Amazing! This one word describes Taza and Cathy’s story. It all began in Taza’s youth. Raised in a dysfunctional home by an alcoholic mother, Taza knew only that lifestyle. His older half-brother, Wayne, was rescued from the home, raised by his grandmother and influenced by his godly Aunt Ruth. Because of the trauma of his youth, Wayne did not wish to associate in any way with “those people”, including Taza and Cathy. God has a way of using traumatic experiences to draw people to Himself and such is the case with Taza, Cathy and Wayne.
Taza writes, “I stopped drinking after 22 years of that lifestyle. My wife had threatened to leave me.” But Cathy was still spiraling down, and a year after Taza quit drinking he helped Cathy find help with her addictions. “Not long after committing her I was out fishing for lobster (pronounced in our hearing “lobstah”). It was very rough out that day. I was by myself and began to think about how our lives were going. Pretty soon I felt the urge to pray and tell Him all my problems. I asked for help. I told him I was ready to turn my life over to Him. I told Him that if He could help my wife get better, I would start attending church.”
Cathy writes, “I was 40 years old before I began to put my life together. After years of struggling with alcoholism, drug addiction, bulimia and anorexia I finally sobered up and regained my health. I started reading self-help books, and while they satisfied me temporarily, I couldn’t shake the feeling that there was still something missing. One day, out of the blue, I told my daughter, “I want to read the Bible.” Cathy’s daughter, returning from a basketball trip, handed Cathy a Gideon Bible she had “stolen” from the motel. Cathy attempted to read it but got discouraged. Taza writes, “She started reading in Genesis. It made no sense. I knew bits and pieces because my aunt had always written Scripture on my birthday cards.”
A few months later, after 20+ years of separation, Taza and Cathy reconnected with Wayne – a Christian. Wayne told Cathy to begin reading the book of John, and he invited them to visit his family in New Hampshire and attend church, Heritage Baptist with Pastor Matt Fagan in Windham. “I (Cathy) had never been to church in my life but with an extreme desire to understand the Bible better and to get to know Wayne and his family, we accepted. The pastor (Matt) was preaching from the Gospel of John. That book just came to life for me. We left New Hampshire that day knowing we wanted church to be part of our lives from then on. That was December 11, 2011. We continued our relationship with Wayne and expressed to him that we wanted to be baptized. That weekend he came to Maine to visit us. Before church Wayne held a short devotional in our home, explaining to use how and when he accepted Jesus as his Savior. I couldn’t hold in my emotions – “Why can’t see this website we say that prayer right now in our living room? The look on Wayne’s face said it all! On Feb. 12, 2012 I accepted the Lord Jesus as my personal Savior. Since that day I have never looked back. My relationship with God is the most valuable, rewarding trusting relationship I’ve ever had.” Both Taza and Cathy were saved that beautiful February day, sitting in the home of Wayne – a godly gospel witness despite the pain of his early years.
Shortly after Cathy’s conversion, her pastor’s wife in VinylHaven Maine invited her to do The Exchange. Cathy invited her daughter. Cathy writes of the Bible study, “You opened up doors for me that I never even knew existed. You created a path that my daughter was willing to explore and because of your obedience to scripture coupled with your hearts desire to see lost souls saved, my daughter gave her life to the Lord.” God used Living the Exchange to help Cathy grow, and since that time four short years ago, Cathy has led many friends to Christ using The Exchange Bible study.
In keeping with the “Amazing” theme of this story, we were blessed to train Taza and Cathy in our recent Exchange seminar at Heritage in Windham, NH. Perhaps God will open the door for us to train in Vinylhaven, a tiny Island in Maine in great need of Gospel laborers!
God can do anything! Enjoy this amazing story from Lydia in New Zealand.
