God Had Bigger Plans
Texico Conference (reported by Rita Stevens, Texico Teammates Coordinator)
When we began planning for our Texico pastors’ wives ShareHim campaign to the Dominican Republic two years ago, we had no idea that God had started planning this trip 20 years ago. He used our pastors’ wives to answer the prayers of three mothers who have prayed for their sons’ conversions since they left home as teenagers many years ago. Throughout the trip we saw their prayers answered, as well as many other miraculous answers to prayers and changed lives.
Even before we left we saw God’s blessings. Kathy McKey, union Shepherdess coordinator, and I worked together to plan the trip. Kathy’s husband Duane, Southwestern Union vice president responsible for evangelism and ministerial, also worked closely with us. We had to raise $43,000 for the trip. The union contributed $10,000 for our site fees. The rest was raised through fundraisers, special offerings, and contributions from family, friends, and churches. We reached our goal just two DAYS before we left. God likes us to have dreams that are bigger than ourselves!
During the planning, one pastor’s wife, Lynette, asked to fly out of Abilene instead of Albuquerque because of a mandatory meeting the day before we flew out. We changed her flight, not realizing that God knew something we didn’t. Eight days before we left Lynette was hospitalized with acute pancreatitis. After much prayer, she left the hospital after three days with normal lab results and the blessings of her doctor and four young children to go preach in the Dominican Republic. What a miracle!
And what a blessing her ticket was already scheduled to leave from her home so she would have strength for the trip.
Several other wives had significant health problems and surgeries less than six months before leaving. But all 20 speaking spots were filled, and the back-up pastor in case someone was ill never had to speak. One pastor’s daughter had a history of seizures, and the week before our departure the seizures occurred nightly. Her father was to be her interpreter so if she had a seizure he could take over. She had a seizure the first night we arrived, but since that time she has not had any seizures.
June 22, 2011, found 16 of our pastors’ wives, along with four pastors and two preachers’ kids, en route to preach the gospel in the Boca Chica and Santo Domingo area. Carmen Griffith, Southwestern Union women’s ministry leader, and Donna Jackson, wife of NAD president, Dan Jackson, also joined us, preaching at additional ShareHim sites. Several wives in our group had never preached. English is the second language for two of them. They felt challenged to say the least, but God blessed their efforts.
We specifically prayed to be filled with the Holy Spirit, for healthy bodies, persuasive preaching, and protection. God answered each prayer. We were divinely protected during our nightly trips to our preaching locations from near car accidents, flat tires, windshield wipers not working in torrential rain, and cars dying in the middle of heavy traffic.
Each night a man named Jacob drove nine of us to our respective preaching sites. His last stop was to drop off Ivy, who is originally from the Philippines. Since he had to wait until Ivy finished to begin the return trip to pick up everyone, he decided to listen in the back row to Ivy preach that first night. Afterwards he told her the message was a blessing to him. By the third night, Jacob was sitting on the second row listening to Ivy. Jacob made a decision for baptism after Ivy made her first call. His only problem was getting married. All details were worked out, and he got married twice—once to Dominga, his wife, and once to Jesus Christ! Jacob’s mother hugged me on our last night there and shared how she had prayed over 20 years for this day. Now Jacob’s 15-year-old daughter and his wife are preparing for baptism. One mother’s prayers answered!
Another pastor’s wife, Wendy, had a similar experience as she watched a person in her audience struggle with making a decision for Jesus. Jesus won! Afterwards, his mother told Wendy, “My son now has two mothers. I am his physical mother, but you are his spiritual mother.” Another mother’s prayers answered!
One of our pastor’s wives on the trip, Daisy, had been born in the Dominican Republic. Her son Daniel also came with us when a spot opened up at the last minute. Daisy’s brother, Joaquin, left home and God at age 13 and sings professionally in the Dominican Republic. Daisy asked him to sing religious songs for her evangelistic series. He agreed but decided to sing at his nephew’s meeting the first night instead of his sister’s. Daniel’s interpreter couldn’t read the Bible texts in Spanish, so his Uncle Joaquin ended up being his interpreter. The third night Daniel spoke on the Sabbath. Afterwards Joaquin called his Mom in New York and said, “I get it. I get it. I’m going to be baptized.” When Daniel made his first call his uncle was the first to go forward. His conversion had a powerful impact on others. The third mother’s prayers answered!
On the last Sabbath I spoke on “Keys to Getting Your Prayers Answered.” I realized after arriving that I had forgotten my power cord. I asked my interpreter to have someone retrieve the 25-foot cord that I had left at the church the first night. A person looked, but couldn’t find it. We prayed and I told God I knew that He was all-powerful and that I didn’t need electrical power for people to hear about having more power with prayer. However, I also knew He could provide the cord. Shortly, the interpreter told me that the person returned to the exact place where they had looked for the cord, and the cord, was there. The prayer allowed their eyes to be opened. Needless to say, I opened with that story of answered prayer.
For the final night I purchased 100 pounds of rice and put them in one-pound bags to distribute as people left. The last sermon was “Heaven is a Real Place.” I told my church that as they left they were receiving temporary physical food, but I wanted them to cherish the spiritual food they had received that would bring them eternal life.
As a result of our ShareHim campaigns throughout the Dominican Republic, 167 people accepted the gift of eternal life and were baptized while we were there. Many others are studying in preparation for baptism now.
On Sunday morning before leaving we had worship on the beautiful Caribbean beach. Jim Stevens, Texico Conference president, told the story of the man who was born blind but now could see. Then Pastor McKey baptized Joaquin. Watching him begin his life anew with Jesus was the perfect ending to our trip. We each left with special memories, answered prayers, new friends, a greater bonding with each other and an even greater desire to Share Him even more!
North American Division