Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Randy Vick testimony Part 1

Late in November 2013, I was in Kansas City to pick up supplies for my café. The restaurant supply store is located just off of I-670 on 12th Street, West of downtown Kansas City, near Kemper Arena. When I pick up supplies I want to get them to the café as soon as possible. This means taking I-670 East through downtown to I-70 East for about 40 miles to Mo. Hwy 13 South to the café. 

On this particular day, at a stop sign at the bottom of the onramp to I-670, I noticed two young men a distance away in a large open area under the elevated overpass, begging for money. Normally I would not pay them any attention at all and would probably mutter to myself, wondering (judging) why they were there rather than working for a living. As wrong as that attitude is, that is how I have come to feel about people who do that. This time was different. As I glanced at them I noticed the young white man not paying any attention to me, but the young black man looked at me and when we made eye contact I felt a touch of the Holy Spirit and felt sudden compassion for him. Then I did something I would never do. I reached for my wallet. Even from the considerable distance he could see what I was doing and walked to my truck. I rolled down my window, handed him some money and said, "God bless you!" I don't even remember if he said thank you, but it didn't matter, I just felt compassion for him. As I climbed the long onramp and headed East on I-670, the Holy Spirit continued with me and I found myself wondering how that young man came to be in that situation and I said a prayer for him. In a bit of a spirit induced daze, I was nearing the merge with I-70, and was in the far left of three lanes. Before getting to the I-70 merge, I came upon the exit to I-49/Hwy 71 South. Suddenly "something" urged me to take the exit onto Hwy 71. I had no reason to go that way, but I swerved across three lanes of traffic at the very last minute and headed South on 71. I had not gone far when I was flooded with the presence of the Holy Spirit. So much so that when an inaudible voice told me, "Plant a branch here." I did not question it. I knew it was the Lord and I immediately began asking the Lord where and how. I was scanning the neighborhoods on both sides of the highway, basking in the presence of the Spirit, while expecting the Lord to give me some indication of a particular neighborhood or a particular building that might be available. I had worked in these neighborhoods when I was a Special Agent for the State of Missouri, so was familiar with the general layout and condition of that part of town. I had not received any specific indication when I came to a traffic light at the intersection of Hwy 71 and Gregory Blvd and it was red. I was the first vehicle in line at the intersection and as I waited for the light to change to green, my attention was drawn to my left and I saw an older red brick church. It was a pleasant observation, but I glanced back at the light, waiting for the green. Again, my attention was drawn to that red brick church and I wondered if the Lord was trying to tell me something, as I continued to bask in the Spirit. The light changed and I started through the intersection when once again, "something" urged me to go to the church and just before getting through the intersection I made a sudden hard left turn onto Gregory Blvd. As I drove in front of the church I saw a signboard which read, Skylight MISSIONARY Baptist Church. Yes, the word missionary jumped out at me, but I also noted the word Baptist. Being a missionary myself, I felt a connection with that word in the name of the congregation, but at the same time I realized that Baptists are not generally enamored with the Book of Mormon, so how could this be a lead in the "plant a branch here" instruction I had received? I knew I had to stop and pray, so I pulled into the parking lot behind the church. In my prayer I acknowledged the Lord had brought me to the church, and I asked Him what I was supposed to do next. Lynn Ridenhour's name came to my mind and I knew it was the answer to my question. I had never met Bro. Lynn, but we had had limited email contact in the past and I knew he was a Baptist pastor who believes in the Book of Mormon. I was given to know that Bro. Lynn could probably find someone to contact the pastor of this church and help me connect with him. Believing I had received an answer to my prayer, I left the parking lot and drove to the front of the church to write down the information from the signboard. I wrote the name of the church and the service times and as I read and wrote the name of the pastor, Rev. Troy Walker, the Holy Spirit, which had not left me, poured over me in greater power and it was made known to me that Rev Walker is a servant of God, a man the Lord is pleased with and I am very anxious to meet him. 

Continuing South on Hwy 71, the Holy Spirit continued with me in such power that I felt a pressure in my chest to the extent I was short of breath. I had to share the experience with someone, so I called Bro. Doug Patterson and related my experience to him. He confirmed the experience was of the Lord, and he said the Lord had also given him Lynn Ridenhour's name as I was sharing my testimony with him. Then he told me the Lord was telling him something else, that this was something for "right now," not to be put off, or planned for the future. 

I called Sr. Joy Muir who was able to give me Bro. Lynn's number. I called and shared my experience with him, and he too confirmed it was of the Lord and asked if we could meet and talk in person. A couple days later we met in Warrensburg and visited for two hours. He was very excited about the possibilities and thought he knew someone who could contact the pastor. 

A couple weeks later, Rev Walker called and left a message on my voicemail. I felt an assurance when I heard his voice and when I called him the Holy Spirit poured over both of us and we had a marvelous visit. He was anxious to meet and hear my testimony in person, but was leaving Kansas City the next day for a Christian Leadership Conference in Atlanta. He assured me he would call me when he returned to Kansas City. 

