#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)

#194 Learning to Love Again


Photo by Jeff Rogers Photography

I grew up in America’s white middle class. I was raised Catholic, and I am grateful I grew up in a home where God was important. I went to Catholic schools for 12 years and then went to college. I have always been active in sports. I played a lot of soccer, including playing during college. 

I graduated with a bachelor’s degree in psychology and got a couple of really good jobs after college. In my mid-20s, I got involved in a bad relationship with a lot of domestic violence. I was stuck in this relationship for about three years. The person I was with was involved in illegal activities, including drugs. I knew what he was doing, but there was so much violence. I was just focused on surviving. 

When the police came to our house, my abuser said to me, “If I’m in trouble, you are in trouble, too.” He testified against me in court and said things that weren’t true. I had drug charges, but I wasn’t involved in drug deals. We shared a home and a bank account, which was a problem. I never sold drugs and never had a drug addiction. But addiction definitely could have been part of my story as a way to escape. I think I was headed in that direction. 

I was sent to prison with a five-year sentence in Marysville, Ohio. I served four of the five years. Going to prison actually saved me. The violence had gotten really bad and more frequent. I believe I would have either been killed or would have killed him to protect myself. While I was incarcerated, I was free from all that, and it was such a relief. As crazy as it sounds, I can honestly say I am glad it happened.

I believed in God before I went to prison. Before I got involved in the bad relationship, I had really begun to pursue a relationship with God. But that was put on hiatus through the relationship problems. While I was involved in the relationship, we went to church together. It was a matter of show for him. For me, it was a way to convince myself and everyone else that I was fine. It was very difficult to accept and admit that someone had taken every part of my life away.

My journey with God in prison began when one of my friends sent me a picture of Jesus walking on the beach. It said, “You never realize God is all you need, until He is all you have.” I remember sitting on my bed and reading that. It was the beginning of me starting over. It was the beginning of me letting God tell me who I was again. Because of the relationship, I had no idea who I was as a person anymore. I had been listening to the voice of the man who was abusing me. I had let him tell me who I was. 

In prison, I began to dive into scripture, trying to find out who God believes I am. I wanted Him to teach me to be the person He originally created me to be. I was excited to learn who that was. I also went through the process of discovering love again. I had become very jaded about “love.” For three years, I had someone tell me they loved me while they were abusing me. I had to go through the process of believing that God loved me, that others could still love me, and that I still had the ability to love others. God taught me how to love again and what love means. 

I read the book Redeeming Loveby Francine Rivers. I cried so many times during that book. I put myself in that book — as someone who had run away and didn’t feel like God loved me, yet someone who God kept pursuing and loving. I felt like God was saying to me, “I’m still right here. I’m still right here. No matter what, I’m still here.” I hung on to that. 

I went through scripture and read about the Proverbs 31 woman. These were all the things I wanted to be. I felt like God was telling me I could still be that person. When I went to prison, my confidence had been destroyed. I went through the process of regaining confidence, but it wasn’t coming from me. It was a different confidence. Before my confidence was dependent on something that I did to earn it. Now my confidence comes from God. Even when I am weak, He is strong. I have learned that God has it. Now I just see myself as a willing vessel for His plan in my life. I have confidence that He will unfold that plan and guide me to become the woman He created me to be. 

Until the COVID-19 shutdown, I was working for an optometrist and enjoying sports and going to the gym. I still attend the same church that I attended prior to going to prison. I am involved in their prison ministry. When I first heard about their prison ministry, I thought, “There is no way I am going back to a prison,” but God kept nudging me. Diving into that has been really awesome. I walked into the same prison in Marysville where I was for four years. I walked in and walked out on my own accord. It was a total redemption story. God brought it full circle in that moment. I thought, “God, You got me here and saved my life, and now You have brought me back to the same place to be a source of hope.” I am also a board member with a nonprofit that helps people affected by domestic violence. This has been very healing, too. God already had the whole thing planned out. Everything that was a struggle — everything that was a negative in my life — has become a positive. I have wonderful people in my life that I would have never known. God worked so much good in what Satan meant for evil. 

