What God is Doing
As God was revealing to us His plan, I asked Him to confirm his plan by providing a vehicle for us. I was tempted to take matters into my own hands and even began looking at vehicles only for God to tell me to wait on Him. Two days later, a man from another state asked me, “What are you driving?” When I replied that I was driving my in-laws’ vehicle, he said, “I have a vehicle for you!” A week later we drove our 2007 Toyota Highlander back to Memphis, TN. We didn’t spend one penny, Praise His Holy Name!
When the Browns decided to join GEMS Ghana Mission, Josh Brown and I sat down with Pastor Hooker to decide on timing. We figured out the costs involved with sending the Brown family and decided we needed $10,000.00 to move ahead. We decided if we had the money about a month ahead of time, which would be by May, we would know that they should head to Ghana by the middle of June. Within a few short weeks, we had the entire amount. Praise the Lord for His provision and direction.
The supply is so frequent it is hard to keep track!!! Hallelujah!
Government paperwork, and security wire, an injector pump, and a water storage tank:
As we began the year two thousand seventeen, we had four pressing needs: Nearly a thousand dollars was needed for government paperwork to renew the Williams Family visas, a new (used) injector pump for the GEMS vehicle was needed at a cost of about three hundred dollars, security wire was needed to secure the Williams Family residence after they had moved from their old residence to make way for the new family. The security wire would cost almost another thousand dollars. Finally a water storage tank also needed at the new residence would cost about another five hundred dollars. All totaled about twenty eight hundred dollars was needed. Well, early on in the new year a check was received for three thousand dollars!
God's Provides for two families instead of one:
When the Goldsborough Family was added to the mission it was without any guarantee that the Mission would receive one more penny to help with all the extra costs. That is, no man guaranteed it. However, God had guaranteed that he would supply all the needs, and he did. For the four months the Goldsborough Family was with the mission God provided housing, food, clothing, government paperwork, appliances, etc. for everyone! What an awesome God!
Prayer Camp Provision
In October, Bro. Jay Goldsborough and I visited Paradise Resort (where a portion of the two previous Prayer Camps had been held). It had only been used for a portion of each Prayer Camp because of the cost, but I had always desired to host the conference entirely at Paradise Resort because of the quiet and peaceful atmosphere. As we began negotiations about the price I knew God would have to work a miracle, and He didn’t disappoint. The Resort manager started out with their low offer, then moved a little lower; still, it was way above the funds we had available. Then, out of the blue, the manager chopped the price nearly in half. Amazingly I still hesitated as I did not have this amount available. I told the manager that I would pray about it and get back with him. I told him I didn’t have the money, but if God was in it He would provide. Later as I prayed, God reminded me that if what happened was not normal that it was likely His handiwork. I called the manager a few days later and committed to a lot more money than I had believing God would provide. As Prayer Camp approached I told the manager that I hoped I would soon have money for a down payment. He responded by saying, “You told me God had to give you the money so I know He will”. My heart skipped a beat as I thought a prayer, “Oh, God you heard the man. For Thy Names Sake, Please”. The weeks went by and still no money came in. I was asked by someone conscious of the situation, “So, do you have a Plan B if the money doesn’t come, or do you just not let yourself think about it?”. I responded something to the effect of, “I can’t have a Plan B or else I would use it”. Approximately one week before Prayer Camp I was sent a message that enough money was being deposited in our GEMS account to pay for ALL of Prayer Camp! All our needs were cared for in fell swoop! Hallelujah! God Never Fails!!!
By Faith (Preparing for the arrival of the Goldsborough Family)
When the Goldsborough Family decided to join GEMS Ghana Mission we began to look for housing for them. We were not trying to be over aggressive as we wanted God to open doors and protect us with the shield of faith, but we did put out the word that we would need a house in the near future. We were quickly presented with two options and began to pray that God would make His will clear by giving us the amount of money necessary for whichever house he wanted as they were different prices. Well, we waited and waited, but the money never came. In the meantime, the Mission had accrued a little money from smaller donations, but nowhere near enough for a three year lease up front. Time was getting short and as usual we were getting nervous. Then it happened! The Landlord of one of the houses called and asked if I had received any money for rent. I told him that we had not. He responded by saying that we could just give him what we had to secure the lease and then we could pay the rest by fixing up the place as we could afford it. I have never heard of such a thing in Ghana! What a mighty God we serve! We are so thankful for God’s provision in this area.
