My name is Karen Wake and I was born and raised in Ontario, Canada. And I am about to take you on a multi-year odyssey that began 6 years ago.
I am a mother of two wonderful sons and grandmother to three terrific grandchildren. My spouse, David and I celebrated our 42nd anniversary in April of 2014.
I have always “believed” in Jesus, having grown up in the Salvation Army until I was 18 but as many do, I fell away from the church for a number of years because work and socializing became more important. My husband did not have the benefit of growing up in a Christian home but he was familiar with the Oral Roberts Television Ministry as was I. When the children were young we did our duty and sent our sons to a Sunday School in the neighborhood. Over the years we went to various denominational churches at Christmas and Easter. We began to to watch Kenneth Copeland on TV regularly and soon realized we needed to get off the fence and go find a faith based, spirit filled church to call home in 2004. The small non-denominational congregation we joined, Eagle’s Nest Christian Ministries, is situated in a nearby town. A wonderful journey began in this little Church. A trip that would include baptism by immersion and the baptism of the Holy Spirit. We developed a hunger for God’s word and a need to share. I love the following verse for we were truly “born again” hallelujah! To be reconciled to God 2 Corinthians 5:17 & 20 tells us: “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new.” 20 “Now then we are ‘ambassadors’ for Christ, as “though God did beseech you by us: we pray you in Christ’s stead, be ye reconciled to God.”
God planted a seed in my heart over four years ago (2010) about going into ministry. I wasn’t sure what He had in mind or was it just me thinking this, so I just kept it to myself after all I had recently turned 60 and am hearing disabled! This seed though kept growing as David and I grew more in our walk with Christ. In the spring of 2012 I listened closer and prayed for direction and the message became insistent. When I told my husband he fully embraced the plan and told me to go for it. I began searching the internet for information on Christian colleges and discovered Christian Leaders Institute. This wonderful school offered a well rounded Christian education for free, which is a Godsend for those of us who would otherwise not be able to afford to attend. Our Pastor, my mentor and the congregation have encouraged me all the way along. I want to be an ambassador for Christ! Those words in Corinthians were meant for today as much as they were in the days of the Apostle Paul especially in an apathetic country that is quickly losing it’s Christian identity. There is an urgency right here in North America for Christians to share the good news of Jesus.
So here I am and my goal is to share the gospel of Christ within the community and mentor young couples. I also visit and pray with shut-ins and seniors. God’s plan for me may be different as the years go on. If it is He will let me know, but I thank Him, CLI, and their sponsors for the opportunity provided. I will do as He says for “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me” (Phil.4:13) This scholarship has allowed me to get a solid Christian based education necessary to truthfully, spiritually and in a biblical manner, be a minister to people and spread the gospel right here in my own community.
It is now January 2015 and what a wonderful road I have traveled with Christian Leaders. I now have my Christian Leaders Diploma, the Diploma of Ministry and am currently completing the Advanced Diploma of Ministry requirements with the terrific new “People Smart For Ministry” course. Little did I know back in April of 2012 just how much or how far God would take me. Nor did I realize that our plans are not always His plans. In the past two years many things have changed since I wrote my original profile for CLI. My spouse’s health was compromised many times over these past months but we continued to stand on our faith and pray and thank the Lord for the wonderful life He has given us. We moved from our little house into an apartment in town to make things easier but as my role changed to that of caregiver much of the time I found that without God’s faithfulness and love I know things would have been far more difficult. Psalm 91:1-2 from the Amplified Bible “He who dwells in the secret place of the Most High shall remain stable and fixed under the shadow of the Almighty [whose power no foe can withstand.] (2) I will say of the Lord, He is my refuge and my fortress, my God; on Him I lean and rely, and in Him I confidently trust.”Ministering at home is where our walk begins for those who have families. We cannot go out into the ‘world’ and ignore those we hold dear, they are our first responsibility. Faith gets tested daily and our only hope is to trust our Father above for He can get us through everything. Sadly my dear David went home to glory on August the 20th of 2014. Without my faith and the support of my Pastor James Walton, the church, Dr. Feddes kind words and our Lord Jesus Christ I know the devastation of his passing would have overwhelmed me but when people say “I am so sorry you lost your husband” I can respond with certainty, “I didn’t lose him, I know exactly where he is and we will be reunited in God’s time.” God will use us anytime and anywhere and at any age, even through adversity. Over the last few months I have been given many opportunities to share the Word with those in need. In the hospital, at the Hospice where David spent his final days and in the community. My Ordination appears to be a necessity for many older people I have encountered, a confirmation that I am called to minister. Therefore it is with heartfelt gratitude I say thank you again, Christian Leaders Institute for your dedication to educating and empowering us all in the name of Christ. Please pray that my eldest son fully embraces his new found faith; that I can bring my extended family members and others to Christ through my words and living example and that I continually and confidently allow the Holy Spirit to work through me.