“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

I have learned that God is so loving. He knows so much about me. He knows everything I struggle with and everything I am good at. The unconditional love of God is something you will never experience anywhere else. It’s always there. It’s never-ending. It’s the best relationship you will ever be in. 

No matter what it looks like or what people are telling you right now — there is hope. You might not believe it every day; there were definitely days I didn’t, but there is a story that is already written for you. It is an amazing thing to be on a journey with God. Having an open heart and spending time talking to God and listening to God is so important. The more time you spend with someone, the better the relationship. It’s the same with God. I never wanted my time in prison to be for nothing. Don’t walk out of prison without the relationship with God. Don’t waste the time. Don’t waste the time. 

For our present troubles are small and won’t last very long. Yet they produce for us a glory that vastly outweighs them and will last forever! 2 Corinthians 4:17

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.

#189 I Shouldn’t Be Here


Photo by Jeff Rogers Photography

I was born and raised on Long Island, New York. I am a twin, born on Christmas Day with Christine; the youngest of four children, along with eldest sister Janet and older brother Billy. My dad was a New York City police officer. When I was 8 years old, my father told our family he would no longer be living with us. He left my mother for another woman. That was the day our world changed. My mother was a devout Catholic and never dated or remarried. She spent her time working to provide for and take care of us. She had a really rough time, and we kids took full advantage of her having to be away from the house. I lost my virginity when I was 14 years old and really could have been raped. My brother was in the next room when it happened. I was under the influence of barbiturates. My brother tore into and hit me all the way home because of what happened. I had no self-worth or confidence because of my dad leaving us. I felt total rejection, as if he had walked out on me.

When I was 17, I dropped out of high school and started working in the women’s sportswear buying department for J.C. Penney’s corporate office in Manhattan. I was the sample size, so I was always the model to try on clothes vendors would bring to show to buyers. I received a lot of attention and found myself extremely vulnerable to the desires of the corporate executives. Lots of wining and dining back then, and I slept with a few. I drank a lot to self-medicate and deal with life. I got engaged when I was 17, then broke it off. I got married when I was 23, which didn’t last. It was abusive. All the while I was drinking, smoking weed, and snorting cocaine.

Prior to my divorce, I left J.C. Penney in 1983 and started working for American Airlines in New York. I went to Dallas for five weeks training, where I had an affair. I brought home a letter from the man with whom I’d had the affair. My husband found the letter, then filed for divorce. I transferred to Los Angeles thinking maybe things would change for the better. My first six months in LA, I got arrested for drunk driving. Whenever I found myself feeling guilty about bad choices and having low self-esteem, I would go to church, and sit and talk to God. I had three abortions. I couldn’t even think of having a child after having the abortions. I was young and selfish. Over the years the guilt weighed heavily. In LA, I felt the need to go back to the Catholic church where I grew up on Long Island and confess my sins. I flew back to New York, went to confession and unloaded on the priest. I will never forget the impact of what he said to me. It did not make me feel absolved of my sins or forgiven. It drove me deeper into despair. He made me feel worthless and condemned. I got on the plane back to LA and drank so much I passed out. I remember waking up in the galley in the back of the aircraft. They had an ambulance meet me plane-side to take me to the hospital when we landed.

