Sunday, November 28, 2010

What a Testimony!

I found this on Bro. & Sis. Goodwin's website. It is longer than my average blog but I encourage you to take time to read it. It is an inspiring tribute to an awesome lady.



Reported by Claire H. Goodwin
      There is no doubt in my mind that Margaret McMillen is a rare person, indeed.  I don't know anyone else like her, anywhere. For the 40 years that I have known her, Margaret has been a prayer warrior, and has had a one-of-a-kind ministry of evangelism and soul winning that has never died. This small, humble lady daily makes her way to the throne-room of heaven to petition the King for lost souls. I have seen the pages of her huge prayer list taped to her living room wall.  I was glad my name was on it.  Her prayer list goes around the world as she intercedes for individuals and for unknown people groups that have never heard the Gospel.
      It is astonishing to realize that at ninety-one she continues to be a bus captain at Broadway Assembly, Lorain, Ohio, where Matt Jones is pastor.  He is quick to tell what an indescribable blessing she is to the church there:
"I first became acquainted with Sister McMillen four years ago, when I became a part of this ministry.  In addition to being actively involved in the present day life of Broadway Assembly, she has also played a vital role in our heritage, since she has been associated with this church for over fifty years.  She currently serves as a volunteer staff member here, as she has done for many years.  She is directly involved in our bus ministry, and in our food and clothing ministry. She has been a part of the bus ministry for over 40 years that involve much time and intense labor.  When I think of Sister McMillen, I think of words like, "quality, commitment, dependability, vision, and compassion," even though she faces the challenges of her early nineties.  This is an incredible legacy.  She possesses an admirable personality which reflects faithfulness and determination.. She is one of my heroines, because she soars beyond the call of duty.  She is a person of excellent character and integrity, and has superior tenacity. I heartily recommend Sister McMillen as a modern role model of the Proverbs 31 lady." –Pastor Matt Jones
     When Margaret turned ninety, her church had a special birthday celebration for her. I'm sure she was ready to leap for joy when she saw the amazing gift they got for her. She had been diligently working the bus route with their 30-passenger bus, and one day Margaret told her pastor, "Brother Jones, I have been turning kids away! Today I had to turn away 9 people. What can we do?"  That did it! Something had to be done, and it was. On that 90th birthday they gave her an extraordinary gift of a brand new 60-passenger bus!! On the phone today, she excitedly told me, "We filled it on Sunday!"
      On Saturdays she is knocking on the doors of the people on her bus route, giving out tracts, looking for children on the playground, or teenagers hanging out on the corner, always inviting them to church, and arranging to pick them up in the bus. They have no idea that they have just been claimed for the Lord!
      Margaret's heart bursts with joy as she tells of incidences like this: "I saw one girl on the sidewalk and talked to her and then knocked on her door and asked the mother if she could come to SS. She did, and then later the mother came and got saved." She saw a girl up in a yard chasing butterflies, and talked to her and then to the mother for permission for the girl to come to SS.  They picked up the girl faithfully for 5 years (She is now 10 yrs old), and the mother finally came and she got saved. Margaret sometimes does medical transports for Senior Citizens and was waiting for a lady in the doctor's office when a woman came in with a twisted ankle. Margaret talked to her and found she had 6 children. She asked if they went to SS. "No, but I want them to," the woman replied. Margaret arranged for them to be picked up on the Sunday School bus. After awhile the mother came too, and got saved. In an earlier conversation she excitedly reported, "We had 3 bus mothers get saved this year so far". That was in 4 months time. Do you want to know how to build a church? Just follow Margaret around, and do what she does!
      Margaret also faithfully picks up bakery items twice a week for the Love Extended ministry, and showing her humor she says, I distribute it to the poor, the needy and the greedy. I don't want to miss anyone."
      One day a man and his sister came to church looking for her. Their mother had sent them to see if Margaret McMillen was still alive, because "at all their family reunions everyone talked about her". Margaret was told and she went to the church foyer to see who it was. Although she did not remember them, they told how she had brought their mother and father to church on her bus 50 years ago, and they got saved. Then both children grew and came on the bus and got saved, and now they and their whole family are serving the Lord! Imagine, 50 years of bus ministry and soul winning!

