My life is forever changed
Wednesday, March 14, 2007
Dear Pastors Rodney and Adonica,
As Ryan and I prepare to launch out into ministry, I wanted you to know how much revival, RBI, RMI, and The River means to me and has changed me. This is my shortened overall testimony of how you both have changed my life through your ministry. As you go back to Humble, Texas for the Great Awakening Tour, I realized I was a life that was changed when you first went there back in the early part of 1997.
I went to my first revival meetings back in 1997 when you came to the Houston area. I remember you said that God told you to light fires all around Houston in different churches. I came to the last two nights of the second Houston area church you went to (in Humble). I was so changed and hungry for more that I followed you to every church you went to in the area after that. I believe you went to seven churches total. When I first walked into that first meeting, I felt the presence of God stronger than I have in my entire life. Saved at the age of four, I've been raised up in Pentecostal, charismatic churches. I thought I had seen it all. In those first meetings of yours I was in, I couldn't understand why people were laughing. I thought, "Why don't they just stop?" I thought they were being rude when you began preaching and they were still laughing. I didn't laugh, but I did cry - uncontrollably. I couldn't stop. Every meeting I went to, I cried deeper and harder than ever. I needed to.
In 1996, just previous to this, I went the whole year without truly laughing. I had bottled up "compounded grief" they called it. You see, the year started out with my stepfather of twenty years (who totally raised me) revealing he had been having an affair for a year and wanted a divorce from my mother. The same week my unmarried younger sister revealed she was pregnant. Then a week later my paternal grandfather died and I was asked to sing in his funeral. Then a few weeks later two of my students died in a tragic car accident - I also worked with and was a friend to their mother. I also sang in their funeral. Shortly after this, my stepfather's family who was the only family I knew growing up didn't want anything else to do with me. My best friend who had just expressed her support "through thick and thin" decided she couldn't handle what all was happening to me and dumped me. I was on the worship team for three and a half years serving faithfully when during this time, the new worship leader called me up and said I was no longer wanted. They didn't have the guts to even tell me to my face. I gave up my entire summer break from teaching to work, running and liquidating my mother's retail business so she could meet with lawyers. Then my paternal grandmother died - and I again was asked to sing in her funeral. I had to move both my mother and then my sister. Both were emotional wrecks. By then it was the end of 1996, and I started feeling the impact of what all I had been through. My life had been completely turned upside down by others and circumstances. My job, church, family, friends were all rocked by tragedy. I was bitter and hurting even though I put up a strong front for everyone. So before I was able to receive the joy, I needed to grieve and cry and be cleansed.
I was so hungry for more. I drove from Houston all the way to Tampa for Summer Campmeeting in 1997. When I came, I still needed more emotional healing. I also was a controlling, obsessive-compulsive, perfectionist who constantly worried about everything. I desperately wanted God's will for my life, and had no idea how to go about it. From the time I was a little girl, I knew I wanted to be in the ministry. As I grew older and saw what religion did to women and the box they put them in, I put this calling on my life on hold. I didn't want to just be the pretty wife sitting on the front row or playing the piano, while my husband did everything. And I didn't feel called to live on the foreign field for 15 years. One of the most liberating aspects of revival for me at the beginning was to see how honored women were in your ministry and how you Pastor Adonica let God use you and speak through you. Even though you were pretty and supportive of your husband, you were still used by God too. I began seeing how God might be able to use me.
During Campmeeting when you laid hands on everyone, I ended up in the side gym of the Sun Dome. After you laid hands on me this first time, I was stuck to the floor for three and a half hours. I had no idea what God was doing, but I knew it was God. I kept trying to get up but even my fingers were supernaturally glued down. I could move my head back and forth and that was it. Several people tried to get me up when it came time to clean the gym. They all gave up. So did my friends. Only one other man and I were left. So they swept around us! I finally was able to get up and peeled myself off the floor. I didn't understand it all, but I was radically changed from that moment on. Every service after that, wherever I was - the Holy Spirit stuck me to my seat. I couldn't move for hours during each service. People had to jump over me to get by. Every night I had to literally crawl to the parking lot with help from friends. By the end of Campmeeting, I knew I was called to come back and go to RBI. I had taken several seminary classes at night in Houston already. I was under contract to teach for the following year and had unfinished business with my family. So I knew I wouldn't make it for the charter year but start August of 1998, which I did.
In the first year of RBI, basically God took away everything I "thought I knew", and built a foundation of the word and spirit in my life. I learned how to live by faith, not by my own strengths and abilities - which was very hard for me. I also learned how to "Be still and know God" and hear and listen to His voice. In my second year of RBI, God built on the foundations he laid in me the previous year. I learned how to lead someone to the Lord. This was a relief for me. I had witnessed to people my whole life but never knew how to "close the deal". I was one of the ones who moved to New York for 6 1/2 weeks during Good News New York. I won 250+ people (lost track after 250) to the Lord personally and was radically changed. I had some of the biggest attacks on my life from the enemy before, during, and after this time. I came back for a third year and at the beginning of it, married Ryan. Before we started it, we came to Good News Shreveport for 2 1/2 weeks, just two weeks before we were to get married. I had no money to pay for the wedding. I heard God say, "Your provision is in the fish's mouth- Go fishing!" So we went to Shreveport and together as a team won 250 people to the Lord. When we got back I supernaturally received over $5,000.00 for the wedding. Ryan received around $3,000.00 and a two-week honeymoon cruise to Alaska- completely paid for! We started RBI in 1998 at the same time, and finished it together. Third year seeded in us more vision for the future ministry God had for us individually and together. We knew we were called to pastor a church together and go to the nations for a few weeks at a time, doing revival meetings and training and teaching others on revival. Asia is on both of our hearts, with a real burden for China.
Since graduation from RBI, we've been letting God do a further work in us. Ryan and I had different experiences of living by faith, and believing God for finances. God has been allowing circumstances in our lives to get us "on the same page" and strengthen us individually and in our marriage. We've been to the edge of foreclosure and bankruptcy and back. We've gotten in major debt and out of it about four times. We've grown through raising a strong willed child, having two more children, being laid off two times, struggles with family members and getting through two potential lawsuits against us. We've faced the attacks on us by the enemy to get us to quit and give up the call - before we even got started. We are truly stronger personally, stronger in our marriage, with our family established, and will be going into the ministry with our credit restored and debt free! We have wondered what others have thought about us these 4 1/2 years that we have been out of RBI not being in full-time ministry yet, but we know where we've been and what God is preparing us for! We have stayed plugged in at the River, serving wherever God wanted us, and have kept ourselves stirred up in fire and faith! We continue to let God have His way in us and do whatever He wants us to do.
Thank you so much for coming to Humble, Texas (and the Houston area) all those years ago. My life is forever changed. God intervened and used you to bring revival to my heart, life, and spirit. I will never be the same. I can never go back. You have been true spiritual parents, teachers, pastors, examples, revivalists, and mentors to me. I hope to "go and do likewise" and make you both proud! You have truly duplicated yourself in me.
As Ryan and I get ready to head to Flagstaff, Arizona to start a church - it's like you said, "Come back in a few years and you will see a church, Bible school and revival flowing!" As we wait for our house to sell, we are doing everything God is showing us to get ready! I just wanted you to know my testimony of how you brought revival to me personally, and to say thank you!