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Monday, August 31, 2015

The Day Was Almost Perfect

Pocket Full of Quarters Journey 2015
The Day Was Almost Perfect...But Then...

Written In: Steamboat Springs, Colorado
By Cheryle M. Touchton
The Pocket Full of Quarters Lady

Take delight in the LORD, and he will give you the desires of your heart. Psalm 37:4

The timing worked out perfectly. I drove into Denver Airport just as Bob arrived at the curb. I don't know who was more excited to see him - Shiloh or me - but I do know that Shiloh was better at attracting his attention first as Bob climbed into the driver's seat of Hallelujah and relieved me of driving. It felt wonderful to sit back and let someone else drive.

We headed west to Estes Park, checked into the KOA, and then went for an evening drive through the lower end of the Rocky Mountain National Park. We grilled steaks out by Lake Sprague and on our way back to our campsite, a huge bull Elk walked across the street right in front of us. It was a perfect beginning for our anniversary weekend.

The next morning, I woke up before Bob and, as I lay in bed staring at him, I thought about those wedding pictures I'd posted on FaceBook at midnight the night before. Someone posted, "You were just kids." To me, Bob was the same man I'd married just 1 week after my 19th birthday. He even still has good knees. People warned us that we were marrying too early but I'd do it exactly the same way again. I wouldn't have wanted to miss a moment of our marriage. Married life certainly hasn't been perfect but Bob Touchton was and is perfectly made for me.

Our campsite was perfect. It had a dog park and a clean bathhouse. Our picnic table looked right out over the Rockies with an unobstructed view. I cooked Bob a bacon, cheese, and avocado omelet with toast. Bob said it was perfect. We put Shiloh on her leash and ate outside in the perfect cool morning air. Our morning devotions were made more blessed than usual by overlooking God's perfect creation, the Rocky Mountains.

Bob took a couple of hours in the morning to do camper repairs. I love how perfectly he takes care of me. We have a storage place under the bed that can only be gotten to by opening the back. I'd used supplies from it to teach classes but couldn't get everything to fit back. Bob carefully repacked so I didn't have to leave everything on the bed. He repaired the cup holder I'd broken. He'd already dumped the holding tanks the night before and will do that again before he leaves on Monday. He refilled the fresh water holding tanks and repaired some loose screws keeping the curtains from opening and closing. It isn't every wife who can say her husband repaired her loose screws.

We spent the day driving west across the Rocky Mountain National Park. We hiked holding hands and took pictures of animals, lakes, streams, and mountains. We ate lunch in Hallelujah on top of a mountain. Shiloh was miffed because the park didn't allow pets on the trails but we stopped at lots of overlooks where she got plenty of attention from other tourists. Shiloh is convinced everyone who walks by is there just for her and most agree with her.

We arrived right at dinner time in Steamboat Springs. Bob had done his research and picked out a perfect restaurant. We shared a prime rib in the flower filled garden of the barn turned into a restaurant, Ore House at Pine Grove. I'd toured my neighbor's RoadTrek the day before and all I could talk about was getting a storage bin like hers to keep on top of the closet. Bob delighted me by measuring the space, stopping by Wal-Mart, and helping me pick out a perfectly sized container.

"This better work after all the money we've invested in it!" Bob said as we left Wal-Mart.

I gasped. I hadn't even checked the price. "How much was it?"

"87 cents," Bob said, grinning with that smile that said I'd fallen for his teasing again.

When we pulled into our campsite, I realized Bob had booked us a site right on the Yampi River. "Bob! This day has been perfect! I love this campground! The site is perfect!"

"It was almost perfect. The only thing missing from the day was that we didn't have any encounters," Bob replied, as he easily backed into the narrow space.

"I know. I thought about that. We talked to so many people but none led to anything."

We stepped outside our camper and began hooking Hallelujah up when the man from the next campsite walked over to ask where we were from. It turned out that he was a local and there camping for one last summer weekend with his wife and 2 children. He went to a Baptist Church on holidays and guessed he believed in Jesus. He admitted that he'd never had any kind of relationship with God and that he hadn't a clue about where he was going in the afterlife. There in the moonlight with the sound of the rushing Yampi rapids as our musical backdrop, our day became truly perfect as Brendon asked Jesus to be his Savior.

Bob and I went inside the camper totally amazed. God had given us an anniversary gift by sending a Divine Encounter at the end of at that point, an almost perfect day. We closed the curtains, moved his suitcase from the bed to the front seat, and ...

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It's Scary Wonderful

Pocket Full of Quarters Journey 2015
It's Scary Wonderful

Written In: Strasburg, Colorado
By Cheryle M. Touchton
The Pocket Full of Quarters Lady

And the LORD shall guide thee continually, and satisfy thy soul in drought, and make fat thy bones: and thou shalt be like a watered garden, and like a spring of water, whose waters fail not. Isaiah 58:11

Wow! Another RoadTrek Popular 190 in the spot right next to me! I was so excited. The lights were off so I figured I shouldn't wake them up for the RoadTrek love fest. I settled down for the night, knowing we'd talk the next morning. RoadTrekers love one another... we wave at each other when we pass on the highway.

Sure enough, the next morning while sitting in my camp chair doing my morning devotions, I heard, "Hi, I'm Connie. I'm from next door. I love the color of your RoadTrek."

"I'm Cheryle. I saw your RoadTrek last night! We even have the same model...except that yours is 10 years newer. We almost bought the model you have but decided to try to get a couple of more years from ours."

"Are you traveling alone?" she asked.

"I am."

"Me too. I saw your Pocket Full of Quarters sign. I met some people in Yellowstone National Park who I think met you. That told me you traveled alone." I looked at her in surprise. We were camping in the KOA Denver East, which is a long way away.

She went on. "I need to look up your website."

