Please join us for an evening of music and testimony on March 16th at the Zebra House Cafe from 6pm to 9pm.
Our own Michael David will be performing and Scott from Testify the Book will be sharing his story.
Please be sure to bring cash for coffee and food. You can however, write a check for your purchase of Testify!
We look for ward to seeing you there!
When: Friday March 16th 6:00-9:00 pm
Where: Zebra House Cafe, 1001 S El Camino Real
San Clemente, CA 92672
Testify will be on sale.
(949) 218-6976 *ALL FOOD AND BEVERAGE SALES CASH ONLY*
This is the conclusion of the story brought to you on Feb 14th.
It is a powerful story of God’s reconciliation of a mother and daughter.
This is Kathy’s Story
Before I try to answer any of your questions or concerns, first let me
say that I live daily with the shame of how much I have hurt my two
children, something I vowed I would never do. I cannot undo what
I have done; I can only beg forgiveness and ask that you will allow
me to be a part of your lives again. Sometimes I look back on what
happened and I can’t believe it myself. If I could erase the past I would
do it in a heartbeat, because the daily regret is sometimes too much
to bear. I understand that you would have an insulation layer around
yourself. I am ashamed that I am responsible for even a small part of
that. I understand that I should be on your list of people you don’t trust,
however I would like to someday have my name removed from that
list permanently! I will do whatever it takes to make that happen. You
just tell me what it is you need to talk about and I will talk honestly and
openly. It might not always make sense to the two of you. You might
think I was half (no, completely) out of my mind, but I will talk to you
both about anything. You are my children.
Brian, for you, my son, I’m glad that you and Julie have a wonderful
relationship and she is the focus of your life! As you have said, she is a
sure thing for you and I know you are a sure thing for her.
Aubrey, I’m thankful God has raised you up into a beautiful young
woman and that he gave you an awesome husband to come alongside in
I’m happy that both of my children have spouses who truly love them.
That is how a marriage should be. Saying “I’m sorry” is not going
to fix what I have done, however it does have to be said. It expresses
regret and I have an extreme amount of regret for hurting you. I do take
responsibility for what I’ve done. It is not an easy thing to explain in
writing. I don’t want to make excuses. I can only express how it came about.
You were right when you said I‘ve had a rough life. Both of you knew I was
going through an awful time in my own marriage. I was literally in a state
of fear and depression. With [Jane], she was more than a friend. She became
my spiritual leader. I felt unconditional love, acceptance and attention.
She was the only one that was listening to me.
The counseling became controlling and I secluded myself from
everyone I knew and loved. It got to the point where the isolation
made me an open target for brainwashing.
I was confused and wanting spiritual answers. [Jane] provided that
as she manipulated Scripture into everything she told me what to do, and
I did it. With my own life so out of control, it seemed easier to let
her make decisions. Because I was so vulnerable, I did what I was
told, even to the point of disconnecting myself from my children
thinking you would be better off, spiritually, in the long run.
I know how utterly ridiculous this sounds because even I now
look back and think, “How could I ever have been so stupid and
gullible to allow someone to control and manipulate my life,
especially when it came to my children?” What a fool! My Son
and Daughter, I hope you find it in your hearts to someday truly
forgive me. Allow me to speak with you so that I can answer any
questions. This letter is only a very small part of everything that led
up to the greatest mistake of my life.
I love you. I always have and I always will.
My mom and I were so close growing up. She was more than a mother; she was my friend, that is, until I was 19, when things started to change between us. She befriended a woman we’ll call Jane, who became a big influence in her life. We did not know then how much power this person would have over my mother’s future. Everyone but my mom could see how destructive this woman was, leading her down the wrong path. Since I did not agree with Mom’s choices, she turned her back on me and everything I believed in as a Christian woman. Suddenly, she was cold and distant. She was no longer the fun-loving, spirited mother, and she severed her relationships with my dad, my brother and I.
During that time, I had been dating Donovan and leaned heavily on him for support. Turning to the Lord we found comfort and soon began to plan one of the biggest days in a woman’s life: our wedding day! By the end of that year we were to be married. I would end up being a bride without my mom standing beside me. I was devastated. Donovan and I kept our focus on God and it was He who provided a wonderful woman to stand in my mother’s place for this special occasion. With my friend Kat helping me, we did all the mother-daughter things that go into planning a wedding. We had so much fun, but deep down I ached for my mom. It was one of the hardest times in my life.
Three years later our first baby, Dylan, was born. Donovan and I were thrilled and embraced parenthood with joy and excitement. Again, my mom was not there to share in our happiness. This was her firstborn grandchild.
Throughout the pregnancy I could not understand why my mother chose the beliefs of a cult over a relationship with me.
As Dylan was growing up, I was overwhelmed with confusion. I could not in a million years think of abandoning my son like my mom had done with me! It just wasn’t right. That’s not what mothers do.For many years, I went to counseling trying to cope with my feelings of rejection and abandonment.
I prayed for God to open her eyes to the truth. Through all the pain, I still had hope that one day she would return.
