Series Code: 15GYC
Program Code: 15GYC000010A
00:33 Good afternoon GYC!
00:35 Is there sunshine in your soul today? Amen!
00:40 How many of you saw the sun shining through
00:42 the convention windows?
00:43 Wasn't that beautiful?
00:45 What a reminder of the beauty that the Son of Righteousness
00:51 permeates and warms every sinew and chamber of our hearts. Amen?
00:57 You know, in the book of Acts you see Saul
01:00 on his way to Damascus.
01:02 And as he's on his way to Damascus to persecute
01:05 God's people, this light just enshrouds him and blinds him.
01:11 And it is in that moment that he has a definite,
01:15 and personal encounter with his Savior.
01:19 You know, Vera Onkoba is a personal friend of mine;
01:22 a very close friend of mine, and she often refers to her
01:27 testimony as her Damascus experience.
01:31 Something that I have treasured of our friendship is that
01:35 it reminds me of heaven, because we are constantly sharing
01:39 the manna that God is feeding us with from His Word.
01:42 And you look at our text messages and they're really
01:46 long, because we often are sharing what God has taught
01:50 us in our devotions.
01:52 And its been a friendship that I treasure, because in the life of
01:56 Vera, she reflects the righteousness of Jesus.
02:00 And it is her desire this afternoon that the scales that
02:05 have been on our eyes; those scales of fear,
02:08 those scales of doubt of God, she longs that this afternoon
02:13 those scales would fall, and that you would see Jesus for who
02:19 He is: your personal Savior.
02:22 And so after this song you will hear Vera sharing her testimony
02:28 of who God has been to her.
02:36 Isn't it a wonderful privilege to be able to lean on the
02:39 everlasting arms of Jesus?
02:41 We want to invite you to join us in singing,
02:44 Leaning On the Everlasting Arms.
02:46 Fellowshipping in Christ, please stand with us.
04:59 Happy Sabbath! That's a weak Happy Sabbath.
05:03 Happy Sabbath! Happy Sabbath!
05:05 Praise the Lord! Let us pray.
05:09 Loving Father, we come before Your presence this afternoon
05:14 to Your throne of grace.
05:16 We thank You that it is a place of refuge.
05:19 Father, as I share what You have done in my life,
05:23 I humbly ask that not I, but Christ be seen, be heard,
05:29 be known, is my humble prayer in the loving and precious name
05:34 of my Savior, and my Redeemer, Jesus. Amen.
05:39 You may be seated.
05:41 I want to humbly thank God for this opportunity He has given me
05:48 to share what God has done in my life; to share of His glory,
05:54 His praises, His faithfulness, and goodness to me, a sinner.
06:00 I can only share my testimony as it centers around the most
06:05 sacred book in the world, and throughout all the
06:09 ceaseless ages of eternity.
06:11 And so before I start my story, I would like us to turn to
06:15 a couple verses that I consider personally as anchor verses
06:19 in my life; the first of which is Isaiah 61:10, Isaiah 61:10.
06:28 And this is the verse that actually God grabbed my
06:32 attention as I began my intense personal journey.
06:37 The Word of God says, I will greatly rejoice in the Lord,
06:41 my soul shall be joyful in my God; for He hath clothed me with
06:47 the garments of salvation, He hath covered me with a robe of
06:51 righteousness, as a bridegroom decketh himself with ornaments,
06:55 and as a bride adorneth herself with jewels.
06:59 The second verse is Isaiah 43:3, 4.
07:04 Again, this is an anchor verse in my life that God has revealed
07:09 to me more and more that has value.
07:12 Isaiah 43:3, 4. For I the Lord thy God, the Holy One of Israel,
07:19 thy Savior: I gave Egypt for thy ransom,
07:22 Ethiopia and Seba for thee.
07:25 Since thou wast precious in my sight, thou hast been honorable,
07:30 and I have loved thee: therefore will I give men for thee,
07:35 and people for thy life.
07:37 And the last verse of many others, but this is another
07:41 third anchor verse for me is 2 Peter 1:1, 2 Peter 1:1.
07:55 Once I get there! Simon Peter, a servant and an apostle of
08:03 Jesus Christ, to them that have obtained like precious faith
08:08 with us through the righteousness of God
08:12 and our Savior Jesus Christ.
08:14 By trade I am a nurse, but really I am a follower
08:19 and disciple of Jesus Christ.
08:21 And I want to thank Him for the experiences
08:23 that He has given me.
08:25 When I was a little girl I remember thinking to myself,
08:28 I want to be a missionary when I grow up.
08:31 I want to give my life for the sake of the gospel.
08:34 Little did I know how God would shape and curve my life
08:39 to where I am today.
08:40 I'll share a testimony with you of a recent experience
08:45 that I had in the hospital.
08:46 While I was taking care of this gentleman, he was 93 years old,
08:49 very sharp intellectually.
08:52 He had actually just retired at the age of 92.
08:55 He was a full time businessman.
08:57 But he decided that he needed to slow down so that he can also
09:00 focus more on the ministry that God had called him to,
09:03 which is praying for people.
09:05 And so this day that I was taking care of him,
09:09 unfortunately, he had suffered from a mild stroke,
09:13 and a decision needed to be made; would it be worth it to
09:18 have a surgical procedure to help clear the clot that had
09:22 developed in one of his arteries on his neck,
09:25 or would it be just to let him be,
09:29 and then whatever happens happens?
09:31 And so this was... I entered his room, and we're talking
09:36 about the plan of care.
09:37 And a man of God, I was so grateful that he trusted and
09:42 believed that God would do what is right for him.