I met my second husband in LA, who also worked for American. We got married in 1988. In 1990, we transferred to Nashville, Tennessee. I was his fourth wife. He was older with two grown kids, so we were not going to have children. When his second grandchild was born, I had a yearning for a child and that brought back the guilt and grief of what I had done. I felt I was being punished by God. My second husband was not affectionate and often showed no compassion. That was appealing in the beginning, as it made him appear to be strong and manly, but after time that didn’t work. I was extremely unhappy in this marriage and really wanted to just die. I didn’t even want to go home after work. I would pull into the garage and just wanted to leave the car running. It was yet another dark time in my life. I wound up having another affair. I was scared to death when my husband almost caught me with the other man in our own home. I was still intoxicated from the night before. I was scared and couldn’t face him or myself. I knew where he kept his gun and wanted to kill myself. I was about to take the gun, but my husband took it from me. I went outside to smoke, pacing, wondering what was I going to do. I went back inside, and my husband had just hung up with Baptist Hospital about rehab. I was really remorseful, stopped the affair, and went to rehab. Yet, I still knew I needed to do something about my marriage. After rehab I became a dry drunk. I was sober but miserable and, after three years, I started drinking again and the cycle continued.

On July 11, 2001, we were at a float party with friends. People were jumping off a cliff into the water all afternoon. I wasn’t drunk but had been drinking. I decided to jump off the cliff for the thrill of it. I closed my eyes as I jumped, and as my back-side hit the water I knew something bad had happened. My L1 vertebrae was crushed on impact. I couldn’t move. Thank God there were people there to get me to our boat. There was a young man on our boat studying to be a paramedic. He told them not to lift me, but to get the chaise lounge and put it under me to get me out of the water. If they had lifted me under my arms, I would have been paralyzed. I was airlifted to a trauma hospital. The next day, I had a seven-hour surgery and spinal fusion. While I was recuperating, 9/11 hit. Nine days later, I lost my job. I had been with the airline for 19 years.

In 2004 I asked my husband for a divorce. I moved into an apartment in the complex where my mom was living in Nashville. I had been seeing another man who was also married. This man’s wife called my husband and told him I was having an affair. It was not good. She and my ex-husband ended up together later. I was at wits end and again in a very dark place. I truly didn’t want to live anymore. I drank a lot of bourbon and took about half a bottle of the prescription meds I had for my back. I laid down to let death take me. I woke up around 3:30 in the morning and thought, “Wait…I’m not supposed to be here.” I stumbled into the living room and I called the suicide hotline. They wanted me to go to the hospital, but I told them I was okay. I went to work that morning, called my mom and asked if she could meet at the Cathedral so we could talk. I wanted to confess to her what I had done. We cried. I said, “Mom, there is a reason God didn’t take me. I don’t know what it is, but I shouldn’t be alive.”

A month later, I met Steve. He became a part of my life and started me on a journey out of darkness. He was unlike anybody I had ever met. He was a complete gentleman. God placed him in my life. I always felt it was divine intervention. I started to feel more secure about myself with him. I still had a drinking problem, but he never said anything about my drinking. My best friend, Karen, said, “Doesn’t it bother it you that Steve doesn’t accept invitations anymore because of your drinking?” That was the brick that hit me over the head. I had my last drink that night. My first day of sobriety was October 30, 2007. I didn’t realize my drinking was hurting him. I got sober and he was with me every step of the way. I regularly attended AA meetings. I had been hired back with American and got my old job back in the Admirals Club. I had really wanted my job back. It was all God. Things were going well with Steve, I had stopped drinking, I was attending AA and my relationship with God was growing.

God was always with me. God was always on my mind. But I didn’t feel worthy of Him because of all of the bad things I had done. God put people in my life help me, to speak life and truth to me. Steve believed in God. He said I needed that “deep water, foot-washing, believing kind of faith.” I had no idea what he was talking about at the time. My AA sponsor said, “You just have to trust in God.” Then the light went on and I knew what Steve meant. That was the kind of deep trust I needed in God. But I needed more. I needed forgiveness.

In 2009, I went to a three-day retreat with the church. The first night was confessing our sins to God. Dying to self. I wrote down all my sins and nailed them to the cross. It was a very powerful night. It did something to me. God was working in me, drawing me to Him. That started my journey of wanting more of God. I found myself going to daily mass. I had community but longed to have that deep intimate love and relationship with God. It was still the fear of God that held me back. It could also be that I never forgave myself for all the wrong I’d done.