In October of 2008 that day would come! A dear friend called and told me she saw my mom at a post wedding party for a couple that had recently married. I was shocked to learn the person they were honoring was the daughter of my mom’s cult leader! Feeling angry and heart-broken I immediately text-messaged my mom: “How dare you honor that woman’s daughter when you didn’t even give a blankety-blank about my wedding.”
Two hours later my mom called. When I saw her name on my phone I panicked! We had not
spoken in six years! I refused to pick it up but she kept calling back. Over and over the phone rang and rang until finally I took the call. She said, “Hi Aubrey, do you want to talk?” What could I say after so many years of separation?
On one hand I was angry and upset; on the other I was vulnerable and afraid. This turmoil rolled around inside as I struggled for what to say. Beaten down from the absence of my mother’s love I told her, “Mom, you have really hurt me and I don’t understand why. I am so tired of you not being there for me. Then, my heart stopped and my jaw hit the floor. I couldn’t believe the words came out of her mouth. “Aubrey, I‘ve missed you and want to be in your life again.” Was I dreaming?
She said she realized how much pain she had caused. We made plans to meet at the harbor the next day to talk. I was nervous knowing she was still involved in the cult and didn’t want to get my hopes up.
There by the water we spent hours talking. Trying to understand, I asked her many questions, and as we spoke about the past we both cried. On my way home, I had this feeling she had one foot in the cult and one foot out. So much time had passed between us that it was hard to catch up in just one visit.
Donovan and I decided to invite her over for dinner the next night and she accepted. It went well, though it was awkward, to say the least. During the following week we would spend a lot of time talking and sharing our hearts with one another. Dylan was getting to know his Gamma and I could tell it touched her in a deep way.
The Roller Coaster
Then came Friday morning when my phone rang. Mom called, wanting to speak face to face. Being in a hurry to get to work, I asked her what was up. Something in the tone of her voice disturbed me. Trying to prepare for the worst, I braced myself emotionally. “Aubrey, I think I’ve made a mistake and I cannot do this. I don’t believe it’s possible to reconcile this relationship!”
I crumbled, falling to the floor in disbelief as my heart sank within me. Again, I was devastated. In anguish I cried out to God, knowing I could not live like this anymore. She was making me crazy!
Indignation came over me from the bottom of my soul and I made the decision I was not going to lose her again! I knew what I had to do! I put on the full armor of God (Eph. 6: 11) and stood my ground!
Thank God Donovan was home that morning. He instantly began praying. He told me to tell her about the fruits of the spirit and how none of them were apparent in her life: joy, peace, kindness….(Gal. 5:22-23)
I reminded my mother how miserable she had been and how the leader of the cult had brainwashed her. I encouraged her not to listen to anything Normandy would say. She was quiet but in the end she said, “I need more time to think about this.” I told her, “If you walk away now it will have to be forever, because I won’t go through this again.” I hung up thinking, this is it! I might never talk to my mom again. I was a wreck.
I had to go to work, and yet I wasn’t physically able to put one foot in front of the other. I was crying so hard it was as if someone had knocked the wind right out of me. Reluctantly I dragged myself into the office. I thank God I was there by myself! Later my dad stopped by to comfort me.
Just a few hours had passed when I heard my cell phone ring. I panicked! The Caller ID read:
Mom’s cell. What was she doing calling me? I couldn’t take any more insanity! I chose not to answer it. She called again and again. Finally, she left a message.
She said she realized that everything I said on the phone before was true. My mom declared she was done with the cult for good! She begged my forgiveness and asked for patience. Mom announced she was cutting off all relationship with Jane!
It was unbelievable. When I called her back she sounded like a different person. This coaster ride had to come to and end right now! Her change of mind had to be set in stone. She had to own up to all the hurt she’d put us through. She came over that night and we talked, crying for what seemed like hours on end. It was painful to make up for lost time. The following Sunday she joined our family at church. In faith, I prayed her heart would be truly changed and her mind set free, that some day she would discover the liberty she has in Christ.
It’s been over a year since my mom and I have reconciled. Let me tell you, it’s been great! God has blessed Donovan and I. We found out in December 2008 that we were going to have twins! This pregnancy would be so different, as my mom was by my side. God gave us back more joy than we had ever known. He made up for all the years that had been lost. During the past six years God had continually given me slivers of hope to hold on to. I’m so grateful
we’re on the other side of it now. To God be the glory!
July 31st, twins Sydney and Ryan were born, and
my mom was there every step of the way. To Him be
all the Glory!
Below is a powerful testimony from the book “Testify” that highlights the incredible story of Minka Disbrow, who was reunited with her daughter after decades of separation.
Minka’s testimony has recently been seen in the news media all over the world!
I want you to hear her side of this wonderful story, as featured on page 35 in my book, “Testify”!
“My name is Minka Disbrow.
I want to tell you about a secret that I have held in my heart for 78 years. I pray it will encourage you to never lose hope. God works in mysterious ways, His he destiny of lives, families, cities and nations? The Bible states that the prayers of a righteous man avail much. It also says “seek ye first the kingdom of God and His righteousness and all other things shall be added unto you”: I pondered those words and kept them in my heart. My life took a dramatic turn in July 2006.
