Stories of Grace
Right when needed, God answered the prayers of our hearts and brought in $1,000,000 to use for His glory.
On Christmas day my cousin asked us to dinner. She also invited a gal who had no family. She had a very strange name and so I asked her what nationality that this name was. She explained that she had belonged to a commune from India and that was the name she was given. It turns out she was part of the Rajneesh commune that took over a little city here in Central Oregon and then was disbanded when the leader died and others were put in prison. The Lord used this commune to pave the way for a wonderful Young Life camp near here. The Rajneesh built all these buildings, put in electricity and sewer and then it was sold when they had to disband. The people who bought it planned to make it a destination resort but zoning laws would not allow, so this person donated the land to Young Life. Without all the work this commune had done Young Life would never have had the money to develop this land. So you can see God took a negative and turned it into a positive. God gave us opportunities to share Christ as we sat around the table. What a thrill!
When we couldn’t have children, God gave us a community to pray and ask God to give us our heart’s desire. He heard our prayers and answered Yes!!!
My dad was a pastor. My mother was a legalist. The 10 commandments became the 23 commandments. We were trying to live the Christian life by rules, not a relationship. I was sent to Moody Bible Institute – that was a disaster and total waste. Many, many years later at COD I realized that God’s grace did not require rules and regulations. In these later years, I know that I have been saved by grace, through faith and faith alone. God does not expect me to measure up to a listing of rules. I just need to trust Him day by day.
(After Living Nativity we had leftover Christmas trees, which we put at our entrance on Sierra Madre with a sign that said: FREE! Richard Anderson writes about his experience on that day.)
Before the first hour was over there were four people who stopped and with surprise asked, “Are these free?” My response to them was, “Yes, the trees are free, the Church of the Open Door paid for them and you can choose any one that you like.Do you know that Heaven is also free by trusting Jesus and you can choose to do that also? Come back to visit with us; we would like to share more of what the church can offer.”
I had gone back to the shop to wash my hands and measure for a box that I am making for the US flags to store them in. When I left about three o’clock there were only five remaining on the curb by the entrance and a man was loading a tree. I asked if I could help him. His response was, “Are the trees really free? Do you accept donations?” My response was, “Sure, you can come any Sunday that you would like and visit to find out what else is free that you can choose about trusting Jesus and how he made Heaven free for you.”
I have no idea if there will be any response from the cost for the trees, but the Holy Spirit can change lives by a few free Christmas trees left over from the Living Nativity that presented one of the GREATEST events in human history.
December 23, 2018
My brother-in-law told my sister he wanted to do a Bible study with her in the fall.
Peace in the middle of stress.
Through several years of trials and struggles, God brought me to reconnect with a beloved friend from my past. After much prayer and waiting, one year ago she and I were married. I inherited a huge blessing and challenge in her four children. This past Father’s Day, my first as a dad, I received notes from the kids and it exceeded all expectations. We’re embarking on a life-long adventure together, but God has shown up in a huge way in our marriage and relationships with the children.
I got to pray with a client recently to lead her to saving faith in Christ. Afterwards, as we spoke of God, listened to hymns and read stories, she said, “I feel like a new person!” I told her, “You are, you are a new creation in Christ. He makes all things new!” She has dementia, but I believe and please pray with me, that the Lord preserve and sear in her memory an unwavering understanding of Him and solid, grounded, confident faith. That in her days remaining she will grow.
About a year ago, I sensed God’s leading to move toward a leadership transition at Sports Outreach LA, the ministry I have served with for 25+ years. This caused me anxiety because I did not want to hang on too long or leave too soon. God has shown such grace to me by beginning to work behind the scenes years before I ever sensed his leading. Many evidences of God’s leading and providing have now been revealed to me. The net result is that SOLA in now a nationwide ministry (Eternity Sports) with a new directory. Praise God!
We were given two daughters after the loss of our first two. And then He healed our oldest from a cancerous tumor and preserved her life.
God is providing glimpses of hope in an ongoing difficult situation where I feel stuck, helpless and distressed.
The details surrounding my marriage and divorce are so devastating, yet God really came through for me and my son in miraculous ways. I am still in awe and cannot comprehend how He showed me grace and gave me so many blessings I do not deserve or comprehend! He saved my son and me from such disaster and devastation. I give God ALL the glory!
