Personal Testimony – Rick Wiles
God used all sorts of people and circumstances to humble me to the position
where I wanted him. The last instance was on Monday, November 5, 1998. I started the day hiking, and ended with a twenty-five foot fall on solid rock. My lost friends yelled
for help. A marathon runner, practicing for an event the coming weekend, heard them and
ran to the ranger station. My lost buddy told me afterward that he never saw anyone run
that fast. The E.M.C. pulled me out of the woods and drove me to the hospital where I
was life-flighted to another hospital in Columbus, Ohio. My pelvis was cracked in three
places, my left wrist had a compound fracture, and I had a concussion. The doctors put in
metal plates to the femur and left wrist bones. A year after the recovery, I enrolled at The
Culinary Institute of America. The next year, during spring break, I went home, and the
next Sunday I went to Saint Joseph's Cathedral. I arrived late, after every one had left,
and knelt down in a pew and talked to God. I told him that I wanted to know him and the
truth about life. Three days later, Doug Parks and his friend came to my door an invited
me to the tent revival at Amazing Grace Baptist Church. Although I had been to only
Catholic churches, I decided to attend the revival. It was the fifth or sixth night of the
revival when I finally realized what “salvation” truly meant. On July 5th, 1999, I came
forward and asked Jesus Christ to save me. Moments later, I testified before the crowd
what I had done.
Before graduating with an associate’s degree, the Lord was dealing with me about
learning the bible. After graduating and working to save money, I enrolled at the
Pensacola Bible Institute the following September. The Lord opened doors to preach at a
nursing home, teach bible at a children’s habilitation center, change scripture signs on a
personal route, and hold weekly bible studies for young Christians.
When I had almost completed school, Associate Pastor Brian Donavan graciously
offered for Bible Baptist Church to send me to Ukraine for a survey trip. On the survey
trip, the Lord burdened my heart for the young people especially.
The Lord continued to open doors when I returned to Pensacola. While
witnessing, I met a Russian who invited me to church where I would later preach
regularly with a translator. I did not believe I was ready yet, and a door opened to work
with some youth in Alabama. Pastor Ray Williamson put me to work as the youth pastor,
Sunday school director, VBS director, and Wednesday night Bible Club teacher.
My goals are to learn the language, effectively evangelize the lost, disciple converts, and establish churches. I believe mastering the language is imperative. The
greatest needs the Ukrainian and Russian people have are national leaders that have
matured in the Lord to reach their own people. For His Glory.
Personal Testimony – Joanna Wiles
The Lord has blessed me tremendously with a much better start than most people have. I
grew up with a saved father and mother, who faithfully took me and my siblings to a good, biblebelieving/
preaching church every service. I heard the plan of salvation at a very early age many
times. I asked the Lord to save me at a very young age (many times, actually) and I was serious
about it. I later doubted my salvation often and, finally, when I was fourteen, I asked the Lord in
Sunday school to show me if I was not saved. I prayed that the message that morning would be
about meaning things with your whole heart. (My teacher had talked about it at the end of class.)
That morning Don Rogers (a missionary to Veracruz, Mexico) preached. At the beginning of his
message he said something like, “I’m going to preach about giving 100%, and doing things with
our whole heart.” That was a clear answer to prayer for me. When the invitation was given, I
asked my mom to pray with me. She got her Bible and went with me to the altar. She asked me
what I wanted to pray about and I told her I wasn’t saved. Then she said, “You know what to do.”
I told the Lord that I was a sinner and I didn’t want to go to hell. I asked him to save me and take
me to heaven when I die. I meant it. My feelings aren’t what saved me, but I really did feel good
when I got up.
I’ve had a strong desire to be a missionary for a long time, and I believe the Lord gave
me that. I surrendered early to devote my life to God in full-time Christian service, in any area,
but I truly wanted to be a missionary’s wife. I told God that I was willing to do whatever he had
for me, but that I wanted to go to a foreign field. At Prayer Baptist Church (in Westland, MI) I
got some experience in the ministry. I worked on the bus route from the time I was in sixth grade,
until I left for bible school. I also helped in children’s classes, kitchen service, nursery, special
music, and special events. I went on visitation whenever I could. At Garden City Junior High the
Lord opened the door for me to start a weekly bible club, with the kind help of Andy Sonntag, a
man I much looked up to from church. The Lord continued to help me be a light in high school,
although, with a little more wisdom now, I’d like to do it over again.
I got out of high school in January of 2002, and I enrolled in Pensacola Bible Institute
that fall. I truly had no intentions or desire to be courting at all until after I graduated, and I
assumed that the Lord must want the same thing. On February 2nd, 2003, I was introduced to my
husband-to-be, while we were both chaperoning our friends, and not looking for one another. He wisely waited until we both believed it was what the Lord wanted.
I graduated in May of 2005, we married on July 23rd, and then Rick took up a youth
pastor position, to get some experience with the youth. I also was blessed with some experience
there, too. I got to help with the teens, teach a small Sunday school class, teach a 4-6 year olds
Wednesday night class, and occasionally sing specials. I also went on visitation with Rick until
later in my pregnancy. We are both thankful to have been a part of that ministry.
I am looking forward to serving with my husband in Ukraine and Russia. I know it won’t be at all luxurious, and I understand that it may be more than uncomfortable at times, physically. I
haven’t been there before, but I know the Lord will be with me wherever I go, and I don’t want to
be in any place that he does not want me. My first calling (aside from pleasing Jesus Christ) is to
be my husband’s help meet. I am called to Ukraine because he is. For His Glory.