09:46 And I rejoiced with him, and I said, Praise the Lord!
09:49 You believe in the God of heaven who is able to answer prayers.
09:52 And right before the end of my shift, I did not know whether I
09:57 would take care of him the next day, so I'm so grateful that
10:01 God gives us opportunities all the time to share with people
10:06 a word of hope in due season.
10:08 And so I told him, I have a promise for you.
10:10 And he said, What is that?
10:13 And I turned to the book of Isaiah.
10:16 You'll find out that Isaiah is my favorite book in the Bible.
10:19 In Isaiah 46:4, and I gave him this promise: And even to your
10:24 old old age I am He; and even to hoar hairs will I carry you;
10:28 I have made, and I will bear; even I will carry,
10:32 and will deliver you.
10:33 And so I said goodnight to him.
10:35 I left. I didn't know what the next day would bring.
10:38 The next day comes; I am given him as my patient.
10:41 And of which I was very thankful for, and honored to be able to
10:45 take care of a 94 year old.
10:48 And while I was taking care of him that day,
10:50 the surgeon of the family was leaning toward doing the
10:54 surgical procedure, so... But the surgeon needed to explain
10:57 to him exactly what would be done, and the outcomes,
11:01 or side effects of the surgery, or the complications rather.
11:05 And so while we are discussing, and I'm standing there in the
11:08 room silently listening to what the surgeon is telling him,
11:11 he explains the procedure and then explains the complications,
11:16 as well as the benefits of having the procedure.
11:19 And then the family is all silent.
11:23 You can hear a pin drop in the room.
11:26 And I'm standing there looking a him, and just silently praying
11:29 that God would give the family the right understanding
11:33 of what they needed to do.
11:35 And I was not expecting this, but the patient turns around
11:39 and looks at me, and he says, Vera,
11:40 what do you think I should do?
11:43 And my eyes, and my jaw just dropped almost to the ground
11:49 thinking, he's just asking me after the surgeon has
11:55 explained to him what he should do, and the family has not
11:58 decided what they are going to do.
12:00 And at that moment I prayed.
12:02 I sent a quick prayer up to heaven and I said, Father,
12:05 give me wisdom to know what to tell this man.
12:07 He's 94 years old. I have not even lived to be that long.
12:10 What wisdom do I have?
12:12 And he says, Yes, please share.
12:16 What do you think I should do?
12:19 And God gave me these words to him.
12:21 I told him, I said, Sir, you're a man of God.
12:25 You're a man of prayer.
12:26 I can tell you've walked with God for a long time.
12:29 I believe that by praying God will give you the answer.
12:33 And, sure enough, by the grace of God, they made a decision.
12:38 They decided that they were going to do
12:39 the surgical procedure.
12:41 And by God's grace, this man is a living miracle,
12:44 because the procedure that he had done at his age,
12:47 and some of the complications, he would not have survived.
12:49 Now why do I share this testimony?
12:51 It is because when I thought that I wanted to be a missionary
12:55 somewhere in the world, I did not know how God
12:58 was going to do this.
12:59 Well, my story really starts a hundred years ago where two
13:04 missionaries, both from North America, decided that they were
13:08 going to leave everything and come to Africa.
13:11 And my grandfather, from my Mom's side, he was working in a
13:16 tea farm, and he hears a knock on the door.
13:20 He opens the door. There's a colporteur and Bible worker
13:24 standing at his door asking him, Do you know
13:26 about the Bible Sabbath?
13:28 Well, my grandfather happened to be reading a Bible
13:31 at that time in his life.
13:33 And he said, No, I don't know about the Sabbath,
13:35 but I've heard of it, and I don't know how to keep the
13:39 Sabbath, and I don't know what to do.
13:41 And so this colporteur began sharing with him.
13:44 Soon enough my grandfather worked for a tea farmer,
13:48 and he decided that he was going to keep his Sabbath
13:51 the very first time the next week.
13:53 And so he said, Can I please have my Sabbath off?
13:56 Well the tea farmer, who was the owner of this tea farm,
14:01 said, No, there's no way that you can keep
14:03 the Sabbath and work here.
14:05 So my grandfather, from my mother's side, decided that he
14:09 was going to quit working.
14:10 And, sure enough, the next week came, the Sabbath came,
14:14 and he did not show up to work.
14:15 And that was the end of his career, as far as working
14:19 for this tea farmer, only to work for the greatest person
14:22 in the universe, which is God.
14:24 And so he became a full time minister of the gospel,
14:28 although he never went to a Bible college,
14:31 or anything like that.
14:32 And he started working with his people.
14:35 They're the Kolan geen people: teaching them,
14:38 preaching the gospel.
14:40 Then my dad's father, which I'll share later on a little bit more
14:44 about this man that I met here in America,
14:48 he, as well, was... he planted fruits.
14:51 And this missionary from America in the early 1900's decided
14:57 that he was going to leave everything and come to Africa,
15:00 and so went to my grandfather to buy fruit.
15:04 And it was at that time that they developed a relationship.
15:08 And the missionary started sharing with my grandfather
15:10 about the health message, and things about healthful living.
15:14 And then the door was open.
15:16 And in six months this missionary learned fluently
15:20 the Kisii language, and was able to communicate very well
15:24 with my grandfather, and many other people
15:26 in the home village.
15:27 The commitment both grandfathers made to raise their families
15:31 to believe the teachings of the Bible as Seventh-day Adventists
15:36 has greatly impacted me, and my siblings, and my parents.
15:40 And so my grandparents raised our parents, and then my dad
15:44 and my mom come into the picture.
15:46 They also met, and got married, and have five children.
