In October of 1996, shortly after beginning the Bethany
Sacramento satellite, we visited missionary friends, Larry and Debbie
Mininger, who were leaving for Estonia and Ukraine. We wanted to see them
before they left, so we visited a church where they were speaking. At the
end of the service, Larry wanted to pray for people, so Dal and I went up
for prayer. Larry prayed for both of us, and then he began to prophesy
over me that my ministry would expand. I thought, how can this be, I
already am swamped directing and teaching for the Bethany Sacramento
program. I didnít have time for anything else, I thought. Later in 1998,
I began leading student study tours to the biblical lands of Israel,
Jordan, Greece, and Turkey for Bethany. Maybe this was the fulfillment of
Larryís prophecy, but was it?
A few months later on January 5, 1997, Pastor Garland Bilbo of Praise Church in New Orleans, Louisiana, was a guest speaker at our church. He also asked people to come up for prayer if they wanted to be changed or to have more of God. Of course, we want more of God, so Dal and I went up for prayer. We were some of the last people Pastor Bilbo prayed for and his prayer seemed to be more specific as compared to his prayers for those around us. In his prayer for me, he placed his hand on my head and commented about the wisdom, knowledge, and experience God had given me and also about what Dal and I have gone through in our lives (we took this to pertain to business and ministry). Pastor Bilbo did not know anything about us; we had never met before. But what he prayed for me seemed to indicate that God had prepared me for the teaching ministry and was confirming his calling once again.
During 1997, another incident occurred which involved Godís guidance and a little bit of prophecy, as I look back on it. I had been interacting with my neighbor friend, Ruth Reis. She was considering going on a tour to Israel, although she already had been to Israel a number of times. I told her I would check into a tour that I had read about in a magazine. When I was speaking to the travel agent on behalf of my neighbor, the travel agent asked me, "Why donít you lead a tour to Israel?" I thought, I have never done it before and I donít know how. Besides I donít have the time. But, the same day I called the travel agent, I had to teach two classes that evening. When I walked into class, two students, Carol Atwood and Nancy OíConnor, approached me and asked me to lead a tour to Israel. Then before the second class began, another student, Kris Bassett, walked into the classroom and asked, "Judy, when are you going to lead a tour to Israel?" I asked these students why they asked me that night. They didnít know. Then I told them the story about my phone call that day to the travel agent regarding a tour to Israel for my neighbor but that the conversation turned around to the idea of me leading a tour. All the students present decided this must be God. I have been leading biblical tours ever since.
On the last day of one of our tours, May 30, 2000, Dal and I were walking around Jerusalem during free time, and Dal suddenly asked what I thought would be the most important message to teach if people from various countries around the world asked me to teach for them. I looked at him and asked why he asked me that question. He didnít know, but thought I needed to think about it. I did think about it and determined that the contents in my Spiritual Growth class probably would be the most valuable to begin teaching for others.
Two weeks after Dal asked me what I would teach in other countries if asked, June 14, 2000, I had a phone call from a former student, Janice Woolbridge, who was living in San Antonio, Texas. She said she had a dream about me the night before. I asked her how she knew my phone number, and she said that God had given it to her so she thought she should call me. Her dream prophesied that I would be going places in different countries to speak, that doors would open and that the finances would be provided. She said that I would educate many people to reveal Godís truth and have many spiritual sons and daughters around the world. Right now I was in a testing period to know Godís heart.
Janice said it was important that I be in the right church and that I would be changing churches. We did change churches the following year when we moved our Bethany site to Arena Christian Center. It was then we began attending that church.
In addition, Janice said that eventually our daughter, Robin, would work with me. She also asked if Robin had gained weight (when Janice knew her, she was a size 00). I said, "Yes, she has gained a little." Janice said that she could see her in her dream and that she had gained some. She also told me to tell Robin to "Step into her destiny." It is interesting that Robin now is taking care of her granddaughter who is named Destiny.
According to Janiceís dream, the prophesied events of my teaching around the world would start to happen once I met a "tall African guy with glasses who is very humble." Have I met him yet? We shall see.
A year later, November 16, 2001, two friends, Virginia Nutt and Laurel Scarborough, visited me and had a word for me. Actually, they said that God would give me wisdom and understanding (Daniel 9:22), and they gave me a passage of Scripture found in Isaiah 54:2Ė3 (NRSV), indicating that I would be fruitful:
2Enlarge the site of your tent, and let the curtains of your habitations be stretched out; do not hold back; lengthen your cords and strengthen your stakes. 3 For you will spread out to the right and to the left, and your descendants will possess the nations and will settle the desolate towns.
Janice Woolbridge had another word for us on March 22, 2002. She called, stating Dal and I would work together and that Dal had warm hands and would have a healing ministry with speaking engagements. She also said that we would go to fancy places and visit kings and priests as ambassadors. Whether this means actual rulers of nations or leaders in the Lord, this remains to be seen.
At our district council, we were encouraged to ask someone to pray for us at the altar. I went up to a former pastor, Pastor Leroy Lebeck, and asked him to pray for me. He prayed and quoted the following verses from Isaiah 46:9Ė11 (NRSV) while praying:
9I am God, and there is no other; I am God, and there is no one like me, 10 declaring the end from the beginning and from ancient times things not yet done, saying, "My purpose shall stand, and I will fulfill my intention," 11 calling a bird of prey from the east, the man for my purpose from a far country. I have spoken, and I will bring it to pass; I have planned, and I will do it.
Time will tell if this verse can be applied to me. But it did encourage me to trust God to fulfill His calling and purposes for my life.
