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Are You Ready?

July 14, 2015
Are You Ready?
Exhausted and torn by the news of her husband’s infidelity, Carla felt like she’d been left exposed to the icy fire of the elements. “Twenty years of marriage and two kids! Didn’t it mean anything?” she silently screamed inside.

Not even a week earlier, she’d blurted out to her husband, “I’m not sure there is a God.” For 13 years they’d spent countless hours in a fantasy world of video games that seemed more real than a silent God she never really thought about during the week. Though active in church, her involvement was devoid of any spiritual connection, leaving weeds of doubt to grow quietly.

But now, in the soul-stripping moment of her husband’s confession, Carla’s complacent skepticism vanished. In that moment her prayer life truly began.

An Open Bible
As Carla leafed through the Scriptures, tears splashed onto the tissue-thin pages of a Bible she barely knew. Hour after hour she delved into the Scriptures praying for her marriage, yet feeling the warmth and comfort of kindling a new relationship with God, upon whom her existence would soon depend more than she ever thought.

Weeks later she lay in bed recovering from a hysterectomy. Staring at the ceiling for months, she felt as if the storybook of her life had been ripped from her hands. She wrapped herself into a cocoon of hospital sheets she thought, “This is no way to spend your birthday.” Whatever else happened, she had to get out of bed and find a job—or she and her kids would be on the street.

As medical and other bills piled up, Carla plummeted into a black hole of worthlessness; the future looked hopeless. Finally, she turned to the church for support and comfort and discovered a new experience as she worshiped a living, loving God with other believers. The Bible, once dull and dry to her, unfolded with life and personal relevance. With every earthly support crumbling, her prayer life was solid. Facing an uncertain future, including a home foreclosure that forced her to move in with her grandma, she had peaceful assurance that God would support her through the changes ahead.

Are You Ready?
Dressing for church one Sabbath morning, Carla experienced a nagging thought that stayed there until she spoke with a church elder. “The youth at our church need their own ministry,” she said.

“Sounds great! You should head that,” he replied. “Go online and see how much the Amazing Facts College of Evangelism costs. Bring me the information, and I’ll meet with our pastor.”

Did he mean she should go to school? The thought filled her with dread. Rushing to her car she cried out, “Lord, I hate school and it hates me! Don’t You remember? My kids have nowhere to stay. You know my financial situation. Is this really Your will?” she pleaded. The situation looked impossible, but God had brought her this far and she was willing to follow wherever He was leading—even if it meant going back to school.

Carla ambled through the produce section as grandma picked through vegetables, recalling her relief when she learned the church was paying for her kids to go to boarding academy. Just then she spied a familiar face over lacy carrot tops. “Carla!” he exclaimed.

She hadn’t seen her cousin, Jim, in 15 years. He never stopped at this store, but today he came in search of an item he couldn’t find elsewhere. Telling him of her plans to attend AFCOE, Jim was convinced he was there for another reason. “The kids are taken care of but I don't know about Grandma,” Carla explained.

“Oh. I’ll care for Grandma,” he replied. Carla’s eyes opened wide in amazement, certain that God was making a way for her to attend AFCOE. But there was still a problem with money for tuition.

Just days later, a familiar voice greeted Carla as she answered the phone. An AFCOE representative asked Carla, “Are you ready?”

“Yes. But there’s a problem with money,” she offered.

The AFCOE representative said, “Well, this morning a friend offered scholarship funds to AFCOE for students in need. Also, someone from your home church donated half the tuition.” Shocked and amazed, tears of gratitude spilled down Carla’s cheeks. Did these donors realize what a miracle they had just given her? By responding to the generous impulses placed upon their hearts these anonymous friends had opened the floodgates of heaven’s blessings in Carla’s life. She felt like she’d been handed a new storybook. This one started with, “Chapter One, AFCOE.” Hanging up the phone, Carla went to pack her suitcase.

Spirit-led Experience
The first week of AFCOE classes offered deep biblical insights and answered questions Carla had never thought to ask. Carla devoured the knowledge, thanking God for all He had done for her and wondered what was next.

“Things are going to change, Carla.” The voice moved through her like a breath. She recognized the Holy Spirit impressing upon her. So much had changed since arriving at AFCOE. Sleep snatching nightmares vanished completely, and the health benefits of a vegan diet were stunning. Already off several medications, weight decreased as energy increased. More than that were the delicate miracles that only the Creator could work, as He healed the depths of her mind and heart. Those quiet transformations filled Carla with wonder as old fears and anxieties were laid to rest and forgiveness for her ex-husband entered. Grateful for the healing she found at AFCOE, her desire to reach others for Christ intensified.

Once a terrified student, Carla became a compassionate Bible instructor who travels North America teaching young people and adults from widely varying backgrounds. “Jesus pulls me along on adventures I never see coming, and I’m thankful that now He’s writing my storybook,” she says. The blessings that started with an AFCOE scholarship keep flowing and Carla’s story continues.
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