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Chapter 8  "The Great Commission"

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Chapter 8

"The Great Commission"

Author:  Dylan Scaglione from Roanoke, VA

I was born with severe hearing loss, though it wasn't discovered until I was three. At that point, I did intensive learning in an effort to help me adjust to having hearing aids and for me to try to catch up in time for school. My parents sought to enroll me in a private school, but the school expressed concern with not having the personnel to accommodate my hearing loss, so I wasn't accepted. Therefore, I attended my local public school, and continued diligently learning and strengthening my listening and speaking skills. With the amount of time I invested in it and the support I received, it led me to pursue public speaking. In fifth grade, I won the public speaking state championship. My hearing loss began as a setback and weakness. It eventually gave way to a strength and victory. Two passages I'd like to close this paragraph with are 2 Corinthians 12:9-10 But he said to me, "My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness." Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong. 1 Corinthians 1:27-28 But God chose what is foolish in the world to shame the wise; God chose what is weak in the world to shame the strong; God chose what is low and despised in the world, even things that are not, to bring to nothing things that are in middle school, I began to get overwhelmed with pressure, so much so that I started losing my appetite. I was eating less and less, and continued dropping weight. It got to the point where I became drastically underweight and the doctor wasn't sure I would live through the weekend, as my organs were faltering due to lack of nutrition. I was admitted to the hospital and spent my fourteenth birthday there. I was diagnosed with anxiety that had manifested into an eating disorder. It was a long road to recovery, but I eventually got to a stable weight and remained healthy. The verses I'd like to end this paragraph with are Psalm 103:4 who redeems your life from the pit, who crowns you with steadfast love and mercy Psalm 39:7 And now, O Lord, for what do I wait? My hope is in you.

Midyear my freshman year of high school, I transferred to a Christian school. It was a new experience having Bible class and chapel services. I also noticed something different with my peers. My junior year, one of my friends on the soccer team invited me to an event at his church. Strongman Steve Carrier from Mega Force Ministries was going to be demonstrating feats of strength. I went and watched the presentation. Carrier was also an evangelist, so he shared the gospel. I went forward at the altar call and spoke with him afterward. When I got home later that evening, it continued weighing on me. Finally, I decided to settle it once and for all. I began reading and came across Billy Graham's Peace with God ministry. It walked step by step through the gospel: I'm a sinner- I fall short (Romans 3:23). Jesus Christ, the Son of God, died on the cross for my sins (Romans 6:23; Romans 5:8; Ephesians 2:8-9) and rose again (1 Corinthians 15:3-4). That night, at the age of 17, in my room by myself, I prayed and asked Jesus Christ to forgive my sins and I put my faith and trust in Him as my Lord and Savior. That night, I got saved. I would like to close this paragraph with the verse John 3:16 For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.

My original plan after graduating high school was to attend a state school and study business. Being a fairly new believer, I decided to attend Word of Life Bible Institute first to become more grounded in my faith. I learned and grew a lot during that time, had the opportunity to serve in various ministries, and decided to then attend Liberty University. After graduating college, I married Erica. God laid on my heart the call to ministry and I went to seminary. After finishing seminary, Erica and I had a son named Jett. In addition to being blessed with family, God's faithfulness with His call to ministry has led me to serve as a hospital chaplain. To end this paragraph, the passages I'd like to close with are 1 Thessalonians 5:24 He who calls you is faithful; he will surely do it. Philippians 1:6 And I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ.

God doesn't promise it'll be easy; He promises He'll be with us. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age. (Matthew 28:20) "I will never leave you nor forsake you." (Hebrews 13:5) With Him, the future is as bright as the promises of God, and His promises are always bright. I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world. (John 16:33) There are things that everybody wants, regardless of their age, background, etc.: Love, Peace, Joy, Freedom, etc. They're all found in Jesus. God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son... (John 3:16) Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you... (John 14:27) These things have I spoken to you, that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be full. (John 15:11) So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed. (John 8:36) There are mud puddles, and there's the ocean. The vast ocean of God's love, peace, joy, freedom, grace, and so forth. We can be done with the mud puddles and go enjoy His ocean. "If I find in myself a desire which no experience in this world can satisfy, the most probable explanation is that I was made for another world." C.S. Lewis "I'm nothing without my Savior, I'm everything with Him, and would not exchange Him for the whole world." I pray this serves as an encouragement to you. God's love for you is like the waves of the ocean - it keeps on coming. I pray that you come to that ocean - that you come to Jesus.

