Today’s topic will be raw and very real. The title was given to me by the person I am interviewing, Todd Adams. The power of the gospel that transforms lives in tragedy. This is the story, the testimony of a man who’s trust in Christ has been deepened by the hardships of serving Jesus in the most remote part of the world, but also more deeply in a time of personal loss. Todd Adams and his wife Debbie have been international workers for over twenty years with the Christian and missionary Alliance in Africa and in Indonesia. They have four children. Their second, Emily, died tragically in a car accident last October at the age of 21.
Natalie, Sully, Emily, Beau, Debbie, Jordan, Todd
Aside from the Bible, one other book served as my lifeline during the hardest period of my life; my wife’s brain surgery and subsequent struggle to recover her speech, reading/writing skills, and my son’s passing to cancer just months after. That book was A Grace Disguised by Dr. Gerald Sittser. I’ve read the book probably four times, and recommended it to many who needed a healthy dose of theological perspective. What a thrill to land an interview with the author of this book, Dr. Gerald Sittser.
Order A Grace Disguised Here
Those who have any connection with Toccoa Falls College will know exactly what happened on November 6, 1977. The flood at Toccoa Falls College, pushing millions of gallons of water through a weakened earthen dam, took the lives of 39 people. Several lost their entire family. The story you’re going to hear in this podcast is Pastor Bob Harner’s account of remaining faithful to Jesus while trying to cope with the drowning of his wife and young son. This is truly a story that continues to bring glory to a faithful and sovereign God who shows his goodness to those who continue to trust him despite the pain that comes along the way.
In the 1980’s AIDS was an unfamiliar disease leaving those with the diagnoses alone and often shunned. It was during this time that young Ian Puckett, was diagnosed with AIDS due to a blood transfusion following a serious accident he and his father, Henry, were in. Up to this time, Henry and his wife Donna were experiencing deep marital problems that led to a temporary separation. READ MORE
In 2013 my wife and I moved to Augusta GA for what turned out to be one year ministry of helping replant a church that had just closed. Several months after our move a dynamic young couple, Chris and Carla Gerlach, moved near us to help us in this mission and to network with several other churches in the area. READ MORE
What happens when someone close to you, who you committed to serve with, and together dedicated your life to follow Jesus, is no longer with you. Being a pastor, or being in any kind of ministry vocation is different than any other job, in that, it really takes both you and your spouse to do it well. This is why we often say that when a pastor is called into ministry, his wife is called too. A little personal disclosure here… When I was dating Elaine she knew I had committed my life to serve Jesus overseas, and she understood that a commitment to me would also mean a commitment to that. So do you know what she did? She broke up with me. Pretty mean, huh? But I am glad she did, because she needed to make sure this was a journey she could also travel. So two weeks later she concluded, “I know I can live with that guy, but I also know I can go with him anywhere and do what he does.” We got back together, and have been serving together for 34 years.
I’m excited to sit down today with Mark and Viviane Shady who will share how the call of God on their lives to serve him was not only recaptured in loss, but also strengthened as the gospel pushed its way past the grief and dominated their lives again. Mark and Viviane have been married for 14 years and together have five children. They currently serve as International Workers with the Christian and Missionary Alliance in Bosnia and Herzegovina, and I was blessed to meet with them just one day before their return. They share with us what happens to that call in loss, and in grief.