When my mom, Mary Bailey, passed away on Good Friday, my brother and I were very thankful for all the support and help we received in taking care of her memorial. Also for the help we received for her care before she passed away. We felt God was with us as we cared for her and then remembered her life. Thank you, Father, in Jesus’ name.
I grew up and was an associate pastor in my former organization. Did not really learn about God’s grace and unconditional love until recently. I was raised under performance-based acceptance. My new brothers here at COD have saved me from my old self. Thanks and praise be to the Lord.
For many years I avoided anything to do with God, even though I was raised in church. A few months ago, after attending volleyball with my wife and daughter here I suggested we attend, I don’t know why. But I’m glad I did.
Our daughter was abandoned by her adulterous husband. She told us she would ‘never be happy again’. God is the husband of the husbandless and Father of the fatherless. He has rescued her and her children. She’s happy again.
Ed and Judy
Last fall I attended COD for the first time. After the service, there was an invitation to receive prayer. I asked Pastors Dave and Dave to pray for my older brother who has struggled with depression for most of his adult life and who was deeply depressed at the time. In less than a year since that prayer, through a series of events that could only have been orchestrated by the Holy Spirit, my brother is healed and says he can see truth now. Whereas he could not before. Praise God! Praise Him for the body of Christ, the Holy Spirit, and the power in prayer.
God’s grace was always there for me. There’s so many times of ‘coincidences’ that I know were really God’s interventions. God’s timing on my journey is still amazing. But the truth is, I know it’s not from anything I could have done. It’s my Lord at work.
Our upcoming move to Auburn, Alabama has been a resumption of our journey with God. It’s another gracious milestone in our walk with Him. He has opened our eyes to the possibilities and opened doors! He has given us provision and favor. Only possible with the One full of grace and truth.
God graced me with a 20 year career with Coca Cola. He blessed me with great managers and co-workers. Within that 20 years I have been laid off then rehired back then quit and they rehired me again. Then June 14, 2018 I was laid off again. My last day was August 15, 2018. (I started July 7, 1998) Through it all I am blessed to have worked for them and I give all praise and glory to God and now as we get ready to move to Alabama, we believe it’s all in God’s perfect timing for a new beginning, a fresh start. Only God could have orchestrated how this all worked out. Thank you COD for loving us well. We love you all! God bless you! In Christ together forever and always.
I made friends with a dear Jewish man name Sol. We met frequently, shared Old Testament and New Testament scripture. He died recently. I’m counting on God’s mercy.
When we started a new HUB group three years ago, we prayed God would bring people who we could minister to and love. Two years ago Paula and Jerry Hill came to our HUB as new attenders at COD. God had a purpose for bringing them to our HUB group and we now see what it was. Recently Jerry passed away. We, as a HUB group, have been able to support, love and encourage Paula during Jerry’s sickness and death. We as a HUB are all grateful to God’s grace in allowing us to be a part of His work in Jerry’s life before his death and now to care for Paula.
Dave and Karen Easton
Last summer I prayed with Dave Anderson about business struggles and how I was representing clients in court regularly, but not able to see my family. With baby #3 on the way, this was not healthy. Dave and I asked God for a positive change. GOD ANSWERS PRAYERS! Within about 2-3 months, without advertising, without drafting a resume, without doing anything but asking God, in His grace, my office phone rang with “I hear you’re a Christian attorney, and a millennial.” Shortly thereafter I accepted a tentative offer for employment with a devout Christian attorney and new mentor (starting in 2019). Once my wife and I determined in our hearts that it was God’s calling, His grace overwhelmed us. Cases settled, the calendar cleared and I am free to be the father and husband God clearly wants me to be. God answers prayers, and His love goes beyond that. Thanks, church!
For years we have been praying that God would reveal Himself to our daughter. Since she went away to college she has not been following God. Recently she has been reaching out to God again. Still not 100%, but open and searching. We continue to pray.
I thank you, God, for your grace over my family, because you give us each day the strength to live without our little Olivia. The pain is still so hard but you help us daily. Thank you for your love and the hope we have in you. We will see her soon. Blessed be your name!
You have shown us what it means to be free. This tragedy of Pastor Andrew Brunson has given the world a whole new perspective of what being free with Christ means to me. I’m so thankful for this life-changing new perspective.
