continued from A New Beginning (A True Story)
(part 6 of A True Story)
“A communication of the mind of God impaired to a believer by the Holy Spirit. It may be a prediction or an indication of the will of God in a given situation as in Acts 13:1-2
1 “Now in the church at Antioch there were prophets and teachers: Barnabas, Simeon called Niger, Lucius of Cyrene, Manaen (who had been brought up with Herod the tetrarch) and Saul. 2 While they were worshiping the Lord and fasting, the Holy Spirit said, “Set apart for me Barnabas and Saul for the work to which I have called them.”
By J C Corcoran
We were doing okay in Flagstaff. I was working for Pepsi and Joan was beginning to home school our oldest daughter who was now six years old. She had registered Jessica in first grade at the local school but as soon as she heard that they were teaching sex education to these young kids, she pulled her out and joined some Christian Home School Organization, where she bought a curriculum.
We were living in a nice rental home and staying active in the church. As I said, everything was going fine: until September, 1987.
I was making a large delivery to a large supermarket and, as I lifted a pallet over my head to stack It, a sharp pain ran through my back and I dropped the pallet and screamed. Yes, another herniated disc; the third one added to the two when I was a cop. I was out of work.
During the four months of my recovery my wife had to carry the financial load and it wasn’t easy for her; or for me to tell you the truth; I was piled with guilt every time I watched her leave for work. The church was a real blessing; they were always bringing food and at Christmas time they brought us a tree and gifts for the girls. It was a time of pain but also a time of watching God work small miracles through His people.
One day, while Joan was working, the girls were gathered around the table poring over their lessons and I was watching the news on television. Suddenly a commercial came on that grabbed my attention. For $39.95 I would receive a complete set of lessons on how to run my own business Importing and Exporting merchandise from around the world. The kit also contained six product samples.
I sat there and thought about it for about two seconds before I wrote down the information. Remember there were no cell phones or personal computers in 1987. I showed it to Joan when she came home and, to my surprise; she encouraged me to give it a try.
I had to do something; I couldn’t return to Pepsi because they were mad at me for lying on my application where it asked for any prior injuries. I didn’t exactly lie, I just entered n/a for not applicable.
Three weeks later, I received the kit and tore into it. The six product samples were actually kind of nice; much better quality than I had expected.
I spent the next two weeks poring over all the information and picked out five companies from a list of several hundred that I would use as an experiment to see if this really worked. The kit contained templates for letters to product manufacturers, newspaper ads, and prospective customers among other things. So using their examples, I sent letters to the five companies in Taiwan, Hong Kong, Greece and Mexico.
By the first of April, 1987, I had received catalogs from all the companies I had contacted along with more than a dozen samples. I went to the print shop and made up flyers with pictures of the samples and sent those flyers out to several prospective customers. I also put an ad in the daily newspaper.
It was the newspaper ad that drew my first response by telephone. The gentleman introduced himself as Joe and told me that he was working with a group of youth from the Hualapai Indian Reservation at Peach Springs, Arizona. They were planning some type of trip and needed to raise funds. He wanted to know if I had some type of fund raising plan.
I asked a few questions and during his explanation, he mentioned that he was a retired police officer from San Diego, California and that began a whole new conversation when I told him that I was also a former police officer. I thought, is this ironic, my first possibility being a former cop? Or is God moving this along?
I was running ideas through my head as we talked and by the end of it we had decided that I would bring my samples to their lodge in Peach Springs in three days.
Back in 1988 Interstate forty was not complete through the Flagstaff – Kingman area so by travelling route sixty-six and an old dirt road, it took me two hours to reach the tribal lodge.
Joe was an average looking man. The children, numbering about fifteen, ran in age from about nine to sixteen. Boys and girls were brown skinned with coal black hair and big smiles. Two adult men from the tribe quietly greeted me and then Joe introduced me to the one very tall black man in the group. Nothing was said as to why this man was here; only that his name was Bill McBain. I assumed that he must be a friend of Joe’s.
But as it turned out, there was something more to it than that. I spent approximately 30 minutes showing the product samples I had brought and all the time I was standing there, talking, I felt the constant stare from Bill McBain. His eyes seemed to be looking right into my soul. It unnerved me and caused me to falter several times.