In 2012, my twin sister, Christine, suffered a massive heart attack. She was on life support and Steve and I were able to get the last two seats on a plane to New York. When I was with her, I had an overwhelming sense of peace. I knew she was going to be okay. I knew she was safe and was going to be in the arms of Jesus. I was with her when she took her last breath. I had my head nestled next to her ear. We came into the world together and we were together at her death. As sad as it was, it was beautiful and I was at peace.

In September 2014, I retired from American and Steve and I moved to Kingsport, Tennessee, where he was originally from. I took a new job as a travel agent. On November 21st, I came home from work to find Steve slumped over in his truck at our house. He’d had a heart attack. They pronounced him dead at the hospital. Then my mom got sick. I lost her five weeks to the day after I lost Steve, and two years to the day after I lost my twin sister. But in all this sadness and grief, I remained sober and had peace. I was still on my journey, learning to know God and reading His word. I would pray the AA Third Step Prayer over and over again. This prayer spoke to me the first time I read it, and it still does:

God, I offer myself to You, to build with me and to do with me as You will. Relieve me of the bondage of self, that I may better do Your will. Take away my difficulties, that victory over them may bear witness to those I would help of Your power, Your love, and Your way of life. May I do Your will always!  

After my mom died, I left the Catholic church and started going to a non-denominational church. I felt totally connected at the new church. After Steve died, I still needed to clean out our home in Nashville and move it all to Kingsport. To say the least, it was mentally overwhelming and more than I could handle.  There was a guy I had worked with at American in Nashville who is a Christian, very service-oriented. He offered to help me. Frank was really good company and I couldn’t have done it without him. I invited him to go to church with me. His godliness really attracted me to him. His love for God is a beautiful thing. After a year of being friends, we became really good friends! I moved back to Nashville and Frank and I were married in March 2017. God is number one in my life, and I’m the happiest I have ever been. We go to Cornerstone Nashville church and are part of the PrimeLife senior care ministry.  

I have learned that God is all-forgiving and merciful. He is love and just wants us to love Him. I love to love and I love to be loved. All my life I had been looking for love in the wrong places as the song goes. I didn’t know what true love was until I met Jesus Christ. I have learned, as painful as it is, you must get real with yourself, confess your sins and surrender your heart to God’s will in total obedience. You will be amazed at how your life will change when you fully surrender to the King. You must give up all your secret sins. When I nailed my sins to the cross that was a turning point for me. There is nothing quite like the peace that comes from Christ, and I know that is the power of God. Now I stretch out my hands to Him in prayer and give thanks to Him in all circumstances. My main focus now is on eternity and not on the things of this world. There is so much freedom in that.

 Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus. Philippians 4:6-7 (NIV).

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.

#188. Listening To God


Photo by Jeff Rogers Photography

I grew up in a loving family. We went to church every Sunday morning. I am one of three children, all girls. I went away to attend college and became a nurse. I moved back after 10 years to be closer to my family. Family is so precious to me. I have been working as a nurse for 21 years. 

Jody was really more of an acquaintance than a friend. We grew up in the same county but attended different high schools. I knew of him in high school because he was a great basketball player and was well known for that. Years later when we both had daughters about the same age, I was the coach of a softball team his daughter played on. We had some conversations during that time, but we were still more of acquaintances. We are friends on Facebook, and I noticed that he had made some comments that he was having some decline in his health. The comments were a bit vague, but as a nurse I picked up that he wasn’t doing well health-wise.

I sent a message, telling him that I was praying for him and that I hoped things were getting better. He sent back a nice thank you. Maybe a week or so later he made a comment that a friend or two had tried to be a kidney donor and hadn’t matched. It clicked with me then that he had chronic kidney disease. As a nurse, I have taken care of people on dialysis and have seen the terrible effects of chronic kidney disease.