In our last update we mentioned how God had helped us get a new house without paying the usual two years’ advance rent; How the Landlord took less than one year’s advance and agreed to let us use additional money to fix up the place and count it as rent. He agreed to put a new roof on the house and replace all the ceilings and we would take it from there. We were so excited, yet so daunted as there was so much to do. Anyway, after he finished the roof and ceilings we were ready to go forward as the Goldsborough’s arrival was only weeks away. I even went through all the process of calling men of different trades to come and give us estimates on various jobs, but God never sent extra money so we were a bit discouraged. However, God was using this to help us even more as the next week our Landlord called and said he was sending a mason to do all the cement work needed inside and outside. He also sent cement and provided cement blocks to help raise the height of the wall around the compound. This all was extra that he had not committed to nor was he expected to do. What an amazing God we serve!
List by Jay Goldsborough as described in second quarter update:
In Luke 8:25, Jesus asks His disciples a poignant question. “Where is your faith?” One of the simplest things in life is often the hardest to do. Simply believe Him and step out on the water. On May 31st of this year, my family sold or gave away most of what we owned, left our secular job, and asked the Lord to send us to Ghana. If you could only see what I have watched God do these past 60 days. • He gave us $4,000 dollars to fly to Ghana. He used gifts from churches and families, pastors and laymen, children with piggybanks, and a little old widow lady in a wheelchair. He used people we knew and those we didn’t. It was awesome and humbling. • He gave us thousands more for virus immunizations, passports, visas and a dozen other things. • He has brought us safely over 8,000 miles and through 22 states in the past 2 months. Our van was on life support and a Christian brother came to the rescue at his own expense. • We received pledges of financial support without asking for a dime and from people we had never met. • A man I had only met once offered to carry our household belongings to New Jersey at his own expense so that they could be put in barrels and shipped overseas. The list goes on...
In Wisconsin, we were interviewing a young lady who was interested in coming to Ghana to help my wife with our children and their schooling. During the interview, I was being frank with her and told her she would sometimes have to go without water, electricity, etc. Her Missions Pastor stopped me and asked why we didn’t have water sometimes. I explained how the city water is very unreliable and we have been days without flowing water in the house having to haul water from the village pump. To make a long story short, without our knowing, he went to his pastor and their church, and they surprised us one evening at church by announcing they had decided they would finance the digging of a well! We now have a well on our compound so that we have consistent water. Glory! As a bonus, these kind people told us to use the leftover money from the well to buy security wire for our compound. I guess God knew we needed it because in our absence my assistant was robbed in our compound before the wire was put up.
After having been in the U.S. for some months, we were growing anxious to return home to Ghana, but we wanted God to decide for us when to return instead of leaving it up to our own human planning. We began praying that the Lord would show us His timing and will, but as time went on and the finances for seven plane tickets wasn’t there, we began to grow a bit discouraged. Our annual Prayer Camp and Christmas Crusade were drawing closer and we began to realize that if God didn’t supply for us all then I would have to go back to Ghana alone for the month of December and wait for my family to follow later when the money for tickets was available. Around the last week of September, we began to pray that if God wanted our whole family to return before December He would provide the finances by October 15. We told no one of our need. On October 14, Brooke received a phone call from a family in NC. They wanted to pay for our whole family to return to Ghana! Brooke cried and cried after getting off the phone. What a phenomenal answer to our prayers!
A few weeks before we left, Brooke was looking into and pricing medical supplies we needed to take back with us to Ghana. I told her to give me the total amount for everything needed and we would just pray about it and see if the Lord would provide. She gave me a total of $1,284 and I about fainted. “All I can tell you is that I will pray hard”, I said. Amazingly, about a week later, we were given a check for $1,000.00! My wife was ecstatic that we could now get the majority of the needed supplies. Of course I was excited too, but as we prepared to begin ordering and purchasing the supplies, I kept feeling that the Lord wanted us to do something else with that money. The Lord kept bringing to mind a fellow laborer who had been praying for our ministry and the area we work in; I knew this person would love to come and visit our work in Ghana but would not have the finances to do so. I really felt burdened to bring this man over for our Prayer Camp and Christmas Crusade, but I didn’t want to say anything to my wife. How could I? She would be crushed! To my utmost surprise though, when I told my wife that this person had been sending me pictures of our area letting me know specifics he was praying for, she became very quiet then replied, “Why don’t we take the $1,000.00 and use it to bring him to Ghana for Prayer Camp and Christmas Crusade?. I can’t tell you how overjoyed I was! When I told her what I had been feeling already, we knew God was leading in this so we moved forward with it immediately. Of course Satan came and started making us feel like we were never going to be able to get the medical supplies we needed; but I kept encouraging my family, that if it was truly a need, God would not let it go unsupplied since we had given our money for His cause. Again, no one but the Lord knew the circumstances and needs. Was it a test from the Lord to see if we would give or be selfish…I don’t know, but, the very next church to which we travelled gave us well over DOUBLE of what we had given away! Then, a supporting church in Oregon sent word that they were going to send us $1,000.00 specifically for medical supplies! Wow! We were completely blown away! God is so good! Not only did all this happen, but my wife’s doctor bills (totaling $750.00) were taken care of before we ever paid a dime! To top it all off, the very last church that we visited, brought boxes of medical supplies for us to take to Ghana! Incredible! Our cup was full and running over.