The past three years have been difficult for our son. Finishing his masters, school, etc. God has been gracious to carry him through this time and he graduated last week. Also, bringing him a wonderful woman who is also a Christ follower, into his life. Our daughter is still not following Jesus closely but has started to begin to open up to Jesus. God is good! I’m meeting, with another woman in my HUB, every Wednesday to pray for our kids. Amen!
My mom has always been standoffish about the Gospel and prayer, basically just uncomfortable with any type of intimacy with the Lord. She has had health issues this year and the Lord has opened her up to asking for prayer and she is requesting that we pray for her. Please pray that she would confess with her mouth her need for a Savior and place her trust in Him. Her name is Judy.
God’s grace enabled us to put our three girls through private school and through college without going into debt. Every month/quarter/semester He provided that money needed to pay their schooling. They have graduated debt free and are pursuing careers in nursing, teaching, and YMCA. We also are not in debt. We were able to give regular tithes throughout this time and continue to do so. Praise God! Thank you!
Being a single mom of four amazing kids is the best story of grace in my life. Even when some years are hard I know my God is always with me. For more than 11 years by myself and with my sister, my mom and my father’s help and coming here, my life has been changing little by little and I hope I can be more part of this family of the Church of the Open Door.
As our family returned to the US from living overseas for 14 years one of my biggest prayers was that God would provide a healthy transition for our teen daughter. Though there are still challenges, the last two years have been full of many graces as my daughter has made friends, found Christian encouragement and is headed to APU in the fall.
O Wretched Man — Romans 7:13-25
“I don’t understand, wretched man that I am, rotten through and through
I want to do right but I can’t win the fight O wretched man that I am.
I know when I’m wrong my conscience is strong, it proves what a fool I’ve been.
But sin has its way, it leads my astray oh wretched man that I am.
Who will set me free? Who will hear my plea?
Thank God it has been done by Jesus Christ His son.
I love to do God’s will, but there is something within me still.
At war with my mind is sin, it happens again and again.
Oh wretched man that I am. Who will set me free? Who will hear my plea?
Thank God it has been done by Jesus Christ His Son.”
Our Heavenly Father has saved my son and allows every day for me to be at peace with those who have put pain in my path. I’m freeing myself through God. Every day is a struggle, but God reminds me of my love towards Him. I thank you Father. Amen.
Thank you for making my dad responsible and making him realize what he was doing wrong. I keep praying for his resurrection towards you our God. Amen.
Growing up in a very judgmental and legalistic church, I never knew of or experienced God’s love and grace. I experienced it for the first time the day we began attending COD. Soon after we began attending we were thrown into a very difficult trial. One night at HUB, overwhelmed with everything we were going through, I opened my heart and shared everything. I honestly didn’t know what to expect. We were immediately enveloped in love and grace-nothing I had ever experienced before. It was beautiful! And it was the balm my soul needed to get through that difficult time. Never before have I been a part of a community that comes along side each other and walks through life with each other with such genuine grace and love. I have finally found grace and love.
Grace: getting what I don’t deserve-that was the definition I learned in high school. Anyway, one thing I didn’t deserve was the opportunity to have a family. I have a patient, beautiful wife and two healthy boys. God has demonstrated his love to me by giving me this special time with them. There is a deep joy that comes with working for them. It is a simple story of grace, but it is the one God has given me. I am very thankful.
My story of grace is my story of salvation and God revealing to me how I ended up with Jesus. It includes being led to the chaplain (Navy) that led me to a saving grace of God and salvation, then to discovering that my grandmother was capturing us whenever my father took us close to her tiny apartment in a very poor neighborhood in Memphis.
Madi Vincent led one of her classmates to Christ (Brooke) during her first month at Baylor University. Go God!
Our dear Frances Bone passed away this year. She generously left her estate to COD; we received a check for $961,694 on August 28. This is God’s grace and provision for us!
Abi and Ben Andersen received their full tuition amount (thanks in part to the generous WMF gift!) just in time to register for classes on August 15.
God provided a part to repair Colin and Becca’s car on their way to Texas from California – in a real unique way God was gracious to get the part they needed!
Craig and Roxie Graves, former COD missionaries in Asia, let us know that their Asian ministry partners, Sonny and Sharon, have started a house church in their city! Something they’ve been asking God to do for years!