15:51 I am two of five. And it was their decision as well that
15:56 they would choose to remain faithful
15:59 to the teachings of the Scriptures.
16:01 My grandmother, my dad's mother, was very influential
16:07 as well in my life.
16:08 I remember at a very young age she'd wake up very early
16:12 in the morning, and because I have my name,
16:15 which is Morah in Kisii, she would wake me up.
16:20 And she'd say, Vera, Vera, wake up!
16:22 And she'd always... She had arthritis on her back,
16:25 and she always wanted me to rub her back with some lotion.
16:28 And I used to get so frustrated thinking, Lord,
16:31 why does she wake me up?
16:32 There's two other sisters, and out of the two
16:35 she's always waking me up.
16:36 But God knew that I needed to see that example of a woman who
16:41 prayed, because later on God would encourage me to experience
16:46 Him through a journey of prayer as well,
16:48 and love to spend time with God in prayer.
16:51 I would like, at this time, to take a moment to really thank
16:56 missionaries who have chosen to give their life to service.
17:01 You have no idea how greatly impacted the lives of many are.
17:06 I am a witness as a result of many of the
17:09 sacrifices of missionaries.
17:11 I am indebted to the call that now I myself see myself as a
17:17 missionary here to America, the great America.
17:20 To the colporteurs and Bible workers, I really praise God
17:24 that this work, though it is hard,
17:27 there's a song that I learned one summer where it says that
17:31 even if it is hard, heaven is cheap enough.
17:34 It's worth the effort.
17:35 So as life is going on in Kenya growing up, learning more about
17:41 Jesus, at home my parents had made the decision that morning
17:45 and evening prayer time was very important.
17:48 So every morning we would have morning worship,
17:51 and in the evening we would have evening worship.
17:53 No matter how late it was, no matter how early it was,
17:56 my parents really made that a point.
17:59 And their reason why is they always told us that before you
18:03 go out there in the world, we need to bind you
18:07 to the altar of prayer.
18:09 And they would always encourage us that throughout the day
18:12 it was this atmosphere of keeping prayer as part of our
18:16 lives that would keep us faithful, and would enable us
18:19 to be encouraged with whatever trials
18:21 and challenges that we'd face.
18:23 And so I remember thinking, Wow, Lord!
18:26 You know, one time my brother, actually it happened to him,
18:30 he... We were going to be late to school.
18:33 But again, because my parents had pledged that morning and
18:36 evening prayer was something that they would choose to
18:39 carry out in our home, we would end up being late.
18:42 And my brother pleaded, and he'd say, daddy, daddy,
18:45 but we're going to be late for class.
18:47 And my dad said, Well, if you had woken up at the time I woke
18:51 you up, then you would not be late, and we'd still be
18:53 able to have family worship.
18:55 And sure enough, we got late, and we got punished in school,
18:59 but we learned that morning prayer is
19:02 something very important.
19:04 We also learned in childhood the love and character of God.
19:08 And I really want to encourage parents that something that was
19:12 so beautiful that my parents did was they just simply showed us
19:16 the practical truths about the gospel.
19:20 At home they lived the life that they lived, and in public they
19:23 also lived the life they did.
19:25 It was a consistent reflection of the love of Jesus.
19:29 I'm not saying in any way that my parents are perfect parents,
19:32 but what I do love is they constantly pointed us to the
19:36 character of the loving God that we serve.
19:39 They also encouraged us that if we wanted to spend eternity with
19:44 Jesus, that we would have to forsake our sins.
19:49 And I remember as a little girl thinking that, Wow, if I do not
19:55 see the face of Jesus, it is because my sins will have
20:00 kept me away from Him.
20:02 And that was something that was so important, because I remember
20:05 one evening, particularly, running into my room
20:09 and pleading with God, and asking Him to please
20:13 give me victory over sin.
20:15 Though I was a child, I did not understand the deep theological
20:19 complexities of the science of salvation, but I did know
20:25 something, that when I did something wrong it was sin,
20:28 but when I did something good, it was the right thing.
20:32 And so I remember thinking, Wow, Father, please change my
20:37 heart, change my heart.
20:38 And at this time I'd just like to be a little
20:41 transparent with you.
20:42 I remember as a little girl I struggled with pride,
20:45 and not because there was anything special about me,
20:48 but I do know that we all have different tendencies.
20:52 And that was an issue that I struggled with deeply.
20:55 And I'd ask the Lord every night to please give me
20:59 victory over pride.
21:00 One of the things that the Lord really did was revealing to me,
21:06 as my parents would read stories to us from Uncle Arthur,
21:09 was the story about the two Caroline's.
21:11 Some of you may be familiar.
21:12 But this little girl, she had one personality at home,
21:16 and then at school she had another personality.
21:19 And I remember while my parents would read that story,
21:22 I'd think, Wow, Father, that is me!
21:25 I am one way this way, and then one way this way.
21:29 And I'd constantly be asking God to give me the victory
21:33 over this experience; to change my heart.
21:37 I remember how I struggled so much with disobedience.
21:41 My parents would tell me one thing, because I was so strong
21:43 willed, and I'd always reason with my dad or my mom,
21:46 and say, Well, why do I have to do it that way?
21:49 There's a different way of doing it.
21:51 And, friends, it's so beautiful to know that even as a little
21:56 child, God is willing to give us victory over these little things
22:00 that we struggle with.
22:02 And as we grow older, if we've not learned to overcome them,
22:06 they become deeper, and deeper roots that we struggle with.
22:10 But I thank God that my parents persistently,
22:13 consistently shared with us how Jesus is able to save.
