In March it was my delight to do a series of meetings in the small, agricultural town of Othello in Washington State. The population is roughly 7,500 people with a large Hispanic contingent. Many wonderful things happened in a short space of time. One of the things that really impressed me was the cooperation between the churches. I was welcomed in the Four Square and the Assembly of God churches. The pastors from those churches also attended some of the meetings where I taught at the "On White Horses" Conference hosted by Travis and Jennifer Klingeman. I am always delighted when I see the love of God crossing denominational lines. In the space of one week I taught nine church services, recorded five one-half-hour television programs, and spoke at the juvenile detention pardon and parole board.
The Lord did so many things that week. I want to tell you about just one of them. Eddie is a twenty year old man who was an active gang member in Los Angeles. He had been in the gang for years and, by his own admission, had been involved in terrible crime activity. He has a girlfriend (currently living in Othello, WA) who is pregnant with his child. He was in Los Angeles thinking about her and their soon to be born child when he heard the Lord say, "Unless you leave this lifestyle, you will not live to see your grandchildren." Eddie believed what he heard and decided to leave the gang. You do not leave that type of gang without penalty, however, and the ritual was for them to beat Eddie severely as a warning to never divulge any of the gang secrets. Eddie took the beating. Beaten and still racked with pain, he began hitchhiking from Los Angeles to Othello.
He arrived in Othello on Wednesday night, March 28th. He was standing by the side of the road in the dark, nearly penniless, not knowing what to do next. He was simply staring at the lights of the small town when suddenly; one of the lights began to shine brighter than the rest. Then he heard the Lord say to him, "Walk toward that light." It turns out that the light was shining through the glass door of the little storefront church where I was preaching. He came inside and Travis greeted him. Eddie briefly told Travis that he was broke and in trouble and needed some help. Travis assured him he would receive help, but first … he needed to take a seat and listen to what was being preached.
I was teaching that night and I didn't take any special notice of Eddie as he came in. I assumed he was a local citizen who had decided to attend church that night. I just kept teaching and preaching the message which was titled "This Gospel of the Kingdom" (which you can hear by going to this page of the website: http://www.garycarpenter.org/ontheroad.html). Because mine is primarily a "teaching" ministry, most of the people who attend my services are already born again. For that reason, I seldom give altar calls for salvation. But that night, thank God, I was prompted by the Holy Spirit to give an altar call at the end of the service. Eddie's was the first hand to go up. He said the sinner's prayer and was gloriously born again. The next night Eddie was there again (with his girl friend this time) and we all rejoiced as we watched Eddie lifting both hands in worship to the Lord as the music began. Travis was true to his word and helped Eddie all week with a place to stay and food to eat. I saw Eddie and his girlfriend (soon to be his wife I think) several more times while I was there and his face was like the face of an angel.
When I think about how mercifully the Lord dealt with Eddie … first speaking to him in Los Angeles, and then leading him directly to that Wednesday night service in Othello in order to be saved … what a great God we serve. God hates sin but He loves the sinner. I see the timing of the Lord and how He truly works all things together for good as we yield to the leadership of His Spirit. I have pictured in my mind that at the same time I was flying to Washington State from Oklahoma, Eddie was hitchhiking his way there from Los Angles. Neither of us knew we were scheduled for a "divine appointment" to be in the same place at the same time in order for Eddie to be born again. I know for sure the Lord would have sent me to Othello just for Eddie. His salvation is worth everything to God.
It is hard for me to finish typing this letter because my soul wants to rejoice and lift my hands again to God in worship for His love and kindness. What joy floods my soul as I see the Master's hand at work as He continues to save sinners through our simple obedience to the promptings of His Spirit. And never forget this … your prayers and your financial support are just as much a part of this ministry as any teaching and preaching that Sue and I do.
Rom 10:13-15 For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved. 14 How then shall they call on him in whom they have not believed? and how shall they believe in him of whom they have not heard? and how shall they hear without a preacher? 15(a) And how shall they preach, except they be sent?Paul says they can't preach unless they are sent. Thank God for your faithful prayers and your obedience to the prompting of the Spirit to financially support the work of the ministry here at GCM. As I often say, "The gospel is free but it is not cheap." What I mean is, it costs money to get the gospel out to the people. I tease by saying, "Did you know that United Airlines still wanted money for my ticket and my luggage even though I plainly told them I was flying to Washington to preach the gospel?" (Grin!)
Sue and I love you and appreciate you. We thank God for your generous and giving heart. God bless you!
Your friend and co-laborer,
Gary Carpenter Ministries|
© 1996 - 2012 All Rights Reserved.
P.O. Box 9667, Tulsa, OK 74157