I have been in California the last two weeks preaching in West Covina and Covina. These towns border Azusa, from the famous Azusa Street revival and sit right beneath the San Gabriel Mountains. I am finding LA very refreshing. What a surprise. I took a drive and hike out in the mountains. It is amazing that you can be so close to the city and yet so close to a wilderness experience. I preached in West Covina first where the pastor Jaime Ibarra shared his testimony with me. It was an LA testimony. Rough childhood, drugs, gangs, violence, real prison time, salvation, church and discipleship, marriage and children and now sent out to pastor.
His church was full of new converts, many coming from similar backgrounds. We had many visitors and each service was filled with their excitement making it very easy to preach and minister. I have been invited back to preach next year, marking the first time this has went beyond talk and an actual date in the book.
I am now finishing up in Covina with Pastor Clem Montero. The church has taken a few hits and I believe God will help me encourage the church at this time. One of those hits was an accident involving their youngest daughter. In the accident she broke her neck. She is in the same grade as my daughter and they look a lot alike to me. The parents were warned that it was very possible that she would be paralyzed. The operation was very similar to the one my daughter went through minus the tumor. They removed the damaged vertebrae and fused two together. She came through the operation with flying colors. She showed me the scar on her neck. It is just about the same size and look of the one on Audra’s back.
When I prayed for her I called her “the pretty girl afraid to smile”. This is because her 4 top front teeth were knocked out in the accident. Apparently the damage was such that the bone structure that would allow you to put in posts and false teeth cannot hold the posts. The dental work would come to $5000 per tooth. They thought everything was a go but now the insurance has cancelled support considering the work to be cosmetic which would not be covered.
I believe that God gave me something I read that afternoon in the bible to tell her when I prayed for her. It was the story of the beheading of John the Baptist. What grabbed my attention was the state of the disciples of John. The bible says they came and got the body of John and buried it. The phrase that got me was “then they went and told Jesus”. I encouraged our sister to go and tell Jesus about all of her why’s and how’s.