I was born of pure Dutch ancestors. My father immigrated to America, followed by my mother, pregnant with me, and an older brother. My father worked on a dairy farm. When I was 1 ½- years-old, my sister was born. She was nine days old when my father drowned in a lake. With three babies, my mother, who had not yet mastered English, went to work for an elderly German farmer. Though she did not speak English, she spoke German as well as her native Dutch.
As children, we knew what it was to work – before and after school, from sun up to sun down. We hauled water, wood, and coal because those were the days of no running water, electricity, or gas in the homes. We picked potatoes, shucked wheat, corn and whatever else was planted that year. When I was fourteen, the man my mother worked for retired and she married another Dutchman. Together they started a dairy farm. Not only did he gain a wife, but three well-trained farmhands as well, who were good at milking cows.
When we graduated from eighth grade at our country schoolhouse we were told that high school was for city kids who had nothing else to do.
Attending high school was out of the question for us: we had too much work to do.
At 16-years-old, my mother sent me to a sewing class. I do not recollect the reason, but one day the sewing class hosted a picnic by the lake. While there another girl and I went for a walk to the skating rink. Later, heading back to the group, walking amongst the trees we were raped by two men. We had never seen them before, didn’t know them nor ever saw them again.
I was traumatized, bewildered and scared. I could never mention this to my mother because we never talked about such things. I had never even seen a pregnant woman. Long dresses and aprons covered pregnancy. Women continued to work hard in those days without any of our modern “push-button” appliances.
I do not remember all the details surrounding my pregnancy. My mother went to our German Lutheran pastor and together they determined the course I was to take. I was checked into a Lutheran Home and an Adoptive Agency for girls. I had never been away from home or my mother, but I was at the mercy of their decision.
I grew up overnight. Where was I going? What did life hold for me?
Fortunately, the Lutheran Home was filled with love, prayers and kindness – the kind of love you could see, feel and touch. The lady in charge talked with me explained certain things, and reasoned with me. She lovingly explained the advantages of giving my child up for adoption. I made a very painful decision. When my baby daughter was one month old I gave her a name. She then was given to a Norwegian Lutheran pastor and his wife for adoption.
I went on with my life, keeping in touch with the agency to track my daughter’s growth and welfare. They acknowledged every letter – some with news and some without. My daughter never left my heart or life. Every year on her birthday I wondered where and how she was.
On May 22, 2006, I woke up and asked the Lord if He would let me see her. If he allowed me to see her, I made a solemn promise I would never bother her or her family. Then I dismissed the thought and went about the affairs of the day. Then on July 2nd, my phone rang and a message was left on my recorder. It was a woman saying she was trying to locate me. A while later the phone rang again. The man on the line asked, “Are you Minka?’ I said, “Speaking.”
It was my daughter’s son. He had spent six months trying to get records released through the courts in order to find me. After a few questions on both sides, he put his mother on the phone. This was my very own daughter. It was a nostalgic moment to hear her voice, even though she was a grown 77-year-old woman. Her adoptive parents had given her a new name. I learned that they were a couple who had two sons and desperately wanted a little girl. Her father was a godly, prayerful man known as Peter, “the Rock.” He was a man of prayer, a pastor and an evangelist. My daughter told me she had six children, all successful, highly educated and married with children. I was proud to learn that some of my grandchildren have achieved successes in education, one a coach, one a teacher and some professors. All these were accomplishments for which I was not afforded the opportunity.
Three of my grandsons made careers in the military. One a Colonel, a graduate from West Point. Another works for Boeing and NASA, in charge of building the International Space Station and one of the pieces of hardware that was installed on the station in 2007. The hardware provided structure for the station as well as generated power to keep the astronauts alive. And as only God would have it one of my grandsons is an astronaut. He manned four flights into space, with a total of 13 mission miles going around the world 517 times.
When I got older and left the farm, I married and had two more children. I have a son and a daughter who also married and blessed me with grandchildren. My husband was a fighter pilot in WWII and a drafting engineer. After a long battle with illness my husband finally succumbed to cancer. My wonderful son passed away in 2000. Through all of this I found comfort in the Lord. My life was a challenge hampered by lack of education. In spite of this, I was placed in various managerial positions. I worked for over 18 years in a school district and retired at the age of 66.
Years later I found myself with a little granddaughter to raise and educate. So I returned to work at a local Kmart. I worked as a cashier for another 13 years and retired again at 87.
As I look back I see God’s guidance and direction leading me to a higher spiritual realm, a higher spiritual maturity, for such a time as this. This was the moment my entire family would be reunited.
After tracking me down, my precious grandson, the Colonel, and his family brought my beautiful daughter to see me. What a precious time we had. I felt she had just come home for a visit because she had never really left my heart. Here was the moment when my two daughters would meet.
