Wednesday, June 22, 2011

God's got plans for you ~By Serena Carr

When I was asked by Ronda, via Facebook, to give my testimony for her blog, I didn’t think that was something that I would be able to do.  I have given my testimony several times in front of people, but to write it down for people to read, I wasn’t sure how to go about that or what to even say.  I’m not much of a writer, but then Ronda called and asked again and mentioned that others felt the same way until they started typing and that people were being touched by the testimonies, I thought, ‘OK God, if this is something that you would have me do please give me the right words.’ And with that, I sat down and started typing.

I was born and raised in Arlington, TX, and my whole family lived nearby; we always had family around.  We all went to Bethel Baptist Church where my mom helped in the nursery and my dad drove a church bus, and as a teenager I loved to sing on the bus and help with the smaller children at church.  I remember playing church as a kid (baptizing was always fun in our little pools).  We would go to church every Sunday morning and night and also Wednesday nights as well, but that is about as far as it went.  I grew up knowing about God and knowing that I needed Jesus in order to go to heaven and so I asked Him to come into my heart. At 8 years old, at a slumber party with our Sunday school class where my aunt taught us about Jesus.  Shortly after, I was baptized.

Going to church was just something that I grew up doing and knew that I needed to do.  As a family we read Bible stories at night and would pray at meals and knew to pray before we went to bed.  We knew that God was there. 

As I grew older, things began to change. My mom stopped going to church as much and stayed home to cook lunch for us. We would only go on Sunday morning unless there was something ‘special’.  I found myself going to church on Sundays, but then living a different life throughout the week.  When I started Jr High School, I found that boys were pretty cool and that was pretty much my focus from then through High School.  I made bad choices of friends, and did things that I should not have done.

I found out later that my mom prayed for me whenever I would leave with friends, and I know that is what kept me from getting into too much trouble.  I would always hear a small voice telling me when something was wrong.

Don’t you wish you could go back and erase those things that don’t go with a life for Christ?

When I was a junior in High School, God woke me up some and I found the guy of my dreams.  He was in the military and seemed to have his life in control.  He was clean cut and stayed away from the things that my friends liked to do and that I knew that I shouldn’t be doing either.  He would go to church with me and my parents really liked him.  Again, I found out later that my mom had been praying for the perfect husband for me since I was a child.  God is so good! We had planned to marry after I graduated but since we both had Christmas vacation and I had recently turned 18 we decided to have a Christmas wedding.  No, I didn’t have to get married and Yes, I did graduate.  We then moved about a half an hour from home.
Four years later, my husband got orders for our family to move to Wiesbaden, Germany.  We were so excited to go to a new country and see new things, but it was really hard for me to leave my home, family and friends and everything that I had known.  We lived there for 10 years and God really used that time for us to grow in our marriage as well as in our relationship with Him.  You see, we couldn’t just pick up the phone to call family anymore; it was too expensive, so we learned to depend on each other and to trust God to help us through the tough times.  After settling in, we decided to look for a church but didn’t seem to fit in anywhere so we quit going for awhile, several years actually.  When our second son was about 3, things seemed to change; I started realizing how much we needed God and church in our lives again and started praying.  I remember getting on my knees, crying, God please help our family find you again.  I didn’t realize my husband was feeling the same way.  You see, God had a plan.
I rededicated my life to the Lord that night and shortly after He surrounded us with Christian friends and they soon talked us into getting our two boys involved with AWANA, it is like Boy Scouts but through the church.  God used this program to get us more involved in the church and the people there. We learned what it meant to have a personal relationship with Jesus and how much we needed Him in our lives.  He surrounded us with a loving family through the church.  We began to meet missionaries there that would come and help with the AWANA program and we would spend time with them while my husband would help them with their computers.  This was such a special time for us.

God then started prodding our hearts for ministry.  I started thinking about being a missionary and how neat it would be to go to different places to tell others about Jesus but my husband had a different idea, so we thought.  He informed me that he felt he was being called to be a pastor.  After crying to a friend and telling my husband that God didn’t tell me that, and that I could never be a pastors wife, God began to work on me as well.  Things happen when you pray to God and read your Bible.  God works on your heart.

After attending a men’s retreat, where a gentleman by the name of Ron Sallee spoke, God opened the door for him to go to Contenders, a Bible school at Machias Community Church.  After 2 years of going through this school, my husband retired from the Air Force and was ordained as a pastor to go into Village Missions as a Missionary Pastor in the same day.  We started praying on where God would send us, our upcoming move and all the details with selling the house.  God worked everything out in his perfect timing.  We felt total peace and excitement for our new adventure.

We are now serving as missionaries in Lenwood, CA in the middle of the desert.  We have been here almost 7 years now and God has been so faithful.  We are seeing lives change including our own.  It has been a real adventure and blessing.  Ministry hasn’t always been easy, but we are learning more and more that if we lean on Him, He helps us through and opens our eyes in the process.  God has a special plan for each and every one of us, I never thought I would be in the desert telling others about Jesus Christ, but here we are!  It is so wonderful to know that God doesn’t give up on us and that he will forgive and help us if we ask.  What an Awesome God we serve!

Philippians 4:13 I can do everything through him who gives me strength.
Proverbs 3:5-6 Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding;  In all your ways acknowledge him and he will direct your paths.
David and Serena Carr serving in Lenwood, CA

Note from Ronda~
We don't know each other well, but you have a special place in my heart.  Without knowing me, you pulled me out of a pity party one day about a year and a half ago through a letter.  The letter was actually  written by your husband, but this letter changed my perspective on things and I was very grateful for that.

I was having a ROUGH young moody momma moment, and was whining to my Dad this particular day.  He listened patiently while I made sure to bullet point every gripe, emphasing the real BOO HOO parts.  When I was finished he said, "I just got a letter from David and Serena Carr, they are serving in Lenwood, California.  I want to read it to you."  He read me the NewsLetter and I got served!  God showed me in that moment that every little gripe I had was silly and petty, and that the world DOES NOT revolve around me.  There are people, like you, the Carrs, serving in down and out places.  Not the glamourous mega church with gold trim, and red velvet, and not the world recognized "mission field" in a foriegn country, but the mission field on our own country's soil.  The places that need to be reached, but no one wants to go.  I am so grateful for you.  For going and growing where God called you.  What a blessing!

Also, I laughed out loud when I read the first paragraph of your testimony above, because it confirms what many of my friends have told me...I am 'Ronda the pusher', I like to think 'Ronda, the persistant encourager!' :-D  Thank you for being so gracious and obliging to write this out for others to be blessed by.
I am very glad that you did.


For RondaHonda READERS: Oh and if you are having a 'ho-hum-woe is me' day shoot me a message and I will email you a copy of that NewsLetter.  Just might help you like it helped me...

1 comment:

  1. Hi Serena. . .How wonderful to look back and see

    God's leading in your life.

    You have a wonderful family and ministry.

    Love ~Marilyn~