22:18 Jesus is able to give us the victory.
22:20 And so they'd always point us back to the Scriptures.
22:23 They'd always pray with us about the struggles that we had.
22:27 And so throughout the years growing up in Kenya,
22:30 such a carefree life, you know, happy.
22:34 It was wonderful growing there, until there was a war in the
22:39 Middle East, which shaped and curved events
22:42 in the African Continent.
22:43 It is the Gulf War.
22:45 And I remember that time my dad was working,
22:48 and things were pretty peaceful for the most part
22:51 in the country of Africa, I mean country of Kenya,
22:54 until that war happened.
22:56 And we do not realize how interconnected the world is.
23:00 We are so connected, and one event in one country
23:03 can actually shape and impact the lives of people
23:06 in a different country.
23:08 And that's what happened to us.
23:09 It was at that time that the economy of Kenya started going
23:12 downhill, and soon the word on the news was they were going
23:16 to start laying off people who were much older.
23:18 Well, my dad wasn't that old.
23:19 We were all little kids.
23:21 And so they started laying off individuals like him,
23:25 and he was in his late 30's.
23:27 And so my mom turns around and says, Well,
23:31 you need to find a job.
23:33 You need to find something that we can maintain as a family.
23:36 And the last thing that my dad ever thought
23:38 was coming to America.
23:40 And interestingly enough, at that time around the Gulf War
23:44 many of the baby boomers were retiring, and were starting to
23:49 see an increase in need for occupational therapy,
23:53 rehabilitation services.
23:55 My dad, by trade, was an occupational therapist.
23:57 And so the opportunity came for him to have this job in America.
24:02 While he comes here, and we remain in Kenya
24:06 for a couple of years.
24:07 And we're praying, asking the Lord to open the doors for us
24:11 as a family to come and be with my dad.
24:13 By God's grace the Lord opened up doors,
24:17 and we were able to come.
24:18 And at the time when we came to America I was 14 years old.
24:21 And it's such an interesting time period to come
24:25 when you're a teenager.
24:26 But I want us to turn to a chapter in the Bible,
24:30 in Acts 17:26 that really, later on, God would help us understand
24:36 even how, and why He would bring us here to this country.
24:39 Acts 17:26, 27. And hath made of one blood all nations
24:47 of all men for to dwell on the face of the earth,
24:50 and hath determined the times before appointed,
24:54 and the bounds of their habitation.
24:56 And this is the reason why: That they should seek the Lord,
25:02 if haply they might feel after him, and find him,
25:06 though he be not far from us.
25:09 I do believe with all my heart God uses migration so that
25:13 He can shift events in our lives to seek after Him.
25:17 It was when we came here to America, and the changes that
25:21 happened, that God would open the door for me to really
25:24 begin to grow in Him.
25:26 When we came here I, like I said, I was a teenager.
25:30 I went to an Adventist Academy.
25:32 And it was such a blessed time, because though it was very
25:36 foreign, going to school with girls and guys in one school,
25:41 that was totally different.
25:42 Because in the British system usually it's girls
25:44 alone, and guys alone.
25:46 And so I was not used to that kind of interaction.
25:48 But I praise God for the school that I went to in
25:51 Clap Valley Academy, in Nebraska;
25:54 very humble people, very loving.
25:56 And so I quickly adapted to the American culture.
26:00 And throughout the years there I had very influential teachers
26:05 who guided me into loving God more.
26:08 But during my senior year, I remember it was at that time,
26:12 for whatever reason, my dad wanted me to play the piano.
26:15 And so, I was like alright, but I really wanted
26:17 to play the guitar.
26:18 And I was like, fine, I'll do this, Daddy, you know.
26:22 And so I started playing the piano, and I'm practicing,
26:25 but I decided I was like, because I really liked being
26:28 outdoors, and I really was very adventurous growing up,
26:32 and played a lot of soccer, I decided that I wanted
26:35 to play basketball, so I joined the basketball team.
26:38 Which was good. It was good exercise, but at this point
26:42 I want to say something friends, I believe with all my heart
26:45 that sports, to some extent, cultivates a spirit
26:51 of self-glorification.
26:53 And innocent as sometimes they are, there is a spirit of
26:58 competition that the enemy can capitalize on, and that's really
27:01 where a shift in my walk with God started.
27:05 I joined the basketball team, and then school was going well,
27:09 I was having a good time growing in Christ, but something was
27:14 also happening in my heart.
27:16 I was becoming very... again.
27:18 The issue that I struggled with as a child, pride, was becoming,
27:22 was starting to come back again.
27:24 And because of natural abilities that God has given me,
27:29 but placed in the wrong place they're not good,
27:32 very determined, and very, the ability to push through
27:36 and get things done.
27:38 I became a good basketball player, and by my senior year
27:41 when I was graduating, I decided that, Hey, since I was able to
27:46 join the basketball team, I think when I go to college
27:48 I want to play basketball.
27:50 And I decided that I wanted to stay at home,
27:53 so I'd go to a public college.
27:55 And, which I did, but I decided as well that I was going to
28:00 trial for the college basketball varsity team.
28:05 And that's something that's unheard of.
28:07 Usually they go, coaches go and recruit
28:09 students to play for them.
28:11 But I walked in, I told the coach,
28:13 I want to play for your team.
28:15 And he asked me how I did in high school.
28:18 And I mean it was an Adventist school, so it wasn't really
28:21 a top notch school that you would say.
28:24 But he saw something, and so he was like, Sure, come on in.
28:29 And so he opened the doors for me to start
28:31 playing with the team.
28:33 And at that time I was averaging about 3 to 5 hours a day
28:40 practicing, training, working out, and it was super intense.