We weren’t sure of our car situation going back because we had left our two old junkers to be sold in Ghana while we were on furlough. One had sold (amazingly) and the other hadn’t (not surprising)- it just was not hardly in usable condition. We really needed to upgrade to a better vehicle that would make the weekly hauls up and down the rugged roads in and out of the villages and our church. Just before leaving the U.S., someone donated $5,000.00 to meet any need once we got to Ghana. We were able to put that money together with the little money from the sale of our truck and purchase a much better vehicle. We now have a reliable vehicle to do our village work. Praise the Lord! Amazingly, we drove away with the 4x4 two days after arriving in Ghana. Unbelievable!
We have been using an ancient generator for almost three years. We are not complaining at all as God used a precious Ghanaian family to supply it upon our return in 2012, and it has been such a blessing to have; yet, we were to the point that it was having to be repaired frequently and we knew it just wouldn’t hold up much longer. We had talked about trying to save money to get a new one but really hadn’t given it a whole lot of thought. While on furlough, my father-in-law called us… the church he was preaching at had a generator and asked him if he thought we could use it. Could we use it!?! Absolutely!!! They told us we could ship it to Ghana or sell it and use the money to buy one there. I really wanted to ship it because it was good quality, but we just couldn’t afford to ship it so we decided to sell it. I was a little concerned that we wouldn’t be able to find as good of quality generator in Ghana, but it was all we could do and we were thankful to be able to upgrade in any sort of way. Right as we were getting ready to leave for Ghana, another church contacted my father-in-law …they had money for us to help with getting a generator. Wow! Honestly, though we sometimes looked at this as a need, we doubted whether God would consider this a need, but here He was supplying for it. Boy did we feel loved! We returned to Ghana and within just a couple of days the old generator died completely. God’s timing was impeccable! We had the joint moneys to get something else, so immediately I started looking. While on the bus travelling to Accra to pick up my brother-in-law, I decided to look on Ghana’s version of Craigslist. To my complete surprise, there was a very nice, quality generator listed. Our old generator could only run lights and fans, but this one would be able to run lights, fans, fridge, hot water heater, iron! I can’t tell you how elated I was when one week later I was on my way home with the new generator! No more losing our meat when the power goes out and no more having to boil water for baths and dishes…. Hallelujah!!!
These are just a few of the things God has done for us in recent days! He has also paid for our Christmas Crusade (approx. $1,000.00), Annual Prayer Camp (approx.$2,000.00), our re-entry visas ($600.00), our work permit ($300.00), Foreign I.D. cards ($480.00), residence permits ($475.00), and so much more. God is not just the God of the Bible miracles. He is the God of modern day miracles too…. I know…. He has proved it over and over! And we stand amazed!
- Our new baby was only a few weeks old and was having trouble breathing, it got to the point that I knew I needed to take him to the hospital but we were not sure where to take him. Also, Brooke was needing to have some follow up care from the birth. God reminded me that I had met a Dutch man a few weeks earlier at a store in Kumasi who told me his wife was a doctor. I remembered the town so we set out to search for the hospital and the Dutch doctor. We only saw one hospital and one clinic close together so I was going to go in them and inquire about the Dutch doctor. Right as we were pass the hospital to go to the clinic first the car coming towards us stopped and the window rolled down. To our amazement it was the same man that I had spoken to some weeks earlier. He asked me what I was doing there and I told him we had come to see his wife. He replied that his wife was not at work, but insisted that he go get her from the house. He brought her to the hospital and she treated both Brooke and Noah. When I went to pay the bill, I was told that there was no bill.
- A church sent us a special love offering which we were able to use to bring Brooke's mom to Ghana, so that she could help Brooke before, during, and after the delivery of Noah. This turned out to be a massive provision. Mom, was able to come for six weeks, and there is now way humanly speaking that we could have made the transition if not for her help!
