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Love Challenge Testimony
About two months ago, I heard a speaker in my ABF class. All I could think of was that my children should be hearing this. Phil Longmire was the speaker that morning and he was giving his testimony about growing up with drug addictions which forced him to make bad decisions and left him facing a “dead end” street to nowhere. His testimony could not have come at a better time, but it was the weeks that followed that would make my story turn into a “Love Challenge”.
I have a close friend that I talk with at least three times a week concerning our children and what we can do to help them in handling issues and temptations that they face from peer pressure. My friend has been puzzled by how I am so calm raising three children as a single mom. The inward peace that I have toward family and life has left an open door for her to enquire of “what really makes me tick”. God has given me this opportunity to share my testimony with her about the Grace of God, constant prayers, and the prayer support of my Christian friends from my Sugar Creek Baptist Church family. She is a member of a local Catholic Church, but seems to be very curious of my faith and spiritual convictions.
My friend has a 17 year old son who has been giving her lots of trouble over the past four years. They just found out several months ago that he has been actively taking drugs. After I heard Phil’s testimony, my spirit was urging me to go see my friend immediately and share what I had heard that morning. That next Sunday she came with me to my ABF class and just loved the teaching. She then asked me if I could arrange to have Phil and his wife to join us in my home to share his testimony with our teenagers and that she would cook the dinner. Phil welcomed the idea. We set a date and I began to pray. As the day came near God laid it on my heart to invite friends of my children and every teen I met, my ABF class, my singles class, school and college students as well. Now the day was near and I needed to let my friend and Phil know that there would be a few more kids at my house for dinner. I told God this is your doing so I am sure that everything will be fine. I told my friend that she would be cooking for maybe 30+ including parents and their teenagers. I realized I had just expanded this evening into a huge event in my home but also enough food for some heavy eaters. My friend was very excited and happy to do it. This was GOD! Not much work for, I just supplied the location, but God had all his hands on it and all I did was say OK. God is so good to us if we just submit to let him in and work through us to help change lives.
The day came and Phil Longmire was not to arrive until 7pm. It was a school day, as my children arrived home with several of their friends. My college son was here with his friends at 2pm. The house was full of kids, mostly high school and college that heard we were having a free meal and a really “cool speaker” from church talking about drugs. The phone was ringing with students wanting a ride. There was an excitement in the air, “God was busy at work”. About 30 boys and 5 girls and some parents visited my house that evening. There is a testimony on each child of how God got them there to hear Phil’s testimony. The amount of dinner was perfect and God “feed the multitudes”.
Phil Longmire arrived promptly at 7pm to hear that the teenagers had been waiting for him for hours. His testimony was great; he connected personally with some and gave out his phone number. At the close Phil asked the question “would any of you be interested in meeting weekly for a ten week course of the Bible” and the hands went up. God immediately lifted my hand up to be the Host Home for the Bible studies. God also worked on my friend and she volunteered to cook dinners for those ten weeks. How great is God!
We had a mixture of teenagers that God brought to my house that night. Some have never been to church and only a few are active church members. As the weeks went by, there was no doubt in my heart that God was at work. Week after week, praise reports were given on how God was working in each person’s life. My friend and her husband were loving the teaching and saying that they had never heard a message taught so strong and that they had been going to church all their lives. The stories and games that Phil and Jim Fritz told will be forever in our children hearts, the seeds were planted and I know that God will call us to keep watering them. My “love challenge” which I had no time or means to do, HE did and became a reality that I could not see. I believe in giving our children a foundation to fall on and that is Jesus is our Lord & Savior. If I can do one thing right in life, that is to raise my children and the children God puts in front of me by sharing the love of a Mighty God, the truths of HIS WORD and how good HE is to us.
We ended the Bible studies by taking the children down town under the bridge to feed the homeless. I was not able to attend, but my good friends James Ross and Mark McQuistan took the group.
Jim Frith also helped with the Bible studies when Phil was not able to make it, and the kids loved him.
Things that came out of these weekly Bible studies:
My friend’s husband started attending a Bible study for men every Tuesday night with James Ross and Mike Anderson, who he would have never met.
Parents brought cupcakes for our meetings, who were never asked.
James Ross, Mark McQuistan, and Mike Anderson bought drinks and attended the weekly Bible studies in support of the singles group.
I have parent calling me and thanking me for what I was doing. I could only say it is not me, God was all over this one. As a single mom I some times feel powerless trying to raise boys and then God put 30 in my house, but he never leaves me along. I saw a need and asked HIM to help and he brought with him all the right tools. Phil Longmire, Jim Frith, James Ross, Mike Anderson and Mark McQuistan.
Seeds were planted and I will be here when he calls to water them.