28:44 And when I say intense, it really is, because we would wake
28:49 up at five in the morning, and do our run for about
28:51 one and a half hours, and then in the gym for another
28:54 one and a half hours, and then scrimmage in the afternoon,
28:57 and then we'd work out in the evening before the day was done.
29:01 And I'd begun to see a little spiral.
29:04 My life was beginning to start, I would say...
29:06 My parents had advised me, Vera, you really should end
29:09 the playing basketball.
29:11 And I was like, Well, they're going to give me the Sabbath's
29:13 off, and I can be able to go to church.
29:16 You know, and they reasoned with me, but again, some of the
29:19 issues that I had struggled with in childhood came up again.
29:23 And I was like, No, it's going to be okay.
29:25 I'm going to have a good time.
29:26 I'll be able to witness.
29:28 People will get to hear about Jesus.
29:30 And, praise God, people did get to know about the Sabbath.
29:34 But self-exultation and pride were again arising in my heart.
29:39 And when the Sabbath would come, because basketball season is
29:42 usually during the winter time; the sun sets.
29:44 And so I was like, Well, I'll be able to go out and play after
29:48 Sabbath, or watch the team.
29:49 So the coach decided, actually since I'd walked in,
29:52 that I would red shirt.
29:53 And what red shirt means is you sit on the bench for a year,
29:57 and then the next year you play.
29:59 And I was, I was fine with that.
30:02 But, you know, something was also happening
30:04 with my devotional life.
30:05 It was spiraling. I had started compromising.
30:07 I was like, Oh yeah, my parents have morning and evening
30:10 worship, so that's my devotional time.
30:12 And, you know, it's not a big deal.
30:15 We'll, we'll... Lord You're with me.
30:17 And it was a slippery slope just like
30:21 Pastor Mark Finley shared earlier on.
30:24 And I thank the Lord that in the midst of this whole experience
30:30 my teammates were like super excited that I was on the team.
30:33 And they'd always be excited that I would still come to the
30:36 basketball games after sundown.
30:38 Because I didn't go on Friday, but on Sabbath,
30:41 after the sunset, I used to go and join them during the games.
30:45 And then something happened one day during scrimmage.
30:48 I was playing with the team, and I go up to reach for the
30:53 ball, and the next thing I land on the ground.
30:56 I have a total knee injury, which would end up putting me
31:01 throughout the entire season out of practice.
31:03 Well, God used that experience, and I thank Him now.
31:07 I really thank Him.
31:08 Every day I'm reminded by the scar of the power of God
31:12 to deliver me from this spiraling life event.
31:17 And it was at that time that I started spending
31:19 time with the Lord.
31:20 And I was thinking, Wow, where is my life going?
31:23 Here I am, I can't play; I can't do anything.
31:25 I can barely walk to school.
31:27 But God was using this experience to turn
31:31 my heart back to Him again.
31:33 And, friends, I was so excited, because it was at this time that
31:38 the Lord opened my eyes to see that I can start doing other
31:42 things with such passion for Him.
31:44 And so I started. I got more involved at the local church.
31:47 We started having very early morning prayer in the morning,
31:51 and in the evening with church members, praying for missing
31:54 church members to come back.
31:55 We started seeing sick people being healed as we were praying.
31:58 A lot of missing members started coming back.
32:01 There was more unity.
32:02 And as the Lord began opening my eyes to this experience,
32:06 I started returning my heart to Him.
32:08 Fast forwarding: my Senior year in college.
32:11 So I'm not playing basketball anymore,
32:14 and I'm back busy in school studying to be a nurse.
32:19 And my Senior year in college the reality hits:
32:22 soon I'll be done. Soon there'll be a job.
32:25 Then what next? And I thank God for this question that the
32:30 Holy Spirit put in my heart during my Senior year.
32:33 It started with a question, Why am I a Seventh-day Adventist?
32:38 Why do I believe what I believe in?
32:40 Does it really matter?
32:41 Am I an Adventist just because this is the only message
32:45 I have heard from birth?
32:47 Or is truth, as revealed in the Bible, upon which a Seventh-day
32:51 Adventist believes relevant and practical
32:54 in today's world for me?
32:55 Can I trust the expressed Word of the Living God
32:59 of heaven and earth as the only truth?
33:02 Why am I called to be an Adventist?
33:04 Lightening flashes like across into my mind,
33:09 and the verse comes, What shall a man gain if he...
33:14 What is a man advantaged if he gain the whole
33:17 world and lose himself, or be cast away?
33:20 As I'm musing upon these thoughts, as a little girl I had
33:25 seen a book called, Christ Our Righteousness,
33:28 in my dad's library, and I was always fascinated
33:30 by the word righteousness.
33:32 And I thought, What is this big, big, big word that nobody
33:35 could really explain it to me when I was little?
33:37 But that seed had been planted.
33:39 And the Lord takes me back, and then I remember my Senior
33:43 year in High School.
33:44 We were doing Bible class, and we were using the book by
33:47 Mark Finley called, Revelation Speaks, as our study guide.
33:50 And I gotta name the class.
33:52 It was a Bible study, so it was a simple thing, but I did not
33:57 take advantage, when I was in High School, to absorb the truth
34:02 that it was personal.
34:03 But God works in miraculous ways,
34:05 because He brought me full circle.
34:07 So I pick up that book Mark Finley wrote, Revelation Speaks,
34:12 and then I realized the beauty of Christ Our Righteousness
34:16 through the book of Revelation.
34:18 I start studying the sanctuary message; start realizing the
34:22 beauty of the character of God.