"Where are you from?" I asked. She was from Florida. She'd gone to church as a child but hadn't been since she'd gotten married. She'd bought her RoadTrek after her husband of 35 years left her. She still believed in God and Jesus but hadn't thought much about it until her trek across America in her RoadTrek.

"I've had some amazing experiences. I can't believe what I've seen. I've started to feel like there was something out there." She stopped to blink back tears.

"My job is to help people find faith," I said. "There is something out there and it sounds like He is reaching out to you."

"I think so," she said. "Everywhere I go, it is almost like something is talking to me."

"Not almost," I said. "Someone istalking to you and He had you park next to me."

"It's scary," she said.

"It's scary wonderful. Do you know where you will go in the next life?"

"I don't have a clue," she answered.

"That's OK. You said you believe. Do you believe in Jesus?"

"I do."

"We've all sinned and fallen short of the Glory of God. The cost of that sin is death. That is why you don't know where you are going in the next life. We know everything we've done wrong."

"I know that's right," she agreed.

"That's the bad news but there is more. The gift of God is eternal life. My favorite line in the entire Bible is, 'All who call on the name of the Lord Jesus shall be saved.' God is calling you. Will you answer Him? Would you let me lead you in a prayer asking Jesus to be your Savior?"

"Please," she whispered as she reached out and took my hands.

She wept and her hands trembled as she confessed her belief in the birth, death, and resurrection of Jesus. She confessed that she was a sinner and asked for forgiveness. Finally, she asked Jesus to come into her life and be her Lord and Savior.

"Now you're my sister!" she said excitedly as she hugged me. I gave her a copy of my book, The Secret to Everything, and got her e-mail address to stay in touch. We introduced our dogs to each other and toured each other's RoadTrek. She hugged me one last time before she drove off. I collapsed back down in my camp chair and watched her drive off. It was hard to believe that had just happened.

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God's Garden

Pocket Full of Quarters Journey 2015
God's Garden

Written In: Strasburg, Colorado
By Cheryle M. Touchton
The Pocket Full of Quarters Lady

They will come and shout for joy on the height of Zion, And they will be radiant over the bounty of the LORD-- Over the grain and the new wine and the oil, And over the young of the flock and the herd; And their life will be like a watered garden, And they will never languish again. Jeremiah 31:12

The Bible says the harvest is ripe. I believe it because the Bible says it and I've witnessed it. I've spent 4 days feeling like I was literally harvesting in God's garden.

God's Re-route

"Are you coming to Colorado?" Janice Dinkel posted on Facebook. Janice had been an e-friend and phone friend for years but we hadn't yet met in person. We've tried several times to get together to evangelize but it just didn't work out.

"I thought you were going to be in Africa on a mission trip," I replied.

"That didn't work out," she said. I was traveling west on highway 80 in Indiana. My plan was to cut north and go through North Dakota, which I was really looking forward to. I didn't want to make the farmland drive across I-80. Besides, I was sure there wasn't time to do that and get to Seattle on time and I was planning on meeting Bob in Billings, Montana for our wedding anniversary.

Don't Bother Arguing With God

While I was arguing with God, my phone rang. "Hi," a voice I didn't recognize said. "I'm Jeanette. I get your Monday Ministry Moment and I've read your book. Are you coming to Colorado? My husband and I evangelize and we'd love to meet you."

I laughed. Why did I bother arguing with God? I ask every morning for knowledge of His will and the power to carry it out. Did I think He wasn't going to answer that? I called Bob and he was easily able to get flights into Denver. I stayed on I-80. Janice said that the group, Revival in Colorado, was meeting Saturday and invited me to speak. I had less than 3 days to make a 17 hour drive but I committed to Jeanette and Janice.

The Marathon

Driving was a marathon fraught with endless flat roads, stockyards, many miles between exits and towns, annoying camper issues, and campgrounds few and far between. I fretted that I wouldn't have time for Divine Encounters but I should have known better about that as well. God sent about a dozen encounters that resulted in 2 salvations. Like usual when I'm obedient, my time stretched like Jesus feeding 5,000 people with a few loaves and fishes.

God's Timing Is Perfect Even When It Doesn't Match Ours

I arrived exactly in time for the Saturday praise and worship session of Revival in Colorado. I did my best to dress as a presentable speaker and pretended my clothes weren't wrinkled and covered in dog hair. People laughed and cried in all the right places in the Gospel Conversation Workshop. This group has a heart for evangelism and was hungry for training. They lingered for hours after the class was over asking questions and sharing God stories and I didn't settle into my campground until after midnight.

On Sunday morning, I was rushing. I'd blogged and had exactly the time I needed to dress and get to church on time. Apparently God doesn't care about my earthly schedule because naturally, he sent a Divine Encounter to the campground bathhouse. I slowed down to find out she was from Florida, went to church occasionally, believed in Jesus, but had never encountered Him personally.

"Believing is the hard part," I joked. "After all, we are talking about someone coming back from the dead. Asking Him to be your Lord and Savior is the easy part." She eagerly prayed and invited Jesus to be her Savior and hugged me as she left.

Harvesting In God's Garden

After church on Sunday, our group from the night before met at a park called Garden of the Gods. As far as I'm concerned, they should call it God's Garden because the harvest was ripe that afternoon. We had many encounters and 13 people prayed to receive Jesus. We stopped to give a family of 5 Gospel Bracelets along with the Gospel. As we shared, I noticed that the 10 and 13 year olds were grinning. It turned out that they had been going to a Bible Study and had become Christians. They were so excited to pray along as their mother, father, and younger brother asked Jesus to be their Savior. The entire family left God's Garden with God's heaven as their eternal destiny.