One woman share that her daughter turned away from the Lord, and Jesus brought her back through prayer and community.
Matt Kuiper learned that one of his former neighbors had been impacted for the gospel by watching him and Salpy faithfully host a HUB group each week. Matt heard his neighbor share about this five years after it took place! That neighbor shared this spurred him on to get back into church fellowship.
God has opened a door of grace recently. The door is only cracked at this point, the story is just starting. I am not sure where this grace will go or the final outcome, but I know it is a mighty, sovereign, act of God. I pray God will allow me to share this story before the end of the year. Trusting God that he will work all this for His glory. Anticipating God’s wonderful grace!
A little more than a year ago our daughter was going through a traumatic period where she was very negative and didn’t seem to be ok with church. She said that she didn’t believe in God. She even mentioned suicide. My husband and I spoke with the youth leaders and told her that our daughter was going through a spiritual crisis. We also prayed for our daughter. Now she has made a 180 degree turn around! She now believes in God, has favorite scripture verses and is a happy person again. We continue to pray for her and know that the youth leaders at COD had a strong impact on her. Our daughter regularly tells us about how they reach out to her.
The Walkers has become a unique group. We walk Friday mornings. Some are not believers. The experience is significant. You are invited.
Hello, my name is Joseph, I am 21 and this is my story of grace. God helped me through the power of drug addiction, helped me set free from that. He helped me get my life back and more. He gave me a roof over my head from being homeless and put a beautiful woman in my life and beautiful son in my life as well. And for that I owe my life to God.
Through the grace demonstrated at this church, God has given me the strength to forgive those who have hurt me growing up.
I am so thankful for courage and strength from the Lord to take a step into speaking truth into a tough situation. It seems that the person received the words and though at first resistant, has now responded. That’s all the Lord!
After 45 years of marriage I can finally know that my husband is a believer! God chose me to bring him to Christ. He’s a proud man, but also honest and full of integrity. But that’s not enough. He has been completely humbled and is convinced that Jesus is the glue that holds us together and is in control of all things. He can see the hand of God in his life. Thank you one and all for praying that he would be saved! Thank you precious Lord Jesus for choosing this man for me to bring to You!
Thanks for having Camp IDRAFOJE! We have waited three years to get our daughter into it (till she was mature enough). We are expecting the experience to bless her and our family. Thanks for all your labor of love and sacrifices!
The Van Laars
Oh, too many to list all God’s provision. Salvation for all my children and grandchildren. God has protected us over and over, healed us over and over, rescued us over and over and showed us grace and mercy over and over. Thank you, Jesus.
My Dad was an alcoholic. He passed away with liver failure. I had been praying for my dad for years to be saved. My dad was in the hospital for two days before he passed. The pastor from my church came and spoke to him; my dad hadn’t been conscious for about four days. My pastor was honest when speaking to my father, saying that this was going to be it and that he had a decision to make. He asked my dad that if he could hear, would he accept Jesus into his heart? At that point my dad’s eyes opened and he nodded yes. God’s amazing grace is that it’s never too late to accept salvation.
Through the past year of uncertainty, facing breast cancer, God has been so faithful to encourage me through His word. From the beginning, He has given me the confidence that whatever outcome, this is all part of His GOOD story for me. God is good, all the time.
I can see God’s amazing grace throughout my life! There was a time in my marriage that I was making plans to leave my husband. God had a different plan. He caused my love for my husband to be new and grow deeper than ever before. Praise God, His grace was showered on us.
The Lord is showing us how to how to extend grace to our daughter while recognizing the truth of her sin.
The number 19 has turned out to be a great number in my life . . . In 1999, 19 years ago, I was on the cusp of graduating from college with what appeared to be a bright future ahead. I was treasurer of my student government, had a loving girlfriend, and all the promise of a bright future was in the air. I was living life on my own terms, trying to fight all my battles myself, knowing all along I was not winning but not willing to see it or accept it. And then my life came to a sudden halt. I was diagnosed with MS. At that time I thought my life was over. Little did I know it was just a new beginning.That year began my reunification with the Lord and year after year I can honestly say I’ve seen him working in my life and watching over me.