- We were moving to our new house and had so many things we still needed for our new house. For example we needed a water tank for when the water doesn't flow(which is often), a bed for Brooke and I, Wardrobes to put our clothes in, etc. We also needed to pay for many months electric at the apartment we had stayed in as well as put a lot of money into our new office building to give us more space in our new house that didn't have enough room for an office space too. We received one check that stated it was designated for furnishing our new house, and another that said, "Michael and Brooke must have a big need because God told me to send this money to them". Yes, the two together were what we needed.
- We broke down on our way to church. We had neither money or credit on our phone to call for help. A man named Mr. Opoku who is a government official was riding with us. He called for help from a mechanic he knew. The mechanic came and fixed our car and only charged us for the part needed, but said we could pay for that later.
God has continued to stay true to His Word in answer to steps of faith that He has enabled us to take. However, we have been swamped for the last few months with all the transition, from Techiman, to our temporary home and office in Kumasi, and now to our new home and office. Therefore, we have gotten behind in letting everyone know what great things God has been doing, but we assure you He is still doing them. Let me give you one example: We have a house in Michigan which we have tried to sell, but up till now it hasn’t sold. Therefore, we are renting it in order to be able to pay for our mortgage. However, we had gotten behind on our land taxes as it seemed we just couldn’t get the money to care for them. We were notified, by my parents, that our land taxes were overdue and if we didn’t pay a large sum of money by the end of February we were going to have to pay an additional sum, and also risk losing our property. I told my parents that I didn’t have the money, and God would have to provide it if we were going to pay the taxes on time. A few days later we received a personal gift from a Church in Colorado that had never supported us or sent money to us before. Do you want to guess how much it was? Yes, it was about five dollars more than what we needed to pay the taxes, and before the deadline. WHAT AN AWESOME GOD WE SERVE!
- A church paid to have barrels shipped to us that contain necessary items for the birth of our fifth child. Clothes for Mom, baby, etc. Both barrels and contents were donated!
- We were waiting to receive our Residence Permits, when I received a call from our Ghana mission's secretary that the immigration official had called and said that there weren't enough pages in my wife's passport to put her residence permit in it. That meant we (the whole family) would have to go to Accra (the capital city) for my wife to get a passport renewal at the U.S. Embassy. We were so frustrated, because we should have had enough pages for the residence permit, but circumstances out of our control had caused us to need an extra extension that took up the last page. We were also frustrated because we knew it was going to be a long, costly trip for all of us to go to the capitol city (8 hrs. away) for several days. However, since we had to go, we decided to book an appointment with a thyroid specialist in Accra because Brooke was having health problems and her thyroid was becoming increasingly larger on one side with a palapable lump. We also scheduled a dentist appointment that was needed. The week before we left I knew we were going to be short on funds and the trip was going to take a lot of money! I prayed several times in my private prayer place telling God what I thought we would need for the trip including the doctor's and dentist’s appointments. I told God that the amount needed was more than double of what we normally received in a week and we needed some help. On Monday we left for Kumasi where we would stay overnight. We had enough money to get to Kumasi, but not enough for food that night, or to go to a scheduled dentist appointment the next day, and no money to get to Accra.On the way, my wife received a phone call from her friend who said she was making supper for us and it would be ready when we got there!- NEED PROVIDED!The next day I cancelled the dentist appointment because the money was not there so I assumed God didn't want it to happen. I then called our financial secretary in the U.S. to see what had come in. She told me she was on her way to the bank, and was going to deposit a certain amount of money. The amount she told me was just over what I had prayed for the week before! Double of any normal week! –NEED PROVIDED! It is so awesome to be under the watch care of the One who knows what we need today and down the road!
- We had almost reached Accra when I received another phone call and was told that the residence permit had already been put in Brooke's passport despite the fact that there was no blank page for it. We were wondering why God had allowed it all to happen thus far until we went to Brooke's thyroid specialist's appointment. After tests were run, we found that there were problems that needed to be addressed sooner than we expected. We realized God caused all the problems with her passport and residence permit so that we would go to see the thyroid specialist. What an awesome thing to live by faith in the One who is always faithful! He not only arranged our trip so that we would see a specialist we would never have gone to normally, but paid for it too!
