray when I woke up during the night. I took their advice and I prayed that God would reveal Himself to me and give me peace. It was gradual, but the Lord did reveal Himself to me and give me peace. When I got out of treatment I found my mom’s Bible and it was like a love letter to me. She had written all sorts of things in the margins. These were the same things I had heard in treatment. 

The treatment center was named after a young woman who had been killed by a teenager over a $30 drug debt. One night I heard her father speak. He talked about forgiving the teenager who had killed his daughter. He said that he had given the teen a Bible and asked for mercy on him with the authorities. At this point I was still harboring so much anger toward the man who had killed my brother. When I heard this man speak, it was the first time I thought I might be able to forgive the man who killed my brother. I thought if this man could forgive the person who killed his daughter, why couldn’t I forgive the man who killed my brother?

The state nursing board said I would never get my license back. But the staff at the treatment center encouraged me to try to get my license back, and eventually I began working toward that. After I graduated the treatment program, I went to work at the treatment center as residential staff, taking care of clients and their needs. One of our clients was the niece of the man who killed my brother. Her mother (the sister of the man who killed my brother) came to visit her, and when she came through the door she cried and I cried. At that exact moment, I could see how everyone was a victim in circumstances of my brother’s death. I could see not only what it had done to my life but what it had done to the lives of his family. This experience was so healing for me. This was the event of forgiveness I needed. 

I continued working at the treatment center and continued pursuing reinstatement of my nursing license. It took me three years to meet the requirements. One year ago today I got my license back. Now I work as a nurse at the very treatment center where I did my rehab. Most of the time we have 20 people in treatment at the center at one time. It is a wonderful thing to see all 20 people get their worth back and see the glow back in their faces. Most have been abused, and when they come in they are hopeless and sick and don’t think they can beat the addiction. They feel it is bigger than them. And then God steps in and they go from being a victim to being victorious. By taking the hand of the next person, they develop muscles and get stronger. By helping others, they get stronger themselves. This has been true for me as well. 

God is good and God doesn’t put things on you to be harsh. He is there to help you get through things if you will let him. Now I pray before everything, and that helps me. God knows just what you need. God knew I needed to forgive to be healthy and whole again, and He helped me to do that by speaking to me through the father of the girl who was killed and by softening my heart through the tears of the sister of the man who killed my brother. God responded to my prayers for peace. I have a peace now that I never had in my life. Things that used to bother me don’t bother me anymore. God answered my prayers to reveal Himself to me. He put people in my life to point out His beauty and lead me to Him—my mother, the staff at the treatment center, even finding my mom’s Bible. God made a way for my nursing license to be restored even though they said it would never happen, and He has given me an even more meaningful and fulfilling nursing career than I had before. Over and over God has been faithful and given me what I have needed. 

The way I feel about Jesus now is different than the way I felt as a child. He is not harsh and judgmental. He is a heavenly Father that is there to help you deal with life. Even when you fall, He still wants to hold your hand. 

I will give them an undivided heart and put a new spirit in them; I will remove from them their heart of stone and give them a heart of flesh. (Ezekiel 11:19)

#164 Every Moment is a God Moment



Photo by Brianna Rapp

Several years ago at Thanksgiving our pastor asked our congregation what we were thankful for. Growing up, I had good parents and grandparents. I come from a big family, with four brother and four sisters. We grew up in a loving home and we were very close. I remember many times we prayed together as a family. All my siblings are still living and both my parents are living. When my pastor asked this question, I thought about how blessed I have been to have such a good family and felt so thankful to God for this blessing.

On another day at church, our pastor challenged each of us in the congregation to start reading the Bible daily. On January 1, 2007, I started doing this—reading the Daily Walk Bible early every morning. My wife and I live out in the country. The end of that same January, as I was going to church on a very icy Sunday, my truck slid off the narrow bridge and fell upside down into the creek. Thankfully, it landed on the passenger side and I was unharmed. God protected me. I went back into the house, warmed up, and picked up my Bible to read. Nearly every morning since then I have read the Bible. Now it feels like my day is not started off right if I don’t read the Bible.

Both our son and daughter have been into drugs. Our daughter got pregnant and we raised her son for five years. Without being in God’s Word and knowing how forgiving God is, I don’t know that I could have forgiven or made it through these situations. Because of our kid’s addiction, they stole from my wife and me—guns, tools, cash, even my wedding band. Each time it happened it was harder to forgive them. My wife and I both work hard at our jobs and we don’t have a lot compared to what many people have. That made it even harder when our kids stole from us and we had to replace things. But when I read the Bible I learn how many times that Jesus has forgiven me—too many to count. This realization has helped me forgive them.

But we did have to do hard things. We turned both of them into the authorities and they both went to jail. After our daughter got out of jail, her life began to change for the better.  She and her husband now come to church and have jobs. Our grandson has gone back to live with them.

After you start reading God’s Word, it changes everything. Many days I have had things going on in my life and I could pick up the Bible and hit on just what I needed to hear for that day to help me get through it. Since I have been reading the Bible each day, I find myself being more grateful, seeing things each day that I am thankful for. God is a giving God. When I try to think of a particular “God moment,” well … everything is a God moment. He put air in my lungs this moment and gave me this day. I don’t care what we do, we could never thank Him enough.

