Testimony Tuesday – Tina Cropper

Q: My first recollection of being in church was when I was…

A: My first recollection of being in church was when I was in the third grade. My family joined Central Baptist Church in Jacksonville, Texas. I loved VBS and all the wonderful art projects and I loved to hear about Jesus, but I confess did not like Sunday School. I hated the Bible drills. I was usually the last one to find the Bible passage. As a shy child, I was easily embarrassed, and I didn’t want to go to church anymore. During the worship service, I loved to sing the old hymns like “Wonderful Words of Life” and “Just as I am” and hear the stories of Jesus.

Q: The closest I have felt to God in my life was …

A: The closest I have felt to God in my life have been so numerous. How can I possibly choose one: my conversion, our wedding, or the birth of our first child and second son. Even as a young girl, I had this awareness of a God who loved me. When I found out my name (Bettina) meant consecrated to God there was no doubt that I was loved by God even though I didn’t not know the meaning of consecrated. I loved being outdoors in His creation and I just assumed He was there. He seemed to be everywhere I would go. I would talk to Him as I would a friend and ask for His help in prayer.

Q: The time I have felt the greatest doubt or distance from God was…

A: The time I felt the greatest doubt or distance from God was when my husband, Keefe and I stepped into fulltime ministry. It was an incredibly eye-opening experience. We were second career ministers meaning we had been working in secular professions. The Market place ministries did not exist at that time or at least I knew nothing of them. We came from a very dynamic city church, and we were placed in a small church outside of Tyler, Texas. I remember walking over to the church from the parsonage and telling Keefe that I think I am not a Christian. Over thirty years I had to learn how to love and serve people. If truth be told, I’m still learning.

Q: If I could thank God for just one incident in my life it would be … and why?

A: It may seem like a strange answer but, I thank God for my congestive heart failure. In 2012, my husband drove me to Methodist Hospital in Houston, Texas. I was having difficulty breathing. At first, they diagnosis me with a-typical pneumonia. After giving me IV fluids, which caused me such stressful breathing, the doctor on call realized it was heart related. After much testing the doctors concluded that congestive heart failure had damaged my heart and I only had an 18% ejection fraction. A normal heart would be in the range of 60 to 65%. I remember the team of doctors standing around my bed and giving me their findings concerning my heart. In their experience most people with this kind of damage to the heart muscle would maybe regain 20 to 25% ejection fraction. It is hard to describe but I immediately felt a peace “that surpasses all understanding” and knew God was “guarding my heart and mind in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:6). I knew God was going to heal my heart. I was not anxious, afraid, or doubtful in any way. I decided right there at that moment that I would believe the good report of the Lord. I would stand on the complete finished work of the cross. There were so many ways in which His healing touch brought about strength to my heart such as prayers, angelic visitation, words of knowledge and prophecy. Today, I am happy to report that my heart has recovered, and I have a 55 to 60% ejection fraction. Even the doctors say it must have been God …

Q: If I could thank God for just one person in my faith journey it would be … and why?

A: I must mention my husband Keefe who opened my eyes to the beauty of God’s word and being the spiritual head of our home. But I must also mention Apostle Dayna Milam. She truly saw me! All the gifts God had placed in me were confirmed by her. She heard me and encouraged me to step out in faith and use them. There is something very special about a person who truly sees you (as God sees you) and speaks those truths into your life. Oh, to be seen and heard is amazing. She opened the door of overseas missions where she trusted me to intercede for the people and countries where God sent us. Thank you, Dayna, for all that you poured into me. I pray that I will be the kind of woman who sees people and speaks into their lives!

Q: If I could name a turning point in my life for my relationship with God, it would be … and why?

A: The greatest turning point in my life in my relationship with God was receiving the baptism of love. One moment I was recovering from heart failure and the next minute I was enveloped in what I can only describe as love: the Father’s love for me. I could not move so overwhelmed by the weight of His presence, so I just let it flow in me and through me. After that experience with God, I was never the same. I had a heart people. I would see them as Jesus sees them with compassion and love. This happened right before my first overseas mission trip with Dayna to Albania and Taiwan. As I ministered with Dayna, I ministered with a new perspective everything I did was tempered in love. Today, I still have that fiery love burning inside.
Q: If I had to tell someone why I am a Christian, I would have to say …

A: The reason I am a Christian is because I had walked with the Lord earlier in my childhood. In my crazy 20’s and 30’s I separated from God and lived a life that is not what He would want for me. One day I awoke and cried out to the Lord to save me from this wretched life I had created for myself. I made a bargain with Him. I told him if He would wake me up, I would go to church. I would come back to Him. God has such a sense of humor. He woke me up at 3:00 am and then 4:00 am and then again at 5:00 am. I got the message He wanted me to get up and go. I told him I didn’t want to go to a Baptist church. He brought to my mind the beautiful Methodist church on Memorial Drive. I attended the service and wept because it was such a beautiful service. On the way out, I was greeted by one of the ministers and I inquired about a singles class. I was told it was a very close-knit group that when one of their toes hurt all of their toes hurt. I went back the next Sunday to visit this class and immediately I was accepted. I later met my husband who happened to be the class bible teacher. We were later married in that church on February 11, 1984. We have just celebrated our 39th wedding anniversary. To sum it up, I think God is in the heart business! He has mine…

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