A pregnant mother tenderly rubbed on her precious baby bump as Janice led her to Jesus. Afterward, I prayed for the baby. Her husband took the Jesus challenge so pray for him. We gave out dozens of Gospel Bracelets to people from all over the world. Shiloh did her Jesus tricks perfectly and opened the door for many to pray. After each encounter, our evangelism class stopped for a teaching session and questions. There were six of us but no one we talked with was distracted or intimidated by the size of our group. That always amazes me. The Holy Spirit set up each encounter and although the park was crowded, it was as if we were completely private with each individual. We forgot about the western heat and the hills as we evangelized for hours. I had to remind myself to stop and enjoy the red rocks because the movement of the Holy Spirit out shined what I would consider one of God's most lovely creations, Garden of the Gods.

Janice and I went to dinner together and our harvesting day ended with our server asking Jesus to be her Savior. She couldn't stop smiling and returned several times to thank us. She said, "I will always remember you."

Shiloh Meets Cows

On Monday morning, I headed north east to Sterling, Colorado to Jeanette's farm. We walked Shiloh over to meet the cows. She was great with the cows but went crazy around the statue of the deer. We camped next to their lovely home in the middle of the Colorado grasslands. Did you know cows jump fences? Cows escaped during the night and as they mooed outside our camper, I was alarmed because it sounded like my water pump was leaking again. Shiloh was convinced they didn't belong outside the fence and she was right. Larry and Jeannette shooed them back over the fences in the morning.

Who Knew?

On Monday night, my hosts cooked an amazing steak dinner that was perfect for my many dietary restrictions, which was amazing since I'd thought we were eating out and hadn't given my usual heads up. I gave a Gospel Conversation workshop to Jeanette and Larry and like the class from Saturday night, they were eager to learn more about evangelizing. Who knew so many in Colorado were so committed to living out the Great Commission? When I went to bed, I had a text from Janice saying she'd just led someone else to Jesus. How was I supposed to sleep feeling that much joy?

No Shiloh!!!!!

On Tuesday morning, I had trouble convincing Shiloh that the "gifts" the cows had left the night before weren't meant for her snacking pleasure. I'm pretty sure I won that battle, or at least I'm pretending I did.

More Harvest

Jeanette and I went to a park to evangelize. In a couple of hours, 7 people invited Jesus to be their Savior. I asked Jeanette if she wanted to try evangelizing and as was usual for those that go out with me the first time, she said that she just wanted to watch. However, when I went into the lady's room, Jeanette waited for me and held Shiloh's leash. When I came out, she was easily leading a refugee from Africa to Jesus. He later told us, "I am so happy."

Go Shiloh Go

Again, Shiloh was the perfect Shepherd's Sheepdog. She did her Jesus tricks for many, including a man named Jay. Shiloh was who helped him to connect with us. Jay was camping in the park on his way to Denver to try to reconcile with his girlfriend and 2 young children. When he reunites with his family, they will be meeting an eternally changed man. Shiloh behaved around the hundreds of geese but completely lost it around the friendly squirrels posing to beg for food. She had no intention of sharing her treats and when a squirrel ran behind us, she almost pulled my arm out of its socket. Maybe I should have named this section Stop Shiloh Stop.

In the last 4 days, I've shared Jesus near peaceful Colorado grasslands, a shimmering lake, and towering red rocks. It is no wonder the harvest is so ripe. God's Garden is lovely.

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I Thank God

Pocket Full of Quarters Journey 2015
I Thank God

Written In: Colorado Springs, CO
By Cheryle M. Touchton
The Pocket Full of Quarters Lady

I thank my God every time I remember you. In all my prayers for all of you, I always pray with joy because of your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now, 6 being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus. Philippians 3:1-6

I was overjoyed while teaching the Gospel Conversations Workshop for the Revival in Colorado group. They sat on the edge of their seats. They cried and laughed at all the right times. When it was over, they didn't want to leave. Some lingered to talk about Gospel Conversations until after 11 pm. These people cared about leading people to Jesus. They wanted to learn everything about how to do it best. They went evangelizing with me the next day and we led 13 people to Jesus. How could I not thank God?

As I prayed for them later, I thought about the Gospel Teams I evangelize with all over America. There is Gospel Team Member Cathy Tubbs from Pennsylvania who evangelizes with me and made the Gospel bracelets we used to lead people to Jesus in Colorado. Gospel Team Member Kathy Hollenbury, from Seattle, Washington, has met me in Tennessee and Washington DC to evangelize this year. I thought of faithful people like John Turnburke, Bonnie McDonnell, Doug Tubbs, Mary and Paul Knight, and Deb Schmidt who donate towards leading people to Jesus. I thought about churches like Calvary Church in Pennsylvania, Hart Haven Baptist Church in Florida, North Phoenix Baptist Church in Arizona, and Faith Baptist Church in Georgia who donate and invite me to share about evangelism. We have Gospel Team Members from Florida, Texas, Arizona, Washington, Pennsylvania, Missouri, Connecticut, Georgia, North Carolina, and Colorado, just to name a few of the states where we meet people.

I returned to the campground joyful late Saturday night and as I thought about all the people all over America who would give up their time, money, and even their lives just so people could meet Jesus, I thanked God. I prayed the prayer of Paul in Philippians: I thank my God every time I remember you. In all my prayers for all of you, I always pray with joy because of your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now, being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.

I committed once again to God, to do everything I could to equip these blessed saints to do the work of the Great Commission. I will teach when asked. I'll go where I'm invited. I will testify to what I see the Holy Spirit doing through them. I will ask you for donations to help send these faithful saints out. I'll bring supplies, cook and clean if absolutely necessary, stay late, and always always pray for them. Will you join me and pray Paul's prayer for the people willing to share the Gospel with America?

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God Knows What He's Doing

Pocket Full of Quarters Journey 2015
God Knows What He is Doing

Written In: Sterling, CO
By Cheryle M. Touchton
The Pocket Full of Quarters Lady

And I will pray to the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you forever. John 14;16

"I can't stay here!" I whined to Bob, 1,500 miles away. "This campground is empty, dirty, and they don't have a bath house. They only take cash. The entire place has me nervous." I'd been driving all day through Nebraska. Campgrounds were few and far between. It was dark and the next campground was over an hour away. While the campground I was currently at had no reviews, we already knew that the campground in the next city was across the street from a penitentiary and a smelly stockyard.

