I was a picture of good health until May 2001. We were vacationing at the beach when I got a call from my doctor, telling me I had non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma. The news brought me to my knees. I was scared and shaken, wondering how this could be. Me?
I took a walk alone on the beach, crying out to God. And on that long walk, I met God like I never had before. In my fear and through my cries, I got a message that this was not the end. He told me I would be alright, but He wanted me to use this to glorify Him in a very specific way, one that was clearly spelled out to me. He wanted me to start a ministry called Operation Jesus.
Being in the police force, I had no ministry experience or any idea on how to get this off the ground. But His message had been so strong that I was only supposed to be His vessel. I started by inviting my fellow officers and some city employees to a mid-week gathering where we would have a guest speaker share his or her testimony. We’d also sing some praise songs and have some time for prayer. They started inviting their friends and the ministry grew.
We started in an extra room in a church but God’s message clearly told me I was to move it to a bar.
Yes, a bar. That sure took some of my fellow officers by surprise. But we found a tavern where the owner was open to the idea. We’d move chairs and tables around, and begin the service by praying for all the people who would be there that night, praying they would not give into temptation. It was an amazing experience, one that continued for 16 years.
My faith was greatly strengthened through, of all things, my cancer. God taught me you can do incredible things if you lean on Him and trust Him. But it all starts with being open to listening. Just listening to His quiet voice.