2004 Monthly Letter
Partner In Ministry,
I'm in Santa Paula, California, at a downtown church in a
Mark walked into my office with a woman and said, "This
is Melissa. She's from Ventura and asked to be anointed with
oil for the healing of something from the past."
poured out this story: On March 25, 1985, she was married
in this church's sanctuary. She was unaware at the time that
her husband to be was having an affair with her best friend
(her maid of honor) and that her older brother (one of the
groom's men) knew all about the situation!
discovering this incredible shocking deception a few months
after the wedding, she was distraught, devastated, became
distrustful of all men and women friends, and divorced her
"despicable" husband. For years she had totally immersed herself
in a horse ranch business to deaden the pain. Recently, she
accepted Jesus as her personal Savior.
February 21, 2004, a relative will be married in this same
sanctuary. Melissa wanted to attend but began to struggle
with her past horrendous memories. She sought counseling,
was told to go back to the sanctuary, deal with the pain,
seek healing, and forgive those who had deceived and betrayed
her. Wow! What an assignment!
Sunday prior to her coming to the church office, I had preached
on "The Freedom That Comes From Forgiveness!" One of the sermon's
points was to outwardly express to God the reality of the
pain, then intentionally release it to Him, and finally unconditionally
forgive the offenders.
of these are modeled by Jesus on the cross when He cried out,
"My God, my God, why have You forsaken me", "Into Your
hands I commit my spirit", and "Father, forgive them
for they know not what they are doing"-and "It is finished."
we ventured toward the now infamous sanctuary, Mark and I
looked for some kind of oil to use for the anointing. None
was found. Upon scouring the kitchen, a spray can of "Vegetal
Puro para Ollas"---pure vegtable oil--- was discovered. Perfecto!
It was difficult for Melissa to enter the sanctuary. Once
inside, she vocally began rehearsing her wedding, recalling
coming up the aisle, reciting where everyone stood, and recanting
the vows. Mark and I watched and listened to this 19-year-old
she took a deep breath and said, "I'm ready to be anointed,
prayed for, and healed." We all knelt before the communion
table. After reading several appropriate Bible passages, I
led Melissa in the sermon's point outlined above, suggesting
she consider using some of the same words Jesus spoke from
the cross. She did so with this exception: "Father, forgive
them (naming each) even though they DID KNOW what they were
doing…and after a long pause and a deep sigh she continued
with, "and I also forgive each of them through the power
of Jesus Christ!"
We anointed her with the oil and asked God to heal her mind,
emotions, and spirit. He did!
Holy Spirit then led me to pray that the meaning of her name
(Melissa ="honey") would become a new reality and that the
'sweetness of God's healing' would forever replace all the
bitterness!" She shouted, "Praise God! He knew long ago
why I was Christened Melissa!"
you for your faithful support. It helps turn malignancies
into Melissas! .