When I finished my presentation all the youth gathered around me at the table and started a barrage of questions. Then as I packed up and prepared to leave, I noticed that Bill McBain was no longer there. Joe asked if I could come up with a program to fit with the eight items the kids had picked out. I promised I would work on it and we scheduled another meeting this same time next week.
I kept busy throughout the week and came up with what I thought was a viable program. I even printed up letters for the kids and sales slips and several other helpful items. It looked to me like I was on my way to becoming a successful business man. And it seemed as though my wife was a hundred percent behind me.
AS I drove along the hard packed and deserted road, I began to wonder about what I was doing and I suddenly felt the need to pray. I got out of the car on that lonely road and began to praise God with songs of praise. Then I said, “Lord, why am I feeling this way? Is there something else I should be doing?” And, just as suddenly, I heard the voice of Pastor John Owens as he spoke to me thirteen years earlier. “God has something for you to do. You need to find out what it is and do it.”
I began to cry (just as I’m doing now as this memory floods through me). When I finally got control of my voice I said to God, “You need to show me what you want. You know I’m not very smart so please Lord, make it clear enough so even I can understand it. And I will give this import stuff up in a second.” Then I got back in the car and drove onto the lodge.
They were all there; including the guy I knew only as Bill McBain. We didn’t waste any time; we got right into it. And, again, as we were all making plans for a dynamite fundraiser, I noticed McBain staring through me. This time, however, I made up my mind to talk to this guy and find out what, if anything, was on his mind. I was actually building myself up for some kind of trouble.
As soon as the opportunity struck, I quickly walked toward him and, as I walked up to him, he stretched out his hand to shake mine and said, without any preamble, “I wanted to ask you; are you a Christian?”
I’m sure the shock showed in my face as I mumbled something positive (still don’t remember what I said) and I will never forget his reply. “I’m an evangelist from California and an old friend of Joe’s. He asked me to come up here to help work with these kids.” He continued holding my hand, apparently waiting for a reply.
I said, “That’s good but I had this feeling that there might be more because of the way you kept staring at me.”
That’s when he smiled and said, “Last week as you were speaking, I was impressed by the voice of the Spirit within me to pray for you; and I have been praying all week.”
Then he grabbed my hand in both of his and continued. “Just a few minutes ago, I was impressed to tell you this; my friend, God has revealed to me that He wants you in the ministry.”
And I immediately recalled the recent prayer on the road; “Make it clear to me so even I can understand.” So, even though I was now shaking like a leaf in a windstorm, I asked McBain if God had made it clear what type of ministry, and he said, “I would suggest that you talk to your Pastor. I think he might have the answer.”
I was nearly in shock as I pulled onto Route sixty-six. It was nearly ten p.m. and I was looking for a public telephone to call Steve May, my Pastor. All I said was, “Steve, I know it’s late, but I need to talk to you ASAP.” I said it would be close to midnight when I got back to Flagstaff but “would it be okay If I stopped by the house?” He told me to come straight to his office because he was on his way down there to do some work.
Midnight; I was just told that I needed to talk to my Pastor and my Pastor just happens to be going to his office. Can you see God at work here?
When I arrived at his office and saw him standing there, I burst into tears. I had a terrible time trying, in spite of the crying, to tell him what had just transpired in Peach Springs. When I finally finished he placed his hands on my shoulders and began to pray. I just stood there and trembled.
A few minutes later Steve was seated behind his desk; I was still standing; too nervous to sit. Steve said, “Jack, I’ve read some of your writings and I can plainly see that you have a knack for good communication. Do you see yourself as a preacher, possibly as an evangelist?”
“You can’t be serious, Steve. I can’t possibly be worthy of such a calling.”
“Oh yes you can. In Ephesians 4:1-3 it tells you how to live a life worthy of your calling, and you have been called my friend so, when you get home I would suggest you sit down with your wife and study that passage. And don’t forget, Jesus, Himself says, “So don’t be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows.”
I stopped pacing and stared at him. With a large sigh I said, “I need to do that now, don’t I? I need to go tell my wife.
Note: I’m going to stop here but I want to thank you for reading my story and please come back for part 7 of A True Story titled Seminary Days in about a week.
I pray God’s blessings of health and prosperity for you and bid you good day.
J C Corcoran