I remember after reading his Facebook message, I was lying in bed resting from a shift at work. The thought came to me—it was like running into a wall—“Why are you just praying for him? Why can’t you do something more?” I know God put that thought there. “Why stop with praying?” I thought of his three young daughters. I am one of three daughters, and I can’t image having grown up without my dad or having him so ill he couldn’t have participated in my life in a meaningful way. I just kept having the thought, “You can do more than just pray.” I knew that God wanted me to do more than just pray for those girls and his wife. I needed to do what I could to make sure they had their husband and their dad. 

I reached out to Jody and told him I would like to do more and asked him who to contact. He was hesitant. Then a couple of weeks later, I reached out again and again said, “I would really like to do more.” He then gave me the information about contacting the transplant coordinator at the hospital. Interestingly, even though the transplant coordinator works for a big university hospital many miles away, he also grew up in our county. I contacted him and they mailed me a packet of questionnaires, which I filled out and sent back. Later the coordinator called me and let me know that I was ready to move to the next step. After that was the blood work and urine test to make sure I was healthy enough to donate my kidney. There were no maybes or buts. Everything was perfect. The initial bloodwork was done in February to see if I could proceed, and it appeared that I was a perfect match. I believe it was God ordained. During this time, there was a lot of time for me to reflect. I think we all go through a time of wondering what our purpose is. I believe every turn in my life journey led to me to give my kidney. I felt a complete peace about it. I had no hesitation, no worries. I gave up drinking soda and taking ibuprofen to make sure the kidney I was going to donate would be as healthy as possible. I believed at the time that God would take care of me and He has taken care of me. 

In April I had to go to the hospital to meet with a social worker for a mental evaluation and more physical tests like an EKG and chest X-ray and more blood work to make sure I was still that perfect match. I talked to the transplant coordinator. You have to have specific markers in your blood that match. The more markers that match the greater the chance the transplant will be accepted. The whole process was like rolling down a 100-mile highway with no potholes, no red lights, and nobody breaking in front of you. You just go. 

In July, 10 days before our surgery, Jody and I both had appointments with the surgeon. We met with him separately but were in the waiting room at the same time. That was the first time I had seen Jody since he had been on dialysis. It weighed on my heart that he didn’t look well and reconfirmed my decision to give him my kidney. There was a kind Christian woman in the waiting room who had given her kidney three weeks prior to her dad. Remarkably, she was also from our county. It was as if God was providing people all along the way to make us feel more comfortable with the process. The woman was very helpful. She filled me in on what to expect, which was a blessing to me. 

Our surgeries were on a Thursday. There was a wall between our bays in pre-op. They took me back first. When they were getting ready to take me back to the operating room they said, “He is beside of you.” I asked if I could see him, and they rode my stretcher to him. We linked hands (my sister and me and Jody and his wife) and he said a prayer. They offered anxiety medicine before taking me back, but I refused it. At no time did I have anxiety. We had to wait on the surgeon for 15 minutes after I got into the operating room, and even then, I had no nervousness. I was calm. Even when I woke up afterward, I messaged a friend to see if she wanted to go for a run. I walked to Jody’s room and went in to see him. My whole family was so supportive throughout the process. My mom brought two balloons to the hospital. Jody’s balloon said, “It’s a girl!” 

It has been a little over two years out now. I am wonderful and have had no problems. I continue to donate blood on a regular basis and keep an eye on my blood pressure which has been fine. I have had no ill effects from it and I don’t intend to have any ill effects.  

In September, Jody preached a sermon in a church in our county. I attended the service and Jody looked so healthy. I would do it all again in a heartbeat. I try to encourage people to be organs donors while they are still alive, and they will actually see the benefit that the recipient gets from it. I get to see that now. People knew Jody for his basketball, but he is so much more than that. He means so much to so many people. I get to see that joy is restored in his household and with his friends and in his church. He is back to doing the things he loves like golfing, things that the disease had taken away from him. I get to relish in his joy, and this a great gift. His youngest daughter turned six today, and she has her daddy here for her birthday. 