Along the way I’ve been blessed with meeting some God-enriched friends, sharing in fellowship and walking with fellow believers at home and at work that have helped to strengthen my faith. Glenkirk Guys, which later got renamed to Glendora Guys, was an answer to prayer and a key part of my journey. Being invited to an Alpha series by my brother Anthony Kim was another instance. Daily spiritual talks with Kris Kademian and Anthony Kim during lunch at work were priceless. Another person who really touched my life was Libby Kosterlitzky. Libby’s short time on this earth touched me deeply but I know without a doubt she’s waiting to be reunited with her family in heaven. Oh what a glorious day that will be and I look forward to seeing it. Attending two men’s Band of Brothers boot camps with brothers Anselmo and Frank were other instances of further spiritual growth. Currently being involved in a great HUB group through church with my wife, and men’s discipleship with a special group of believers led by pastor David Anderson have been priceless. There have been many other instances through my life where looking back I see God’s power at work, but it all started with my loving parents and family that breathed Christ’s love into me. I’m truly thankful that my mom and grandma are here to share in the moment with me and I know my dad, aunts, grandfather and others are here with me as well even though circumstances didn’t allow them to be here physically.
I have put my faith in the Lord for a long time and now felt the calling to make a public confession of my faith as an example to my family, friends and all those who I hold dear.
Chris Wright at his baptism
August 20, 2018
Pete and Devonna, on VERY short notice, brought my forgotten wallet to LAX in time for us to catch our flight to WI for my brother’s memorial service. On the same journey, a Las Vegas family took my family in during a schedule change and delay. They OVERHWELMED us with gracious hospitality – coming to the airport at 11:30 at night to get us, making us food at midnight, bringing special doughnuts in the morning and providing a ride back to the airport in the morning! Big-time grace released at a time when we needed His special care.
August 2-3, 2018
I don’t have a story that is finished. My story of grace is just now beginning in my marriage and I pray that I can share sooner than later what God will do. But in this beginning, I am again shown that no matter where I am, no matter how far from the Lord, His mighty love moves mountains and emboldens us to participate in the repair of broken things.
July 16, 2018
I was out of work and my HUB group never stopped praying and encouraging me. I was helped by an unbeliever and now I have a thriving business. And I was able to lead the unbeliever to Christ a month before he died.
July 12, 2018
David Cole (a former COD attender who moved to Arizona) asked to use COD’s discipleship material (the grace series) because he is being led to start discipleship at his new church. He called and let us know that many are very young in the Lord and he thinks they are ready for discipleship like we do at COD!
July 9, 2018
Celia Newkirk’s colleague (from a different faith background) who has all sorts of questions about faith in Christ approached Celia with her questions and wanted to know more.
July 8, 2018
In March we took in a 5 month old foster baby boy. He was inconsolable for the first several hours and it was apparent he was very sick. The weekend was spent in the ER and at doctors’ visits and in the time that followed it seemed that everything that could go wrong did. Though baby began to heal he slept poorly and required almost constant attention. Our bathroom flooded, we had an insect infestation, and “overwhelmed” felt like an understatement. In this time I questioned if we had done the right thing by taking him in, and even wondered if all this was some sort of punishment for taking on too much. Mixed in all the turmoil were several stories of grace released. In my most desperate moments people who love Jesus brought dinner, gave expert medical advice, brought fans and washed towels from the flood, stopped by with coffee, offered childcare and texted encouragement. In the middle of one night when I was feeling abandoned by God I went to the kitchen and was snacking on some banana bread. In that moment Jesus spoke to me: “Just as I am caring for this boy through you, so I made that banana bread just for you.” Jesus, the Bread of Life, had also made me banana bread through another of his servants. I felt so loved and cared for not just by my community, but by the One who, not just gives me my community, but IS my community. God also facilitated a bond with baby boy’s mom and, incredibly, one day my encouragement came from a song she shared with me via text: Blessings by Laura Story. Baby is back home with her now. Christ IN us has taken on a reality I hadn’t acknowledged fully before. What grace released towards me!
June 28, 2018
In World War ll, I don’t think my mother was aware she had married a schizophrenic. My father was a veteran from the 82nd Airborne Division. It may have been that he suffered Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). I don’t know my father, and I had nothing to do with him.
When I was still in elementary school, all I know of him is that whenever he was home on leave, he would beat me with his fist. Later he shot and killed his brother, my uncle. He was sentenced to the Atascadero prison for the criminally insane.
