Our Story

(told by Deborah)

We, Jerry, Deborah, & Arden moved to Kenya, Africa in 2007.  We gave away everything that we owned in Texas, other than personal photos and a few special belongings and bought a one-way ticket to Africa.  We had never been to Africa before.  We had heard the voice of God.  He said “The time is now.  Go to Africa”.  But perhaps a little history is in order here.

I grew up in a small, Texas town.  Day in and day out life was not too eventful.  Of course there was the occasional trip to state with the High School football team, but that was basically it.  My family did not travel.  We owned a small cabin at a lake not too far from our home.  That was vacation!  I was raised in church.  My family was loving, kind, concerned with others, and very ordinary.  I was blessed to be actively involved in a missions program in my church.  At a very young age I was saved and felt a very real and very strong call on my life to evangelism.  When I was little and we played “house” and other childhood games I always pretended to be a missionary!  I had a fascination as a child with elephants.  I began to collect elephants as a hobby.  I truly believed that one day I would be in Africa.  Now, you must understand, from where I come from – that sounds C-R-A-Z-Y!!!!

When Jerry and I married I told him we would be living in Africa one day.  He told me to never say that to him again!  I knew God would work on him and He did.  We worked in every area of ministry that we could.  We knew that no other work in life would ever satisfy us.  We knew we would be in full time ministry, but just not sure how.  The Lord spoke to us and told us to get out of debt.  He said, “When I say GO you should be ready to go.  There should be no chains of debt holding you to this place (home)”.  So immediately that is what we did.

In the summer of 2006 we traveled to Cardenas, Mexico to do a mission trip.  It was life changing.  The Lord showed Jerry many things through a series of dreams.  He spoke to Jerry that the time was getting very close for us to go to Africa.  God prepared Jerry’s heart.  Jerry told the Lord that he would go anywhere the Lord would send him.  It was then that we began to tell my mother, and daughters Haeley and Arden that we would be moving soon.

My mother, Mattie Sanford, was the greatest and noblest woman I have ever known.  She was diagnosed with terminal ovarian cancer in 2001.  People could not understand why or how I could say we would be moving soon.  I had heard the voice of the Lord.  My mother was proud of me.  Of course, she would love to have me there with her.  I drove her to nearly every doctors appointment she ever had.  We endured chemotherapy together multiple times.  We cried together, laughed together, and prayed together.  She was my best friend.  She knew the Lord spoke, and she knew we would be moving soon.

Haeley graduated from high school in May 2007.  She moved into her own apartment in June 2007 to begin college.  Now she was a big girl and on her own.  Arden was 10 years old and we knew she could move with us and be home-schooled.  All the things in our lives were preparing for our move.

We began to seriously tell people that we were moving to Africa.  We took all the steps necessary, shots, shots, shots, etc.  One small, Texas church said, “We’ve  decided to support y’all monthly.  We are going to send you $50 every month”.  We were so excited!  We said, “Bless God, we have support, let’s GO!”.

We gave away all we owned.  We bought tickets and packed our bags.  We arrived in Kenya, on a one-way ticket in August 2007.  We had never been to Africa before and had absolutely no idea what we were in for.  We told Arden before we arrived that we might be living in a cow dung hut with a thatch roof and dirt floors.  We were prepared for whatever Africa had to offer!  When we arrived here we had $150 to our name – no savings, no IRAs back home, nothing – $150 period, and of course the one church supporting us!  But we had heard the voice of the Lord.

Since that time we have seen God.  He has increased us on every side.  We have seen hundreds of salvations, healings, marriages restored, deliverance, and many moves of His Spirit.  He has never failed us.  There was one day when we had 40 Kenya shillings to our name.  If we rode the matatu to buy bread we would not have had any money to buy bread.  So, we walked.  We walked two miles one way and bought bread and walked two miles back home.  Arden has roasted wieners for supper over candlelight because the electricity was off for over 19 hours.  But we have never slept hungry.  We have seen God!

When we first got here we did not have a vehicle so we used public transportation or we used our Nike tennis shoes!  One day we were praying for God to please provide us with transportation.  We prayed and we prayed.  The next week we got a notice from the post office that we had a package to pick up.  Believe it or not, we picked up that package and inside were two new pairs of tennis shoes.  Oh – you can’t imagine how we laughed.  We have learned to make our prayers specific!

God has been so Good and so Faithful to us.  My mother passed away in September of 2008.  I was with her, holding her hand as she drew her last breath.  Haeley is about to complete her Bachelor’s Degree.  She visits in the summer when she can.  God’s plan for our life has been and is PERFECT!

If God can do this with us – little Texas kids – He can and will do so much in you!  All we did was obey!  We followed His instructions and prepared ourselves.  We positioned ourselves to be instantly obedient.  You can too!

October 2012 update –  We are now living back in Texas for a while.  Arden is focusing on her school work and Haeley was married this month.  We are pleased that God is ministering to our family through us.  We have vision for our local community and are awaiting His next assignment.

Ministry in Kenya is ongoing with KENYANS!!! Glory be to God.  They are doing an excellent job!

Update April 2014 – I was diagnosed with Stage IV colorectal cancer in November 2013.  I am doing very well and believe entirely that God has healed me.  The journey has been and is amazing.  God’s grace is sufficient!

© 2017 Days of Elisha Ministries | Website by Content Nest