Hello, wow it is May 2017 and I am happy to say that after completing the “People Smart for Ministry” and CLI”s Ordination requirements in 2015 I am back studying with CLI! Having recently completed the new “Prayer” and “Biblical Wisdom” courses, which by the way are excellent, I am working hard on “Developing House Churches.” In my two year absence doors opened that I never expected, aside from my original goal of ministering to the people in my apartment building and family. I have a page now on Facebook called “One Pastor’s Notes” that reaches out to people all over the world and was invited to write a faith column in our local weekly newspaper along with other Pastors in the community. God continually leads the way and guides me in these endeavors. Very soon there will be a new House Church in Mount Forest and I am so excited!
Update January 2018! Oh my goodness what a journey this turning out to be. With the new courses that this amazing institution has provided for us I have added the “Developing House Churches” mentioned above and have planted “New Creations Christian Fellowship” here in Mount Forest. This fellowship includes a small home based group and a much larger group of followers on Facebook. Over the last few months I have thoroughly enjoyed taking “Thriving Marriages” a course I recommend for everyone and “An Introduction to Chaplaincy” which includes introducing the concept of “CHATplaincy” on-line ministering. “Early Church History,” is a course that digs deeper into the history of Christianity and the courageous people that shared the word regardless of the persecution they endured and is a great addition to any student’s transcript. My family is convinced that as long as CLI adds new courses I will be studying and growing in faith well into my 90’s! I guess they are right. Having just recently completed the empowering “Women’s Ministry” course of study that also filled the requirements for my “Diploma of Divinity.” I am now completing the “Officiant Minister” training and pray that my credentials from CLI and my covering with Christian Leaders Alliance will grant me the ability to get my license here in Ontario Canada to legally officiate at weddings. It is my hope that my granddaughters wish will come true and Grandma can officiate at her wedding in the not too distant future, and that have the same honor uniting other couples in Holy Matrimony.
I have my eye on other courses and will continue to study as long as God leads me in that direction. Pray along with me that we all allow the Spirit to guide us in all we do and that how we live sets an example for others.
Christian Leaders Institute has made all of this possible and I will never be able to thank Dr. Reyenga and his vision of a school such as this and all the awesome teachers enough. Nor can I forget to thank my wonderful family and my ever faithful Mentor Donna Williams for their love and support. May God Bless you all abundantly.
David Wake’s Testimony
Jeremiah 1 verse 5
“Before I formed you in the womb I knew you; before you were born I sanctified you; I ordained you a prophet to the nations.”
I believe now, that God indeed did know me before I was born and had a plan for my life that top heart doctors could not possibly understand.After my birth I was classified as a blue baby that would not live through the first hour.I guess they were wrong, eh?
For those of you that do not know what blue babies are imagine a newborn that is a blue color rather than a nice pink.This immediately tells the doctors that there are serious problems with the heart and or the lungs.In my case my heart was kind of messed up.The hospital chaplain was called to baptize me, give my last rites or maybe just pray for me; I’m not sure which because my parents were not churchgoers.Mom told Karen years later that I was baptized but she couldn’t remember by whom.
When I was around 6 years old I wanted to know why I couldn’t do the same things other kids were doing and Mother explained what all the tests and exrays had shown.There were 3 holes in my unusually horseshoe shaped heart and the arteries were twisted stopping the proper flow of blood.My heart is backwards and on the right side too.When this occurs breathing is difficult too.There were no other patients to compare this to and at that time no known ways to fix it.
Repeated visits to Sick Kids Hospital continued to be very negative.“He won’t live much longer” or“he’ll never be a teenager.”The outlook of the doctors and my Mothers stern warnings didn’t stop me from being a boy.I often tried her patience because if this was all I was going to have then I was going to make sure I had fun.At the age of eight I played so hard I suffered a heart attack and woke up in Sick Children’s hospital in a heart and lung machine.This was my home for about a month.When they felt the heart recovered as much as it could I went home.At that last appointment the doctor said he would be surprised to see me (alive) the following month.I overheard this and got really angry with this “so called doctor” – what did he know!This all happened in 1958.