Thank You Dylan for Sharing Your Testimony to the WORLD!

Chapter 8

"The Great Commission"

Author:  Danielle Carico from Dublin, VA 

A testimony about feeling God's sense of humor. I had never thought of God to have a sense of humor. One Sunday our pastor had ask if we would pray over the next week to see what God has told us to give for the special offering taking place the next following Sunday. Later that day I stopped by a convenient store and looked at lottery tickets, thought about getting a couple but thought as soon as I pray over these God is going to tell me to give it all away so I left. Later that week I stopped for a couple drinks and got 2 lottery tickets without even thinking. I went home and prayed over them. I told God that whatever came of the winnings I would do whatever he wanted with it. When I scratched both, they were loosing tickets but I instantly heard/felt God chuckle and say to me, maybe if I wouldn't have been greedy before that just maybe I could have won something to share with my church. It was a learning experience but it also felt so good to feel that security from God.

Thank You Danielle For Sharing Your Testimony With The World!

Chapter 8

"The Great Commission"

Author: Steve White Jr. from Hickory, N.C. 

My Testimony:

I was born in Charlotte, NC. I seemed like a normal, healthy little boy; however, when I was 3 years old My Dad, Steve mentioned to my mom, Jane that something about me just didn't seem quite right. I was skinny, couldn't gain weight and got abnormally winded when I running. My parents were about to go on vacation, so my mother took me to the local doctor in Mt Holly just for get checked out before leaving town. She had no idea what she was about to find out. When the doctor listened to my heart through a stethoscope there wasn't a normal heart beat. Instead it was a swoosh.much like you would hear if you put your ear up to a hose pipe and turned on the water.

My parents obviously were devastated and they took me immediately to a pediatric cardiologist at Carolinas Medical Sanger Clinic - Dr Francis Robisek. He determined that i needed open heart surgery, so they scheduled me for surgery on a Tuesday. I was admitted on the Thursday before surgery to do testing. On that Sunday, my parents decided to take me to a church in Charlotte that believed in healing and the laying on of hands. Once the sermon was completed, the pastor asked if there was anyone who needed prayer. My parents took me forward and the pastor prayed for me. Needless to say, my dad said nothing really happened and they returned to the hospital that afternoon.

Monday arrives and I go in for the final tests. My mom stayed with me and my father took my brother to stay at my grand parents home. When he returned to the hospital, he walked in and saw my mom crying as she was talking with the doctor. He said he nearly fainted because he thought this meant I wasn't a candidate for open heart surgery. The medical staff had warned him this was a possibility based on the severity of my defect.

He gathered himself and walked into the office and Dr Robisek told my dad to please sit down. He had some news. He said, the tests we did on Friday and the tests we did this morning do not match. Some type of miracle has occurred! My dad listened to my heart and he heard a normal heartbeat. I was healed!

I want to "thank Jesus" for healing me and allowing me to have a healthy heart all these years.

Praise God!

No matter your situation, have faith because Jesus still heals!

Thank You Steve For Sharing Your Testimony With The World!

Chapter 8

"The Great Commission"

Author:  Dorthy Gray from Wytheville, VA      

I was told one time that I had a block is a half of a blockage they went down for a catheterization and didn't have a God took it away.  Amen

Thank You Dorthy For Sharing Your Testimony With The World!

Chapter 8

"The Great Commission"

Author:  Eileen Jackson from Fairlawn, VA 

I grew up in a strong Christian home, very active in attending church and it’s various activities and programs. Then, as an adult, life happened.

As it says in James 1:2, “Consider it pure joy whenever you face trials, you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance.”

