Debbie's Story

Hope for the World - India

I was 29 years old when I was born-again, but I was 40 years old when I finally surrendered my life to God, seeking to do His will. I did not grow up going to church, but I occasionally went to VBS and attended worship with some of my friends. Even throughout my high school years I did not mind going at all.

I was a smart kid who grew up making good grades all through high school. But I believed the lies that what I had or who I hung out with was who I was and that I had to measure up to others. I lived by performing and pleasing peers, even doing things I knew were wrong. I was popular and loved the party life, from high school through Dental Hygiene school, and many years after. At age 29, I had an accident at the beach, but was not killed or badly injured. As God was stirring my heart, I began to consider where I would have spent eternity if I had died that day. A few months later, my younger sister got saved. I was shocked at the need for her to do such a thing, for I thought she was already a “good girl”. God began to show me the condition of my heart. Two weeks later I repented and surrendered my heart. Two weeks after that, God introduced me to Riley and two years later we were married. We began to attend worship, but it was many years later that we actually surrendered to have a relationship with God and to actually live “for” Him. Riley's going on his first mission trip to Uganda, Africa in 1997, changed his life and mine. After 3 years, I finally I agreed to go to Uganda and India with him in the same year, where God radically birthed in me a new heart of compassion.  We were living in Atlanta, GA, and had been greatly blessed financially. We were actively serving God, gave and served in Africa, and helping hopeless people became a huge part of our lives. We were beginning to see God’s purpose for us.

In the fall of 2003, Riley heard God call Him to serve Him full-time and to “give away” our business in Atlanta. I, however, had not heard from God yet and Riley knew we couldn’t make a move until then. I was quite skeptical at such a great request concerning our livelihood, so we began to pray for me to hear from God. I told God that He would have to speak to me "OUT LOUD"!  On Christmas Eve of that same year, while sitting in a candlelight church service, God spoke to me in what seemed like an audible voice saying, “Child, I want you to take my Light and go!” His peace and confirmation washed over me and I was in awe of the fact that He called me "child".  I was 48 years old then. We proceded in obedience, stepping out on faith, and continue now to work with orphan children and nationals in India.

I am living proof that God is merciful and that He can transform even the wildest heart.  He has never forsaken me and has never let me down.  He has always loved me with an everlasting love.  He has a Divine plan for my life and I am having a blast serving Him!  It beats any party I ever went to!  I thank Him and praise His Name.  He is my Peace.