Does the Lord watch over us? Does the Lord answer prayer? Indeed He does. I have been blessed by a wonderful family, friends and in life. I have a feeling there are more chapters to be added to this story. May God richly bless everyone who is without hope. God always makes a way when you think there isn’t one. Imagine what would have happened if this rape had occurred to me today. I probably would have been advised to have an abortion. My daughter would not have been born and the world would not have known the wonderful and productive family that resulted from her birth, a family the world can be proud of. I became the proud grandmother of 18 great grandchildren and 12 grandchildren. I am blessed beyond measure. To God be the glory.
After my daughter and all the others left, I was alone when the Lord said to me. “Now you can forgive him.” And I did. I hoped he too had found the Lord and was serving Him. I wondered since then, had he watched the space shuttle go up with the astronauts not knowing that one of them was his grandson?”
This story in its entirety can be found in “Testify” beginning on page 35.
Remember that we have no more faith at any time than we have in the hour of trial. All that will not bear to be tested is mere carnal competence; fair-weather faith is no faith.
- C.H. Spurgeon
When we first saw Koko it was on a stage. She came out in bright lights before a crowded audience. They would applaud her even more after hearing her speak; in fact, after she delivered her testimony there would not be a dry eye in the house. We were having dinner at a fundraiser for the Pregnancy Resource Center. Koko was a dynamic and engaging speaker, incredibly vibrant, beautiful and composed. She was a young twenty something with big eyes that reflected wonder at what she was about to share, perhaps because she knew it was by the very hand of God that she was standing there and telling us her story. I confess that we were taken off guard because Koko did not appear to be pregnant. We were moved by what she shared that night and wanted to know more. Over the next few months we would spend time interviewing Koko and hear the rest of her story.
She grew up as a believer with loving parents in a Christian home, even went to a Christian college. Her parents did not just talk about their faith; they walked it out, right in front of her. For many years the family opened their home and their hearts to provide a loving environment for a number of foster kids, seeing each one as a child of God. Back then, her relationship with God was everything.
Giving her testimony Koko began to describe a series of events that take place in the lives of many young people. She had been living on her own and making choices that would deeply affect her life. Thinking she knew it all she made decisions that would lead her into a string of unhealthy relationships with people who were not the best influences.
The First Kiss
“The first time you kiss a boy it feels so amazing, so special. And after that it just begins to feel normal. It seemed that way with sex, too. At first you can’t even comprehend it. The idea of having sex sounded like a weird thing to do. And then, after the first time you get used to it and, besides, …everyone else is doing it. It made more sense to have one steady boyfriend rather than always meeting someone new and hooking up with different guys. It was like, …well, it’s okay because we love each other.
I was dating a boy in college that said he wanted to be in full- time ministry and we became sexually active. I felt like this was a relationship I could trust. Then he ended up sleeping with my girlfriend and marrying her instead. After this rejection I bounced back into the arms of another Christian guy. With a Christian boyfriend it was easy to rationalize having sex if I believed we would eventually get married. I thought to myself, “Was there any difference being involved with Christian guys or non- Christian guys?” Everyone was sexually active.
Where Does This Go?
Fast forward a few years. Koko was now dating a young man and working in a high-paced environment for a successful real estate company. Between work and boyfriend, this lifestyle consumed all of her time, thoughts and energy. He showered her with love and attention. They had good times doing fun and exciting things. Every weekend was a party as he lavished gifts and attention on her. He made her feel special. On the outside everything seemed glamorous, but on the inside she began to struggle.
Koko was worried and felt anxious. Something was happening to her physically that was affecting her emotions. She began to have doubts and concerns about her future. Based on her past she wondered, “Where will this relationship go?” knowing she had missed her period.
A Year of Change
“January 2009 I said this is going to be my year! And on January 6th I found out I was pregnant.” I said, “Oh wow! New Year’s Resolution? This is not what I was planning! My immediate thought was to make this disappear.”
Her mind raced as she tried to figure out what to do. At this point she believed keeping things a secret was best.
“I knew my family would be super supportive, but I didn’t want to disappoint them.” I did not want my friends to find out that I was pregnant, and with no ring on my finger.” This was hard enough for her to deal with; she could not imagine how things would be if this situation were brought to light. It was not a good time for a baby. She was young and her relationship with her boyfriend was anything but secure. Hoping that things would go away with a simple phone call, she made an appointment for an abortion and waited anxiously as the date was set for weeks away.
“The abortion clinic was booked and, so for two weeks I agonized over my decision, living daily with the secret. It just started to consume me as each day went by it became more of a torment. I’m not sure I can do this. I don’t think this is the right answer.” The façade of keeping it all together broke over lunch with friends when Koko discovered that everyone at work knew she was pregnant. At that moment, knowing she could not walk through this alone, she decided to call her parents. The scripture tells us that if we train up a child in the way that they should go, when they are old they will not depart from it. Proverbs 22:6
“I phoned my family in tears and my dad came and picked me up. At home, we talked about my circumstances. My mom remembered hearing about the Pregnancy Resource Center at church, just the Sunday before. My little sister brought home a baby bottle that had the PRC info inside. It was to be used to collect coins for donation to the Center. It would prove to be more than just a message in a bottle. Koko’s mother, Susie, wasted no time making the call. Her thoughts were racing as she wondered what Koko would do. She prayed that they would be able to give Koko some wise counsel. It was about 3:45 in the afternoon and the Center closed at 4:00.