- We travelled back to Kumasi where we again rested overnight. We had left our car there and taken a bus to Accra because it would not start at all and as it sat, two of the tires went flat and in the morning we realized they could not be repaired. We were suddenly faced with many repairs to the car that would have to be done if we were going to make it home… a new carburetor,a new distributor, and two new tires. I withdrew the last of our money to fix the car, buy fuel and food and soon we were on our way. We knew that when we reached home, we would need money for electricity, but we figured we would make do until God provided. As we were leaving Kumasi, I noticed twenty Ghana Cedis (about ten dollars) on my seat in the car. I picked up the money, wondering where it had come from and set it in the dash tray andpresently forgot about it. When we reached home our power was indeed out because our prepaid electric units had expired. I put in the reserve units knowing that it would not last us until we received more money from the U.S.I figured that when the reserve was used up, I would run the small generator we have until it ran out of fuel. Maybe it would last until we could buy more units I hoped. The next morning, I went out to my car to go to work and for some reason I opened the dash tray. There was the twenty cedis someone had put on our seat when we left Kumasi! I was so excited! I took the money and bought more electricity units on our pre-pay electric card. I was able to buy enough to last until more support was deposited! I went home and put the card in the meter to restore power. -NEED PROVIDED! God is so good! He sees us; He knows our needs; He cares for us!
- Brooke has asked God for a “real” piano since she gave hers away in 2006. We have made many moves to many places, but God never gave her one. We purchased a used one from a family member while in the U.S. in 2012, but again she gave it away when it was time for us to leave. She never felt that God “gave”it to her because we purchased it. After some time in Ghana, she finally decided that she would probably not get her “real” piano since there are very few in the country and they are very very difficult to find. Since 2006, she has said many times that she believed God would give her a piano when He had put us where He wanted us to stay . Yet for seven years, and through many moves God never “gave” her a “real” piano. This was a very important thing to her as music is a very soothing outlet as well as a ministry tool for her. On September 17th, 2013, a friend of ours from another city asked us to come to his house when we were in that city. We went and he asked us to come into his house for he had something to show us.We had no idea what it would be… He told my wife that they were leaving to go back to the U.S. and that his daughter wanted to give Brooke her piano. My wife broke out into tears! After seven years of waiting and wondering, God gave her a “real” piano affirming not only his love and care for her, but also His will for us!
- For 8 months now we have been trying to save enough money each month to ship the rest of our belongings that have been waiting stateside packed away in barrels. Every month would come and go and the extra funds were just not there so wewould set it aside,wait and hope… “Maybe next month?” On Wednesday, September 26, Brooke’s father called us and told us our barrels were being shipped and all the cost had been cared for 100%. We were astonished as this was not a small sum.It came as such a surprise and we were so excited! We were given no details only that someone loved us very much. Wow! We serve a wonderful God! He not only has cared for our needs but to a great extent our wants as well. We could have “survived” without these things from home but God granted that we should have them and someone was willing to be the channel for this wonderful wonderful blessing!
- We were in Kumasi for a Pastor's Conference, and needed to stay a few extra days to take Brett to the dentist. Driving back from the dentist I ran out of gas! Funds were not exhausted, but low and so reluctantly and with some frustration, I flagged down the first taxi that came by. I recognized the man as someone who came to our church in Kumasi when I had pastored there years before. He cheerfully drove me to the gas station, where I bought a couple dollars of gas, and then drove me back to my car. When I tried to pay him the fare he refused payment saying, "Pastor, I would have paid for your gas if I could have so this is the least I can do!"
- On this same trip my car ended up at the mechanics and while waiting for the repairs to be made, I decided to take a taxi to the bank to get the money owed the mechanic. I flagged a taxi, and once again it was a man, different from the first, that I had pastored in previous years. The trip to the bank was a lengthy distance and would normally run a fairly high taxi fare. Once again, when I went to pay the man he refused to let me pay! It amazed me that both times the first taxi that came to pick me up was a former church member and both times God took care of the bill!
- The morning we were going to leave Kumasi, the car wouldn't start. After spending some time messing with it I was able to get it running and took it back to the mechanic. The problem was totally different than any previous problems the mechanic had dealt with. After some time he found the problem, spent about 30-40 minutes fixing it and then when I tried to pay him he refused to accept anything. I told him I needed to do something for him for his help. He said, "What I need you to do for me is pray”. This man is a muslim- Isn’t it wonderful how God works through and in the hearts of men!
- In June-July we saw our largest increase of support in many years. It was the month that I spent many days traveling back and for the Kumasi for various reasons. None of these trips could be avoided and of course it costs to travel. God saw fit that every need was met, and every trip was paid for. We finished the car purchasing process with virtually nothing left, but we had enough!
