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In celebration of Mother’s Day, we would like to share Minka Disbrow’s testimony from Testify the Book, as well as highlight a few articles in the Huffington Post (with a photo slideshow) and ReCapo(with a video from the Today Show) that tell of her reunion, 77 years later, with the daughter she gave up for adoption.

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.

- See the test of Minka’s story at: http://testifythebook.com/minka-disbrow/

“I can hardly believe it has been 5 years that I have been cancer free.

Thank you Jesus! Many wonderful blessings have happened since I wrote my testimony in TESTIFY. First and foremost, I have been able to share the love of the Lord and Gospel by telling my testimony.
For the past 20 years I have been doing volunteer work at a Homeless Shelter. After I returned to the shelter from my illness, the director asked if I would like to facilitate a Woman’s Inspirational Group. As this is a non-profit, non faith based shelter I had previously been told not to discuss God. As I was seeking inspirational stories for the women, I thought why not share Testify after all they were inspirational stories. The testimonies were life changing for the women.

They would beg me to tell my testimony over and over again. It was very hard for me to relive the experience again..but God told me not to deny him anymore. Some months ago I was attending a bible study by a wonderful bible teacher Priscilla Shirer “Discerning the Voice of God“. At the time I had 4 African American women in my group, and thought they might enjoy Pricilla’s teaching. I checked with the new director and she approved the study. My new role as a bible teacher has been exciting and deeply rewarding.

It was the Testify book that opened the door to glorify God. Thank you Annie for your faith and perseverance in believing in God’s vision for you and all of us! With God all things are possible.”

Blessings for all
Donna Vigil

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!

You may have heard of her from recent articles in the Huffington Post, USA Today, Daily Mail, MSNBC, ChristianPost, or various other news sources.

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

Bright Lights

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 Appointment

“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?

The Choice

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!

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