Tuesday, October 11, 2016

The Power of Changed Lives

The Power of Changed LivesDebbie Cartwright, Missionary, American Indian Field
The Call, October-December 2016

There was a time when Mike and Delia weren’t very good parents or very good citizens of their community. Their lives were wrapped up in their addictions. But Jesus changed that in a powerful way, thanks to the fervent prayers of Mike’s mother and her church family. Suddenly, Mike and Delia became the parents their children had needed for years. But, even more than that, they became surrogate parents to many other youth in the community needing love and support. They brought children to church, fed them when they were hungry, and became attentive to their needs and prayer concerns.

However, one thing held them back; they had never been legally married. They hadn’t been following Christ for very long when they sensed that this was something they had to make right. They could have quietly held a private ceremony with a few family members, but that wasn’t the call they felt from God. No, their wedding was to be a witness to the community and an act of worship with their church family. They asked for their vows to be completed as part of a Sunday morning church service.

On that special day, we sang hymns together and prayed for the needs of the community. Then my husband, Steve’s, weekly “sermon” was a Christian wedding ceremony, celebrating the commitment of these two people and their new lives in Christ. The bride and groom made their promises to one another before church family and many, many friends from their “old lives.” Their wedding attendants and ring bearers were their own precious children, beaming with pride.

It was a powerful testimony that reached into many hearts. One young man came to Steve after the ceremony and said, with tears in his eyes, “I can’t get over the change in their lives. If God can do this for them, do you think He can do this for me?” He received the assurance that God’s mighty power could work in his life, too. There at the wedding, he prayed for Christ to change his heart and life. 

What an exciting moment! Steve was anxious to tell Mike and Delia what had happened but had to wait a while to share the good news because they, too, were praying with friends and loved ones touched by their story of life change. Their wedding became more than a celebration on the Gila River Indian Community; it became a party in heaven, welcoming prodigals home!

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