I try to encourage people to not doubt what God puts on their hearts and to be willing to listen. We can ask God to speak to us, but we have to listen to God and not doubt that He will take care of us. If I never receive another blessing from Him, I couldn’t ask for any better earthly life than what He has provided for me. 

I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.

Philippians 4:13 

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.

#186 Called to Haiti

Photo by Pam VanArsdall

I grew up in a Lutheran church in Illinois. When I was around 12 years old, I was confirmed, and during the confirmation process I felt Jesus come into my heart. But it didn’t take long for me to turn my back on God and start doing things I shouldn’t be doing. Even though I felt Jesus in my heart, the world had control of me. I have been a farmer for over 40 years. I bought 300 acres of farmland when I was 20 years old. My business and the struggle to make payments had control of my life. That was the most important thing to me. I also had a problem with handling anger. I have a history of anger in my family, and when that DNA is inside of you, it is hard to control. 

I got married when I was 23. We had three children. I was not a good husband and didn’t treat my wife well. I don’t even remember much about my children growing up. I was abusive with my tongue. In 1998, my wife got tired of the hatefulness and we divorced. Now that I look back, I don’t blame her for leaving me. I rented out my farm because I wasn’t making enough money to support my kids the way I wanted. I went to work on the road as a millwright, putting together conveyors and machinery. I continued to farm when I could, putting crops out between work on the road. I worked as a millwright for eight years and met my second wife during this time. She has been with me ever since. After my kids were raised, I took my farm back. I have continued to farm since then. Last year we put out 2,000 acres of row crops of corn and soybeans. I also have a herd of beef cattle. 

Around 2014, some family circumstances created a lot of tension between me and my wife. We got to the point where she lived upstairs and I lived in the basement. I could see my second marriage drifting away like my first marriage. I was still of the world and my business was the most important thing to me, not God. I regret this immensely, but I was unfaithful. She found out through a text on my phone. She climbed up in my lap and said, “I love you and I don’t want to lose you.” She said that even after she knew what I had done. My whole world caved in. I was speechless. I said, “There is no way you are going to lose me if you want me.” 

A couple of months later, my wife said she wanted to go to church and asked me to go with her. I said, “Absolutely.” God called us to that particular church for a reason but we didn’t find out until three years later. The church was planning a mission trip to India. I had felt compelled to go on a mission trip at some point in my life, and my wife agreed that we should go. We went to a missions meeting and were prepared to sign up, although it was more than we could really spend. I was telling a Christian friend about that, and he invited me to go to Nicaragua with him in February which would have been easy to do because we didn’t have crops to tend to. Then our church canceled the trip to India because of unrest and they decided to go to Haiti. The mission trip to Haiti was to leave on May 26, my busiest time of the year. This is where my life turned from the world to the Spirit of God. I felt God was telling me that I was to go to Haiti with my church. But this was a terrible time of year for me to go. I would be finishing up corn planting, beginning our soybean planting, and making hay for our cow herd. I have not been away during this time of year since I first began farming. It is a big job and has to be done right or I won’t make a profit. It was imperative for me to be on the farm to see everything got done. 

But I kept hearing it. It was not an audible voice. It was in my heart. It was an overwhelming feeling that God was urging me to go to Haiti. We were just about to send the money to the Nicaragua trip. I told my wife, “I have this feeling that I can’t shake that God wants me to go to Haiti, and I want you to go with me.” She said, “You can’t go to Haiti in May!” But we talked more and she agreed to go with me. We knew we could be putting the farm in jeopardy, but we trusted the Lord and went anyway. For 50 years I have had the Lord in my heart and I could feel Him speaking to me, but I always turned a deaf ear. This time I listened and obeyed. It rained the whole week back home while we were in Haiti, and no one could do any farming. Had I been home, we would have done nothing on the farm. 

