“And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me.” (Mat. 25:40)
We weren’t able to paint the entire bus, but the Lord had given us a name for our ministry and we had painted “THE SERVANTS OF THE LORD” in huge letters on both sides.
The Lord had revealed where He wanted us to go first, so I had called Bro. Sonny in Weatherford and told him what God had called us to do. He was thrilled and wanted to be a part of our ministry.
He asked me to come preach and said that we could park our bus at the Church while we were there.
I called the nursing homes that were in Weatherford and set up service times when we could come and minister. We now had our first stop on our missionary journey.
Our relatives were apprehensive, to say the least, about what we were going to do (actually, I believe they thought that we had gone a little crazy), but they came around and wanted to do what they could to help send us off.
They filled our bus with food and supplies, gave us cash donations to get us started, and we were set to leave on the following Monday. There was just one other thing that I wanted to do before we left.
I had often read in the Bible that before a battle was to be fought or a deed was to be done, the saints of old would seek the blessing of the man of God. There was something special about that blessing, and I wanted to have it before we left.
That Sunday morning, after the morning service, I approached our Pastor at the back of the Church as he was shaking hands with the members who were leaving.
“Pastor”, I said, “May I tell you something if you have time?”
“Of course. What is it Bro. Candy?” he replied.
I said, “The Lord has called me and my family to go and hold revival services in nursing homes throughout the Southwest.”
With a surprised look on his face, he said “Well, that’s wonderful, but the Church is not able to support another missionary at this time.”
“Oh no, Pastor!” I said, “You don’t understand. I’m not asking for any support. The Lord has already provided us with a bus and we’re leaving tomorrow. I’m just asking for your blessing before we go.”
As a big smile spread across his face, he said, “Well, you have that.”
He asked those who were still standing in the foyer to join in prayer as he laid his hands on me and gave his blessing, asking God to bless and prosper our journey. I don’t think that this white haired man of God ever had someone just ask for his blessing before.
A few months later, I received a letter in the mail from him, along with a check, stating that the Church had appointed us as their home missionaries and would be supporting us on a monthly basis.
The Bible says that God knows what we have need of before we even ask.
The Lord had shown me that when we went into a nursing home, we were not to skimp on our service in any way, but we were to sing and preach as if we were conducting a revival service in a football stadium.
Our little curly haired daughter was a doll, and even at four years old had become a very good singer. The people in the nursing homes just adored her.
God had made a way for us to get an electric guitar, an amplifier, microphones, and stands; and we would set everything up. We would dress, sing, and preach as if we were in the largest church in America.
It didn’t matter whether they put us in the cafeteria or the TV room, whether there were 4 residents that came to the meeting or 40 residents that came. We wanted to always give our best.
We arrived at the Community Church south of Weatherford, and Bro. Sonny welcomed us with open arms.
The nursing homes seemed eager for someone to come in from out of town and hold a special service, so we agreed to hold additional services as long as we were in the area.
At the first service we held in Weatherford, I noticed an elderly man in a wheelchair that came to the cafeteria and sat in the back. He had a fly swatter with him and a scowl on his face.
He stayed for the singing and the preaching, but left in a huff when I began to give the altar call.
I always wove the need of being born again into whatever message the Lord would give me to deliver, and was always excited to see the hands go up to receive Christ no matter what the age of the individual.
A well-known Evangelistic organization had come out with some statistics, which stated that after the age of 50, the chances that a person would accept Christ were virtually insignificant. They concluded that by the age of 50, the majority of people had already decided what they were going to believe.
Consequently, we found out that although the nursing homes had multiple religious services for their residents, most of them were comforting sermonettes without a call to salvation.
No matter how many church services that I would see listed on the bulletin board, I never assumed that the people there had already heard the message of salvation and did not need to hear it again.
That’s why, during our time of holding revival services in the nursing homes, we saw over 600 people accept Christ and be born again.
The Lord began to open other doors for us to minister in all of the surrounding towns. Some of the towns had one nursing home, while other towns had several, but we were able to have multiple services in each one.
When we arrived the second time to hold a service in the Weatherford nursing home, I noticed the little man with the fly swatter had returned, but this time he was a little closer to the front and stayed for the entire service.
The third time we returned, he was on the front row.
After the singing and the preaching, I said that if there was anyone that would like to pray and receive Christ into their heart and be born again, to please raise their hand and I would pray with them.
After a few moments, he slowly began to raise his hand. We prayed together and he asked Christ to come into his heart and save his soul.
Not long after, the nurses told us of the wonderful change they had seen in his life.
