Salem, WV; Wewoka, OK
Miracle Meadows School
June 30, 2012
What an adventure! Miracle Meadows is a school for uniquely challenged young people. This school is located about three hours from my home and very dear to my heart. So when I was asked if I could come up and give a day to share my thoughts with the students, I immediately said yes!
What I didn’t realize is that we were also going to get the storm of the century here in West Virginia that weekend as well. My family drove with me, and we left Friday evening. About thirty miles from our destination, I thought our vehicle was going to be picked up and hurled across the highway. We found an underpass and waited for the rain and wind to die down. After about twenty minutes, we began driving again. Upon reaching our destination, still having no idea what we were in for, we saw countless power lines snapped in half. We were entering what would become a two-week stint of no electricity or water. (Well, the water was restored within days.)
We checked in to our motel in Clarksburg, which was pitch black, and even though it was a Holiday Inn, we would spend the weekend camping out with 100 plus other people we didn’t know from Adam and Eve. That alone was an adventure.
The next day, we awoke, took cold showers, and headed thirty miles to Miracle Meadows. No electricity there either. I would be speaking all day in a metal building with temperatures exceeding 100 degrees. It was nasty, but God blessed us. Jesus showed up and those who attended testified they had never seen God quite the way they were viewing him now. When it was all said and done, the Kingdom was advanced, and after spending a day in the sweltering heat, another cold shower before bed was actually welcomed.
We returned home the next day to find massive damage all throughout our county. Three-hour lines for gas, no running water, and no electricity. The next two weeks were brutal, but we survived. My wife had wanted to go camping this summer at some point, and on night ten, she looked over at me and said, “You know how I wanted to go camping this summer? We don’t have to go now, I think I’ve got it out of my system.” Ha!
For all of you who were praying for us during this time, thank you. God provided, and it was beautiful to see West Virginians pulling together to help each other get through this time.
Oklahoma Camp Meeting
July 19, 2012
The next event was the Oklahoma Camp Meeting in Wewoka, OK. The electricity had just come on at home, and I was off to another set of meetings.
Now Oklahoma does things a bit differently. Other Camp Meetings bring you in for a week and have you speak once a day. Not Oklahoma. They bring you in for one day and let you give all five or six presentations back to back. I knew this was going to be a marathon, but I had no idea what I was really in for.
I left Lewisburg and flew to Atlanta. From there, my flight to Memphis was delayed, causing me to miss my Memphis-to-Oklahoma City flight by only two minutes. Actually, the flight was still sitting there and the jet bridge had not even been withdrawn, but the door had just been closed.
The soonest they could get me to Oklahoma City was the next day at noon. That would be halfway through my day of presentations! I had two options. Cancel, or do the unthinkable.
I shot up a quick prayer and I distinctly felt Jesus say to me, “Herb, this is the enemy. We’ve met him together before. I’ll provide, I’ll get you through this, but you have to get to Oklahoma. There is someone there whom the Enemy who does not want to hear what I have to share through you.” I said, “Ok, Lord, but you’re going to have to give me the energy to do it.”
I walked downstairs, rented a car, and drove eight hours to Oklahoma City. I left Memphis in a rental car at 8:30 p.m. and drove all night long, reaching Oklahoma City at 4:30 a.m. I got to my hotel at 5:30 and was asleep by 6:00 am. Then, I woke up two hours later, grabbed a quick shower, and began my presentations at 9:30.
I asked for their patience, explaining that I had just driven all night long, and we began. Again, God showed up. I didn’t know who I was there for, but I knew I’d bump into her. After my presentations that evening, I was in the Book Center doing a book signing, and she had purposely waited to be last in line. It was 10 p.m. and personally, I was wasted. I don’t remember ever having to fight so hard to get to a series of meetings, but here she was.
Her story broke my heart. Because of confidentiality issues, I do not have the liberty to share with you the details of her story, but it would break your heart too. She had been given a copy of my book and had met Jesus for the first significant time. In a prayer, still doubting—because of all she had suffered in her life—whether God really did love her, whether the things in this book were true, she prayed, “God, if you are real, and you really do love me, then could you have me meet this author personally? I need to meet him, Lord. I need these to be more than words on a page, I need to be able to reach out and see this author is real too.” And there we were, both of us, tearstained and face-to-face. She had left for the camp meeting with no idea who the speakers were going to be this year, and on Wednesday night, she recognized the name on the docket for Thursday. She could not believe it. She could not believe God loved her and was actually answering her prayer. Then, to hear what God had to do to get to her—it blew her away.
What a beautiful God we serve. That evening, she became a follower of Jesus.
Welcome to the Kingdom.
I got on the plane the next morning and slept all the way home. Upon reaching my house, I crashed and slept for three more hours. I was wiped out.
For all of you who were praying for this event, I have been preaching for twenty years now. I have never had to fight so hard to get to a location to preach. I don’t know what plans are in store for my new friend, but what I do know is that the Enemy didn’t want us to meet. Viva Christus Victor! The Enemy did not win and the Kingdom was enlarged.
It was a beautiful moment. We can sleep when we are dead. In the meantime, we are called to risk more, to reflect more and, for the sake of Jesus’s Kingdom, to invest in things that will live on after we are gone.
Wherever this finds you today, live in God’s radical, other-centered, self-sacrificial love for you, and go build the Kingdom.
I love you guys.
Thank you for your prayers and for your support.