An older Christian friend told me his similar story. He said he was called to go on a mission trip but didn’t go. The day they left for the mission trip he was working on a piece of machinery and hurt his back. He laid on the couch the whole week unable to do any work, and about the time the plane brought the mission group back, the pain went away. 

God sent me to Haiti for a reason. A bus took us to town and we gave away goats and evangelized and painted houses. But one day, our bus stopped in a place we hadn’t been before. When we got off the bus, we found out the village champion needed to go buy goats for us to give away. While we waited, our translators led us up a hill to an orphanage. There was close to 20 kids there from infant to 12 years old. The first thing they did was sing the Christian song “10,000 Reasons.” “Bless the Lord oh my soul, oh my soul. Worship his holy name.” They sang in English but they did not speak English. They also recited Psalms from memory in Creole. We knew that because the translators were interpreting as they spoke. 

A Christian Haitian couple started and ran this orphanage with no help from an outside church. God had called the woman to take care of children. They had basically nothing there. Their church was a tin roof supported by two by fours. They had a block building and a couple of rooms with cots for the children to sleep on. There was a little boy that had HIV who was in a wheelchair. When I saw him and the way he looked at me, all I could do was kneel down beside him and pray. The little fella just smiled all the time. The children were clean and well taken care of. We stayed at the orphanage about two hours. Before we left, the man who ran the orphanage asked if we could help them. He said they needed a water tank and lights for their house because they wanted to apply for a permit to become a licensed orphanage.  I told them I would see what I could do. That was a Tuesday. The next few days we did our usual mission activities. On Saturday morning we went back to the orphanages and that’s when it got overwhelming for me. I found myself kneeling beside the same little boy with HIV. He looked weak and sickly. He was 10 years old. I asked everybody to lay hands on him and we prayed over him. Then they told us that the children hadn’t eaten in a day and a half because the couple really doesn’t have any regular income. We asked how they got money for food and they said that family and friends give them money but sometimes the money doesn’t come and they go without food. The average wage in Haiti is $2 per day and unemployment is 80 percent. We collected $186 amongst ourselves, bought food, and took it back to the orphanage. When we left, the children were eating again. 

When we got back home, I asked the associate pastor who had been on the trip, “Are we going to be able to feed those kids? Is that why God sent us to Haiti instead of India?” His response was, “We can feed them for one to two months, but we need to find someone else to help.” I asked the interpreter how much was needed for a month’s worth of food and he said $450. Our church sent $400 by Western Union. I contacted the mission organization that we went through to go to Haiti. They feed 91,000 children per day in Haiti but they do this in the schools not in orphanages because some orphanages are not legitimate and are abusing and trafficking their children.  

It’s been a little over a year and half since our trip, and I think about the orphanage every day. I believe the Lord is calling me to help the orphanage. The church sent money one time. God told me that the kids had to be fed. I told the proprietors I would personally send the orphanage money each month to buy food. As I did this, I investigated the orphanage to make sure it was legitimate and spoke numerous times with the proprietors. I have come to know this orphanage is legitimate as I have made multiple trips there. The couple who runs the orphanage are obeying God in a very corrupt nation. They are evangelists to the children, devout Christians, teaching the children about loving and serving God. They have a 30-minute devotion each morning and evening. They have worship and sermons on Sundays. Everything about their lives is to serve God. They are pure in their motivation.