He had been so cantankerous, that if there were no room for him to play checkers, he would knock the board and pieces off of the table so no one else could play. He would often hit the nurses and attendants with his fly swatter out of spite.
However; since He had accepted Christ, he was a totally different person. He was becoming friends with everyone, going up and down the halls telling people about Jesus.
Instead of a fly swatter, he now carried our Gospel tracts and would hand them out. If he knew that we were coming, he would go to all the rooms and tell the residents that they needed to come to the service.
We came to call him “Pops” and he was a dear friend to us all the time we were there.
We also visited the rooms after the services to pray with the people who could not attend. We witnessed the Lord touch many that were sick and infirmed.
We saw dazed and confused eyes come to clarity at the name of Jesus, and dementia patients could speak with us rationally as we shared the love of Christ.
We were privileged to be a witness as those in their 80’s, 90’s, even 100 prayed for the first time in their life and ask Christ to come into their heart and were wonderfully saved. But the adversary, the enemy of God: the devil was not happy about what God was doing.
I had allowed myself to become lackadaisical in our approach to finances and our needs. As I watched our provisions and offerings dwindle, my attitude was “God knows what we need. If He wants us to do this work, then He will provide.”
It all sounded very spiritual, but I had forgotten my part. The Bible declares that we “…fight the good fight of faith.” I was being presumptuous, not faithful.
We had gone to bed the night before we were scheduled to hold a service in Mineral Wells, Texas. We went to bed with no money for gasoline to go, and nothing to eat when we woke up.
I awoke with a start at 5:00 AM for no apparent reason, and thought “I’ll go back to sleep for about an hour.”
Immediately, I was in a deep sleep, and began to have a vivid dream.
In my dream, I was in a dark room, and I could make out shadows and shapes of large forms crowding me. These forms were cursing and blaspheming God.
I thought to myself, “I can’t stand this any longer”, and I began feeling along the wall for a door to escape. I finally felt a door handle, and I flung open the door and ran outside into the fresh air and sunshine.
As I stood there gasping for air, the Lord spoke to me. “Why are you running? Haven’t I told you to resist the devil and he will flee?”
I thought to myself, “That’s right. Why am I leaving? They are the ones that have to go!”
I walked back to the door and knocked. The door opened, and a large dark form filled the doorway.
“What do you want?” he growled. “I rebuke you in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and I cast you out!” I said.
My eyes opened wide as I awoke, and I knew this was a dream sent from God.
I shook Glenda and said, “Wake up honey. The Lord showed me that we have to pray and rebuke the devil.” I quickly told her my dream, as we began to hold hands and pray. I said, “Let’s get up and get dressed. The blessing is on its way.”
We had no sooner gotten dressed, than there was a knock at the door. I opened the door and it was one of the ladies from the Church.
I welcomed her in and she said, “I hope you don’t mind me coming by so early. I had put together some groceries for you and was going to drop them by after work, but I felt like the Lord wanted me to bring them over right away. So I’m on my way to work but I had to come by here first.”
My wife and I were grinning from ear to ear as we helped her bring in the sacks of groceries from her car. We had told no one about our need for food. We had only told God.
After she had left, Glenda was putting up the groceries when I said, “That’s not all. We still need money for gas to go to Mineral Wells.”
As I finished speaking, there was another knock at the door: this time it was the Pastor of the Church, Bro. Sonny.
He said, “I was on my way to Ft. Worth to make some hospital visits, but the Lord told me to come over here first and give you half of what I have in my billfold. I have $14, so here’s $7.”
I thanked him, and asked the Lord to bless his visitation. We now had our gas money to go to Mineral Wells, but there would not be enough to return.
By this time, our faith was so high, that we believed if God had to, He would multiply the gas the same way that He had multiplied the loaves and the fishes!
We arrived in Mineral Wells and had a wonderful service and souls were saved.
After the service, something happened that had never happened before, nor has ever happened since.
A little elderly gentleman on his walker came up to me, reached into his sock, and pulled out three crumpled $1 bills and said, “God wants me to give this to you.”
I started to say, “Oh no brother, you need to keep that.” when suddenly, God spoke so loudly in my heart that it seemed almost audible.
“How dare you shame my servant? He wants to give an offering unto me and that is all he has.”
I felt so humbled and ashamed as I accepted the offering and thanked him. Another little lady opened up her coin purse and handed me $2.
No one other than my wife and God knew that we did not have enough gasoline to drive back to Weatherford. The Lord had provided us with the gas money we needed and had taught me some humbling lessons in the process.
(TO BE CONTINUED)