I was alone, frightened, lost, confused, and could not read or write. In elementary school, my grandmother sent her grandchildren to the First Calvary Baptist church in Boyle Heights. There I first heard the Bible stories of Jesus, and heard His Sermon on the Mount (The Beatitudes), “Come to me all who are burdened and heavy laden, and I will give you rest.” Although I did not accept Jesus as my Savior, I understood that Jesus was Truth, perfectly strong and reliable. From that time on I would always pray, and come to understand that Jesus was always with me and watched over me.
With Jesus, I was able to learn to read and write, earned my sergeant stripes in the Green Berets (Special Forces, US Army Airborne), and earned my Masters in Education.
When I was 69 years old, with the help of my next door neighbor, an Associate Pastor (Colin McDougall) of COD, this church, I accepted Christ as my Savior.
Although through prayer my life was always good, it was always as an adolescent, but never as a man should experience and deal with life. I never had a father to teach me how to be a man.
Five years ago I accepted Christ and was baptized. I now have a Father in heaven who by his example taught me about manhood. Manhood is about being a good father. Being a father to your family means being: a King who has the Vision to Provide, a Warrior who has the Strength to Protect, a Mentor who has the Wisdom to Teach, a Friend who has the Love to Connect.
After I accepted Jesus, Jesus’ love and enlightenment gave me clarity as to who I am. I am no longer strangled by guilt and obligation, and filled with shame and discomfort. I’ve come to like and love myself. I am accepting of myself, I feel comfortable with myself. As in the words of the old Negro spiritual, Free at last! Free at last! Thank God Almighty, we’re free at last!”
Being a Christian has its cost. It means taking time, courage, and energy to meet strange new people in fellowship. But remember to be free of human bondage, to break those chains that bind us, one has to expend energy and take time for Jesus, these are acceptable cost for the clarity Jesus gives us.
Dennis Contreras’ testimony
June 26, 2018
Charlie Konoske . . . I have recently seen a loved one soften towards the church and this person has even identified COD as “their church”. This is a big deal and I’m praising God for this story of grace released!
Jon Osborn . . . in the answer to our prayer for an improvement in my mom’s living situation. My mom has dementia and the last year or so has been really hard in dealing with her emotional state and how that is impacted by her living situation. As we have been praying, she has shown a good amount of improvement. This helps me as well as her and is a great blessing for me.
Greg Demonteverde (former elder) . . . as God clearly led my wife and me to move to Alabama to be closer to family. God opened our hearts and minds to the possibility of being with family and to have this unique opportunity to minister to them. This will also allow us to be better stewards of His resources, to prepare us for our retirement years and to reach others in a new place.
Robert Gray . . . as he has filled in the gaps for me at work. As my company has grown, so also have the responsibilities and the pressure to work ever increasing hours. I committed to limit myself to a reasonable work schedule and entrusted the results to God and He has allowed me to stay above water even during a very busy time of growth and challenges.
Eric Folbrecht . . . when I saw the COD body of Christ genuinely love (instead of distancing, shaming or judging) some fragile people in the church. It really showed me how community makes a difference.
Bob Ketterling . . . through our HUB group as they came alongside a new couple to our church and to our HUB, Paula and Jerry. As Jerry got sick (and recently passed away), the people in the HUB group rallied, prayed, and genuinely showed loved and cared for them. It was very encouraging to see this couple experience God’s love in very real ways through our HUB.
June 12, 2018
If I didn’t have a trial with my wife, I wouldn’t have returned to fellowship with the Lord. Humbling but good! Continuing to trust him day to day.
May 28, 2018
I was getting a dental implant surgery done last Friday, when I found out that the dental surgeon had lost his 20 year old son to leukemia in January and his father last September. As we wrapped up the surgery, I could see that he was in pain and I told him that I understood his pain and suffering as I saw that pain in my parents when I lost my brother, and how losing a son or a spouse is one of the worst experiences in life, as tears filled my eyes. He sensed the genuineness of my compassion, and asked what my faith and hope was in, and I told him that it was in Jesus. He knew a lot about the Bible and started to share about Job, and how God allowed all the turmoil in his life, and he went on to say that he’s no Job. He said he’s come to the conclusion that God has a plan despite what he prays, because he, his son, his family, everyone in his life prayed for his son to be healed, yet God took him away. He said his son was an innocent, kind, gentle, loving person, and that he would have understood if God took him instead of his son. I told him that Jesus loves him, and his son, and though he’s in a bad place right now because of all the pain, his son is in the best place because of his faith in Christ. I pray that God will heal his hurt and his heart, let him know that He loves him, and draws him back to Him. His name is Dr. Park, so please keep him in your prayers. God bless.