The Divine Appointment
The founder, Jane Wahl, just happened to be the very person answering the phone that day. “Is there any way we can come in right now and talk to someone?” Koko’s mom asked her. Jane must have heard the desperation in her voice because, although the office was closing for the day, she decided to stay open and took the appointment immediately.
They sat in the office as Koko told Jane the whole story. Jane listened with compassion and gently informed Koko that only two choices had to be considered today! Give the baby life, or not. The power of life and death was in Koko’s hands. Would she keep her appointment for the abortion or not?
It was the very thought that had been all-consuming to Koko. Many tears were shed and her heart was broken as she realized that the time scheduled for the abortion was just days away. No matter how much she had wanted this problem to disappear, she knew the difference between right and wrong. Between all her tears she could finally see the truth clearly for the very first time.
“At that moment I perceived that God had a much bigger and better plan for me and my baby.” God tells us in His Word that He has plans for hope and a future, and this option of abortion would not be in my future. It was a miracle that the life of this child was saved only three days away from death.
Today is a new day and a different picture emerges. All things have become new. The baby, a beautiful little daughter with red hair like her mother’s and her grandmother’s, was born on September 7th at 5:15 in the morning. Koko is proud of the decision she made to give life.
Filled with joy she holds her newborn baby in her arms and gazes lovingly upon the small child’s face. “She is the apple of my eye and I love her so much.”
It is not easy being a single mom and raising the baby without a dad in the home. Like any good parent I want to give my daughter every advantage in life. She deserves to be raised in the same kind of loving home that was given to me.
Learning to walk by faith and not by sight, Koko has said to God, “Okay, Lord, I’m ready to face whatever you have for me and I am grateful for the love and support of my family.
“Therefore, prepare your minds for action; be self controlled; set your hope fully on grace to be given you when Jesus Christ is revealed. As obedient children, do not conform to the evil desires you had when you lived in ignorance, but just as He who called you is holy, be holy because I am holy. 1 Peter 1:13-16.
Koko’s testimony can be found on page 128 in TESTIFY the book.
Happy New Year!
It all began back in 1968 when I thought it would be a good idea to get hit by a car, break my hip and femur so I could end up in the hospital and meet this cute nurse’s aide named Kathy Kirwan.I fell in love during those twentyone days in the hospital. We got married and started a family.Our first-born was Steve and eight years later came Joshua. I wish that I could tell you that our marriage was perfect, but I can’t.We had our struggles and even a six-month break-up.Things were not going well and we knew we needed more.One day Kat and I decided to attend a little church in San Clemente, California. It was there that we both accepted Christ as our Savior.
Things got better as we attended church regularly and I cut way back on my drinking and cocaine use.For me it was a process that would take many years until I really got it and completely surrendered my life to God.I made a decision to stop living life selfishly and allow God to heal our family.From this point on we have never taken our relationship for granted.We realized how blessed we were to have and love each one another.This love gave us strength and helped us to endure through many seasons of life together. However…nothing could have prepared us for the diagnoss of stage fourthroat cancer.
When Jer told me that the biopsy was positive for cancer, I felt like time stood still!This was my love, my husband and the man I have always affectionately called “my boyfriend.” He had never been sick a day in his life. We both held each other and wept.That’s when we cried out to the One who is in control and asked for supernatural wisdom.At that time I wrote on our family message board several things that God had put on my heart
Love and serve each other!
Keep our eyes fixed on Jesus – do not waver!
Jer is indestructible until God is done with him – no fear!
Committed to trust God no matter what!
Romans 15:13May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in Him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit!
We visually focused on these truths until it was all over.
Then began our cancer fast track We walked through four surgeries, including a tonsillectomy, a porta-cath to deliver the chemo, a feeding tube in Jer’s abdomen and removal of the suspect lymph node in his neck.The doctor told him that cancer never starts in the lymph nodes.It always begins somewhere else. Right after Christmas we began a heavy schedule of intense radiation. The radiation required us to go in five times a week over a period of seven weeks and that was not included chemotherapy.The battle between fear and faith would overwhelm me at times.That’s when my dearest friends and the body of Christ would hold my arms up and those moments of fear would be replaced with the faith to carry on.I watched my husband, boyfriend, best friend quietly suffer so very ravely.I told Jer that Jesus and he were my heroes!
I received prayer from all over the world, thanks to the internet and good friends who put out the word.I learned to seek God’s presence continually as my faith turned to total trust in Him and His Word and He became my constant companion.One night a group of men came over to our house to pray for my upcoming scan, would show if there were any cancer cells in my body.This is how that went.