- Probably one of the most precious provisions to me in these two months was the time I had to get my newly purchased car fixed in Kumasi. Funds were running low, but I had to get the car fixed. The mechanic shop was by a friend that I Pastored while in Kumasi. The friend went and bought me lunch and refused to let me pay. How humbling! Later, I left the car and did some other things while waiting for it to be fixed. When I was informed it was finished I flagged down a taxi to go pick up my car. The taxi driver asked if I remembered him. He was one of the boys that was in the youth group when I was pastoring in Kumasi. When we reached our destination he refused to take money for the taxi ride. Once again I was humbled, but thanked God for his provision!
- The two months of June and July brought this verse to my mind so many times.
Proverbs 30:8-9 Remove far from me vanity and lies: give me neither poverty nor riches; feed me with food convenient for me: (9) Lest I be full, and deny thee, and say, Who is the LORD? or lest I be poor, and steal, and take the name of my God in vain. We Christians seem to want to always be full. Yet, we see from proverbs that that is not necessarily wise. I believe living by faith is the answer. When you live by faith you will never be full, but you will not have a need to steal either because your needs are always met!
- We had thought that the $650.00 donated was to purchase the vehicle. But before we could purchase the vehicle the money was needed for other ministry needs. We had already gone ahead with the plan to purchase the vehicle, and the man had already begun the paperwork. However, we needed $600.00 dollars for work permits, plus we needed several hundred dollars for other various needs. We decided since God had caused us to go forward with the vehicle that he would have to replace the money that we needed for the vehicle since we had to go ahead with the work permits. That day we received a phone call that someone was sending us a check for $1000.00 dollars. We were ecstatic!
- God having replaced the money needed for the car, we waited for the paperwork to be finished so we could give the man the money. However, it was taking considerable time. Once again some specific needs came up that could not be delayed. Once again the money saved for the car had to be delved into(note that at no point was money used that had been designated by givers for a car). I told my assistant that God knows what we need when we need it ans since he gave us the sign to go ahead with the car, we will just have to trust that He will send the money when we need it. That very day I received another phone call that a man who had never supported us was sending us a check for $1000.00. We were overwhelmed at the foresight, provision, and faithfulness of God who gives us the supply to accomplish what he sent us to do!
- We received word that a man wants to rent our house starting in June. This is a huge burden lifted. It is like having a dozen churches take you on for support, but once again God didn't raise our support level he just lowered our expenses.
- A man who was without power called and asked if we had a generator for when our power is out. When he was informed that we did not, he said, he had a generator that we could have so that we would be able to rest well even when the power is off.
- We were in need of a car, but hadn't saved enough money to buy a car that was decent enough to be dependable. We had been renting a car, but needed to return it to the owner. I told the owner when I would return it. I then told him and my family that God would have to provide a car for us by the time we returned the rental car. As time approached we had more money saved, and found an amazing deal, but were between $500-$600 dollars short(depending on the exchange rate). The man was very kind and even offered to let us give him what we had and pay him the rest later. I informed him that it was the policy of GEMS not to borrow money as God promises to supply all our needs, and therefore if we didn't have the money he either had something else for us or would supply the money. Less than one week later, on the day that I was to return the rental car I received an email from an individual that informed me he was sending me $650.00. GOD IS FAITHFUL
Our motorhome finally sold in the U.S. I was amazed that it had not sold before we left as I had many people call about it. However, God knew when we needed the money. After realizing we needed to set up our mission (GEMS) sooner than we thought, we started the process; but discovered that it would cost us several thousand dollars. Yet, because our motor home had just sold we are able to use this money. God's timing is perfect.
- Housing and health issues concern most any “would-be” missionary and for good reason. It can be quite daunting to find a suitable, safe home for a decent price. Often, if the home is nice to live in then it can’t be afforded, for here in Ghana, rent must be paid in full, in advance, for a two to three year period, making renting a little difficult when you are faced with several thousand dollars needed immediately to rent a house. Then you also have the problem of needing furnishings for your home, which, once again, is no small amount of money. Even just basics such as a refrigerator, stove, tables and chairs, living room furniture, beds, mattresses, washer, dryer, etc., can add up quickly when all needed at once, and it can also take a long time to furnish the home because everything here is “homemade” in the little shops around you, so it can take weeks or even months to have furniture made. Anyway, because of the cost and time involved it can take quite a while to furnish a house upon arriving. I tell you all this so you will understand a little better our excitement over what God has provided for us.
We have been able to move into a fully furnished home & pay monthly! - completely unheard of in Ghana—but God can do anything. Having slept on the floor, eaten sitting around a box for a table, my wife having washed clothes by hand in the past after a move all we can say is, God is so good!