A friend went with me back to the orphanage in January 2019. We stayed at the orphanage. We shared one small mattress under the church tin roof, sleeping back to back. We stayed eight to nine days. My friend is a plumber and we installed a 500-gallon water tank and ran gutters on the church roof to carry water into the water tank. Before we installed the tank, they had been dipping water out of a murky, contaminated stream, carrying five gallons of water a quarter of a mile sometime four to five times a day. Our church had held a benefit to fund the water tank project before we left. The church agreed to send money over for the water in the tank every month. The church felt like they should get involved with the orphanage, so we planned a trip to go back in April 2019. There were four of us from the church going. But five days before we were to leave, everyone decided not to go and I ended up going to Haiti by myself. I bought solar panels with money our church had raised and installed them for the orphanage, which means they now have lights. While I was there, the male proprietor asked me to go with him to take the little boy with HIV to see the social worker. The social worker told me that before this boy was taken into the care of the orphanage, he was malnourished and very weak, basically starving to death. His mother could not afford to pay for the medicine he needed. The social worker said the child was now at the high end of the health chart and was as healthy as he could be because of the care he receives in the orphanage. 

When I came back home, I found out that we could no longer send our money to the orphanage through the church. We began going to another church, a little Baptist church way out in the country. I wasn’t going to tell anyone about the Haiti project at the new church, but the preacher brought up Haiti in a conversation and we ended up sharing with him. Our preacher ended up going to Haiti with me in August 2019. We put a concrete roof on a hurricane shelter that I had begun on a previous trip. We were thinking about going to the government to apply for a license, but I prayed and prayed and really felt that the orphanage was not ready for that yet. The proprietors are not concerned about getting the license. They are only concerned about doing God’s will and what He has called them to do. They believe that God will provide for them. I’ve never seen such faith in people. It’s all in God’s hands to them. But they do want to get approved if they can. 

The orphanage still needs a lot of improvements, like a wall around it and suitable beds. We had half of the money to finance building a kitchen, so we started building it. I had been there nine days and extended my stay another nine days. I needed another $1,000 to finish the kitchen. A man I buy fertilize from called me while I was in Haiti and I asked if his company donates to charities. He said, “The company won’t give you anything but I will send a check for $250.” Right after that my banker called me to ask about our credit line. I asked him about a donation. He sent me an email back saying to come by the bank to pick up a $500 check and another friend donated $100. My wife went and picked up the money and wired it to me. It was enough to finish the kitchen. That was another miracle of God. The kitchen has running water and lights and light switches. We have also put in a 1,000-gallon cistern in the ground. The toilets are a hole in the ground and smell horrible. The shower was over the same hole. We put running water all over the house, so now they have an indoor shower and they don’t have to take a shower over the pit toilet. 

We have submitted the paperwork to set up a non-profit 501c-3. I know that God will provide. I am an old, redneck farmer—I’m not a preacher—but God gives me the words to speak in churches to tell people about the children in Haiti.

The tragedy in our marriage in 2014 put us on a path to go to Haiti to serve that orphanage. I believe that with all my heart. I think back to the times I would be sitting in my easy chair, drinking a beer, watching a commercial asking for a donation for the children with flies on their faces. I would think, “Somebody should do something for them.” The Lord woke me up and showed me that it’s time for ME to do something. Once I received the Spirit wholeheartedly in 2014, I got down on my knees and put my face to the floor and told God that He could take everything if that’s what it takes to serve Him. I am not afraid of what might happen. My devotion now is to the Lord.

If God knows there is goodness in your heart and sees potential in your heart to serve Him, He will call you, even if it is the latter days of your life. He will call and call loudly. This is what God did with me. God is now using the skills I have learned working on the farm and as a millwright and the relationships and trust I have built as a businessman in my community over the last 40 years, to help children in an orphanage in Haiti. I am so grateful to God for straightening me out the way He did. He called me to serve Him and He fills my heart with joy while I am serving Him.  

Two things I ask of you, Lord;
do not refuse me before I die:
Keep falsehood and lies far from me;
give me neither poverty nor riches,
but give me only my daily bread.
Otherwise, I may have too much and disown you
and say, ‘Who is the Lord?’
Or I may become poor and steal,
and so dishonor the name of my God.

Proverbs 30:7-9

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.