May 25, 2018
Upon my brother’s (Steve) death, God opened up doors to share some helpful truths to my family about our hope of heaven as well as giving me great opportunities to share the gospel with my nephews, Devin and Davis.
May 23, 2018
During our conference here (April 24 to May 2), I received a report and pictures from our colleague, Pastor Yusufu, in Tanzania of a conference ongoing in Geita district (NW Tanzania) with 34 participants using the Swahili “Models”. Of course, the training in different cultures, languages and contexts will look different than here and we’re OK with that as long as the fundamental commitment to the eternal truth of the scripture remains. As we continue to train disciple-makers, that network will expand. The compounding dynamic of the Father’s strategy for His church can be dizzying. Fortunately, I don’t have to know the results, just the command.
One week before our guests arrived for the international pastors training, I was taken to the hospital with what my staff thought was a stroke. It wasn’t, but I was unable to speak in coherent sentences. It was too late to postpone the conference so we prayed and kept preparing. The diagnosis was low sodium due to one of the meds I was taking. God’s divine power enabled me to teach with vigor and strong voice throughout.
My ongoing job as president is to keep the main thing the main thing: Go and make disciples.I expect to finish well. Do I hear an Amen?
Colin McDougall Sr.
May 21, 2018
Margaret Andersen is rejoicing that God’s grace and protection has been on her travels. Twelve days have passed since her long train trips through the nights without developing malaria (or picking up any other illness) from her travel week.
May 15, 2018
After the tragic loss of Daniel Anderson, Michael and David Anderson were able to preach the Gospel to over 150 students and faculty from Mt. San Antonio College at Church of the Open Door. Later that week, Patricia Anderson was able to share the amazing grace of Jesus Christ with an old friend of Dan’s that stopped by to encourage her.
May 5, 2018
The Cullen Club 3:16 Team had some of their kids inquire about baptism. They decided they wanted to offer the opportunity for kids in their club to get baptized. We offered a Parent/Child Baptism Information Class and five families showed up. It was held in the cafeteria at Cullen on a Tuesday evening (which is cool in itself). All who attended were new to the teaching of the gospel in the Christian faith. Three of the moms were single moms and two of them in tears thanked us all for offering Club 3:16 as it has encouraged them to attend “Christian Church”. As far as I know, on May 18th at the home of one of the Cullen volunteers, there was a baptism in her jacuzzi! They also had a BBQ and a birthday cake for the new birth of these precious kids!
May 1, 2018
John Almendras shared that his dad, Jerry, who Jared Almendras (Jerry’s grandson) has asked for prayer for for many months, has started to go through Beginning in Grace with John! He is asking good questions and really seems to want to dig into it. Go God!
April 15, 2018
Dear COD Family,
Thank you so much for the initiative to send encouragement cards to us and other missionaries from COD. I just read through every word of about 25 cards that deeply blessed and encouraged me. At least once a week the thought (or its shadow) comes into my heart – What are you doing out here?! Doubt and disbelief are in the air here, and despite the croissants, it’s a difficult assignment serving people of different faiths in this very secular environment. It is an enormous boost to know that the COD family, even some I don’t yet know, are praying for us or think our service here matters. We are certain God works through His Spirit in His Word and in His people to glorify Jesus in every people and nation. I see that happening here in France, but also see it happening at COD.
Love to you,
Rob (for Karen and the girls)
April 5, 2018
David Schaller’s neighbor, during a round of golf, asked him, “How is your spiritual life going?” Beforehand, David specifically asked the Spirit to open a door and He did. Anderson was praying along with him. Another guy in the group that day shared it is “belief” that gets us into heaven. An amazing conversation!
February 2, 2018
Almost a year ago today I did not have a job and was not able to support my family. Interview after interview . . . then finally the door opened up and the Lord blessed me with a teaching job. It has been great to get back into the classroom. My family prayed for me. I had friends also praying too. God’s timing is incredible. The day I found out about the job was the last day of my last paycheck.
