God led Sharon Goodman to Malawi, Africa, to work with troubled youngsters in the Blantyre Good Samaritan Children's Home.
The way wasn't always smooth, and heartaches were many, but the Fort Dodge woman knows without question that when she leaves for Africa on Feb. 26, she will be doing God's work.
Goodman learned about the children in Malawi at a church conference.
"He was asking for helpers, and the Lord just wrenched my heart," she said. "Humanitarian aid without the Lord Jesus Christ in their life is nothing. Those children are diamonds in the rough. They've been hurt. They've gone through very traumatic experiences, and I'll be working with them. The Lord has me for a reason. I want to fulfill the purpose he has for my life."
The story starts in 1979 when friends shared the gospel with her and her husband. Neither were Christians, she said, "And I accepted Jesus as my savior. I accepted the Lord's love. I accepted his love. My husband didn't. He wants us to have fellowship with him, but he doesn't twist our arm."
That broke up the family, causing their teenage son to focus on what his mother had done to force his father away. The youngster started running in a bad crowd, and though Goodman tried hard to help him through the pain, it wasn't until he nearly blew his hand off with a homemade bomb that he saw the light. He told his mother that as he was running down the hill to get help, he knew God was telling him that was his last chance.
Anyone who would like to donate funds to Goodman's ministry in Malawi may contact her through Harvest Baptist Church, with checks marked "Malawi Project."
Clothing, medical supplies and school supplies have already been shipped at a cost of $13,000 and is in storage that will cost more than $300.
He accepted the Lord and changed his ways, Goodman said, "And now he's a missionary."
Not knowing where the Lord wanted her to work, she prayed and ended up at the Roloff Homes in Corpus Christi, Texas. She knew she was needed there.
"The Lord directed me to a home for troubled teens because my son was a troubled teen," she said.
When her son went to Mexico for missionary work, she went with him to take care of the children while her son and daughter-in-law studied the language. She prayed for guidance, and that guidance took her to Mount Park Boarding Academy in Patterson, Mo., where she stayed until it closed.
Then everybody wanted her. Her son wanted her to come back to Mexico. Her daughter wanted her to come home to Spokane, Wash., and her preacher in Washington wanted her to teach in the Christian school. She chose, instead, Fort Dodge and Harvest Baptist Church.
She'd heard about its work with troubled teens and wanted to be part of that work. She wanted to work with teens who needed her.
"The Bible said you're to witness in your Jerusalem," she said. "To witness in your Samaria and to the outermost parts of the world. Because of what he did for me out of love, I have given my life to him for his purpose and glory. Who I was, I'm not anymore."
Contact Sandy Mickelson at (515) 573-2141 or firstname.lastname@example.org