“I met a young man at church who was visiting from LA. He is traveling around NZ as a Wofer (working on farms for board and food). I said hello and began conversation before church began, and it quickly became serious as we discussed the crystals he was holding. I eventually had to go play piano, but he came over to resume our conversation right after church. I really had felt God telling me to take him through the GPS, so I did, and we spent over an hour discussing full dependence on God. You see, when we were going through God’s judgment, he pointed to the verse that talks about the sins and said, “Oh, that’s me! I am a sorcerer!” I was a bit taken aback! He said it was how he found God, how he felt close to God. I kindly assured him that while his intentions were very good, Satan comes as an angel of light wanting to be served as a god, and he had been deceived. By the end of the GPS, he insisted that he wanted to pray, and I prayed as well (on my knees with fear and trembling for his soul!) He was very emotional and sincere, willingly giving me his precious crystals. He apparently gave up more crystals when he got back to where he was staying as well. Sorcery was his livelihood, but he now knows the truth. He has chosen so far not to get back in touch with me, but I am still praying diligently for him as the devil will be fighting hard to get him back into sin. Please add him to your prayer list as only God knows the heart, but God also has more power and can use Michael in a mighty way if he is allowed. God has given me a peace regarding this young man, and I am so thankful that he was brought to our church to hear the truth. I also gave him a Bible and the Exchange Bible study so he could have a review of what we had discussed as well. To God be all glory and victory, let us pray for this young man! Thank you!”
You’ll love this simple story from one of our wonderful partnering ministries, Northwest Valley Baptist Church in Glendale, Arizona. Joanne’s friend is now and forever redeemed and all because Joanne shared her faith with her friend. How about your friends? Have they heard the Good News?
Pastor Kevin writes,
“Just this last week, Juiling on the left (pronounced wee ling) trusted Christ after going through an Exchange study with Joanne Ong (right). Juiling is from China and just finished her master’s degree in international management. Please pray for her husband who is presently living in China and is also very interested in the gospel. Juicing is trying to decide whether to look for work in the U.S. or pursue a PhD. She is hoping her husband will be able to join her from China.”Friends, please take a minute to pray for this lovely new believer and the decisions she needs to make!
Call me a doting grandmother if you want, but this evangelism story has kept me smiling all week. We recently returned from our summer mission work, and our eldest granddaughter had a story to tell. It went something like this –
“Grandma, I saved my best friend!” (Her terminology might not have been theologically accurate, but you get the idea!)
Me, “You did? Tell me about it.”
Karis, “Well, I really want my friend to be in heaven with me, so first of all I had to change the conversation from cats to God. Then I told her that if she didn’t get saved she’d go to hell; but if she put her trust in Jesus we could be in heaven together FOREVER!” (Wish you could hear her passion…)
Karis’ friend responded, “I need to go take a nap.” Sounds random, but actually instead of napping she went home, got down on her knees beside her bed and prayed to trust Christ as Savior.
Keep in mind that all summer they’ve had neighborhood kids’ club and Karis’ friend has been hearing the gospel. My take away? Sometimes we make evangelism complicated, finding it hard to get into the gospel. I guess the real issue is, do we care enough? When we really care, we’re going to find a way to get into the gospel.
Often we isolate evangelism to an event at church on Saturday morning or Tuesday afternoon. Not so with Tara Mosier. In fact, not long ago we shared Tara’s story of knowing she was moving away from wonderful neighbors, being concerned about their souls and inviting them to do a group Exchange Bible study. It was so worth it! You’ll literally feel Tara’s excitement as you read the rest of her story!
“I can’t contain my excitement!!!!! My Japanese neighbor just placed her full dependence on Christ!!!! We had such a wonderful study together this morning and it was so obvious as we went through it that the Holy Spirit was giving her understanding of things that she had not understood before!!!! Thank you for all your prayers!”
As you walk or drive by your neighbor’s homes, pray for them and ask God how you can share the best thing that ever happened to you with them. We’ve been doing The Exchange with our neighbors. How about you?
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Longmont, CO 80501