World Renewal International

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

What the enemy meant for evil, God used for good.

It is a weekend that Renewal and I will not soon or ever forget. We ministered in 6 events in the span of 30 hours. We put up the sound system and took it down then put it up and took it down, put it up and took it down. But, it was worth it.

On Friday night we traveled from Indiana to Columbus, Ohio. Even before we got to the motel it started. Carol called me on my cell. "The transmission on my car is broke, when I shift, it does nothing. I was in line at the Taco Bell to by supper for Jon and now I am holding up all the drive through customers. It will not roll even when we try to push it. I am waiting for the wrecker."Carol was upset and I was feeling like a helpless husband.
We stayed in a motel. Dan Downer and I arrived first. It was late when Doug Newnum and the rest of the band pulled in. It was really about 1 A.M. There was not a good place to park the van and the trailer holding the sound equipment. During the short time we had to sleep, thieves crossed the property behind the motel, hiding from the security cameras they cut through the device holding the padlocks on the trailer and stole a guitar, mixer boards, cymbals, microphones, cords and a suitcase of Mike Cruse's clothes. [Mike was not with us that night as he was doing a benefit concert in Illinois.] We are still discovering what was lost. We filed the police report and headed on to our 4pm event in Canton, Ohio on the campus of Malone College. We called ahead and told the event staff of our loss and that we would need help to put together a sound system.

It would not be easy. We are a band and that means lots of instruments. Our keyboards were still in the trailer, but many of the cords and stuff to make them work was not. Steve had drums but no cymbals. Mark had lost his favorite, one of a kind, and expensive guitar.

When we pulled into the parking lot of Malone College, Clark Hoopes, father of Matt Hoopes of the popular Christian contemporary band Reliant K was there waiting for us along with Phil Disabitino, Minister of music at Canton First Friends Church. What faithful servants these men were and are. They, in just a short time, had pulled together equipment to help us get through that night and the weekend. We were already an hour late on our setup time, they had young men there to help us with the long trek from the trailer to the crowded stage. Gary Jones of Renewal, soon arrived with his sons Avery and Eli and added more borrowed equipment.

The Spirit of Jesus was clearly felt by all as we ministered in two Mission Banquets celebrating what God was doing in the lives of missionaries from China, India, Albania, Hungary, Rwanda to Baltimore, Maryland. It was a night of celebration and a renewing of the challenge to take Jesus to those who do not know Him. Now it was 9:30 P.M. and time to take down the equipment and go to Jackson Friends Church.

We pulled into their parking lot at about 11P.M. No one was there. I called the number given to me on my cell and Walter Harris soon came and let us into the church. In the short time between Jackson Friends and Malone College I learned that Mike Cruse was stuck in Chicago airport. The airline had been behind. Mike missed his flight to join us for the Sunday events. He would miss the Sunday morning services. He also was stranded. I called my wife Carol who went to the World Renewal office and tried to find a hotel for Mike as United blamed the air controllers and would not give Mike a voucher for hotel. She got Mike's hotel room, called him with the arrangements and went back to bed at about 1 A.M. just in time to get up, travel 2 hours to preach near the Illinois line. What a woman!

Meanwhile, back at Jackson Friends we were setting up the patched together sound equipment for the Sunday morning 8:45 and 11 AM services. We all got to bed back at Malone College dormitories about 2:30 AM.

At 8:45 we stood on the stage of Jackson Friends, a large church between Canton and Akron, Ohio. It was such a different event than the night before. We sang and preached and gave witness. A large number of people prayed prayers of repentance in both services. God was there. It was serious, it was joyful, it was tearful,it was wonderful. When it was over I went to the airport to pick up Mike Cruse while the band took down the sound equipment.

My son Jon called. "Did you hear what happened?" I swallowed hard and said, "No, what happened?" Jon said, "I was asleep this morning and was awakened by a bad smell. I opened my bedroom door only to see that the water heater was on fire!" He said the blaze was huge. Jon turned off the electric box near the water heater, then turned off the main breaker. He then ran upstairs to our main floor got a water bucket and returned to the basement. "Dad, by that time the I got back the fire was huge! But I got it out. No wood caught on fire." I was so glad Jon was wise and did not get hurt. I was glad our other son, David, was not hurt along with our house guest, Katie. I was glad our house had been saved. Then I laughed at the enemy and said outloud, "Does the enemy think we will quit? Trying to burn down my house and kill my children. Does he think we will quit? He is a fool."

We ate lunch at Max and Erma's, after learning that Malone College Dining Hall was now closed, we were too late. We finished lunch at 3pm. Then headed back to the Johnson Center at Malone College.

We were to begin a concert at 6:45 PM. Arriving, we found it was a huge distance from the parking lot to the stage. When they created this building they were not thinking of moving sound equipment. It was a big stage but the evening included a choir and an orchestra. Not enough room. Besides they said we had to have our stuff up and ready by 5:30 for the choir to practice. Whew!

The guys did it but we very concerned. We had to wait for more equipment, this was the largest room we had ever played in, it is huge with about a 60' ceiling. Thank you Clark Hoopes and the young men you had to help us, you are great servants of Jesus!

We began the concert not really sure of how we sounded, as there was no time for a sound check. The audience really worshipped the Lord. It was great. Then the next event started. We led in a time of worship, two sets. Our friend, Dr. John Williams, President of Evangelical Friends International, preached on "Being Transformed by Christ." As the invitation was given we played and lead in our favorite time, altar time. It was great! Jesus Christ was there. The altar of prayer was crowded with those seeking Christ. It ended at 9:10 PM. We started the tear down the equipment and the long trek to the parking lot. Clark and his crew helped us again. It was after 11PM when we pulled into the McDonald's restaurant. I bought the band their supper and they headed home. We rejoiceed in what God had done. We prayed and thanked the Lord for using us and helpin us.

We felt blessed that so many of our friends and family had let us know they were praying for us. Our World Renewal office staff had rallied many to pray for our circumstances. Thank you Peggy and Edna and Carol. Thanks to all of you who knew and prayed for us. Thank you all who didn't know and prayed for us. It was a blessed series events. What the thieves and our enemy meant for evil, God meant for good. You do not have to read the last page to see, God wins. Just look around we are on the winning team.
Thanks for stopping by.
:: posted by Gary Wright, 7:05 AM


No wonder things were going wrong at home: God was moving through your ministering in amazing ways on the road!
Anonymous Katie, at July 24, 2007 at 4:48 PM  

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