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Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Give 'Em Heaven

By Cheryle M. Touchton
The Pocket Full of Quarters Lady

He who goes out weeping, carrying seed to sow, will return with songs of joy, carrying sheaves with him. Ps 126:6 NIV

I met Deb at a women’s retreat. I was the guest speaker and everyone was so gracious. I felt celebrated as these women listened to every word. The topic was my favorite and the name of my latest book, The Secret to Everything. The last session was on evangelism and I shared some stories from the Pocket Full of Quarters Missionary Journeys.

A few weeks later, a check arrived in the mail made out to Pocket Full of Change Ministries. There was a little note at the bottom of the check that said, “Give ‘em Heaven.” Those words became the slogan for our Pocket Full of Quarters Missionary Journeys. In 2011, the slogan was “Give ‘em Heaven in 2011." Since then, Deb has been a faithful supporter of evangelism through our ministry. Our nickname for her is “The Give ‘em Heaven Lady.”

What we didn’t know was that she had an evangelistic sorrow of her own. Her son-in-law, the father of 2 of her grandchildren, was not a Christian. Deb was helping strangers find Jesus when someone she loved so dearly was lost.

The city Deb lives in was on the route of this journey and Deb invited me to stay with her. I do my best to go where I’m invited. Unfortunately, I hit a curb about 3 hours from her and did major damage to Hallelujah the Camper Van. I was discouraged and when a mechanic got Hallelujah temporarily drivable, I was tempted to end the journey and bolt for home.

Deb was having none of that. She went into gear. She and her husband rushed to me. How could I head in the direction of my home when I had people driving towards me? I headed towards her house and met her in the middle. We met at a mall, went witnessing together, and led 5 people to Jesus. It was exactly what I needed. Deb reminded me of my call from God.

Deb took days off from work to help me get the camper into the shop, unpack the camper, and pick up the rental car. She and her husband gave up their bedroom to give me the most comfortable room in their lovely house. As we spent time together, Deb began sharing her evangelistic sorrow.

“I want to meet your daughter’s family,” I said excitedly. “Let’s plan dinner together. We’ll see what the Lord does.”

It was risky. Even knowing that it could backfire, Deb loved her son-in-law enough to take the risk.

I spent the day before the scheduled dinner quietly writing stories and praying for Deb’s loved one. Please, I begged God. Deb, helps so many with her support. Please use this ministry to help her loved one.

I felt God whisper, The seeds she has sown into the lives of others will return to her.

I prepared for the evening. I prayed, read the Bible, and enlisted people to pray. I must admit to being nervous. I never know if my job will be to sow seeds or reap the harvest. Most times, I joyfully accept whatever assignment God gives but this time, I wanted to reap the harvest and wanted Deb to have the joy of being there.

God promises to give us the delights of our heart and dinner was delightful. Deb’s family was as much fun as Deb. We laughed at the children’s antics and enjoyed good food. It turned out that her son-in-law and I loved many of the same things. We talked about comic books – which I love. Then, I found out he is a Wizard of Oz fan. Wizard of Oz is my favorite movie and references to it are some of the chapter titles in my first book, Pocket Full of Quarters. We spent a few minutes talking Wizard of Oz philosophies. His face lit up the way mine does when I talk about it. Finally, we moved on to his views about God and church.

It took a while and I tried not to rush. I gently spoke the scripture and he respectfully listened. I felt the Holy Spirit take charge and the Holy Spirit’s words come out of my mouth. Feeling the Holy Spirit move through me and into someone else is the single most holy feeling I have and suddenly I was right in the middle of it.

Deb’s husband slipped away with the grandchildren when the conversation turned serious. I was impressed with the honesty and insight of this young man as he asked questions and challenged the answers. I knew that once he accepted Christ as his Savior, God was going to be able to use him in mighty ways.

Finally, I saw it - the blessed conviction of the Holy Spirit. The hair on my arms stood on end, much as it is doing as I write this story. It was this young man’s moment – his moment to receive the sweet Light of the World. I invited him to meet Jesus and he said yes. He quietly said the words that would change him forever.

I walked out with the words, Walking on Sunshine, running through my head. When we left the restaurant, he hugged me and whispered, “Thank you.” When Deb got home, he texted her the words, “Thank You.” The next morning, he texted Deb again, “Thank you.”

I’m still saying thank you to God. I love leading people to Jesus and it was God’s special gift to me to let me lead the loved one of someone I love to Christ.

Brave faithful Deb sowed seeds into "giving people heaven" by donating to Pocket Full of Change Ministries. She did it while weeping for the lost in her own family. As Psalms 126:6 promised, Deb returned with songs of joy, carrying sheaves with her.