A few months later on a Sunday morning I was looking for cartoons on our TV but there weren’t any.The only thing I could find was an Oral Roberts Tent Sermon.I was just about to change the channel when Oral said “don’t change that channel, we’ll be right back,” I figured he meant me so I left the TV alone.When he came back he said he had a letter from one of his partners in Canada about a young boy named David that had a serious heart condition that needed our prayers.When he prayed I felt the Lord touch my heart and it started beat fast and skip beats and then it settled down.I ran into the kitchen and told my Mother and she replied that I should be used to it by now and we forgot about it.
The next check up at the hospital did indeed come around and the Doctor couldn’t believe the change in my condition.He had the tests re-done and when they showed the same results he insisted on redoing them yet again himself.The great improvement stunned him.Life went on from that point as usual until surgery became an option in 1962.It was decided that a procedure developed in the U.S. would give me a slim chance of living longer.Without it, death was inevitable since my heart could not support my growing body.
Open-heart surgery in those days involved putting the patient on the heart and lung machine and taking the heart out of the body and working on it.They figured that the whole operation would take 5 hours.Ten hours later when they were just about finished they took me off the machine and I died.I saw myself get up off the operating table and watch the doctors try to revive me.A bright light surrounded me and I felt so peaceful and pain free.I started walking towards an image at the end of the lighted path when a voice told me “stop, go back it’s not time, your mother needs you.”
The next thing I knew I was in the recovery room.While I was a guest of Sick Children’s Hospital for over a month getting over the surgery there were numerous doctors and other specialists coming in to examine me.I felt like a guinea pig and couldn’t wait to get out of there.
At home, still resting and generally pestering my Mom I watched the first astronaut to orbit the earth John Glenn.Little did I know that history was being made, nor that my survival today 2011 is also making medical history.
After I became of age to make my own decisions I decided the doctors didn’t know too much and stopped going for my annual checkups.I apprenticed as a chef and worked in the food service industry for 16 years then in 1981 decided enough of that and started over as a glazier making and installing windows, doors and storefronts.After Karen and I moved up here house building seemed like a good idea so in 2002 I started working at Quality Homes in their cutting and framing area.
Did I tell you?I wasn’t supposed to be able to do any of this according to the specialists.In fact I wouldn’t be able to drive a car, get married or have kids.
At exactly His time, the Lord guided us back to church.Through most of our marriage we had been the Christmas, Easter and Thanksgiving type of Christians.Our sons went to Sunday School because we felt it was important but we were too busy.
We had tried different churches but came away feeling empty.
Trish, Jim’s niece and our daughter-in-law called one Sunday and said they were going to her uncle’s church and would pick us up in a half-hour.I wasn’t feeling well that day so Karen went with the kids and came back telling me I had to come and check this small church out for myself.I did and here we are.That was nearly seven years ago and only 7 months before I would need heart surgery again.This time they were going to try a method that had worked on children but never on an adult to improve my oxygen supply.
Our Father then set the stage at Toronto General Hospital.I had a Christian surgeon who thanks God daily for his gift.Christian nurses would be reading to me from the Bible.Karen tells me they would read even when I was sleeping or wiped out on pain meds.Our church family here, Kenneth Copeland and dear friends from Sacred Heart were all praying.My standing here today is proof of the power of prayer.
Five weeks after this surgery I was walking 3km per day in Spring Valley Park.
The expected improvement in my oxygen supply was to get the numbers up from 62% to as close to 80% (Normal people our age have about 91%) At my last testing I have 85%.
I am seeing a heart specialist now, at least once a year.He is at St Mary’s Hospital in Kitchener working in partnership with my cardiologist at Toronto General.This new Doctor is excited about having me as his patient because he and others can learn so much.It is a mystery to him and the rest of his team – how a man can function and live fully with only ½ of his heart working properly.I tell him God is my healer and the He is just borrowing the doctor’s hands.
A bout with water retention last year has also been healed through prayer and medical help.
Since my recovery God spoke to me telling me to get off the fence and come on the other side.His words were “I gave freely to you – life, therefore you give freely to others.”And so, as He has instructed, I will pray for all of you and others – lay hands on if possible, and ask our heavenly Father to use me as His instrument to work through.
To close I’d like to repeat the last verse of the song “In Christ Alone”
No guilt in life, no fear in death
this is the power of Christ in me
from life’s first cry to final breath
Jesus commands my destiny
No power of hell, no scheme of man
can ever pluck me from His hand
’til He returns or calls me home
here in the power of Christ I’ll stand.
By the way, my name is David and I will be 61 years old in August.Thanks be to God!