My friend Jeff Cate called me and asked if some men could meet at our house and pray for me regarding the scan I would have the following Monday.Jeff and I had been talking at church about his victory over cancer.He recently was declared cancer free!As a result of Jeff’s miracle he had formed a men’s prayer group that go out and pray for people.I was honored to be on that list.
One by one, the men filled our living room.There were seven men and Gavn, Jeff’s young son.We had a sweet time of fellowship before I shared exactly what was going on with me and about the upcoming scan.It was a very comfortable time since I considered each man there a friend.
I sat in our comfy little Hawaiian rocker and they gathered around me, laid hands on me, anointed me with oil and began to pray.There were many requests made unto the Lord.The Holy Spirit was asked to show up and He did not disappoint.Someone in the group prayed that the Lord would give me dreams and visions about the scan.I really don’t feel like I am a person that has spiritualtype dreams or visionsbut once in fact, years ago I had a vision that turned out to be very practical.It was regarding a stoppage in our sewer pipe.The Lord showed me in a dream the exact location and what the stoppage was.The next day I was able to cut open the pipe and pulled out a fourfoot tree root, patched it up and never had a sewer problem again!
Well on the night the men came over to pray about my PET scanI had a dream.It was definitely different.I do dream quite frequently however, they usually are either nonsensical or just kind of crazy, like where did that come from? In this dream, I was sitting in a seat outside a type of arena.It had a wooden floor and was about the size of a hockey rink.Sprinkled on the floor was a substance like mixture of sand and sawdust and people were seated around the arena.My seat was at one end and there was a man sitting next to me explaining what was going on.I never saw his face.Suddenly at the opposite end of the arena there appeared a machine, very similar to a Zamboni, except there was a small plow mounted on the front.There were flames about one foot high shooting up in front of the machine, and the driver would plow the sandy material and extinguish the flames as he worked his way to the end of the arena.The man seated next to me explained that this represented a cancer scan and if all the flames are extinguished when the machine reaches the end of the arena that person would be cancer free.This run was for someone else, but I didn’t know who.The machine got to the end of the arena, where a goal might be, and all the flames were gone and there was an announcement over the PA system, CANCER FREE!And everyone applauded with joy.Now it was time for my scan and the machine started out again at the other end of the arena and was working its way toward the goal.Flames were being extinguished along the way and it was looking good.When it got to my end of the arena the machine was having trouble keeping the flames under control.Just before the machine got to the goal the driver jumped off and grabbed what looked like a half sheet of plywood.He began to scrape the sandy material onto the flamese was working really fast and finally the last flame was extinguished.Suddenly there was complete silence and the lights went out.I didn’t know what to think, and then a very authoritative voice, not from the PA system, said very distinctly, “.”I woke up and I knew God had answered that prayer.I couldn’t wait to tell Kat but it was 4:00 in the morning.
Later that week, my doctor called with the results of the scan He said, “No cancer seen.”It was just as God had spoken to me in my dream!CANCER FREE!Praise and onor and lory to the King!!
Kat and I were encouraged beyond any expectations that we may have had and truly felt so thankful for all the friends and church family that rallied beside us by bringing us meals, driving me to treatments, providing gas cards to help offset our expenses and most of all the many prayers that sustained us.We were blessed to become friends with a couple from our church Donna and Dan.Donna went through the exact same treatment and supported us through our journey.I want to thank my wife, who is my girlfriend and best friend, for her unconditional love and support through this.I couldn’t imagine going through this without her.
God spoke to me continually during this time.One Sunday morning at church I asked Him ”Why did my friend Jeff Cate and I have to go through cancer?His answer was very clear.“Because I chose you for My Glory.”(John 9:1-3)
I’m thankful I have been able to return to work. My girlfriend Kat and I enjoy riding our tandem bike, and I’m back surfing again. I recently received a second scan that came back clear.God has been incredibly faithful through it all and as C.H. Spurgeon said ”I can thank my God for every storm that has wrecked me upon the Rock, Christ Jesus!”
After 41 years of marriage, Jer and Kat, are still Boyfriend and Girlfriend. Chosen for Your Glory is the first chapter in Testify the Book!
Carlos Cano is a twenty-three-year-old Christian recording artist. He recently appeared on ALMAVISION, a Mexican Christian television station worshiping Jesus Christ with his music. As a new songwriter Carlos has a positive message of salvation and hope to share with his audience. He believes he was created to worship and he knows personally the One who gives him the songs to write. Five years ago, he didn’t have a voice, didn’t sing, and certainly didn’t go to church.
Carlos was born in the town of Iguala, Mexico. His parents immigrated to the United States when he was just two years old, settling in Southern California in the city of Dana Point. The transition was hard for the family and eventually the parents split up. Carlos lived with his mother, who imparted good values and raised him with a Catholic background. He didn’t want to do anything that would break his mother’s heart, yet the streets outside had such a pull.
The lure to associate with gang members and a desire to fit in was often overwhelming. This lifestyle for a young Latino male is very strong, providing security and family. This is really all he ever wanted…to fit in. Carlos became an angry teenager, and if he didn’t turn his life around, was on his way to trouble.