34:25 And then as this journey continues, I'd spend hours.
34:30 So the hours that I was spending playing basketball,
34:33 I would spend with God in the Word.
34:36 I closed all my school books.
34:37 I was like, forget the school books!
34:39 Well, not literally, but I did to some extent, because as I
34:44 started spending more time in the Word,
34:46 all of a sudden when I was in class, my mind was just so sharp
34:51 I could remember everything that the teacher said.
34:54 When we took exams, I really didn't study for exams my Senior
34:57 year, because the Word of God became so meaningful to me
35:02 that I preferred studying it.
35:04 And I did study a little bit the other books.
35:07 But what I'm trying to share with this was God enabled me
35:11 to see the beauty of seeking first His kingdom,
35:14 and His Righteousness.
35:16 At this time I would like to share a quote,
35:21 which should come up on the screen, that was really powerful
35:25 as I was discovering the beauty of Christ's Righteousness.
35:30 In Southern Watchman, June 11, 1903, this is what the word of
35:36 the pen of inspiration says: Holiness is constant agreement
35:41 with God. Amen? This is such a beautiful quote to read,
35:46 because then I began to realize when I agree with God,
35:50 as I'm walking with God in my journey,
35:53 this is what holiness is.
35:55 It's just, Can two walk together except they be agreed?
35:59 So the Bible became more meaningful to me as I discovered
36:02 that when God says this, Yes, I will follow!
36:05 When He says that, I will go there.
36:07 When He says, Don't do this, I don't do it, because I am
36:10 agreeing with the mind of God.
36:13 It was at that point that I made the decision that I wanted to be
36:19 a follower of Jesus Christ.
36:22 The scales began to drop from my eyes, and I began to see more
36:26 clearly the beauty of the work that Christ does on my behalf.
36:31 I believe that comprehending the righteousness of Jesus
36:36 is the root to accepting the call to follow the Lamb of God,
36:41 the reason why I choose to follow the Lamb,
36:46 and the motivation to remain faithful to Him.
36:49 Influenced by the writings and teachings of Paul, I pleaded for
36:53 an experience like that of Paul, where he would go around
36:56 encouraging the churches.
36:57 And I thank the Lord that He would give me this
37:00 experience later on.
37:01 And, friends, as I was journeying with God,
37:04 and discovering the beauty of Christ's Righteousness,
37:07 through the sanctuary message, I remember realizing also that
37:11 God loves for us to come to Him with the struggles that we have.
37:16 I don't have time to go through all of the Bible verses,
37:20 but you can write them down: Psalm 37:23, 24.
37:24 The steps of a good man are ordered by the Lord:
37:27 and he delighteth in his way.
37:29 Though he fall, he shall not be utterly cast down: for the Lord
37:33 upholdeth him by his hand.
37:35 Micah 7:7-9, Micah 7:18, 19, and then Psalm 130:3, 4.
37:44 If thou, Lord, should mark iniquities,
37:47 O Lord, who shall stand?
37:49 But there is forgiveness with thee,
37:52 that thou mayest be feared.
37:53 Recognizing the Righteousness of Christ gave me the
37:58 strength every single time.
37:59 And even to this day, when I struggle with things that are
38:03 tempting in my life, to know that the Righteousness of Jesus
38:07 is able, and capable of giving me the victory.
38:11 I praise the Lord for that.
38:13 In a quote, Testimonies of the Church, Volume 7, it says that:
38:18 If you make a mistake turn your defeat into victory.
38:22 The lessons that God sends will always, if well learned,
38:27 bring help in due time.
38:29 Put your trust in God.
38:31 Pray much, and believe; trusting, hoping, believing
38:35 holding fast the hand of Infinite power, you will be more
38:40 than conquerors. Amen?
38:42 So I graduated from nursing school.
38:44 I start working. I decided that what I really loved doing was
38:49 working in the Intensive Care Unit.
38:51 And it was quite an intense experience to say the least,
38:54 because I worked in a Trauma Center where we got all the
38:58 trauma's that you can imagine.
39:00 But it was also in that place that God really helped me
39:03 understand my dependence upon Him to really minister to people
39:08 who are in very traumatic situations.
39:10 And I want to encourage you, friends, that, you know,
39:14 it is sometimes when you're in places where you think that
39:18 you are not capable of doing something, how God is able to
39:22 take our weaknesses.
39:24 And I did not think I was adequate enough to take this
39:27 work as an Intensive Care Unit nurse, but it was in that place
39:32 that God helped me realize the power of making right decisions.
39:36 Because many times in life we do things that causes,
39:41 like in the hospital, when you come there: traumatic
39:44 experiences, and choices, and decisions that people make.
39:47 And, so, God uses experience to help me understand also the
39:50 value of making right choices.
39:53 One of the things that I really have learned as I take care of
39:56 patients, is the value of prayer.
39:58 And, you know, when you see somebody almost dying,
40:03 there is no better time to be able to witness to them about a
40:07 God who is close to them.
40:09 One particular instance: I got a call from the floor that
40:13 they told me, Vera, you're going to be getting this really
40:15 critical patient who's going to need emergency intervention.
40:18 And I said a prayer like, God, give me the wisdom to know how
40:23 I will take care of this patient.
40:24 And when the patient comes in, not only am I taking care of the
40:29 patient, but I'm also dealing with family.
40:31 They're very emotional, and stressed out,
40:34 and very concerned, and rightfully so as well.
40:36 But the Lord has been giving me all this wisdom throughout the
40:40 years, as I've been learning, not only about Him, but the work
40:44 that He desires to do in their lives.