I did not hear from him for several weeks and when I called there was no answer and I did not get a voicemail option. I wondered if he had learned I was a Book of Mormon believer and had decided not to meet with me. I also considered that he might have lost my number. I posted a message on Skylight's FB page but there was no reply. 

Then one day while on my way to Kansas City I felt prompted to call Rev Walker again. He answered and when he realized it was me he became very excited, praising the Lord for my call, telling me he had lost my number and he and his congregation had been praying I would call. With another outpouring of the Holy Spirit we agreed to meet a few days later at his church.

When we met, it was as if we had been friends and brothers for years. Once again the Holy Spirit was poured out on us as we prayed together and visited. I was able now to share my testimony with him in person and he rejoiced at the Lord's involvement in bringing us together. During our conversation I mentioned being a Book of Mormon believer and while later in the conversation he told me he had not been aware of that, it changed nothing in the presence of the Holy Spirit or in our feelings about each other, or our belief that the Lord was in this. I told him I did not feel it was my calling now to convert him to a belief in the Book of Mormon, but I believed the Lord wanted us to work together to share His gospel and Rev. Walker readily agreed, also voicing his desire for us to work together.
Neither of us knows where this journey will take us, but we agree the Lord is leading us and we will try to follow where He leads. Rev Walker said he wants our branch to come and worship with his congregation and he would like for his congregation to come to Warrensburg and worship with our branch. When I mentioned I would be in the city in two weeks he invited me to come and worship with them. I asked if I could bring a few of my Seventy brethren (we would be meeting for a Seventy retreat) and he said he would be honored if we would come.

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Randy Vick testimony, Part 2

What an amazing day of worship we had with our new brothers and sisters at Skylight Missionary Baptist Church in Kansas City. 20 members of the East Gate Restoration Branch along with 8 other Restoration Saints from the KC/Independence area attended the joint worship service. We were welcomed with open arms and blessed in our worship and fellowship. Our pastor, Elder Bruce Vickery, Seventy George Thomas and Bishop Randy Porrett joined Skylight pastor Rev. Troy Walker to bring the word of God to those in attendance. The Holy Spirit was present in great power and a real spiritual bond is developing between this branch of Restoration Saints and congregation of Baptists.
Prior to the start of the 11 AM worship service, everyone gathered at the base of the rostrum and while everyone held hands and bowed their heads, Elder Bruce Vickery offered a prayer for all. The congregational choir then provided some inspiring music. Not what we're accustomed to in our services, but very uplifting and joyful and enjoyed by all. 

Rev Walker invited Seventy George Thomas to speak first and he shared testimonies of some of his missionary experiences and spoke about how God will protect us, be with us and guide us to those who need to hear about Jesus Christ, if we ask Him.

Bishop Randy Porrett spoke about the office of Bishop and shared about how God will put us in a place and a situation where we can help those in need and will provide a way for us to help, if we ask Him. 

Elder Bruce Vickery spoke of how God will bless us and meet our needs, and used a healing through administration testimony as an example of the possibilities, if we ask Him. All three messages were well received and fit perfectly together. 

Rev Walker shared several testimonies of how God redirected his life and called him to the ministry. His sermon detailed how isolation, (alone time/one on one time with Jesus Christ), prioritization, (learning to put God first in our lives), collaboration, (learning to work together to do God's work), organization, (allowing us to do things more efficiently) and delegation, (letting people with gifts and callings do those things God has for us to do). He called three young people forward, (2 of his congregants and one of the Restorationists) and positioning them and himself as actors, he illustrated how Jesus had delegated his disciples to obtain what food they could find to feed the multitude. They received 2 fishes and 5 loaves from a young boy and brought them to Jesus. Jesus offered them to God who multiplied them. Rev Walker noted that Jesus did not then distribute the many loaves and fishes to the multitude, but delegated his disciples to do so, teaching them to serve the people. After the multitude was fed, 12 baskets of loaves and fishes remained and the disciples were directed to give those back to the boy resulting in a wonderful increase for the boy who had given all the loaves and fishes he had. 

Following the two hour worship service there was great fellowship as members of both congregations hugged each other and visited happily with one another. 

It was agreed by all that the East Gate Restoration Branch will now arrange to host the members of the Skylight Missionary Baptist Church in Warrensburg in the not too distant future.

Monday, March 10, 2014

Orissa Kui Church in India 2014 Annual Conference

Greetings. I am glad to share a  few pictures taken during the Orissa Kui church annual conference, you can see the people sitting during the worship services, their singing, cooking, eating  and also some of the senior ministers etc. Hope you enjoy them.

Thank you  for upholding us in your prayers.

Regards, Fellow Servant,
Bro. Ananda Rao

Sunday, March 2, 2014

Mount Ayr Branch Retreat at Jericho Hills

The Mount Ayr, Iowa Restoration branch had a Sprit filled retreat this weekend at Jericho Hills, a church campground in Lucas, Iowa. Seventy Ron Smith attended and led the campfire on Saturday night. The theme was "Ambassadors for Christ."  We had classes on our call to be ambassadors for Christ, led by High Priest Alan Smith, and on making our homes into embassies, led by Karen Bates.