       God is not willing that any should perish, and He will lead willing vessels in unusual ways in order to reach some lost soul. One time Margaret knocked on a door, and when there was no answer she looked in the window and saw something cooking on the stove. She then figured someone was in there, but started to leave anyway. She felt a "check" in her spirit, and turned back. Feeling directed by the Lord she quietly opened the door and walked in, where she found an elderly lady lying on a stretcher. It seemed she was being prepared for transport somewhere, but no one was around. Margaret quickly knelt beside the woman, told her about Jesus and how she could be saved. The lady began to weep, and readily responded, praying and asking the Lord to forgive and save her. Seeing no one else there, Margaret then quietly and quickly left, closing the door behind her. Her mission was accomplished. Perhaps it was that woman's last chance to get saved.
      Jean Fordyce, a fellow church member and friend has often been amazed at the way the Lord has led Margaret. Once as the two of them started out for door-to-door visitation, Margaret told her the Lord had given her an address on 36th Street that she wanted to visit. The following account further demonstrates how the Lord has led her.
      On another day Margaret started out letting the Lord lead her as she went witnessing. She came to a house where the lady said she already had someone inside giving her a "Bible study," someone from Kingdom Hall. As a former Jehovah's Witness, Margaret understood their destructive beliefs, and asked nicely if she could join them for the study. It wasn't long until her pointed questions drew out answers that convinced the lady of the house that the Jehovah Witness doctrine was definitely not something she wanted. Defeated, the JW left, and Margaret was able to give the true Gospel to the lady. Days later, asking the Lord to direct her, she came to a different house and found that the same JW was here giving another "Bible Study."  Much to the JW's dismay, Margaret again was welcomed by the lady of the house and invited to join them. As you can guess, the "JW teacher" was soon on her way, and Margaret was again giving the true Gospel to one more soul. This may seem hard to believe, but shortly afterward, the exact same thing happened on a third occasion, when Margaret had absolutely no idea that the same JW was in the house where she was knocking. When she saw Margaret at the door, she stood up and accused her of following her, and said, "If she comes in, I'm going out," and she did. It was not Margaret who was pursuing her, but the Lord who warned that false prophets would arise and deceive many.
      I was Youth Director at Broadway Assembly before going to Free Gospel Bible Institute where I taught for 40 years, and I always valued the opportunities I had to go back and see Margaret again. On one of those trips I brought her a piece of coconut cream pie and said, O.K. Margaret, now I want to hear some stories about your witnessing. Instantly she was alive with that soul winning passion that I loved about her. She was about 88 then, and I could tell what was coming by that look on her face! Animated and bubbling over with enthusiasm she reported, "Sister. Ratti (78yrs) and I just got back from knocking on doors and we found two families that are prospects. The one didn't even know our church was here and is interested. The other family just moved into the area and is Pentecostal. They are all planning to come on Sunday."
      Sister Alice Ratti, was often a soul winning partner for Margaret. She tells about her move to the Lorain area in 1957 and how Margaret was the first one to befriend her. "She is my prayer partner and confidante. Her faith is very strong and so is her passion for souls.  At age 91, she still gets up at 6:00 AM every Sunday, rain or shine, hot or cold, and rides that church bus with all those noisy, rowdy kids...This precious saint surely has a starry crown awaiting her in Heaven!" 
      It shouldn't be surprising to learn that Margaret's son Charles and his wife Kathy are missionaries in Sierra Leone, West Africa. He remembers well those weekly "Go-Ye!" services at Broadway Assembly, for his mother was the Minister of Visitation, the first full-time staff member hired by Pastor K. A. Smith. He tells how the "church grew exponentially during the years 1959-1969 to over 1,000 in attendance with ten bus routes throughout the city." His mother had the oversight of all of this.  "She became a walking encyclopedia of names and addresses of prospects," even knowing the ages of their children. At 91, Margaret is still in good health, attends the same church and loves her pastor.  Not long ago her son talked to her on the phone from Africa and heard her excitedly report that she has averaged 45 on her bus, the only remaining route.  She is a hero, not only to her son, but to me and hundreds more whose lives have been greatly impacted by her life that has been wholly lived for the Lord.
      When her son, Charles, went to Africa he gave his mother their 1994 Cadillac. In a phone conversation with Margaret, just last night she said, "Let me tell you what happened this week. On Monday I had to go take a test to get my driver's license renewed, and I failed miserably. I went home and prayed for a miracle."  With a slight giggle in her voice she continued, "On Wednesday I went back to retake the test, and I passed with flying colors, so my license is renewed for 4 more years, until I'm 95, but I hope Jesus comes before then!"  From the sound of her vibrant voice I am sure she was smiling from ear to ear.