"I'll find you a hotel," Bob said.

"I'm too tried to move into a hotel. They're an hour away and I'd have to pack all of my stuff and take it inside. Besides, Shiloh barks at every noise and I won't sleep."

"Cheryle, we don't have a choice. There are no Wal-Marts. You can't stay in either campground. You can't drive several more hours. There is a Best Western 60 miles away." Unfortunately, this Best Western, in the middle of nowhere, was $150. It made me sick to spend our precious few dollars on this but Bob was right.

The hotel was nice enough but checking in was as tiring as I expected. I trudged up and down the stairs to the 2nd floor room carrying personal and dog supplies and Shiloh. I saw a car rush in and pull sideways into a parking place. Two long haired scruffy dirty looking men left the engine running, ran to a door, knocked 3 times, handed a woman money, took a bag, and bolted back to the car, screeching tires as they pulled out. Great, I thought, deciding to keep Bob on the phone as I went in and out.

On my last trip up, I saw 6 young men standing outside talking seriously, smoking cigarettes, and drinking beer. They were clean cut and I wasn't frightened but I was aware that I was a lone female outside. It was comforting to know Bob was listening in on my ear bud. Another man walked past and must have been thinking the same thing because he said, "Don't worry. They're good kids. They've just had a hard day."

That was my cue. Standing there loaded down with stuff, with Bob still on the phone, I began a conversation. They'd seen Hallelujah and when I explained what I was doing, one said, "I have a favor to ask. We're here to be groomsmen in a wedding and the bride has cancer. Would you pray for her?"

"Certainly!" I prayed for healing, comfort for their broken hearts, and their ability to still feel joy at the wedding. When I finished, all were crying. I worked my way into a Gospel Conversation. The young man who'd asked for prayer was Jewish. Two went to church, believed, but had no idea where they were going in the next life. The rest were non-believers. As often happens with a group of young men, if the obvious leader of a group decides not to pray, no one else is willing. I left a little discouraged. They thanked me profusely for praying for the bride and them and said the prayer had helped.

The next morning, I ate breakfast with two heavily tattooed bikers on their way to a Harley convention. It was 8 AM and one was already drunk. They listened to the Gospel. The inebriated one on his way to climb on a motorcycle admitted a grandmother was praying for him and that he probably needed prayer but neither wanted to meet Jesus. I couldn't help it - I was disappointed again.

As I left, I passed a hotel employee and thanked her for cleaning for us. It opened the door for She'rae to share her long and twisted religious tale and spiritual confusion. Concerned about her job, I asked if it was OK for her to continue talking. She answered, "I came in early today and I think this conversation must have been the reason why. I'm good. Let's keep talking." You can probably guess that She'rae met Jesus. As I prayed with She'rae, the Jewish young man from the night before passed, stopped to pet Shiloh, gave me a big smile, and listened to She'rae's prayer.

Encouraged, Shiloh and I joyfully walked to the car as I prayed for everyone. Another young woman spotted Shiloh and said, "A dog! Just what I need today. Can I please pet her?"

"Of course!" I said. She quickly sat on the ground, pulled Shiloh into her lap, buried her face in Shiloh's mane and began weeping.

"May I help?" I asked, putting my hand on her shoulder.

"I'm sorry," she said. "I'm here for my best friend's wedding. I'm her maid of honor and I don't even know if she is going to be well enough to get married."

"Oh," I said. "Emily. I prayed for her last night with the 6 groomsmen."

She gasped, continued crying, and said, "Thank you so much. I can't stand it. She's been sick for so long but we thought that she was finally better so we planned the wedding. She has ovarian cancer. We found out last week that it is back and she only has 6 months to live. We've decided to have the wedding anyway but she was too sick to come to the rehearsal dinner last night."

Emily's best friend was Christian. She said, "That is the only hope I have in this. Emily is a Christian and knows for sure she is going to heaven."

"None of the groomsmen are Christians," I said. "They also are broken hearted. Maybe you and Emily can share Jesus with them."

There in the parking lot, with Emily's best friend crying and cuddling Shiloh, I prayed for all of them - for Emily's healing, for the peace and salvation of Emily's wedding party, that Emily would be well enough to attend her wedding, and that the wedding party would be able to put aside their grief for a day and feel nothing but joy for the wedding.

Emily's best friend stood up, smiled, took a deep breath and said, "Thank you. Now I can be her maid of honor."

The $150 extra cost no longer mattered. My exhaustion from unpacking and packing again lifted. While we'd planned for a campground, God was busy sending His salvation and comfort to the Best Western.

Pray for Emily and her best friend as they lean on Christ and each other through this ordeal. Pray for the groom whom I know nothing about. Pray for the Jewish man who stopped to listen to a salvific prayer. Pray for comfort for all and salvation for the groomsmen. Pray for the new Christian, She'rae. Pray that Shiloh would learn not to bark at every sound in a hotel.

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He Came Back

Pocket Full of Quarters Journey 2015
He Came Back

Written In: Adele, Iowa
By Cheryle M. Touchton
The Pocket Full of Quarters Lady

For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and all are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus. Romans 3:23-24

"Bob, the right blinker light is clicking too fast. This can't be good."

"No, it isn't. It is probably burned out. You'll have to get it changed."

"I don't have time."

"Turn the blinker on and go outside. Check to see if it is the front or back. If it is the back, it is a bigger deal." Naturally, it was the back.

"I don't have time for this," I whined.

"I’m just wondering who it is that’s about to get saved," Bob reminded me.

"Oh," I said, properly admonished. Bob hung up to make some calls. It isn't easy to change a blinker light on a camper. Drills are involved. Bob called back a few minutes later with an address.

