The Grass Is Greener
by Melanie Hemry
Carol Gordon wiped tears off her face with the back of her hand as she made the bed that August morning in 1980. Her life was such a mess. When she had married Louis Gordon 24 years before, she'd hoped for a happy home. What she had received was an endless chain of disappointments.
Their honeymoon had been a disaster, and the relationship had slipped downhill from there. Now they lived together like cold, cordial strangers. All three of their children were miserably unhappy. One of them was suicidal.
Even their finances seemed to be cursed. For years, Louis had worked hard to establish a meat business and keep their farm running. But then the cattle market went bust and he'd lost it all in one year: his meat business, the farm and a half million dollars cash equity.
About the only thing they hadn't lost was the Bermuda grass sprigs Louis had planted in the horse pen behind the house. He'd invested in the grass because it was known to be lush and prolific with a deep root system. It should have been a profitable investment, but, like everything else in their lives, it had failed.
Carol stepped out into the back yard. Inside the horse pen, she kicked the dirt with the toe of her shoe. Not one sprig of that Bermuda grass ever grew. Not one. What's wrong with us? she wondered, her tears dropping unheeded in the dust. Our marriage is miserable, our kids are unhappy and we've lost all our money. Even the ground refuses to produce for us.
Carol knew somehow...somewhere she had to find help.
"Both Louis and I were raised Christian Scientists," she says, "and oddly enough, that year my Christian Science study assignment included reading the book of John. There, in chapter 17, I found that Jesus had spoken of being inside the believer.
"I had always been taught it was impossible to be indwelt by God. But when I read those verses I knew that's what I needed. I needed Jesus in me. I started calling around trying to find someone who could tell me what to do. Several people told me about a Baptist woman named Irma. I called and made an appointment with her. She led me in the sinner's prayer.
"There were no bells or whistles, no feelings or goose bumps. I woke up the next day with all the same problems, yet I had a peace I'd never known, and a song filled my heart."
That morning, still marveling over her newly found peace and wondering what to do next, Carol turned on the television. As she flipped through the channels, a fiery young minister caught her attention. "The Life of God is in the Word!" he exclaimed. As she headed downstairs to start breakfast, Carol found herself wanting to hear more of what this preacher had to say.
The next Sunday she tuned in to the same station, careful to watch the credits. The minister's name was Kenneth Copeland. The program was broadcast from Fort Worth, Texas.
Amazing, Carol mused, that program was broadcast from the very town where Louis and I grew up. Maybe Mama has heard of him.
Carol picked up the phone and called her mother in Fort Worth. "Have you ever heard of a man named Kenneth Copeland?"
"My mother had heard of Kenneth Copeland," Carol recalls. "What's more, I learned that she had committed her own life to Jesus, received the Baptism in the Holy Spirit and was president of the Fort Worth Prayer Fellowship. Mom and her prayer partners had been in deep intercession for me and my family. One prayer partner's name was Vinita Copeland - Kenneth Copeland's mother."
Over the next few weeks, Carol joined a church and received the Baptism in the Holy Spirit. But it wasn't until later that month, when she spoke with Vinita by phone, that she began to understand the real value of the experience.
"Are you using your prayer language every day?" Mrs. Copeland asked.
"I didn't know I could!" Carol gasped.
"Well, you can! I prayed in tongues for my family for 15 years."
Carol thought about the powerful preacher she'd heard on television. "I see that it works! I'll pray!"
Although Carol's relationship with God grew more precious each day, her relationship with Louis grew more strained. She was often tempted to lash out at him in anger for his unloving ways. But instead, she did exactly what Vinita had told her to do. She prayed in tongues every day.
She also did her best to let God love Louis through her. She acted kind when she felt like screaming, and listened attentively to every word he said.
On March 10, 1981, seven months after Carol's life changed, Louis Gordon confronted his wife. "Something has changed you," he announced, "and I want it. I can't go another day without making Jesus my Lord."
Tears streaming down her face, Carol knelt with Louis beside their bed, and introduced him to her Savior.
What's wrong with us...our marriage is miserable, our kids are unhappy and we've lost all our money. Even the ground refuses to produce for us.
