After hearing our testimonies, many people have shared their own stories with us... We hope they touch you and change your life, as they did ours.
The burden of guilt: A woman approached Vernon after one presentation in tears. She relayed how in her youth she found herself pregnant with no husband or support system. She wasn't ready to be a mother and knew she could not provide for a child. So she, although sick at the thought, decided to have an abortion. Ever since, she has carried the guilt and shame of her decision; Not knowing if God really forgave her. After hearing our story, of God's love, forgiveness and grace, she knew God forgave her and understood His love and forgiveness. She said the guilt and shame has been lifted from her.
A church's testimony: "This past Sabbath, we were blessed to hear the testimonies of Elder Vernon & Debbie Newman. They came to share their story of heartache and despair. They came to share with us how God delivered them, molded them, used their circumstance to bring hope and joy. God walked with Vernon and Debbie every step of the way. He gave His love and mercies, He answered prayers beyond what they could have ever expected. He reunited their family who had been separated for many years. God is working in their lives and continues to bless them in their country living in Tennessee, in their ministry and in their family. Their daughters Soñée and Tia joined them and deepened this blessing in song and praise."
Shame and regret lifted: A woman recounted to Debbie that she had been raped as young girl. She became pregnant and was forced to place the child up for adoption. She felt ashamed and longed to know her child. She felt God could not forgive her and blamed Him for letting this happen. Later in life while developing her relationship with God she came to know and understand that He did not cause her suffering. But the shame and guilt of a child she may never know weighed on her, until the day we came to share our stories with her local church. The regret and shame was lifted. She knew God loved her; she knew God has been looking over her child. And with renewed hope, her prayer is that one day she will be reunited with that little girl lost to her so long ago.
A Deep Impact: "Yesterday impacted me so much and I'm grateful for the opportunity to listen to your family's ministry!!! God Bless you all."
Size doesn't matter: After a very small turn out to one of our programs one lady said, it didn't matter how many people were there but what mattered was that she was there. She knew now to never stop praying for her prayers to be answered.
Providential Meeting: While standing in line for fellowship meal at church we were just visiting, a woman approached us and asked if she knew us from somewhere. We started listing possible places that were familiar. None seemed to match up. We all sat down together and she began to ask more about us. We had mentioned we had a ministry and she was interested in that. So in telling her what our ministry was about, she stopped and began to cry. She asked if we had been at a particular church a few months earlier. We said "yes." She relayed how her uncle had been there that day. He had not set foot or been interested in church in years, but he was visiting relatives and decided to go to church with them. After returning home that day after service he told his family that was the best sermon and testimony he had ever heard. He also said he wanted to begin bible studies.
One of the best parts of this story is that the woman telling us about her uncle had been looking for us since that day her uncle heard our story. For whatever reason she could not get the information to contact or find us. But God had impressed her to visit that same church we were just visiting on that providential Sabbath day. She almost left during service but the spirit impressed her to stay and go to fellowship meal. And there we met. What an awesome God we serve!
Several words: One church we spent the day at, many people shared their words with us. One man said, "Not one word was wasted." One woman shared, " Thank you so much for coming and sharing. I am the only SDA in my family. I have been a SDA for 7 years. This has touched my soul." Another lady said how brave Debbie was for telling it like it was and being so upfront and real about their lives and their marriage.
Stories of adoption: Many people shared stories of adoption with us at a church we recently went to. Here are some that touched us. A little girl was put up for adoption because she was a sickly baby and her father didn't want the family to keep her. So reluctantly the mother put her up for adoption. She never was a crier but whenever memories of the baby she gave up came to mind she would sob. Eventually she divorced her husband because he was a horrible man. And one day mother and her other children reunited with their separated loved one. And they have all become very close.
A woman and her brother were placed in foster care because their mother abandoned them. They were eventually adopted by an Adventist family. They were truly grateful for that family. One day they met their father, and they praised God for the family that adopted them because their father was not a good man.
Truly Blessed: "I was so moved by your testimonies that I could not stop crying. Someone asked me if I was OK, I told them I was until I ran out of tissues."
God's goodness is Real: "God has been so good to your family; you can't help but to lift His name up. Every time you lift up His name you are drawn closer to Him."
Truly Refreshing: "Deb, we were truly blessed. Your message is one that needs to be heard everywhere. All of our churches need to invite you in. Thank you for allowing the Lord to use both of you so mightily. I was so truly impressed with how spiritual the presentation was. Vernon's command of the bible and the Spirit of Prophecy was truly refreshing."
Blessing and Prayers: "It was such a blessing meeting you and listening to your testimony. I am still healing also, and will keep you in prayer as the Lord sends you out to those in need... We will be praying for your family, especially your mother-in -law. Thank you for the service to the broken hearted that you so graciously provide. Your humility and love shine forth and are appreciated."
Blessings and Future Plans: "Thank you so much for taking the time to come share your heart. Our church was blessed! We hope to see you again sometime, and will pass on your info to other church's who might be interested. If [we] don't meet again on earth... we hope to see you up there... SOON!"
Divine Appointment: While at the Mt. Juliet SDA Church we met a woman who told us that God told her, she had to come to that church that day, which she had never visited, nor really heard of. But she knew why when we started sharing our testimonies. We always ask God before we go somewhere to send someone who needs to hear this message. And He did just that, that day.
They ALL Were Blessed: We got a call after sharing with the Charlotte Berean SDA Church, later in the next week from the music director, stating he had received many calls throughout the week telling him how blessed they were by our testimonies. Others expressed how they wanted to share their testimonies and stories of adoption with us personally.