By Phil Larson, as told to Frank Tunstall
The world’s largest casino is located on I-35 at the Texas/Oklahoma border. It’s the economic powerhouse of the whole area. The casino also multiplies drunkenness, illegal drugs, gangs, shootings, prostitution, and every other form of sin. In short, broken families and abused children litter the landscape.
I was conducting a church planting seminar in 2014, and cast the vision for a church in the area of Gainesville, Texas, about fifteen miles from the Oklahoma border to the north, and another five miles north to the casino. Phil Larson, an ordained minister in the Heartland Conference, was in that seminar. The Lord spoke to him in those moments and told him to go to Gainesville. It has been a long, hard pull for him, but Phil has persevered. Now he is beginning to reap the harvest. Pastor Frank
By: Phil Larson as told to Pastor Frank
The impact was huge. Vivian [not her name] dropped in at the workshop on developing parenting skills that was in progress at the church in Gainesville. Vivian had graduated 18 months earlier from the same eleven weeks’ worskshop. She had come by to visit and wanted to say. “Thanks.”
The night’s topic was on forgiving.
Vivian’s arm shot up and she asked to speak. She exuded confidence, and obviously was a new person happy to tell her story. Her voice was full of passion. She told of 15 years of physical abuse by her husband, and how she and her children had escaped. She also admitted she had carried her pain into her second marriage. The result was she became the abuser.
Through Vivian’s time in the three months of the workshop a year-and-a-half ago, she said she was able to lay down her ax with her first husband. This resulted in ending her abuse in her second marriage.
The room was silent except for the sobs. Many wept as they were trying to process their own pain. They were making their own decisions to release old baggage and “build forward” for a better life.
Vivian surely picked a good night to show up. Actually, we can be sure the Holy Spirit sent her. It was a great night for her to become a healing healer.
Fixing fractured families; that’s what we trust the Holy Spirit to do here at Gainesville. I wish you could be here in person when lives change, but the next best thing is knowing your support makes it happen.
Vivian says, “Thank You.”
I say “thank you” to all our supporters too.