I pulled into the shop and a smiling grey haired man walked over to the camper. "Someone was worried about you," he said. "My name is Bob too."

"My husband takes really good care of me. Hi Bob. I'm Cheryle." Shiloh went to barking.

"Hi girl," he said. "I hear you." He looked at me. "I have to open the back door. What do you plan to do about her?"

"Don't worry," I said as I clipped her harness to the seat. "I even have a muzzle so her barking won't drive you crazy."

As he began working, I asked where he was from. He was from right where we were. "Do you go to church here?" I asked.

He paused and grinned. "I could tell you yes and you would probably feel better but the answer is no." He kept working.

"I'm always a fan of the truth," I joked. "I'm in ministry. When things break, God is usually sending me somewhere for one specific person. Is it you?"

"Could be," he said, continuing to work. He looked at Shiloh, grinning. "I can tell you want to bark but you have that muzzle on. Sorry about that."

"Did you grow up Catholic?" I asked. I wondered what made me say that and could only attribute that to the Holy Spirit. About that time, another man walked up with the drill and finished the work. I almost laughed as Bob bolted without answering my question. That was that, I thought. When the other man finished the work, Bob came back to test the blinker. It worked.

"How much do I owe you?" I asked.

"$10. Pay in there." He disappeared again quickly. He didn't need to worry. I learned a long time ago to recognize a no and I don't push. I went inside, paid, and went back to the camper.

Just as I was about to climb in, Bob came back. "So.... you're in ministry."

"I am," I said, trying not to show my excitement. I have no poker face. I grinned.

"You were right you know." he said.

"About what?"

"About me being Catholic. You were right." Wow. I had demonstrated the power of the Holy Spirit without even realizing it.

"I grew up Catholic but no matter how hard I worked, I just couldn't seem to get it. I have a friend who is a missionary with another church and he even took me to the front of his church and had them pray over me, I still couldn't get it. I don't think God is interested in me. I've decided to stop worrying about it and just be as good as I can."

"What about the next life? Where do you think you will go?"

"You won't like my answer. I'm pretty sure I'm not going anywhere good. I just can't seem to do anything about it. Besides, I think the people in churches are mostly hypocrites. "

"All churches have hypocrites," I agreed. "I'm sorry you've met some of them. That used to bother me too until someone reminded me that the hospital is full of sick people and it manages to do its job." He nodded.

"Here's the thing," I said.

"Here it comes," he said, backing up. "Please don't preach to me."

"Stay here," I instructed firmly. "You're the one who came back. I don't preach. Let me tell you the Truth. We've all sinned and fallen short of the glory of God and we know it. I've fallen short and so have those people in the churches you went to." He nodded enthusiastically at that, listening carefully.

"The wages of sin is death and we know that too." He agreed. I moved closer to him and touched his shoulder.

"I'm going to share with you about the sweetest thing I know. God loved you so much that He sent His only Son so that you might have eternal life. The gift of God is eternal life. My favorite line in the entire Bible is 'All who call on the name of Jesus shall be saved.' I can tell that you still believe in Jesus. You have spent your life learning about Jesus but it doesn't sound like anyone told you how to meet Him personally. May I lead you in a prayer asking Him to be your Savior?"

Tears sprung to his eyes. "No!" he said firmly backing up again. "It won't do any good."

"Here is what we would pray if you would let me. 'Dear Jesus, I believe in you - that you died on a cross and rose from the dead for me.' Do you believe that?" I asked. He nodded tentatively.

"Then we would pray, 'Help me with any part of me that doesn't believe.' That line is right in the Bible. Is there a part of you that needs help believing?" Again, he nodded as he frantically blinked back tears. He backed up and I moved towards him.

"I know the tears are embarrassing you but that is the Holy Spirit calling you. Please let me keep telling you what we would pray." He nodded.

"Then we would pray, 'I know I have made mistakes. The Bible calls that sin. I ask for your forgiveness.' Would you be willing to ask God for forgiveness?" He nodded.

"Finally, we would pray, "I ask you into my life to be my Lord and Savior. Thank you for my salvation." He completely backed up.

"You are a sweet lady but..."

I laughed. "I'm actually working on being sweeter but whether I'm sweet or not has nothing to do with this. I can see and feel the Holy Spirit working on you. My heart is pounding." By that time, I was crying too. "God wants to give you this sweet forgiveness and He longs for a relationship with you. It is completely your choice to say yes or no. Would you do me the honor of leading you in the prayer I just described?"

He wiped tears away and nodded. I felt my knees go weak with relief. I prayed through my tears and he repeated the words strongly and clearly through his tears.

When we finished, I said, "You are feeling the Holy Spirit. He is yours forever. I want you to memorize this feeling and walk toward it the rest of your life. Walk toward it when you go back to church and when you walk by a mountain stream. He has forgiven and forgotten your past. You will get to heaven and say, 'Remember that time when I...?' and He will say, 'No, I don't remember.' You belong to Him forever. The Bible says the heavenly hosts celebrate when one person meets Jesus and there ain't no party like an angel party." He looked up and there was that friendly wide grin again.

I congratulated him and gave him some information on what to do next. I showed him how to ask for the free book we offer new Christians. I drove away but had to park a few blocks away to compose myself enough to drive. All I can say is wow.

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I Know

Pocket Full of Quarters Journey 2015
I Know

Written In: South Bend, Indiana
By Cheryle M. Touchton
The Pocket Full of Quarters Lady

He will call on me and I will answer. I will be with him in trouble. I will deliver him and honor him. Psalm 91:15

So what if the pressure valve won't let water flow. Who needs fresh water anyway? I still have some left in the tank. But no, Bob has a rule. When something doesn't work, I'm to call him.

My Conversations With Bob Over the Last 3 Days- The Abridged Version

"Bob, the water isn't working. I think the pressure valve is shutting it off."