In summer 2013, I suffered a stroke and was diagnosed with spinal stenosis. Before I knew what had happened, I was in MCV hospital in Richmond unable to move anything below my neck. After 2 surgeries and 6 weeks of rehab, I could still not stand up nor could I sit on my own. The doctors did not hold much hope for me to stand or walk again, and thought I would be confined to a wheelchair.

I struggled for awhile getting used to having to depend on others for everything. Going from complete independence to complete dependence overnight was not easy. Losing my independence was hard, but that made me more determined to get better. Through love, support, lots of determination, hard work, and my faith, I can now get around using a walker most of the time, and can do most things for myself, despite my spinal cord injury. As it says in Deuteronomy 31:6, “Be strong and courageous. The Lord God goes with you; He will never leave nor forsake you.”

In May 2016 my oldest brother had an accident that left him brain-dead, leaving us to pull the plug to let him go. Even though we grieved as a family, God never abandoned us.

In April 2017 my oldest son died at age 33 after a 6-year illness. The pain and heartache of losing a child is indescribable. Again, grief took hold of me, but God was right there for me to lean on. He did not abandon me. Through the toughest days He was right there with me and never left.

If God has never abandoned me, why would I ever abandon Him?

Our God is an AWESOME God!!!!

Thank You Eileen For Sharing Your Testimony With The World!

Chapter 8

"The Great Commission"

Author: Sunshine Cope from Virginia 

1 Thessalonians 5:18

As many of you may or may not know, my life was really turned upside down in 2005. While excelling at my "dream job", caring for the deceased and grieving (Funeral Director/Embalmer), I was struck by tragedy but, would later realize was a blessing. Funny how we can't see the gift being delivered in its current wrapping.

I watched in unbelievable horror as a black mustang crossed the median of I77 and raced toward me in slow motion only to collide with me head-on. What a feeling of despair, helplessness, the thought of my death and having absolutely no control! I did obviously survive this collision (and the one that hit me had no real injuries) Let me try to compress this testimony so it's not a novel:

My body had been through so much trauma not much else in my life would survive (some needed to be purged far sooner than this) years of physical therapy, so many doctors, 2 back surgeries, injections, medication and the list goes on. I was unable to return to life and work as I knew it, but during this turmoil God became my true center and focus. A relationship i needed and missed! Wes & Will were only 1 1/2 years old when this occurred, how would I care for them, everything would have to change. I got caught up in ALL that I couldn't do, ALL that had been stripped away from me, what my boys were gonna miss, I had truly lost sight of what I did have!

As time progressed I found myself at the church more and more, while the boys were at pre-school I was at church (YES, during the weekday) praying, reading, doing small crafts for toddler classes and I discovered a relationship with God like I NEVER knew before, He had a calling for me outside of what i had been living, my life was changing and had been changed in soooo many ways. He has a purpose and calling for you NO matter what you're doing, have done, with or without tragedy or heartache!

I'd like to tell you there wasn't hard and trying times over all years, but that's untruthful. I lost most everything I had, but what I gained exceeded the loss and devastation. Most everything was returned to me on an extremely grander scale. My body still has issues, but I know the ONE that created it and HE sustains me. My faith, trust and hope is ALL in the Lord and I have to give Him thanks in ALL circumstance, no matter what I face or perceive.

So whatever you maybe facing today, in your past or even that may come in your future, please turn to Jesus Christ; your Savior, your Healer, your Provider, your Friend and your Restorer! May God be with you always!

Thank You Sunshine For Sharing Your Testimony With The World!

Chapter 8

"The Great Commission"

Author: Melissa Cassell from Wytheville, Virginia 

My testimony is a simple one. I even struggled to post anything here. I wasn't a kid who got involved with the wrong crowd or got into the wrong things, and I wasn't sure what spectacular, overcoming the obstacles story I could share. Then, it dawned on me. My story is this: I was a sinner bought by His grace. He found me at a very tender age, and although I've strayed from His covering at times throughout the years, one thing I know for sure is His grace is sufficient, and He is my Lord, my Savior, and my friend to quote Superbook and my six year old son who quotes this everyday. To my brother, you are loved, and I am so glad to see Him at work in and through you. May His blessings continue to be over you every day of your life. Together, I know we share our hopes for future testimonies with the lost, especially those we hold dear in our hearts. I can't wait, and I'm praying it will be soon.