It began in junior high, when he was first introduced to the gang lifestyle. Kids were selling drugs on campus and doing them in the bathroom. Alcohol was consumed in water bottles. In high school it was cocaine. Many of the gang members were violent and liked to fight. At this time he was drifting, without goals or ambition. Turning seventeen, Carlos reached his lowest point, when his mother was diagnosed with cancer. She had been his rock, and now she was sick.
How could God allow this to happen to her? He felt helpless, blaming God for everything, especially for his mom’s battle with cancer. Being a proud and strong young man, Carlos thought somehow he could make her better…but it didn’t work out that way.
This was a dark and frustrating time for him. He chose to hang out with people who would blaspheme God and ridicule the Bible. They all listened to satanic music and this seemed to fuel his hostility. He desperately wanted friends and family, yet he was so angry with everyone. Weekend parties and fighting were a way of life. He needed a dad to provide parenting, but it seemed too late for that. Anyway, he had no relationship with his father. Carlos was desperate and headed for trouble. If something didn’t happen soon, he would get caught and end up in jail.
One day his dad came knocking on the front door and told him he had become a Christian. Carlos felt very hostile toward his dad and really didn’t want to be around him, but for some reason that day, when his dad asked him to go to church, he went. Maybe it was the lunch invitation afterward. Dressed in gang-banger clothes and a beanie, he sat in the back of the church, listening to the message of salvation, that Jesus had died on the cross for him. How could that be? For me? Why would Christ die for me? There must be a logical answer.
During the next few weeks, as Carlos spent more time with his dad he noticed a big change. His father used to be so distant, angry, and showed little compassion for him. These last few weeks Carlos realized his dad demonstrated love, peace and joy. His father was a different man. It was easier being with him and so father and son continued going to church on Sundays in the hopes that their relationship would get better.
One Sunday, Carlos entered the church building hoping to find that same peace he had seen in his father. The pastor shared a message that day on how Jesus was the only one who could fill the void in our hearts and give us a reason to live, that we were created to worship HIM. Carlos felt so broken and desperately wanted to be whole.
He began to understand what the pastor was talking about, how he needed to surrender his life to Christ. As those very words were spoken, he broke down and wept, tears streaming down his face. Later he would say that he had not cried since he was 10 years old. Now his anger and pride were being washed off, and at that moment Carlos invited Jesus Christ as his Lord and Savior into his life. That is where the Lord did the first miracle in him.
That day, after Carlos dedicated His life to the Lord, he couldn’t wait to go home and share his experience with his mom. She also received Jesus into her life, and for a year they were able to go to church together until she passed away from cancer.
During that time much reconciliation took place within his family. Carlos rejoices knowing his mom is resting in heaven with her Lord, and that brings him comfort. God has mended his relationship with his father and now they enjoy spending time together. Recently, the Lord has blessed Carlos with a wonderful wife. He is a contented man, no longer filled with anger, but walking in the peace of God.
As Carlos was learning so much about the Christian life and desiring to know his spiritual gifts, others would comment on his voice as he sang during worship, telling him that he had a beautiful voice. He was surprised and encouraged to hear that. He knew he felt good when he was singing to God, but was that really his voice? It sounded pretty good! With encouragement he began to explore voice lessons. He was lost in worshiping his heavenly Father and knew in his heart that his purpose was being fulfilled.
As this relationship grew deeper, God began to gift songs to him, not just downloading the lyrics but the music as well. Carlos knew this was a miracle from God because he could feel the power flowing through him, as songs would be written sometimes within five to ten minutes. It was the divine creativity of God, because he knew couldn’t do it on his own.
Shortly thereafter, the pastor of his church put him in touch with a recording producer. They began working together and within three months Carlos recorded his first album, PODER (power). He now travels to other churches sharing his love of God, giving Him all the glory, honor and praise. Carlos would be the first to say that, without HIM, he might not be here today…for he was created to worship.
“I will praise you, O Lord, among the nations; I will sing of you among the peoples. For great is your love, reaching to the heavens; your faithfulness reaches to the skies. Be exalted, O God, above the heavens; let glory be over all the earth.” Psalm 57: 9-11.
Today, Carlos has produced two Worship CD’s. His story is one of the chapters in Testify the Book. Next month, the Blog will feature the testimony, “Chosen for Your Glory.” Please feel free to send these testimonies out to someone who needs encouragement. When we share a testimony we create an expectancy to see God, do it again!
In April, I was working on the Sierra Madre fire. It was an early-season fire that threatened surrounding structures. As a fire captain I normally run inmate hand crews. This time I happened to be on an engine. While fighting this fire I started feeling sick with a cough that wouldn’t stop. We worked on controlling the fire for three or four days. When that was done I went directly to a twenty-four-hour clinic to hopefully get some antibiotics to make the cough go away. The doctor gave me a prescription. She also ordered a chest x-ray that would change the next fifteen months of my life.
My wife, Jill, reminded me that I had been coughing several months before with bronchitis and the cough never really left me. So, then, it was a done deal.
