August 10, 2006

In the summer of 1995, I attended Peniel Holiness Camp in Pennsylvania just like I did every summer prior since I was 3. My brother, Tommy left a short message about this camp on the website dated July 23,2006. Camp has held special memories and meaning for everyone in my family, and many other families as well. This particular summer, I went to the missionary service on the last Thursday of the week.  I have always been drawn to missions, ever since I can remember. I loved to hear about these ordinary people going to places I hadn't even heard of, and seeing the slideshows of all of the people they had grown to love and witness to. Kato Boldon was the missionary speaker that day, speaking on the American Indian Field. I had met him the summer prior at camp when he was a counselor. I remember the song by Al Denson playing, "Will you be the one?". I went to an Al Denson concert a few years prior to this day and I remember standing up and singing the words at that concert as the song was played. I gave my life to Jesus at a very young age, and my parents did a wonderful job raising us in a good church. I want to post the lyrics to this song for you all to read.

Be The One

At the end of the missionary service that day at camp, there was an altar call. I know that sometimes, young people especially, can get caught up in the emotion in services like that, where they go up to the altar because their friends go up. Not that their intentions are not good, but life decisions were not always made and carried out as a result. I went up to the altar that day and I told God that I wanted to take His light into a world that needed to hear how much He loves them. As I said, my brothers and I were raised in church. We went every Sunday morning, Sunday night, and Wednesday night. The comedian Mark Lowry once said in a show he performed that anytime the doors at church were open, they were there. Our family was the same way. My dad used to lead the worship portion of the church service at Frost Road Chapel, and I used to stand on a folding chair right there next to him behind the pulpit and sing away. We had a very Christ centered home and parents that love each other. We were a middle class family, but I consider us to have been rich in nonmaterial things we had.. the values that were instilled in us. I knew God loved me, and I gave my life to him when I was very young. That being said, I knew I wanted to share what God had done for me, but I did not feel like I had a testimony that people could relate to; That people who were in need could talk to me and feel like I understood where they were coming from. I was never addicted to alcohol or drugs or gambling, etc. to say that God had freed me from these things. I prayed for God to give me a testimony that people would truly see what God has done for me, and how much He loves us and takes care of us. At all the missionary services I had been to, they would always say, "you don't have to go away to Africa to be a missionary. You can be one right there at home, or work, or school. You can be a missionary to your neighbors and friends." For me personally, at the time, I felt like this was a cop out. I felt like in order for me to be really dedicated and committed, I needed to go far away and live with no running water and no electricity, just like those missionaries who would come to our church. Since that day in 1995, I kept waiting for God's call to a specific place in the mission field. I was willing to accept where ever He wanted me to go. When I graduated high school, it was time for me to start making the decisions about what I would do for the rest of my life. I struggled with it because I felt like I wasn't in the place I needed to be, or doing what I was called to do. Still, I continued to pray for a testimony. I had no idea what God had planned!

When I found out that Jeff had cancer that summer in 2004, I was very confused. None of us had ever been sick, no broken bones, nothing. I have honestly never been mad at God through this, He has given me the peace of knowing that sickness does not come from Him, so my anger would be directed in the wrong place if it was at Him. I felt helpless at the time.. what could I do for Jeff that would make any sort of difference? It was very hard to absorb and deal with. It has been amazing to see Jeff's attitude through his battle. He has been calm and at peace with God. He continued to work, to run, to sing at church... all of the things he loved doing. When Tommy wrote that Jeff has been a role model for all of us, he really and truly has been. When I was diagnosed with cancer the following year, I really felt like God was finally extending His call to me 10 years later. I would never wish cancer on anyone, but I am so thankful that I had Jeff there to know how I felt. I would call him whenever I got good results, and we would encourage each other. Kaylee, Josh, and Nathan would pray for me every night (and they would pray for my hair to grow back!). I could not think of a better person to look up to during this time. I tell people all the time that  if I had it to do over again, I wouldn't change my situation. God has given me a great testimony. I now have proof that other people can see, that when I was sick, God healed me. While I was going through my treatments, I felt like God was calling me to write a book about my experiences. One night in particular, it was really on my mind. I prayed about it, and God gave me Psalm 102:18 "Let this be written for a future generation, that a people not yet created may praise the Lord." I felt like God was confirming that I needed to get my story out there, and give Him the glory for what He has been doing for me. When this website became available again, I thought, what better way to let people know? I am so thankful for the volume of people that check this site, and continue to lift our family up in prayer. I am confident that God can see the bigger picture of our family and that He is in control of everyday.

We see Jeff on a daily basis, so we see how God is moving. I just have to tell you all that Jeff's faith and love for God is unlike anything I have ever seen in my life. A few nights ago, my dad prayed with all of us in Jeff's room before we went home for the night. Afterwards, Jeff asked to add something. He began singing: "Thank you, Oh my father, for giving us your Son, and leaving Your spirit here till your work on earth is done". My dad thanked Him for the love he has, and Jeff stated that he doesn't know it any other way. On our drive home, my husband commented on how much faith Jeff has. It is hard for me to express how much I feel God's hand on Jeff in words that I think people would really understand. Jeff encourages us daily . He smiles more than I ever remember him smiling before. He is an incredible witness to his doctors, nurses, the other residents and families, and to all of us. We never know what God has planned for us. When I was 14, I promised to go through whatever God wanted me to. I know Jeff has done the same at some point in his life, and God has given him a calm and gentle spirit as he fights this. I am not saying that you will have the same situations occur if you agree to follow Him. I am just saying that He will bless all of our situations if we will let Him. I want to leave you with one more song by Avalon. This came on WCRF the other day that I was visiting Jeff.

If My People Pray


Click here to go back to my updates