"It was doing that for me," he said. "You need to replace it."

"I know." I put it on the Walmart list in my shopping app.

"Bob, my phone cord isn't charging."

"There may be a loose connection. Start at the top of the cord and run your fingers down the cord straightening it."

"I know. I already tried that."

"Then you need to replace it."

"I know." 2 things on the Walmart list.

"Bob, the check engine light is on."

"Again? It hasn't been on in a while. I wish they could figure out what is causing it. There is nothing we can do."

"I know. I'll put high test gas on. Sometimes that helps."

"Bob, one of the knobs on the burner is stuck."

"Can it wait until I join you for our anniversary?"


"If it can't, you know where the pliers are. You have to take the knob off to turn it."

"I know. I've done it before - when the burner got stuck on. At least this time, it is off. It can wait. I'll cook with one burner."

"Bob, the pictures for my photo gallery won't load."

"Your internet connection isn't strong enough."

"I know. I've had this problem before. I just wanted to get pictures out."

"Bob, I can't see the letters on my keyboard. The light isn't bright enough. The keys are silver and the letters are clear."

"The light is supposed to make you be able to see them.

"I know. No matter how I lean, I can't see them."

"That design is an epic fail. There is nothing you can do about it."

"I'm thinking about using paint."

"For what???"

"To paint dark letters on."

"Cheryle! You can't do that."

"I know."

"Bob, I can't get my hot spot to work."

"You have to turn it."

I said, "I know," as I slid the button to the right.

I could go on but you get the idea. The water faucet is leaking. My photo gallery partially loaded and then my internet connection failed. Now, the photo gallery has crashed and I can't fix it. When Bob lands tonight, I'll tell him. He'll say the faucet might need a new washer or it might need to be replaced. I'll say, "I know," and then suggest waiting to fix it until he joins me for our anniversary next week. If the leak gets worse, Bob will either talk me through how to fix it or find someone to fix it for me. Bob will tell me that I need to delete the photo file and start over. I'll say, "I know but my internet connection isn't strong enough for me to delete it." Bob will offer to delete it on his end and suggest that I stop at a Starbucks tomorrow and use their internet.

Bob says he feels better about me on the road if he knows I will contact him with everything that goes wrong. He doesn't mind reminding me of what I already know. The only reason I know all that I know about campers and electronics is that I've called him in years gone by and he's taught me what to do. It helps to share it with him even if I already know the answer.

My conversations with Bob sound a little like my conversations with God. God has the same rule as Bob - He wants me to talk to him about everything even if I think I already know what to do. Telling God has the added benefit that God already knows what my problem is. Like Bob, God doesn't mind reminding me about what I already know.

My Conversations With God Over the Last 3 Days- The Abridged Version

"God, every time someone donates, we have an unexpected expense. I don't have enough money for this journey."

"I've got the money thing Cheryle."

"I know."

"God, I have too many things to do. There isn't time for it all."

"You can do all things through Christ."

"I know."

"God, I'm homesick."

"You have me. I'm your home. I'm sufficient for your needs."

"I know."

"God, I can't bear the unhappiness I see in the people I meet. It's not just people who are lost. It's Christians too. People are in so much unnecessary pain."

"Point them to me. I will help them."

"I know."

"God, I'm so disappointed. I gave the Gospel. I could tell he wanted you but he said no."

"You spoke the scriptures over him. My word will not return void."

"I know. Please continue to convict his heart to say yes."

"I will."

"I know."

"God, I didn't talk to anyone today. I don't know what was wrong with me."

"I didn't send anyone to you today."

"I know."

I could go on but you get the idea. My schedule keeps changing and the logistics are driving me crazy. I don't want to let anyone down. I have to make a directional decision by tomorrow because a critical highway choice is coming up. When I talk to God about it later, He'll tell me to ask for wisdom and that He will give it to me. He'll remind me that the schedule always works out and that I will be able to get to everywhere He sends me. I'll say, "I know." The only reason I know all that I know about what to do is that I've called on God in years gone by and He's taught me what to do. He also wrote the best user manual there is. Besides, it helps to share my problems with Him even if I already know the answer.

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It's Your Birthday

Pocket Full of Quarters Journey 2015
It's Your Birthday
Dedicated to Pastor Dan Nold
Calvary Church, State College, Pensylvania

Let's Evangelize America
By Cheryle M. Touchton
The Pocket Full of Quarters Lady

As the deer longs for streams of water, so I long for you, O God. Psalm 42:1

Pretend it's your birthday. What do you want for your birthday? Most of us have been asked that question before. My birthday is August 21 and I can tell you what I want. I want you to lead someone to Christ on August 21. I think it would be very cool for someone's spiritual birthday to match my belly button birthday. I like the idea of the heavenly hosts having a reason to celebrate on my birthday. Since I know most of you aren't willing to do that yet, my back up birthday request is for you to donate something - anything - to evangelism. Any size evangelism donation on my birthday would thrill me but letting me know you led someone to Jesus would thrill me more.

I know what many of you are thinking. Cheryle just asked me to give the Gospel and then she dared to ask me to give money. Is she trying to make me stop reading? No, I'm just telling you what I want for my birthday. Please keep reading. I promise I won't ask again and you will be blessed by God's birthday gift to my pastor.

To set up the story of this birthday gift, I have to explain a couple of things. Because of that Golden Rule thing, if I know it's your birthday and that you care deeply about people meeting Jesus, I will deliberately go out and evangelize in your honor on your birthday. All you have to do is ask.

I also pray for people on their birthday. I'm not talking about that quick morning prayer for the people on my prayer list. I'm talking about the prayer deep dive that includes deeply interceding on their behalf and lifting the birthday boy or girl up continuously all day. This asking and praying is why I was awake at 6:00 AM on August 18.

