story from the field
Submitted by Paula Horst, One Step Ministries
A Changed Life
“Changed into the likeness of Jesus as they experience God’s Presence, people will be healed and walk in freedom forever.”
- One Step Ministries Vision Statement
In February 2017, Marti Evans, founder of One Step Ministries, was scheduled to speak at a women’s retreat for a local church. I wasn’t attending this retreat, but I had a good friend who was part of the committee, so I felt rather involved as she shared things with me or sought my input about details. As with the retreats I coordinate and plan for One Step Ministries, the anticipation for these women to meet Jesus was building and overflowing inside of me. I often feel like I am going to burst.
One day just prior to this event, I was running errands and just happened to stop at a tiny country grocery store I hadn’t been to in a long time. As I walked through the front door, I spotted a woman that I knew attended the same church as my friend, but I couldn’t remember her name. She happened to be alone at the checkout counter, so I went right up to her and asked, “Are you going to the retreat this weekend?” She smiled and said, “Yes, I am.” I was instantly consumed with an excitement for this woman that I cannot describe. I couldn’t keep my mouth shut, I just started proclaiming, “It’s going to be awesome, God is going to show up, He’s going to meet you all, I’m so glad you can go.” She looked at me sort of oddly, with a sheepish smile, as I turned to go grab the few items I needed in the store.
As I came back to checkout, the bagging girl was there too, but the words just started coming out of my mouth again, “I am so glad you can go this weekend! You will not be disappointed. God is going to do amazing things.” The Spirit was so alive in that place. I wished her a great weekend and left to go home. As I started driving down the road, I said aloud, “God, You’re moving. You’re working. You’re up to something.” I just had no idea what.
Not an hour later, after I was home and had unpacked the groceries, I received the most random text from my friend who was on the committee for the upcoming retreat saying, “Hey, got a crazy request! But not really, because we have an awesome God. I have a sense that I want to pray for healing for one of the women that will be coming to the retreat this weekend. Will you believe with me and pray that this will happen?”
Something jumped inside me. Could it be the woman I just met at the store? I didn’t know her name, but I knew she had a son named Tim. I responded, “Yes, I will believe and pray with you. What is her name and what kind of healing is needed?” Her name is Karen, Tim’s mom, the same woman. My friend and I had never spoken of this woman before. She went on to explain that Karen has had such a hard life, not only personally, but she’d been having an ongoing physical condition that the doctors couldn’t seem to figure out. She wrote, “I would just love if God would bless her and overwhelm her with His love, and heal this problem for her!”
Amazing. God. His timing is impeccable. I was shocked at first, then totally excited, then overcome with weeping. God was indeed up to something. So I prayed through the time of the retreat that He would meet Karen there and heal her body, mind, and soul. He was able.
As Marti ministered to the group of women that weekend, the Spirit of the Living God came to set them free. At one point, Karen requested to talk to Marti one on one and the burdens weighing her down were further lifted as God opened her eyes to His love and goodness toward her. The healing my friend and I were praying for her was taking place. Not the physical healing of her body, but her soul healing. Two weeks after the retreat, I asked Karen if she would share a retreat review with me and tell of His wonderful works. She readily accepted and this is her story of God’s amazing grace toward her,
“I looked forward to this retreat with anticipation and I was not disappointed. God met me in a very special way, even though there were tears shed throughout the weekend because of the loss I have suffered. God gave me a new appreciation for all the blessings I have received. God gave me a renewed joy and thankfulness for all the good in my life and helped me to not dwell on the unpleasant.”
Several months later, my friend had this to say about Karen, “I’m telling you, Paula, she’s different. She’s changed. She’s not the same person. She has a joy and peace that was missing.” I saw this with my own eyes some time later when I went into the same store where she worked and saw her there again. She has a sparkle in her eyes that wasn’t there before, and there is a confidence about her, her head and shoulders are straighter. Her smile is fuller.
And just last week, 10 months after the retreat, another woman who attended the same retreat excitedly asked Marti if she remembers Karen. She went on to share how much Karen has changed since the retreat.
This is not the evidence of a retreat high, this is the evidence of a changed life. A story God is writing. And He’s never done. He continues the good work in us that He starts. This daughter of His who He so graciously met and healed, is now being the hands and feet of Jesus to others. Karen recently reached out to me, saying she has a co-worker friend who needs to hear Marti’s story and asking for info about upcoming events. Karen also took this woman, who in all reality was homeless after years of trials and pain, into her own home to live with her. Wow. The hope Karen now has in her God, she is passing on to others that need Him.
Karen is a woman that met Jesus at the well. She received the Living Water He offered her and it is welling up from within her. “Jesus replied, ‘Anyone who drinks this water will soon become thirsty again. But those who drink the water I give will never be thirsty again. It becomes a fresh, bubbling spring within them, giving them eternal life.’” John 4:13
To God be the glory, great things He has done.