Hope for a Tree Like Me
Not only is Toronto celebrating her ninth anniversary of revival, but we are, too.
For over nine years, since our first visit to Toronto in 1994, the Lord who furnishes “seed to the sower” (Isaiah 55: 10) has been furnishing us abundantly with seeds of salvation, healing, restoration and intimate love for the Father. What an exciting time we’re living in! We continue to see the mighty hand of God move with such beautiful power that it brings salvation, healing, deliverance, and restoration to all God’s children who will come. The Toronto outpouring has meant and continues to mean so much to our fellowship, East Side World Outreach in Shallotte, NC. We have seen these seeds sown into many lives and carried throughout the whole world so that all who are thirsty and needy could have new life and the joy and strength to carry on.
In 1994 my husband and I had been in the ministry for almost 18 years. We were raised in the Southern Baptist denomination, and had been a part of the charismatic movement for about 17 years when we were ready to give up the ministry. We were restaurant owners when God called us into the ministry, and we were totally unprepared for what lay ahead.
By the time we ended up in Toronto at the end of Catch the Fire in ‘94, we were going down for the last time, and I know God knew it! I did not go with fear in my heart of what was happening there, I went because I was afraid of what was happening in my own heart. I remember people telling me that I shouldn’t go there because there were so many unexplained things happening. We even heard reports that people were barking like dogs. But when I heard it, I remember thinking to myself, ‘So what! I would quack like a duck if I could only feel better on the inside.’ If God would only take away the bitterness that had built up in me. The disappointments and aborted attempts at ministering to people who would receive and then leave had left me feeling hopeless. I was suffering emotionally from a cumulative backlog of hurts.
“I Can’t Go Home The Way I Came...”
We arrived in Toronto the Saturday night of Catch the Fire in ‘94, and attended the Sunday morning and night services. I began to wonder whether or not God would touch us by Wednesday when we had to return home. When we sat down in the service Tuesday night I remember telling God:
“God you’ve got one more night, and I cannot go home the way I came.”
At that moment, Pastor John Arnott said, “There is a pastor’s wife here who is saying to God that she cannot go home the way she came. If that’s you, I want you to come up here now.” Well, I could see from the three other services I had attended that this wasn’t the usual order of service, so I jumped up and ran to the altar. I was the only one who responded out of a crowd of between 2 to 3 thousand people.
Pastor Carol came to me and prayed for me. She stood with me in one spot for the rest of the service that night. This happened at the time people usually give testimony, so I stood in one spot for about 2 or 3 hours while the service continued. It was as if time stood still, and I was the only thing God was concerned with at that time. I realized then how much my Father loved me. He chose me out of everyone that night, to heal my broken heart. I became more aware of the supernatural power of God to bring heaven and earth together and make time stand still.
My husband, Bobby, and I had been married for 33 years. He had been so patient and understanding with me. Frankly, I don’t know how he stood it except that he is a man of God and strong in his faith. He also was crying out for help. When he saw me receiving ministry at the altar, restoration began in his own heart. I will never forget that night.
Taking The Blessing Home
Although it was tempting to want to linger in the place where God had begun to touch us, we decided not to try to build a tabernacle like Peter wanted to do on the mount of transfiguration. We knew we wanted to bring everything God had done for us back “down the mountain” to our fellowship. It was as if we had just begun our ministry. Now we were recognizing God as the Father of love, and He wanted all His children to be loved and nurtured like He had cared for us in Toronto.
We began to search the scriptures with a voracious spiritual appetite that caused us to see them in a new light. It was in the light of the revelation of the love that God has for each of us right where we are. That revelation caused us to approach ministry with a new direction from God’s word.
Job 14:7,8,9 says, “For there is hope for a tree, when it is cut down, that it will sprout again, and its shoots will not fail. Though its roots grow old in the ground, and its stump dies in the dry soil, at the scent of water it will flourish and put forth sprigs like a plant.” In other words, through the River of life a tree will live again. We were like that tree that Job spoke about. We began to see ourselves full of fresh water to give to someone who may be going down for the last time.
Our church has been so radically changed since our first visit to Toronto nine years ago. It has never been the same. We have seen one miracle after another. We have had miraculous healings and financial miracles. My husband supernaturally received a solid gold tooth, and we have seen gold dust on our walls and on people in our services. The same year the gold dust appeared on the wall, our church finances tripled. We paid off our mortgage, and just last year in one service our church of about 175 to 200 people raised $50,000 to send to a pastor in Africa whom we’ve been helping for several years. So you see the seeds of refreshing that the Father sowed into our lives that first night in Toronto are reaping a harvest not only in North Carolina but in other parts of the world as well.
Bobby and I still go to Toronto at least twice a year, sometimes more. Each time we take people that have never been there before. We are still seeing amazing results in our lives and others as well.
We have fallen in love with the Lord more than ever before.
As we continue to step out into the water, we continue to see God heal the broken hearted and the sick, set the captives free, and save the lost. The gift of healing is moving mightily, and many kinds of cancer have been healed as well as lupus and migraine headaches. God has broken the power of alcoholism and drug addiction. At every service, the word goes forth, we soak in His presence, we dance, we rejoice. Family relationships have been blessed so that in the past year we have had six new babies born to members of our church, and in a few months there will be at least five more.
I can’t believe what we would have missed if we had not pressed through and gone to Toronto to seek God. He met us and added some “super” to our “natural” so that He could finish the work He is doing in and through us. Although the testimonies we can share are powerful, perhaps the most precious thing God is doing among us is giving us a new sense of His love. Now we not only know that God loves us, but we can feel His love, and He has also given us new love for His people.
We have never had the opportunity to speak with John and Carol Arnott personally. There are probably multiplied thousands of couples like us who have also been touched, but have never had the opportunity to say thank you. So on behalf of them and from our hearts, congratulations, Toronto, and thank you again, Pastors John and Carol and TACF, for letting the River of God’s presence flow out of your church into the whole world for over nine years. I am sure you will never know the extent of your ministry until you cross over to the other side and our Father says, “Come on in, Y’all, (That’s because God is Southern!) good and faithful servants, enter into my rest.”