August 18 was my pastor, Dan Nold's birthday. Since I worked until after midnight the night before his birthday, I began praying for Pastor Dan at midnight. A couple of years back when Pastor Dan noticed me evangelizing in someone's honor on their birthday, he quipped that his birthday was August 18. Pastor Dan doesn't like a big deal made out of his birthday so I took that idea and ran with it. Since I went to bed praying for him and remembering my commitment to evangelize in his honor, I shouldn't have been a bit surprised when God woke me up at 6:00 telling me to get dressed, get Shiloh, and go outside to give the Gospel.

But God, I've only been asleep 5 1/2 hours.

Get dressed, take Shiloh, and Go!

But God, It's still dark.

Get dressed, take Shiloh, and Go!

But God, I went to bed with this on my mind. This probably isn't even you talking. It was just on my mind.

Get dressed, take Shiloh, and Go!

But God, no one will be outside

Get dressed, take Shiloh, and Go!

Now I know why the disciples fell asleep while you were in the garden.

I got dressed, took Shiloh, and went. I didn't shower, comb my hair, brush my teeth, eat breakfast or have tea. Shiloh and I went down one row and back up on the other side. It was still "quiet hours" so when the cat darted by, I fought unsuccessfully to quiet Shiloh.

But God, if people are mad at me, they aren't going to want to talk to me. Maybe we should go back to the camper.

Keep going!

Just as I got to the end of the second row, a woman was sitting outside on her picnic table smoking a cigarette.

"You're up early," I said. "It's still dark."

"I am," she sighed. "I have things on my mind. Everyone else is still asleep, even my dogs." She looked down at Shiloh so we talked dogs a few minutes. Then, I noticed that she had a "Gators" banner on her camper. It surprised me because we were in Ohio. Since I too am a Gator, we talked Gators. With both of us dog lovers and Gator fans - how could we not bond?

It wasn't too much longer that I learned that she had some belief in God and Jesus but didn't go to church. Her husband didn't believe at all. She said she tried to keep believing but so many bad things had happened and it made her wonder. When I asked where she would be going in the next life, she hoped it would be heaven but wasn't sure. She knew about God but didn't have a personal relationship with God. There as the sun came up, with her husband and dogs asleep in the camper, this woman tearfully met Jesus. August 18th is her spiritual birthday. Her spiritual birthday is the same as Pastor Dan's physical birthday. How cool is that? Happy Birthday Pastor Dan. God prepared an encounter and sent me out just for you. If you pray for me on my birthday, would you tell God that I'm not a morning person and ask Him to send me out later next year?

That one salvation was enough to celebrate for a lifetime but God's birthday wishes to Pastor Dan didn't stop there. I spent the afternoon in Cuyahoga National Park, where I met Nicole and Michael. I could tell immediately that their hearts were heavy. They later told me that they had gone to the park that day to escape the pain of what was going on in their lives. Marriage struggles and deep grief over the deaths of loved ones had them in a difficult season of life. At the mention of God, big strong Michael went to crying and soon, Nicole joined him. The scripture reference "as a deer pants for water" came to mind as I watched their hunger for something more. They were eager to talk. They filled in details. When I spoke scripture, they leaned forward and listened. There with the lovely Brandywine Falls as our backdrop, Nicole and Michael tearfully asked Jesus to be their Savior.

Happy Birthday Pastor Dan. All of heaven is celebrating on your birthday. I really enjoyed August 18.

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E’sy-Enounters - The 6 E’s of Divine Encounters

Pocket Full of Quarters Trek 2015
E’sy-Enounters – The 6 E’s of Divine Encounters

Let's Evangelize America
By Cheryle M. Touchton
The Pocket Full of Quarters Lady
State College, Pennsylvania

It is that amazing time again when we hit the streets of America to have Gospel Conversations and offer Gospel Conversation Workshops. On August 16, 2015, Shiloh the Shepherd's Sheep Dog and I will get in our camper van, Hallelujah, and head due west. We wander, go where we're invited and stop and do what God instructs. We join other Gospel Team members along the way. Our job is to help someone make one tiny "change" in being prepared for life and eternity. If they don't know Jesus, we start there. If they do, we start wherever they are. We've been doing this since 2002 but in case you haven't followed us, I thought I'd tell you a little about the types of divine encounters we have.

I confess – I love alliteration. It is probably corny but it makes me smile. Besides, it makes it E’sy to remember. This blog post is about the 6 E’s of Divine Encounters. At events geared specifically to evangelism, we spend most of our time doing just 1 of the E's, Evangelism. During these journeys though, God sends at least 6 different kinds of Divine Encounters – which I’m pretty sure include all the 4 meanings of salvation. The Greek word for “saved” is Soza and it means 1) saved for eternity, 2) healed, 3) preserved, and 4) delivered. Helping with this is our purpose in having Gospel conversations across America.

1. Evangelism - For the "Pre-Saved"

Evangelism is proclaiming to the lost what the word of God says about salvation and inviting them to meet Jesus. We ask people if they know where they are going in the next life and if God asks they why He would let them into His heaven, how would they answer? If by those questions, we realize the individual isn't saved by grace - born again - we don't argue. We just proceed directly to the Gospel Scriptures and inviting them to meet Jesus.

2. Exhortation - Only For Christians!

Exhortation is a little like fussing at someone but for other Christians only, with Holy Intentions, always over a clear Bible principle, and under the clear direction of the Holy Spirit. One night last year, Shiloh and I were at Wal-Mart doing our usual “thing” of asking people where they are going in the next life.

“I think I’m going to heaven but I sure haven’t been to church very much,” a woman said.

“When you get to heaven and God asks why He should let you into heaven, what would you tell Him?” I asked.

“Because I’ve asked Him to be my Lord and Savior,” she answered quickly. “But I won’t have to tell Him because He will know me.”

“So you know the answer. If Jesus is your Savior, you’re right. What has you doubting it?”