We found that we needed round trip tickets to fly to Ghana instead of one-way. The reason was that we would not be allowed in without a return ticket. However, we were told we could get refundable tickets and cancel the return trip once we were in Ghana. The problem was that we had saved $5000.00 for tickets but the refundable round trip tickets were $7100.00. We didn't have the money we needed for this. However, when I mentioned the problem to my pastor he informed me that the week before $2000.00 was given to help us move to Ghana.
After arriving in Ghana we needed to fly from the Capital (Accra) to another city that was close to our destination. When we were traveling my wife met three ladies from the U.S. who were doing some short term teaching in Ghana. After we arrived at our destination one lady came to my wife and gave her $100.00 U.S. dollars. When my wife tried to refuse the lady said, "It is not from me it is from God."
On our way to a later meeting, we stopped at a gas station and our motorhome would not start. I , with the help of a good Samaritan, tried for over an hour to start it. Since it was now late at night and we still had a ways to go to our next meeting, I had to call the pastor and cancel. It was not too long after I called and cancelled that I again tried to start the engine. It fired right up! First I was frustrated but then as I sat for a little while and calmed down, I thought “Maybe God had caused the problem to happen when it did and where it did for a reason that we can’t see”. So, I turned the motorhome around and went in the opposite direction toward the next meeting on our schedule. I chugged down the road for a few more hours and finally stopped at Wal-Mart (where we spent the night because it wouldn’t go any farther). The next morning, while on the phone with my mechanic friend, it started again. I thought the problem was solved but when we stopped at a rest area several hours further down the road it wouldn’t start again. I called my mechanic friend back, he remembered his boss was at that exact time driving down the same highway that we were stranded on and should be passing our location any time! He quickly said goodbye and called his boss. Soon his boss called me and we talked through the problem... a bad starter. His boss “happened” to be go-ing by a warehouse that he could stop at and get parts. In literally a few minutes, he brought the part, told me what I needed to do and we were soon ready to go to our next meeting! Wow! God’s timing was perfect!
- To continue with our motorhome story: After returning from Texas, I went to pick up our motorhome at which time I was told that there was no cost for the repairs because someone in the church had taken care of the repairs. Praise the Lord! When I got into the motorhome I was again surprised when I found that the church people had put gas in it, cleaned it spotless and left us a gift card for Wal-Mart. Wow! What an awesome God we serve and how wonder-ful it is that God’s people are so willing and ready to serve Him!
- We were almost finished travelling with one long two week trip from Michigan to Texas and back left to make. We were praying... should we all go in the motorhome or should I drop my family off and fly? The answer came when our fuel pump in the motorhome went on our way to Texas. This time I wasn’t frustrated, I knew God was answer-ing our prayers, but how would it all turn-out?!? We were a couple of hours from my in-laws; Dad Hooker came and picked us up and we left the mo-torhome to be fixed by some very kind people at the Harvest Baptist Church in Hunsonville, MI. We were still praying when we were contacted by a mission-ary agency that rents cars to missionaries. He had found out that we needed a car and that I needed to go to Texas. Amazingly, he had a car in Texas, very near where my meetings were located, that he needed picked up and brought back to his home base. To make a long story short... He paid my airfare to Texas; I picked up the car and was able to use it there for two weeks to finish up my meetings; I then took it to the home base and dropped it off. Again, God had worked out all the details.
- Grant our ten year old son also had a special blessing. He had been saving his money for a knife he wanted to take to Africa. We were at Wal-Mart and he was looking at the knife and counting his money to see if he had enough. I was down the aisle and heard a man asking him why he wanted the knife. Grant said he wanted the knife to take to Africa, to this the man became quite interested and began to ask Grant questions. After a little while he left and Grant finished counting his money. He was just short a dollar or two including tax. He had just finished counting when the man returned and asked Grant how much money he had. When Grant told him the amount he and the man realized Grant was short, he handed Grant five dollars and said, “Add this to what you have”. Grant’s mouth dropped open, he thanked the man then turned in excitement to show me. Wow, how sweet it is when God gives us our desires, and how special it is, not only for me to see Him love my child in such a way as this, but for my child to see it also!
- While in Texas I went through some hospital bills we had remaining. I did not have the lump sum needed to finish-paying the bills before leaving for Africa in January. The total was $1061.00. I talked to my wife on the phone and told her I was asking God for help. After hanging up, I spread the bills on the table in my room and told God they were his bills since I was his servant. Within a few days I received a phone call from our financial secretary. We had received a check from an individual for $1,500.00. Praise the Lord! There’s no better employer than our God!