Thank You Melissa / Big Sis For Sharing Your Testimony With The World!

Chapter 8

"The Great Commission"

Author: Kathy Turley from Virginia 

When I was a little girl and lived in a small community I learned early that God was always to protect me. I was walking home from leaving an old country store when suddenly I heard a growl. I knew it was a stray dog. The dogs had formed a pack and they were notorious for being vicious. Suddenly I heard another growl from my other side. I was surrounded. I knew not to show fear, but my heart skipped a beat once. Calmly I closed my eyes and recited the 23rd psalm

When I finished the dogs had all gone away

My God was with me all the way

God is so good!

​Thank You Kathy aka "Kat Kat" For Sharing Your Testimony With The World!

Chapter 8

"The Great Commission"

Author: Darlene Epperson Rouse from Virginia 

Have you ever wanted something so bad but you never got it until years later when you least expected it and the timing is less than desired? Well, during the 7 years of marriage to my eldest daughters father, I prayed for her to have a sibling so she wouldn't be an only child like her father was but it never happened. Then fast forward several years after our divorce as I definitely was living in the world, it happened. I was pregnant, not married and terrified. Don't get me wrong because I was grateful for this life and that my daughter would not be alone but would know the love of a sibling. Telling my daughter, my parents and others was not an easy thing to do but it was definitely humbling. Fear set in for a short time when after a blood test I was told that my daughter would have Downs Syndrome. I was floored and very emotional as my doctor told me that an abortion was still an option. My brain swirled and I told him I needed time...time to pray and think and pray some more. I didn't share this development with anyone but God as I poured my heart and soul out to Him. I told my doctor that whatever God's plan was for me and this baby girl we would get through it together. She was born on New Year's Day without a sign of Down's Syndrome. I know that some people might say the test was wrong but I believe that Jesus healed her and made her " perfect" for me, her sister and all that have been involved in her life. I remain thankful everyday.

​Thank You Darlene For Sharing Your Testimony With The World!

Chapter 8

"The Great Commission"

Author: Jennifer Wade from Pulaski, VA

Several years ago, my family was in financial need, and I was out of work. While looking through some "Help Wanted" ads, I came across something that was not a job that would have normally appealed to me, but something about it made me give it a second look. It was a position for a used car salesman at a very small second-hand dealership. Normally, I would run from anything sales-related, but I kept coming back to this ad, and I knew there was something special about this position.

I made the call to the number listed, and I got the job! But, then I found out that not everything was great about my new position. For starters, I worked six days a week, with a thirty minute commute each way. And the pay was pretty low. I was a bit discouraged, but I knew that I had been directed by God to this position, and I knew that I was following his lead. What can go wrong when you are in the center of His will, right?

Things went from bad to worse. My working conditions were terrible. I had no heat in the winter, my boss was quite abusive and manipulative, even cheating me out of pay whenever he could, and then, my father was diagnosed with cancer. it was at that point that I turned in my resignation. I felt that I was not making enough money to make the commute and the abuse worth it. And my family needed me, especially with my father's health. But God wasn't finished with me there yet!

My boss decided to bring in Uhaul, in order to allow me to make some extra money. He agreed to spit any commissions made from Uhaul with me, as long as I learned the system and did the work. Well, I had no problem doing that! And, since the dealership was located in a college town, Uhaul took off as soon as it opened! My salary doubled immediately! However, the abuse from my boss doubled too. I knew that I had to leave, as soon as God opened a new door for me.

Ironically, it was the connections that Uhaul gave me that allowed me to find a new job. A new Uhaul dealership much closer to my home was wanting to open. They just needed someone willing to run it. My Uhaul Area Field Manager asked my permission to give out my contact information and within a month, I had a new job! I immediately received a significant pay raise, and instead of driving 60 miles a day, just for work, I now drive 60 miles a week! If I had left the dealership when I originally wanted to, I would have never had the Uhaul contacts that I needed to have the job that I have now. This is how God works! I know that I was not happy where I was at, but I also know that God told me to wait and not leave. I knew that I had to trust Him because there was something coming.

