God Calls Me to Pastor
Hi, I’m Laura Baker, and God called me to pastor with my husband. I live with my husband in beautiful Prescott Valley, AZ, USA, at the end of the road. We are blessed to live in the high desert prairie, where we can see the deer and the antelope play! Prescott Valley is centrally located about an hour and a half in either direction from the Grand Canyon, Sedona, and Phoenix. And unlike Phoenix, we experience four mild seasons with more moderate temperatures. Let me tell you my story.
Growing up, we moved several times as my Dad worked his way up from teacher to superintendent. I went to various churches, but it wasn’t until we settled at his last position that I went to a Baptist church. There I learned how much God loves me and that His Son Jesus died for me. I remember sitting in church and the girl next to me telling me I should go to the altar and get saved. Being new in town in about the 6th grade, I wasn’t about to embarrass myself. But when I got home from church, I got down on my knees by my bed and asked Jesus into my heart. A few months later, I did it again because I wasn’t sure that I said the words exactly right. How funny! I didn’t know then that it’s not the words but the condition of the heart.
Once God saved me, it felt like Satan immediately attacked me. Throughout the remaining school years, I was mercilessly teased and bullied by boys and girls alike. I had no real friends. I never said a word, always took what was dished out because that’s what they told me to do. Ignore it, and it will go away. Unfortunately, it didn’t. Even teachers were aware and didn’t care. I was always the last one picked for a team.
One day an older man was nice to me, and I had a crush. He was ten years older than me, and I defied my parents to sneak around seeing him. Looking back, I see how deceived I was. The first boy to be nice to me, and I was “in love.” I ran away from home, made terrible choices, hurt my family, and married this man. I was wrong.
In a relationship with a non-Christian, I drifted away from the church. We had a baby girl who is the light of my life. Then the Holy Spirit slowly got ahold of my heart, and we started going to church. I heard the Word of God again, and my life changed. I came back to the Lord, my daughter believed in Jesus, and I became a Sunday school teacher.
However, after years of abuse from my spouse, I had an affair, and we divorced. I fell away from the Lord. Again, I hurt my family. But I kept going to church and tithing. I decided to leave my small rural home town. The people knew everything that had happened and treated me with contempt. The members of my former church, instead of reaching out to me in love and trying to help, publically humiliated my family and me. It was time for a fresh start.
Remarriage and Used by God
I remarried and moved to the ole west. Getting out of my hometown made all the difference. I started a new job as a clinical liaison for an acute rehab hospital for physical, occupational, and speech therapy. Patients have had TBI’s and spinal cord injuries. There I started doing more public speaking. I gained confidence in talking with doctors and CEOs. No one knew me or my past. I began to flourish. It only took me 45 years to find myself.
Early on, my husband and I found an AOG church. For the first time, I felt loved. The members hugged each other, and the pastor talked about how great God’s Love is. I started to heal and even spoke in tongues. No one asked me about my past; no one cared–in a good way! Multiple people prophesied over us, how God still loved us, how God was going to use us once again. One gentleman, we met on the sidewalk of a restaurant, and he just started talking. It wasn’t long until we learned this man was a Presbyterian pastor who also prophesied that God wasn’t done with us yet. He had no idea what was going on in our lives, but the Holy Spirit was able to use him mightily to give us a word.
Move to Arizona and Called to Minister
We moved to AZ and found an old fashioned AOG church. It was wonderful! Before long, my husband, a retired Nazarene pastor, helped as an associate pastor confirming God’s word to us. They asked me to speak at some small events. Then, they wanted me to give the sermon for Ladies Ministries Day. Slowly, the Lord had been getting me ready to preach. I gave my first sermon, and it was so much fun. I LOVE public speaking! In the past, I would rather die than do any public speaking. But here I am!
After that first sermon, I was able to assist my husband in his position and teach Sunday school lessons and teach and preach Wednesday night lessons. Now you don’t know my husband, but he doesn’t read a Sunday school lesson out of the book. He learns the lesson and builds his teaching. He digs deep! So when I say I taught Sunday school, it was like giving a sermon. But I thoroughly enjoyed it. It is exciting to share what the Lord has laid on your heart! The Lord wants me to be a pastor to preach and teach. I have a burning desire to see the lost saved!
Oh, that I had time to tell you of all the miracles the Lord has done in our lives! Here are two examples. Ron, my husband, suddenly became ill. He called me while I was driving home and told me that I would need to take him to the hospital. Ron sounded fine and couldn’t tell me what was wrong. However, when I arrived home, he was blue. I couldn’t find a peripheral pulse, and his carotid pulse was over 150. He was conscious and talking. On the verge of panic, the Lord told me he would be fine.
They admitted Ron for septic shock and pneumonia. That began three months of in and out of the hospital battling for life. Sepsis kept recurring, and doctors and specialists didn’t know why. One night, he started having rigors. His temp went up to 105. Once again, he was critical. It was touch and go. We had been praying almost continuously since all this started, reading the Bible, and had many people praying for us.
I prayed to the Lord and asked, “what is going on? You told me he would be fine, but he’s dying.” I can’t fully explain what happened, but Ron’s deceased brother appeared while I was praying and said everything would be okay. I don’t understand what happened. But by morning, his fever broke, and he began a slow journey to recovery. That same morning, Ron told me that Roger, his brother, had appeared to him and told him he wasn’t going to die. Again, I don’t know what happened, but I praise the Lord!
Another time, just a few months ago, Ron was diagnosed with blood clots in both lungs and pneumonia. It was a scary time, but we relied on the Lord. A week or so after they discharged him from the hospital, our pastor called and asked Ron to preach Sunday morning. Unfortunately, the pastor’s wife was in the hospital, and he needed to be by her side. Of course, Ron said yes. But when he got off the phone, he was stressed. Ron could hardly talk and breathe, let alone preach. He sat at his computer to work on a message, and I went back to work in my office.
At that time, I was working from home. Soon, the Holy Spirit descended upon our house! The heaviness and His Holy Presence were overwhelming. For two hours, I felt it. I prayed, cried, and sang. SOMETHING was going on with Ron. I finally thought it was time to see if Ron was ready. I asked him if something big had happened. It had. Ron’s lungs were clear! He could talk without shortness of breath, and he had lots of energy.
Ron felt God’s presence as well and even wrote his sermon with the Lord’s help. It was indescribable! That Sunday, he got up, preached, and shouted without difficulty! We testified of this in church many times. Not long after, the doctor sent Ron for scans to check his lungs. God completely healed Ron’s lungs with no blood clots! Praise the Lord!
Called to Pastor and Training at CLI
My husband is also my mentor. He is always available since he retired! He has about 35 years of pastorship under his belt, and he, too, has felt a renewed call to pastor. Currently, we are living through the coronavirus shutdown. All our plans to move and pastor are down for the moment. However, we are doing FB live videos and continuing God’s work. It is a change, but the Lord will guide. The Lord will provide the way!
I only have a nursing degree and recognize I need some biblical training. I need the free training at Christian Leaders Institute to further my call to pastor a church. It will make a difference as I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus. Now that I know the love, forgiveness, and mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ, I want to pass that along to a hurting world. You are loved and forgiven! There is a better way made possible by the blood of Jesus Christ! Thank you, CLI, for this opportunity!