- We have been praying that the Lord would provide a house for us as soon as or before we arrived in Ghana. Finding housing usually is not an easy task to undertake and I wanted to be able to have something for my family to move right into if it were the Lord’s will. PRAYER ANSWERED! - Not only has the Lord provided a house, but funds have been donated to assist us in our move. When one rents a house in Ghana, the full amount for one year is re-quired up-front. This seemed like a huge hurdle to me, but once again God showed that with Him, NOTHING is IMPOSSIBLE!!
- On our way to church I looked at our gas tank and reminded God that we had only about thirty dollars in our account and we needed a tank of gas that costs around eighty. At church a man came up to me shook my hand and gave me a one hundred dollar bill. Wow!
We stayed at an RV park in Topeka, KS. After paying for our site we are down to $8.00. We need to do laundry and get to our next meeting. We ask the Lord to supply our needs. Next morning as we are ready to leave, a man comes and begins talking and asking questions; He leaves, comes back a few minutes later, and hands us $100.00. The toilet in our Rv’s bathroom had sprung a leak. After several tries I was able to find the source and fix the leak; however, we were left with water damage in the floor. At the very next meeting, after this problem occurred, a man came and said he did work on motorhomes and asked if we needed any thing done. I mentioned I could use some advice on how to go about fixing the floor and he said that instead, he would fix it himself. To make the story brief, he fixed our floor, it now looks better than the original, and while it was being fixed, he arranged for us to have a vehicle to travel in to our next meeting. (cost = $0.00)
August & September 2012
- Upon finding someone who would trade us our car for a motor home, we went to wash our car before the trade. The owner of the carwash comes out, punches in his pass code, says,” Merry Christmas”....Free car wash!
- We go to insure our motor home, our insurance agent gives us a check for one hundred dollars and asks about supporting our work. How often does that happen?!
- Order food at Taco Bell, tell them who we are and what we are doing.... Receive free drinks and twisty curls.
- Find five dollars on ground at Wal-mart...Coincidence? - I choose not to think so.
- Receive email to call pastor about missions conference
- Owner of Blimpie Sub Shop gives us free subs.
- After visiting ER room, the hospital tells me they will set up an appointment with their special disease doctor. Where do you think she is from? Ghana!...She doesn’t charge me a penny AND my bill from the ER is completely cared for. God is so good!!
- Pray for $5,400.00 for plane tickets if God wants us to go to Ghana in January.
- Man donates $5,000.00 to GEMS (majority of what is needed for plane tickets to Ghana).
- A friend helps me schedule seven missions conferences.
- Meet a pastor that tells me to pray that his church will increase faith promise because all the increase will go to GEMS.
- Individual sends $2,500.00. Now have enough for tickets to Ghana for family. Supporting pastor sends email that his church has taken up a special offering $693.00
- Preach Missions Conference in small church. Receive largest love offering ever $2,350.00. Answer to specific prayers.
- Have to go to hospital for Brooke to have baby. On the wayb use a visa gift card because funds are low. Amount for food exactly matches what is on the card. (Praise the Lord)
- After putting gas in car and taking mom to get something to eat for lunch, no money left. Still have two days to go before payday. Get free meal coupon from hospital decide to use it next morning and skip supper. Someone coming to visit calls and asks me what I want to eat for supper. GOD IS OMNISCIENT Individual donates $4,000.00 to GEMS. GOD OWNS THE WEALTH OF EVERY MINE. (perfect timing to take care of many needs)
- Trip to Ghana with James Handrich shows God is still at work for us in Ghana.
- a. Meet Bro. Volante (He invites us to work with him for a time.)
- b. Miraculous meeting with Mutari Mutawakil (chief’s aide) in Tamale.
- Return home from Ghana and start Missions Conference at home church. Meet Pastor who invites me to his church.
- During the three week trip God takes care of every need. At the end of the month we don’t have money, but were given gift cards at the conference which sees us through (Awesome providence of God) Visit a supporting church where pastor tells people they need to be more involved in our ministry.
- Pastor invites us to a mission’s conference putting us back on the road.
- Dr. Cox calls and offers help with GEMS.
- Pastor sends word to call him about my work.
- Bro. Jurva calls asking me to come to Missions Conference in October 2011. At missions conference God shows me he is directing back to Ghana by three specific signs.
- I tell God if he wants me to go back to Ghana to have my pastor o.k. it. I talk to pastor and tell him I believe I am supposed to return to Ghana and he says, “I could have told you that a long time ago.”
- After leaving pastor's office I ask God to reconfirm once again that Ghana is where he wants me. When I get home a DVD (made in Ghana of the work there) falls from the closet as I pull out a sweater. Don’t know where it came from or why it was there, but to me it is a confirmation from God.