That is how God works. I think about Joseph when he was thrown into that prison. I know that he had to have had some "Woe is me" moments. But he knew that there was a plan. And the things he learned, and the contacts he made, while waiting for his time and his season, led him to serving in Pharoah's palace. God doesn't promise that every season in our life will be great and perfect. But He does promise that it will be for our good and He does have a plan for it. We just have to trust Him, listen and obey.

I learned so much in my time selling used cars. I learned to be more independent, trust my instincts, work things out on my own instead of relying on someone else, and so much more! Had I not had my time there, I may not have learned these things, or at least not learned them as well. God sent me there for a reason. And because I was there, He had used that position to provide the contacts I needed to move to the next position He had already put into place. God is amazing!

Thank You Jennifer For Sharing Your Testimony With The World!

Chapter 8

"The Great Commission"

Author: Todd Wade from Pulaski, VA

Testimony: Growing up I learned in the 2nd grade that I was dyslexic. Reading was very hard for me as the words would rearrange in my head and get out of order. This also happened with numbers. So I was always scared to death that I would be called on to read out loud in any class. I was picked on throughout school and even after school. God blessed me with a good memory and I got by most of school from what the teacher said. This even worked in my favor when I was in the Army. In classes I would hear the instructors teach us and would remember it and pass all my tests.

But from a very young age I always felt that God had a plan for me.

Life keep going and I still was the same. I got saved 1 month before I got married and God started working on me then. I was wanting to know more about God and of course everyone would tell me to read my Bible. So I did, every day before I would go to bed I got out my Bible. Now because I already had problems reading I didn’t even try the KJV. We had an evangelist that had preached at our church and was selling the Gods Word translation of the Bible. He said it was written on a 4th grade reading level. So with all my issues reading and I’m already almost 30, I thought this would be a good fit for me. So every day before bed I would get my Bible off the nightstand and start to read it. It was one of two things would happen. Either I would have to read the same passage over and over and over again just to try and understand it or I would fall asleep fast. Then try again the next day. This was my normal for awhile.

Then our pastor preached a sermon on asking God for what you needed. It was if you lacked wisdom, ask God for it. If you lacked knowledge, ask God for it. I was like here’s my chance, and I went to that alter and cried to God to give me wisdom and knowledge. I got up from the alter with tears running down my face feeling great. That night I lay down and pick up my Bible, and I fell asleep in 5 minutes or less. Night after night it was still the same as before, I would either fall asleep or struggle to read.

Over the next 6 months pastor gave that same alter at times. If you are wanting wisdom or knowledge come to the alter and ask God for it. Every time I went to the alter. But the last time it happened. That night when I laid down I got my Bible off my nightstand I started reading something had changed. I started off not thinking anything about it but after so time I realized I had just read chapter after chapter and book after book in the Bible. Not only that I could remember it and didn’t have to go back and reread it. I didn’t stumble and my mind didn’t rearrange the words as I read. God had heard my cry and answered my prayers.

Not only did God answer my prayers, He gave me understanding. As I would read God would reveal things to me. I called them gold nuggets. These things were just little things sometimes but they were right in front of us and I had never heard of them or it was adding more to the story than I had been taught.

For the next little while God poured into me and my cup was overflowing. As time goes on my cup kept getting bigger.

To this day I am who I am because of God answering my prayer. If you ask him, he will do the same for you. I started out as a boy that couldn’t read, write or spell very good at all, today I will stand and preach Gods word before man.

Thank You Todd For Sharing Your Testimony With The World!

Chapter 8

"The Great Commission"

Author: Rita Willard  / Librarian / FCHS

Mr. Cope, thank you so much for gifting FCHS a copy of your new book. I haven't read it yet because I wanted to put it in our local author collection for the students to check out. Your first book is a hit with the students and has been checked out numerous times. Your words are an inspiration to our children and give hope where sometimes there is none. I feel sure your testimonies will be remembered and used to draw comfort and strength for our readers. Keep sharing! Rita Willard / Librarian / FCHS

Thank You Rita For Sharing Your Testimony With The World!

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