40:46 And I remember just pleading with God to help me minister
40:50 to the whole family.
40:51 As I took care of them, they became very closely attached,
40:55 to the point when a decision needed to be made;
40:57 what they needed to do with their father.
40:59 I was not working that day, but they called me at home,
41:04 and they said, Vera, we want you to tell us
41:07 what to do with our dad.
41:08 And I thought to myself, Father, they talked to the doctors,
41:12 and they are calling me at home.
41:13 This is breaching the confidentiality of working in
41:18 the hospital, and being away from the hospital.
41:20 But I thank the Lord because it was when they finally decided
41:24 that they would let go of their father.
41:25 I was there that day to take care of their father.
41:29 And I remember just letting them know, and encouraging them that
41:33 there is heaven awaiting them, and that soon one day there'll
41:38 be no more pain and sorrow.
41:39 And so I take out my phone, and I play for them a song by
41:42 Jennifer LaMountain, No More Night.
41:45 And as they were listening to that song, and as the patient
41:48 was listening to that song, he died listening to the promise
41:53 that there's coming a day where there will be no more night.
41:56 Fast forwarding in my life, as I was praying about being a
42:01 missionary when I was a child, I didn't know that God would
42:04 allow me to be a missionary as a nurse,
42:06 but not only as a nurse, but to live a life that is consistent
42:09 of full time ministry.
42:11 I had moved to Arizona, where my brother was at that time.
42:15 And a call came for me to help out with literature work
42:20 in the Arizona Conference.
42:22 And so I decided that I am going to go ahead and do this.
42:26 And the point that I want to bring out about the blessing
42:29 of pain and trials in the midst of accepting the call.
42:33 When I accepted the call to do full time ministry
42:36 with the Arizona Conference, and at the same time be working
42:39 full time, it was not long after that that I got diagnosed
42:44 with a brain tumor.
42:45 And I remember thinking to myself, Father, I know what
42:50 this looks like, because I've taken care of
42:52 patients who've come.
42:53 They're normal one day, and the next day
42:55 their life just changes.
42:56 And my life just passed by in front of me;
43:00 this tumor could grow, and these different things
43:03 just racing in my mind.
43:05 And again the Word of God is our only firm foundation, friends.
43:10 Because there's a promise in Psalm 31:15 where it says that
43:14 the psalmist cries out and he says, My time,
43:18 my life is in your hands.
43:20 And it was at that moment that I made the decision that even
43:23 though I had been diagnosed with a brain tumor,
43:25 which was inoperable, and which could continue to grow,
43:29 and which could cause me to be blind as well as deaf,
43:33 if the tumor continued to grow, that I was like, Lord,
43:37 it's all in Your hands. I am Yours.
43:39 And I realized that as I committed my life to God,
43:44 the peace that He gave me.
43:46 And I still have the tumor, and I still deal with some
43:50 of the side effects.
43:51 But I thank God that He gives me the strength, and the grace;
43:54 when I am weak then He is strong.
43:56 The key lesson, that I have learned two things:
43:59 God does not afflict.
44:01 In Job 37:23 it is very clear in the great controversy that
44:07 God does not afflict, and that it is also through prayer that
44:12 God has strengthened my experience, because every time
44:16 when I'm so overwhelmed, I come to Him through prayer,
44:19 because I can talk to Him, and I can express my heart to Him.
44:23 What have I been called to?
44:26 Simply this: a life of service, a life of sacrifice
44:30 for the sake of Christ.
44:32 Wherever God sends me, with whomever God places me
44:36 in ministry with, and for however long.
44:38 A quote that has really encouraged me as I have been
44:42 journeying, is in Desire of Ages, Page 250.
44:46 There is no limit to the usefulness of one,
44:49 who putting self aside, makes room for the working of the
44:52 Holy Spirit, and lives a life wholly consecrated to God.
44:57 God has called me to taking personal ownership to the
45:02 message of Christ our righteousness, and personal
45:06 responsibility to serving God, and the work that
45:09 He has set before me.
45:11 And He continues to give me this as my call.
45:15 Also recognizing where there is a need, what I am called to.
45:19 Friends, we are called to recognize the needs of others.
45:23 He's also called me to serve in the local church community,
45:28 in the local church, in the community, at home.
45:31 One of the issues that I struggled with,
45:33 like I mentioned, when I was a little child, was I had these
45:36 two identities; there were two Vera's.
45:39 I praise the Lord that He has given me the victory in this
45:42 area in my life where I see everybody the same: my parents,
45:47 my siblings, everybody.
45:49 They're the same to me.
45:50 They're brothers and sisters in Jesus.
45:53 And I thank the Lord that each one of us can have that
45:56 experience as well.
45:57 One of the things that I want to leave before I finish sharing
46:05 my testimony is the reason I accept the call is because
46:12 Jesus is my Creator and Redeemer.
46:14 The reason God chooses me is because of the infinite price
46:19 He has paid on my life.
46:21 There's a video that I watched last year, and actually was
46:25 featured last year at GYC called, Am I Worth Really
46:28 Something? And I encourage you; go to YouTube and watch it.
46:31 It's really powerful!
46:32 And even share it with your friends.
46:34 Recognizing our worth, friends, is key to accepting the call
46:39 that God has for our lives; recognizing the value that He
46:43 has placed upon you.
46:45 As I have experienced this, friends, it has given me such
46:50 joy to know that I am accepted by the God of the Universe;
46:54 that because of the price that He has paid for my life,
46:58 there is infinite value to my life,
47:01 but to every single individual's life.
47:04 What about their faithfulness?
47:06 When I think about faithfulness is the verse that I
47:10 shared at the beginning.