A Million God Stories is a Christ-centered ministry which offers a platform for Christians from all streams of Christian faith to give praise for how God has worked in their lives. Christ heals in infinitely creative ways and we acknowledge that His way of helping may differ from person to person.

#163 Changing Jobs, Finding Life

Photo by Brianna Rapp 

The first time I remember the Holy Spirit convicting me of my sin was in 1972 when I was 18 years old. My mother was being baptized in John’s Creek and I was standing on the swinging bridge overlooking the creek. The song that was sung was “Shall We Gather at the River?” I felt a tug at my heart, but I didn’t really know what it was.

A few years later, in 1981, I was invited to play on a softball team with a member of a local Baptist church. I had anger issues and I always wanted to win. Sometimes I got really upset, but the man who had invited me to play never got upset or angry. There was something different about him. He was a super person—very helpful, very patient.

He and his wife came to visit my wife and me in our home. I remember the night very well—it was on a Thursday—and before they came I knew someone was coming. He shared the gospel with my wife and me that night. I responded, “Not today,” but told them I would go to church with him. He gave me a New Testament outline Bible which had outlines of different topics in it, such as “What is faith?” and “What is sin?” The next day at work I read the topic, “What is sin?” and after I finished, I knew I was a sinner.

The next Sunday morning, we played a softball game early and then later that morning I went to church. My wife, daughter, and mother-in-law went to church with me. When the invitation was given, my mother-in-law made a profession of faith. Then after the service was finished, my wife made a profession of faith, but I didn’t. I knew I was a sinner, but I thought I had plenty of time. “Not today.” However, that afternoon I kept thinking about it—and it was the most miserable day of my life. My wife and I went back to church that evening. I will never forget the invitation hymn that was sung that night: “O Why Not Tonight?” I went forward and made a profession of faith.

It was the beginning of my walk with the Lord. The people at our church were so loving and good to us. It was as if we had fallen into a gold mine of love. Within a month after my baptism, I began the Continuous Witnessing Class. It was a 13-week study of scripture memorization and training about how to share Christ with others. I decided to go through the study twice because I felt like I had just memorized it the first time. The second time I really learned what it meant. After completion, our church had a visitation program. My wife and I participated in the weekly visitation. Once a week we went to different homes in the community to talk with people about Christ. Sometimes we would know the people we were visiting and sometimes the people were strangers to us. We would knock on the door and I would say, “Hi, I am Roger. I am from the Baptist church and I wanted to sit down and talk with you for a few minutes if you’re got the time.” It was very rare for people to say no. Sometimes I could tell people were not receptive and we did not share the gospel, but many times people were open and we would share. The home visitation was fruitful. One year we had over 100 baptisms at our small church and a good part of this was a result of the church-wide participation in visiting. At church, the gospel is shared in general but not in a personal one-on-one way. This one-on-one sharing is what many people need, as it becomes personal. I am a very shy person, and knocking on doors and sharing with people was hard for me, but along the way God changed me. God was always with me and He always preceded me in everything. He gave me more confidence and helped me to share what He had done for me—which is the best testimony of all. God gave me the words; I was just a tool.

One of the ways that God has worked in my life is through my job. I started working as a heavy equipment operator when I was 18 years old. I worked 10–12 hours a day, six days a week and sometimes on Sunday. Several years ago I felt the Lord was calling me to do something different. I didn’t have any time for my family and my body was beginning to ache. It was not a healthy way to live. I started praying, “Where can I get a different job start to support my family?” Out of the blue someone called me and asked if I was interested in beginning a new career. The job would be for the county school system. I was told the staring salary. It was a $2,200 pay cut per month! I accepted the job. My wife is a school teacher (former banker) and she created a budget to make the new salary work. I am now on my 17th year in the school system and we are debt free!

In my job at the school system I take care of all the textbooks (ordering and distribution into the classrooms), and I also drive a school bus. It is 40 hours a week, compared to the 70-plus hours per week I was working before. It has been so refreshing to spend time with my wife and daughters that I never had before. After I changed jobs, I was able to drop my youngest daughter off at school every morning. Now I have a granddaughter that I can enjoy activities with. It has been the best money I have never made in my life! Also, physically and mentally it is so much healthier for me. My body would have been broken by now if I had stayed at my old job. Now I get up at 4 a.m. every morning and walk six miles before I go to work.

The change in jobs also allows me more time for ministry and service for my Lord and Savior. My wife and I are very involved in our church. I have an opportunity to visit people who may be sick and in the hospital. I also have opportunities for ministering at funerals. I also know some of the needs of the children and the families in our church field as a result of driving a school bus. This allows me to better serve them because I see what they really need. My job often requires me to be out in a lot of our schools daily. I have had people ask me to pray for them, and I pray for them right then wherever it may be.

God has saved me and has given me the opportunity to serve Him and grow spiritually. I am so grateful for the opportunity. He didn’t need me but He used me. God has always placed positive people in our lives that have helped us to grow spiritually. My Savior is so loving and forgiving, so full of grace and mercy. I don’t know where I would be without Him. The blessings of God are all around us. All we have to do to receive them is to be obedient.

A Million God Stories is a Christ-centered ministry which offers a platform for Christians from all streams of Christian faith to give praise for how God has worked in their lives. Christ heals in infinitely creative ways and we acknowledge that His way of helping may differ from person to person.