     Soul winning, prayer, holiness, and Pentecost were not always part of Margaret's life. Her mother told her,  "Never go to that Pentecostal church. They are crazy!" She was busy indoctrinating them into the Jehovah Witness cult. But God had other plans, and sent another notable saint of God knocking on their door inviting them to church. It was Maybelle Hance, the Pentecostal pastor's wife! Margaret and her sister Rose dared to go, and once in the service they were soon convinced the people really were "crazy", but there was no way out…they were seated in the middle of a row. All at once a lady seated behind them stood and gave a loud message in tongues. Some thought these visitors would never come back again! However, that anointed Holy Ghost message and interpretation had a powerful effect on Margaret. She was shaken, and convicted, and the next night surrendered to the Lord, and then led her sister, Rose, to the Lord. God was already preparing to raise up woman whose life would influence many hundreds for Him.
      Edith Pettry considers Margaret a soul winner who has always worked hard to win the lost. "She does not waiver whether times for her are good or bad." 
      Margaret was hesitant about having this article written about her, and clearly reminded me that, "All the glory belongs to the Lord. He is the one who did it all."  Yet, once I got her talking, she came up with one story after another. Her life is one big adventure of experiences known only to someone who has lived their life completely for the Lord. At 91 she thanks God for strength for each day.  It was a joy to talk to her once more and to hear her vibrant, strong voice, her continuing burden and vision. We laughed together several times, because of her great sense of humor..
      She remembers when one Jehovah's Witness lady chased her away with a broom, and how dogs twice, bit her as she knocked on doors for the Lord.
      Jean Fordyce worked extensively with Margaret during the early days when they were building the church, and recalls how "one day she didn't have the ladder anchored well and it slid down the wall with her on it. Her shins were badly bruised, but she never stopped working." Just weeks ago this 91 year old lady was in the Camp Blessing kitchen helping prepare and serve food for their camp meeting. Bonnie Wood says she's like the "Energizer Bunny." She just keeps going and going.
      Sister Fordyce tells of a day "when Margaret was visiting and the man became angry and chased her down the street with a broom." He was a rejecting lost sinner, and Margaret was running down the street away from him, yelling back to him, "It is appointed unto man once to die and after that the judgment."
      For three years she tirelessly continued to knock on the Jeffreys' door every
Saturday. They always knew she would be there to invite them to church, and responded different ways.. Finally, Opal Jeffreys came and got saved. Then her husband came and got saved. Then all of her 5 children came and got saved.  Now all of them serve the Lord together.  
     When Pastor Keith A. Smith resigned after 20 years of ministry at Broadway Assembly he and his family relocated to Corpus Christi, Texas where they began a church. Margaret went along with them to help with the outreach. She met a Christian Spanish lady and they began making trips to Mexico taking Bibles to the people. She also began to have a Bible Study in this lady's house. This neighborhood evangelism brought 13 women to the church. Yet, there was still one more person who desperately needed to be reached.  Her life was hanging in the balance, and God seemed to keep her alive long enough for Margaret to come all the way to Texas to knock on her door. First, it was her mother who came with a neighbor, but then Margaret discovered this exceptionally needy one, Jessica, a daughter with cerebral palsy.  She began to bring her to church in her wheelchair, pulling it up the steps, and into the church. She got saved the first night. It was just like God's great mercy to give this needy woman a final opportunity to prepare for eternity.  She was saved, baptized in water, and was faithful to the Lord for one month, and then victoriously went to heaven.  Margaret had knocked on her door just in time!
      I count it a privilege to write about my good friend and example, Margaret Mcmillen. One article could never tell all there is to tell. As a young person working full time for the Lord as Youth Director at Broadway Assembly, I worked closely with Margaret, and was deeply influenced and impacted by her example. I thank God for this opportunity to tell this story.  My life will be forever changed because of this dear saint of God.  I pray that you, dear reader, will also be challenged and changed by what you have read.

Sent from my iPhone

1 comment:

  1. Oh Sis. McMillen! What a godly lady. I too had the privilege of working with her, along with Bro. Chahye who also worked on the bus ministry for 40+ years! He has now gone on to his reward. What a thrill to have known both of these saints of God and to have served alongside of them for a short time!


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