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How God Worked in My Life
By Multiple Authors

Starting with this issue of The Evangelist we will be featuring stories about how God works in peoples lives. I believe this is something that can help all of us. This time two stories are told. What stories do you have to tell? Write them out and give them to me or e-mail them to me at Paraskevah@aol.com. --ed.

Burns, Prayers, and People Caring

By June Revak-Anderson

About twenty-two years ago, I had a rather tragic accident. After completing a remodeling project in my family room, I cleaned everything up and made six Barbie Doll outfits as a birthday gift for the little girl next door. As I marveled at how nice the remodeling job and Barbie Doll clothes looked, I decided to light a fire in the fireplace. I had put in new ceramic tile in the hearth and wanted to see how the flames would "dance" on the new tiles.

After the fire got started, I threw in a paper bag that I thought was empty. However, I had forgotten about the full, aerosol can of spray fixative that was inside the bag. (For some reason, I didn't feel its weight). Immediately, the can exploded and a wall of fire climbed up the outside of the fireplace.

Since I did not have time to move away from the fireplace before the explosion, I was badly burned. I suffered second-degree burns on my face and right hand (which was inside the fireplace screen) and first-degree burns on my left hand. My hair was singed, and I was in extreme pain. This accident happened on a Friday evening in February. On the following Sunday, seven Orthodox churches were praying for me.

I was hospitalized at Little Company of Mary Hospital in Evergreen Park, where I received wonderful care, for several weeks. The nurses came in regularly to give me telephone messages and feed me (my hands were bandaged).

My eyesight was severely diminished from the fumes of the aerosol can, and the doctors didn't know if normal vision would ever return. Every day, Alexandria Lukashonak, who worked at Little Company of Mary Hospital at the time, gave up her lunch hour to come to see me. In my darkened room she read get-well cards to me and prayed with me. Fr. Sergei Garklavs also came to visit me. When he first saw me, he was taken aback by the ugliness of my face. His first comment was, "They didn't tell me you were this bad!" But, God bless him, Fr. Sergei was able to see past the physical disfigurement and pray with me.

Eventually, with the help of excellent doctors and many prayers, the burns on my body healed. Today, my scars are minimal, surprisingly, my vision has returned to 20/20. I'm still limited to the use of my right hand, but with God's help, it's something I can handle.

Was God There?

By Lynn Betsanes

We woke up the day after Mother's Day this past May and for a change it wasn't raining. It seemed like a glorious day initially, but something was strangely wrong. Even though my husband, Greg, noticed the problem almost immediately, a few seconds passed before I began to process his words.

"What the he_ _!!!" he yelled angrily. "My truck is gone!"

Somebody had stolen another vehicle, driven to our house in the night, and helped themselves to Greg's truck and all its contents. He started remembering everything that was in the truck--the brand new table and chairs for our yard, and the thousands and thousands of dollars worth of tools and equipment.

The loss of the truck and everything in it essentially brought Greg's business to a screeching halt. His cell phone was also gone as well as the very expensive "unbreakable" sunglasses, which he had managed to keep in one piece after I bought them for him three years previously. The list went on and on--various articles of clothing, work boots, keys, mechanical parts, etc. Each time he remembered something else his anger grew again. Where was God and how could he let someone who works so hard be robbed of the things he needed to do his job?

Two weeks later I was at work cleaning up my hairdressing workstation and getting ready to leave. I heard a voice say, "This is a robbery!" but it didn't quite register until I heard it again. My first thought was, "Who even thinks this is funny?" When I saw the man with the mask and gun, I still thought it was a joke until a client asked if he was for real. "Yes," he thundered, "This is real. Everyone on the floor. Don't move or look, or I'll start shooting people!" It was then that I realized the gun pointing straight at me was not a toy. This wasn't a joke, and I quickly decided to do what he said.

As I dropped to the floor, I thought first of my family. Then I thought of the men who had just been arrested for the Brown's Chicken restaurant murders. I wondered if this evening would conclude in the same way it had for the people at Brown's Chicken. In the end, the thief just took money and left. Then I began to feel guilty. I hadn't thought of praying during all of this. What was wrong with me?

I had been the victim of two crimes in two weeks, and people were stunned that I did not want revenge. They didn't understand why I wasn't angry with God for allowing these events to happen. Then my seven-year-old daughter said to me, "Mom? Do you know what I'm glad about? I'm glad that they took Dad's truck and not a person, because you can always buy a new truck and tools but you can't get a new person."

I began to realize then that God must have been with us in both incidents. Someone could have come into our home and hurt us, but God was protecting us. He was there in all the people who offered us money, tools, a vehicle, and prayers. He was there at my workplace protecting my coworkers, clients, and me even when I wasn't thinking of Him. God didn't rob us, people did. Someone else made the choice to commit these crimes. Now am I sure that God was there? You bet!

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