I had the chest x-ray and a few days later I am back at work. I never heard anything from the doctor about my x-ray and I was feeling better. So, like any other person I didn’t give it a lot of thought. Hey, no news is good news!
That morning, I took the crew on a hike and when I got back my wife called and said they found something in my lungs. The doctor wanted me to go see a pulmonary specialist and have a CAT scan. I told my boss what was going on. I had to wait for relief before I could leave. I had some time to kill while I waited, so I called my good friend. He had been my friend since third grade and is also my brother in-law. I told him what was going on and I said, “I do not want to go through this crap again!”
Nine years ago I had a benign brain tumor the size of a tennis ball. That happened right before my wedding. Not fun, but I thought, here we go again. Instead of fighting fires, I began a fight for my life. I made an appointment with my doctor who had scheduled a CAT scan that would give more details than the X-ray. The doctor said the spot on my lung was serious and could be anything from pneumonia to the worst…cancer. These doctors don’t mess around! They don’t want to tell you anything that might give you false hope. Thankfully, I had friends and family in my life that spoke words of hope and encouragement. One good friend said to me, “Jeff, God told me that everything is going to be O.K.” And then he prayed for me.
The next few weeks took me through various tests, which included a lung biopsy. This one scared me. I knew that to do the biopsy they would have to puncture my lung. Immediately, I thought of all the complications that could happen! Being a fireman, I have seen people with punctured lungs, chest tubes and struggling to breathe.
It does NOT look fun. During the procedure I was praying and five separate times God said to me “Jeff, everything is going to be O.K.”
Contrary to what God told me the doctor put it to me bluntly, “I’m sorry Jeff, it does not look good. You have stage four lung cancer.” He told me he had consulted with an oncologist and wanted me to see him ASAP. My mind went racing a million miles an hour thinking of what was going to happen to my wife, my two boys and the rest of my life. I felt horrible for my family. I felt I had let them down and would be putting them through all of this again. One thing I was confident about, I knew I would be going to Heaven! But, what to do until then?
Jill and I began to cry out for help. That night our pastor, friends and family came to our house. They laid hands on me and prayed for healing in my body. The room was overwhelmed with emotions. Right then I made a decision to let go. To really give this cancer to God and let him deal with it. God is in control. So I was off work until further notice. This was a new thing for me. I loved being a firefighter but now that I have mandatory time off, I realized that I had put work first. I took this time as a free pass to enjoy my family and friends and live every moment of life to the fullest. Over the next couple of months I received a lot of chemo and a lot of prayer. So many friends prayed and even shaved their heads in support. Even after all the chemo I never lost any hair. We all enjoyed God’s sense of humor!
Those good friends laid their hands on me and we prayed that God would take all my burdens. From that moment on, for the most part, I was at a peace. Any time and any place I could get prayer, I would.
Twelve weeks of chemo and all the waiting aside, I went in for my first pet scan. I was not scared. I had ambitions of being totally healed. After the scan, both techs came in and stated that they did not see any obvious signs of any tumors or cancer. They, of course, put out the disclaimer that they are just techs and the radiologist can see a whole lot more in these pictures. I was excited to hear that! These guys had remembered me from my earlier pet scans and thought that I had the most amount of cancer they had ever seen in a picture! Now what they were looking for did not exist. I gave God the glory!
I had my follow-up appointment with my oncologist. He said we had really good results from the chemo and that 98% of the cancer was gone! I said Amen! My doctor’s plan was to go for 100% cancer free. He decided to continue with chemo and radiation. I was still relying on God. I held onto one scripture throughout this struggle, “Because He loves me says the Lord, I will rescue him. I will protect him. For he acknowledges My Name. He will call upon Me and I will answer him. I will be with him in trouble. I will deliver him and honor him with long life. I will satisfy him and show him My salvation. Psalm 91: 14-16.
This struggle with cancer had lasted almost a year. I do love God and he has rescued me. He has delivered me. All confirmed when I heard my doctor declare, “Jeff, there is NO cancer!” Again, I give ALL the Glory to God! He is so awesome! I now live cancer free. I do not know why God healed me specifically. I met two other guys who were diagnosed around the same time as me, who had families with children and they both passed away. One of them was a Christian brother. I guess if God wants me to know, I will find out in heaven someday.
I believe God wants to use me and I wait patiently so see what He has in store for me. For now I share my story whenever possible and tell people to have hope and to pray. Pray, pray, pray like they never have before and receive prayer any time they can.
That kind of sums it all. I’m back working as a Fire Captain and doing the same thing any other man would if he had seen his life flash before him. I have a new creed; God first, family second and then work. I know not to make work my idol, anymore. I have been a Christian a long time. As God walks along side me, these fires refine me.
Jeff shares his testimony on page 95 in TESTIFY the book!
This is my first official Blog post! My goal in doing a Blog is to share parts of chapters from Testify the book.
When you read or hear a testimony it creates an excitement to see God, “do it again.”
Please pass these amazing God stories on….and be encouraged…hope is on the way!
Appreciate your comments,