“I don’t really. I think I feel guilty for not going to church.”

“Guilt is the enemy’s favorite weapon to make us doubt our salvation. Why aren’t you going to church?”

“Because I moved here to help my daughter and I have to drive my granddaughter to work on Sundays.”

“You’ve made this conversation easy. The Holy Spirit is talking to you. Do what it takes to get back into church. God wants you in church – the word of God says it and the Holy Spirit is leading you to it. Find a church that works with your schedule – churches have gotten very creative with church times – but get back in church!”

“You’re right,” she said. “I will.”

Let me repeat - exhortation is only for Christians. It is telling someone a truth that resonates with what the Holy Spirit is already saying. It is NOT giving someone your opinion about what they should do – it is encouraging them to be obedient to the word of God and what the Holy Spirit is saying to them. To non-Christians, the Bible says this would seem foolish so don’t waste your time and get yourself in trouble for nothing.

3. Educate - For Everyone

“Do you know what an evangelist is?”

“No,” answered the young woman who had just asked what I did.

“An evangelist helps people come to faith in Jesus Christ by giving them the good news of what Jesus has done for them. I travel the country helping people meet Jesus. Do you know where you are going in the next life?”

She didn’t know but now she does. In this case, educating her about what evangelism was became the doorway to her meeting Jesus. By the way – the purpose of this blog post and everything we write about our encounters is for your education. It isn't unusual for us to spend days with someone studying the Bible over an issue they are struggling with or confused about. We also end up occasionally teaching Bible classes in camp grounds, churches, and for groups. We often give Gospel Conversations for churches along the way.

4. Ease - For Everyone

This is about easing pain. For the pre-saved, they first need Jesus. For Christians, we help them experience more of Jesus.

“My husband died five years ago,” a woman said, shaking her head as if she could shake away the still raw grief. When I care enough to look for it, most people reveal in the first five minutes what is hurting them the most. It is as if physical or emotional pain follows them like a cartoon rain cloud showing up in every square regardless of where they are.

“I’m so sorry,” I said touching her shoulder.

“It’s been a long time,” she said, literally stepping back.

Moving closer I said, “But it still hurts. Do you know the Great Comforter?” She did but she had forgotten and needed a reminder.

The point of these encounters isn’t to offer human comfort – it is to help them allow the Holy Spirit to ease their pain. We usually have about 60 seconds to respond or in their hopelessness, they will also shake off our attempts to help. Speak scripture – it won’t return void. Pray with them for comfort. Ask others to pray for them. I have a collection of grief scriptures on my website and usually carry a give-away grief scripture card.

5. Encourage - For Everyone

“Have you read your Bible yet today?” I asked after bragging on two 13-year-old girls for so clearly stating their faith in Jesus. They stopped their bikes and laid their fishing gear on the ground to pet a barking Shiloh. They were cousins, born again, knew they were going to heaven, and had been baptized by their born again grandfather.

“Not yet,” one smiled and quickly answered. Great answer – truthful but offered me hope they would take the encouragement I’d just offered.

“The bay you are headed to is beautiful.” I held up my iPhone. “My Bible is on this phone. I was just there reading it and praying and saw some others fishing. Make sure you take your Bible the next time you go fishing.”

“We will!” they said happily as they picked up their poles and bait and rode away.

There is a fine line between encouragement and exhortation and it is all about motive. I was truly impressed with these sweet and faithful girls and didn’t want them to miss what I had just experienced at that bay. It wasn’t about obedience. I wanted to help them to soar as if on eagles wings.

6. Exorcise - For Anyone Being Tormented By Demonic Forces

As in the previous E, if someone doesn't know Jesus, we start with salvation. However, I meet many Christians under the oppression of demonic influence. The enemy knows he can't have them for an eternity so he works harder to ruin their life on earth.

“I won’t go anywhere!” Her speaking tempo had increased. Her tone dropped at least two steps. Her eyes narrowed. She’d just been relaxed and giving me friendly advice about the town. When I told her I was a Christian and asked where she was going in the next life, everything changed. When something changes that fast, I know I’m dealing with the enemy.

“Who do you say Jesus is?”

“He is just a man! Not God.”

“If Jesus were really the truth, the way, and the life as He said he was, and no one came to the Father except by Him, would you want to know it?”

“Not really,” she said. It wasn’t a no and she didn’t ask me to stop so I continued.

“If all who called on the name of Jesus could be saved for all of eternity, would you want to know it?”

She softened and paused for just a moment. “I don’t know.” That was it – what I call the Holy Spirit hook. It was permission to take it one more step.

“That wasn’t a no. It is enough for you to take the Jesus challenge.”

“What is that?”

“Ask Jesus – the Son of God – the Jesus you don’t believe in if He is real. Ask Him to prove it to you beyond your ability to disbelieve.”

She agreed. Her agreement was enough. I left before she could take back her commitment.

The secret to dealing with the enemy is pray silently to bind the demons, show no outward fear – which means to take no offense or argue with what they say, and to speak scripture. The enemy has no power over us if we arm ourselves with prayer and scripture. The second we begin to argue with the enemy, we've already lost. We never argue because our fight isn't with flesh and blood - it is with the enemy.

Dealing with the demonic influence on the streets of America is the most difficult part of the journey. This ministry is constantly under attack so pray for us. We meet people tortured by demonic influence and blinded by his lies. Much of our time on the road is in preparation for this through prayer, meditation, and Bible Study.

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We invite you to follow the journey as we travel. Look at the Map to see where we are and invite us to your home or church. Read about our adventures in the Daily Journal. Look at the pictures and pray for America in the Photo Gallary. Be patient. This is a big file and takes a while to load. Join our Prayer Team.

When we travel, it feels as if we are soaring on eagle's wings and like automatic doors open up before us in any direction we head. Don’t miss this experience. Join the thousands who follow this exciting adventure with God.

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