Early in 2003, a friend, Carl Goebel, told me that he believed God was impressing upon him that 2003 was a year of transition. I thought he meant a world-wide time of transition, and it certainly was. But when Bethany told me on June 13, 2003, that they were shutting down our Sacramento program, it became a year of transition for me also. Carl was prophetic in more ways than one.
Carl also had several more impressions from God. Here they are in his own words:
About the beginning of 2003, I received a visual impression of myself standing in the parking lot of the business park owned by Arena Christian Center and PianoDisk. The impression included an awareness that the entire building complex housed a Christian educational institution of unknown name. I wondered where the church, which had been located in part of the building, was now located. I glanced up above the flat roof of the one-story complex and noticed a white structure (some three stories high) towering above the left view of the business park. It was apparently located in the large adjacent parcel of land, now vacant. I understood that this white building was where the church was now located.
In the early summer of 2003, I received another visual impression, one specifically relating to Reyah Bible College. It was a view of the sea, whose waters extended to the horizon. Above the sea, the sky was filled with streaks of clouds, some beautifully white, some ominously dark. I understood that the vastness of the water represented the great success of the college, and the streaks of clouds represented the various time periods for the college, some bright and productive, some dark and discouraging. But, overall, the scene was dynamically positive and encouraging.
Shortly after June 13, when Bethany stated they were closing down Sacramento, my husband and I, along with our instructors, decided to open our own Bible college. Carl and another friend, Kurt Vincent, helped us name the college based upon the theme verse that I had chosen for the school:
2 Corinthians 2:14 (NIV)
They suggested the college be named "Reyah Bible College," since "Reyah" in Hebrew means "fragrance." We immediately liked their suggestion, and so our school is named Reyah Bible College.
Later, February 24, 2003, my friend Virginia Nutt, whom I mentioned earlier, gave me some words from the Lord. She said:
God will be glorified in you as you will be a dancer and make merry for the glory of the Lord, and your words will fall upon the hearer as the dance of the tapestry of the image of Jesus Christ on the highway of the Lord. Many will come to you for instruction and you will glorify the Lord and exalt Him.
My former student and friend, Janice Woolbridge had another dream and called me on March 15, 2003. She mentioned that in the dream she visited me and saw our daughter, Robin. She saw that Robin had straightened her hair and was rocking in a rocking chair, being peaceful and at rest. She also mentioned that Robin would be writing. Yes, Robin had straightened her hair and often would rock her granddaughter, Destiny, in a rocking chair, being at peace. And yes, she recently had thought about writing encouraging books for her granddaughter to read as she was growing up.
Then Janice said she saw me in her dream and that she could see greenery and blossoms, which were blooming around me. She also said that she saw doors opening for me and that within three months I would know what they were. In addition, she said that family relationships would be restored among some family members and that with respect to Dal and me there would be a bank loan. She said I was entering a new level of worship, climbing a ladder of trust, and God would show me dreams. I would be sharing more of my life, possibly in teaching, and I would be involved with a LOT of college students. Then she asked if our church was a BIG white building. I said, "No," but then remembered what Carl Goebel had seen in his visual impression that our church would be on an adjacent lot and be a towering white building about three stories high.
Janiceís dream was amazing. In three months, June 13, 1996, Bethany indicated that they were closing down the Sacramento program. A few days later, June 15, exactly three months from Janiceís dream, we entertained the idea of opening our own college. Also, family relationships were restored among some family members, and Dal and I refinanced our home to pay off debts. Then beginning in 2004, the doors opened for me to teach seminars at various churches and colleges, and my husband suggested that, in addition to teaching, I share my testimony so the people could get to know me. Our church is not a towering white building yet, but who knows, it might be one someday.
I have had another prophecy, this time from my good friend, Dr. Kandee Mamula. A week after Bethany communicated that they were closing down the Sacramento program, I visited Kandeeís church service on a Saturday evening, June 21. The pastor asked those who had a prayer need to raise their hands. I raised my hand and Kandee began praying for me. When she finished, she shared with me that she had seen a vision while praying. The vision was of the ocean waves coming and coming continuously to the shore. She saw me looking at the waves and then turning with my back to the waves to look at the multitudes of my disciples who had gathered to receive my teaching.
Kandeeís vision was similar to Deann Carterís vision of the waves over eight years earlier. Deannís vision indicated that as the waves would come, I could not hold them back; God would fulfill His teaching purpose for me. Kandeeís vision indicated that multitudes of waves would keep coming and I would have many, many disciples from around the world whom I would teach.
Kandeeís and Deannís visions also correspond with the vision Carl had seen of the sea. He understood that the vastness of the sea represented the success of our college.
I think it is interesting to note that the background for the logo I picked for Reyah Bible College is the Mediterranean Sea. In the summer of 2003, I went on a Journeyís of Paul tour with Dr. George Wood and his group to Greece, Italy, and Turkey. The first night on the cruise ship, I took a picture of the sun setting behind the mountains of Athens as we departed from there. I liked the picture so well that I decided to use it as the background for our Reyah Bible College logo. It wasnít until later that I realized the Mediterranean Sea idea tied in with the three prophecies I had received earlier about having many disciples and the success of our college.
On October 19, 2003, I spoke with Janice Woolbridge again on the phone. Besides catching up on the news of our families, Janice said that she saw me on the television station, TBN, that week. We werenít sure if that meant I would be on television some day or not. Now, I have no desire to be on television, and what Janice saw could just mean that she saw me teaching in front of people. We shall see.
Through these prophecies God was continuing to guide my steps. With Bethany closing down Sacramento, what should we do? God seemed to confirm that we should open our own college.