47:11 It is because of the righteousness of Jesus that I
47:15 am able to be faithful.
47:17 God's faithfulness is the one and only thing that can keep us
47:23 in the call, and can enable us to experience the power
47:28 of the value that we have in Him.
47:30 We are faithful because God remains faithful,
47:34 and God calls us as well to endure.
47:37 There's this promise in 2 Timothy 2:10 where it says,
47:41 Therefore I endure all things for the elect's sakes,
47:45 that they may also obtain the salvation which is in
47:49 Christ Jesus with eternal glory.
47:52 One quote that has really encouraged me from
47:56 Christ's Object Lessons, Page 363, But when we give
48:00 ourselves wholly to God, and in our work follow His directions,
48:05 He makes Himself responsible for its accomplishment.
48:09 He would not have us conjuncture as to the success
48:12 of our earnest endeavors.
48:14 Throughout my couple of years of working as a nurse,
48:19 I decided one summer that I would take off and go into
48:22 full time colportering for three months.
48:25 And, friends, I'm so thankful that when we make the decision
48:29 to follow the call that God gives to us, God gives us the
48:33 success in our daily experiences.
48:36 And many times we may not think of it the way...
48:38 We may have ideas of what success looks like,
48:41 but when God has asked us to do something,
48:44 like the quote says, He makes Himself responsible for it.
48:47 And I've experienced that throughout the years.
48:50 So for the last several years every summer I take off from
48:53 work, and I go do mission work, doing canvassing,
48:58 and right now I'm in the Spokane area with a little church plant
49:01 doing medical missionary work.
49:03 The testimony of a life lived is to be a present continuous,
49:08 not one just of the past of what God has done,
49:11 but what through the power of the Holy Spirit continues to do,
49:15 and will do by faith.
49:16 As I grasp on to the righteousness of Jesus by faith,
49:20 we each can have a story of God's power
49:27 working in our lives.
49:29 The question that remains, when the Son of man shall come,
49:34 will He find faith?
49:36 Will I, Vera, remain called, chosen, and faithful?
49:40 To what account will my life be?
49:43 As a song will be sung here shortly, the question that I
49:48 have for you and I...
49:50 I don't know what your personal life story is, and I praise God
49:53 that one day I'll get to hear your stories as well in eternity
49:56 of how God has called you, how He has chosen you,
50:00 and how you have chosen to remain faithful to the Lamb.
50:03 But I pray that this promise in Revelation 17:14 that says,
50:12 These shall make war with the Lamb...
50:14 And the war with the Lamb is found in Isaiah 42:9,
50:18 where we make war with the Word of God.
50:22 Will we follow the Lamb?
50:25 Will we allow Him to be our King of Kings,
50:29 and Lord of Lords?
50:30 Will my life, will your life be as dew from the Lord?
50:36 I pray that as this song is sung, Find Us Faithful,
50:40 that you may personally choose to be called,
50:44 to be chosen, and to remain faithful.
51:05 We're pilgrims on the journey of the narrow road.
51:13 And those who've gone before us line the way;
51:20 cheering on the faithful, encouraging the weary,
51:27 their lives a stirring testament of God's sustaining grace.
51:35 Surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses,
51:42 let us run the race not only for the prize,
51:49 but as those who've gone before us,
51:53 let us leave to those behind us the heritage of faithfulness
52:00 passed on through Godly lives.
52:05 Oh may all who come behind us find us faithful.
52:12 May the fire of our devotion light their way.
52:19 May the footprints that we leave lead them to believe,
52:26 and the lives we live inspire them to obey.
52:33 Oh may all who come behind us find us faithful.
52:45 After all our hopes and dreams have come and gone,
52:51 and our children sift through all we've left behind,
52:58 may the clues that they discover, and the memories they
53:05 uncover become the light that leads them,
53:10 to the road we each must find.
53:15 Oh may all who come behind us find us faithful.
53:22 May the fire of our devotion light their way.
53:29 May the footprints that we leave lead them to believe,
53:36 and the lives we live inspire them to obey.
53:46 Oh may all who come behind us find us faithful.
53:54 May the fire of our devotion light their way.
54:01 May the footprints that we leave lead them to believe,
54:07 and the life we live inspire them to obey.
54:14 Oh may all who come behind us find us faithful.
54:25 Oh may all who come behind us find us faithful, faithful.
54:52 Amen! You may be listening on the internet,
54:57 or you're here at GYC.
54:59 My appeal, no, actually not my appeal, God's appeal to you
55:05 and me is, Do I accept the call because I believe that God is my
55:11 personal Creator, and personal Redeemer?
55:14 Do I accept that you and I are chosen by an Infinite God
55:19 because of the infinite price He has paid?
55:23 Do I accept to be faithful, because God is faithful,
55:28 because He cannot deny in Himself.
55:31 If this is your desire, please join me as we pray.
55:39 Loving Father, I thank You that You are faithful.
55:45 I thank You that Your righteousness is like the great
55:50 mountains, as the Psalmist said.
55:53 Father I thank You that You choose us because of the value
55:59 that You have put on us.
56:02 In Isaiah it says, because You are honored, because You are
56:07 precious, because I have loved You.
56:10 Father I plead and I ask in this last time of Earth's history,
56:15 that all of us may accept this call to follow the Lamb,
56:21 to be called, to be chosen, and to be faithful.
56:25 Thank You, Precious Jesus that it is through Your righteousness
56:30 that we can experience Your power,
56:32 and Your grace in our lives.
56:35 We commit ourselves into Your hands.
56:37 In Jesus' name we pray, Amen.