"Three days later," Louis remembers, "we drove to Joplin, Mo., to hear Brother Copeland speak. He announced that someone was being healed of grief. It felt like a 2,000 pound weight lifted off me. I felt happy for the first time in years, and my blood sugar dropped from 400 to normal.
"After that the power of God swept through our family like a flood. By the end of March, both my son, Steve, and my daughter, Jennifer, had received Jesus into their lives. Just a few months later, our daughter, Katherine, gave her heart to the Lord."
To Louis and Carol, it seemed new life was cropping up everywhere - in their hearts, in their marriage, even in their children. Then, that spring, it burst forth in another surprising place.
Louis stepped into the horse pen one morning and saw tender green sprouts shooting up from the soil. Bermuda? Kneeling, he pulled the grass and inspected it closely. It was the Bermuda he'd planted...eight years ago! How could that be? Nothing for eight years, then it sprouts? Baffled, Louis stared at the grass as if it might disappear.
It didn't. In fact, it kept growing... and growing...and growing. By June, it was knee high.
In the weeks and months to come, Louis and Carol were happier than they'd ever imagined they could be. Their silence turned to laughter. They shared secrets and dreams. Their house became a home.
The only thing that marred their happiness was that while their children had made peace with God, they had not made peace with their parents. Years of hurts stood like a barrier between them. Louis and Carol set aside time each day to pray together in the spirit so that the barriers might fall. In one year they spent close to 400 hours just praying in tongues.
"The restoration of the family took time," Carol explains. "We had to learn not only spiritual warfare, but how to repent to our children for our failures as parents. The Lord taught us how to give them spiritual blessings. He taught us how to take the sword of the Spirit by faith and cut off attachments to the enemy. And, more than anything, we had to learn how to walk in love."
Louis and Carol never imagined during those private times of prayer and ministry to their family that someday they'd be using those tools to minister to others with broken hearts - but that's exactly what happened. As they told friends and acquaintances what God was doing in their lives, word began to spread. Eventually they were invited to share their story at a couple's retreat.
Although the Gordons were novices to ministry, God gave Louis specific instructions about that first meeting. He told him to pray for the anointing. Beaming in anticipation, Louis relayed the message to Carol.
"What's an anointing?" she asked.
"Well, I don't know," Louis replied. "But let's pray for it anyway."
That night after Louis and Carol shared their testimony, several couples came forward requesting prayer.
Soon they shared their testimony again at a local prayer group.
"I prayed for a young Catholic girl whose needs were so personal I took her to another room," Carol remembers. "While I prayed for her, compassion rose in me, and I put my arms around her."
The young woman's knees buckled, and she slumped against Carol who struggled to hold her up. Did she faint? Carol wondered frantically. Finally, she eased her down and went to get Louis.
Louis looked bewildered himself. The people he'd prayed for also lay sprawled on the floor. "What happened?" Carol gasped.
"I don't know," Louis answered, with a puzzled shrug. "They all fell down."
Then a glimmer of understanding lit his eyes. "Do you suppose," he asked, "that this is anointing?"
Indeed, it was the anointing that fell on the crowd that night. And in the years since, that same anointing has healed thousands of broken hearts all over the United States through Louis and Carol Gordon's ministry, aptly named Heart Menders Inc.
Today, in addition to their ministry travels, the Gordons serve as associate pastors at Faith Fellowship Church in Oklahoma City and have written two books.
How do they fund their extensive ministry?
Primarily by marketing World Feeder Bermuda, a grass that is higher in protein than alfalfa. It has a root system that grows six to 10 feet deep, and has survived three Nebraska winters at 20 degrees below zero with no winter kill.
It feeds more cattle per acre than most any other grass known. When combined with beans or lentils it makes a complete protein.
The Gordons have sent their Bermuda to South Africa, South America and the Philippines. "This grass could revegetate the Sudan," Louis says.
These days, the lives of Louis and Carol Gordon are fulfilled in every way. The curse that once dogged their steps has been broken. By the redeeming power of Jesus' blood and His living Word they're walking now in the promised land, enjoying the blessings of God.
They ask everyone they meet to join them.
"I can testify without a doubt," Louis says with a slow smile, "that the grass is greener over here."
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