I had already “moved on” from some hurt between a family member and I from 14 years ago. After a lot of formal counseling and God’s grace, I forgave and kept going on with life. This past year, God prompted this family member to speak with me and reconcile. I didn’t see this ever happening. Who knew that this 12 year old, at the time, would later experience from the same person healing face to face? God hears us when we think we are all alone and He always accomplishes his grace in our lives. In this specific relationship, God’s grace continues to be unfolded.
MJ (Saudi Arabia) escaped persecution and physical torture to Europe. Through a phone ministry, he had become a believer in Saudi Arabia. In Europe he was baptized, but he had no housing, food or money. His path crossed mine by God’s grace and we both speak Arabic! God has arranged countless “coincidences” to give him a whole summer now of food, lodging, work, language learning and Christian fellowship outside the persecution he would experience with Muslims in Europe. He’s a cook at a Christian conference center. God is very good at planning! And His care for MJ is a great picture of grace in Jesus.
a COD missionary
I’ve been blessed by God’s grace literally my entire life. I had polio at 18 months. The doctors told my parents I’d never walk, never sit, that I’d be bedridden forever. (What a message to tell a mama and daddy!) I walk! I’ve had plenty of physical problems, but God has blessed me with His love, most of all, but also a wonderful husband, son, daughter, daughter in law, son in law and grandkids! That’s besides my family of origin! What a grace, what blessings!
While taking my friends Brandon Durham and John Yeressian through Beginning In Grace, we came to a section of the book that gives the reader an opportunity to accept Christ. John paused, we had already been through two books prior on Christian living, but the question about salvation made him think. He just listened in silence for the rest of our time. I texted John the next morning saying that we needed to talk when he had the time. He replied, sure call me around 7 p.m. In our conversation John revealed that he believed, but didn’t know if he was saved. We went through the scriptures together giving him a presentation of the gospel. As we prayed together, John accepted the Lord. Afterwards he gave thanks to both Brandon and me for never giving up on him. Please pray for continued growth as John matures in Christ. Thank you.
January 23, 2018
In an interview, I had a chance to share the gospel in a very meaningful way.
January 20, 2018
A middle eastern couple came to the international student outreach already with the idea that they wanted to learn about Christianity. Karen and I and another Christian man have been reading the Bible (John mostly, also Romans) with them and also prayed for them. Christmas Eve, while dropping them off at their house after dinner, they said, “Mister Rob, since we have met you everything has gone right. We had no house and no job, no hope in our hearts. But you prayed in Jesus’ name and God gives us job and house, and our heart has hope when we think of Jesus. Now we just want to know him more and learn all of him.” OK, really? Obviously I had done nothing special, but God had been drawing them (“No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws him”) so they came to Jesus and he answered special prayers to show them he cares. But you’re like, OK, how much do they know of Jesus, how much of him can they be giving themselves to . . . is this motivated politically or by the positive turn in life circumstances, or by a desire for change . . . one can never know. A few weeks later I heard that the Christian man he works for had been going through Romans with him. They have both apparently decided to follow Jesus! During our last contact he told me he wanted to translate evangelistic materials into his own language! We will see how their spiritual life develops and what kind of soil they are as we move forward, but up till now it’s awesome watching the LORD work.
January 16, 2018
Mariah and I had a very encouraging God moment today. Mariah ran into a guy who said he kinda recognized her as a friend of mine, and that we played soccer together as freshmen on the USC team. I had shared the gospel with all the guys on the team, with no immediate positive response. Pretty discouraging. But, he told Mariah he has since become a Christian and is involved with a ministry and loves Jesus. It all started with him initially responding poorly to the gospel message I presented to him freshman year. I have reached out to him and hope to reconnect with him after not talking for almost three years! Very encouraging to me, I hope it is to you as well.
January 15, 2018
Amazing, wonderful, incredible news. Last week she accepted Christ! I am truly in awe of God’s work and hand in her life, every circumstance a stepping stone. Long before I knew her and prayed for her, He was at work. His control and provision are mind boggling. He is so good!
—the first of the 100 stories of grace released from one of our members via text to David Anderson
January 5, 2018