After receiving an unexpected call one day from a woman she had only chatted with a few times in church, local woman Cheryl Raburn found herself two years later writing a book about the events that followed next.
Vernice Reed of Lenox picked up her telephone in December 2010 to call Raburn after searching for her name in the phone book. She had only met Raburn a few times in church at Union Grove Church of God.
As she and Raburn sat across from each other at The Gazette office during an interview, Reed explained that on that particular day, she was losing her edge. She stated that she was watching television and Pastor Jentezen Franklin was on the screen discussing “losing your edge” and “finding someone who can encourage you”.
“As plain as day it came to me — ‘call Cheryl’,” Reed said.
After dialing Raburn’s number, she was greeted with a kind voice. She stated that she told Raburn that she was losing her edge and needed help.
As Reed let her tears flow, Raburn silently listened.
“I knew I had someone on the line who had a deep need,” Raburn said. “While she was crying, I was praying.”
She stated that she asked Reed if she had been baptized in the Holy Spirit. She said she told her, “That’s where we will start.”
Raburn was led by God to be a disciple, which is what Reed wanted from her. She prepared week-by-week lessons for Reed. The first assignment she gave her was to read the Book of Acts as many times as she could within a month.
Reed said Raburn graciously opened up her home for them to meet for lessons. They prayed and studied together for 18 months, and then in September, Reed “graduated”.
“The goal was to get her where she didn’t need me and could go discipline someone else,” Raburn said.
Reed stated, “The Lord put her in my spirit. A part of me wanted to hold on to Cheryl, but He (God) can’t use me if I’m always dependent on her. I have to rely on Him.”
During her time of struggle, Reed remained a believer but she was in bondage, she says. She stated that she was overwhelmed with a lot of problems such as financial issues and was to a breaking point.
“Now I’m free,” she stated, adding that she also lost over 50 pounds.
She said she was using food as a crutch.
“She was able to shift that over to God who became her calmness and strength,” Raburn stated.
She said the day Reed came to her house, “she was ready and hungry” to learn.
“God says many are called but few are chosen,” Raburn stated.
She then quoted a past pastor from Macon and stated, “But, the chosen ones show up.”
Reed chose to show up and got baptized in the Holy Spirit, says Raburn.
She stated that her husband, David, would listen to her lessons with Reed and encouraged her to write a book.
At first, Raburn was hesitate, but she already had her notes together from her lessons with Reed. She expanded her notes in order for a reader to be able to understand them. After five chapters, she thought she was done, but she was pushed by the Holy Spirit to write three more chapters.
Raburn said after compiling her notes, she began developing her book.
She stated, “It was easy to write because it flowed out.”
Raburn said the Book of James (2:18) inspired her to name her book “Faith — Yes! Results — Yes!” She explained that it’s a study tool for the believer who is struggling to establish himself in the faith.
She stated, “Knowing that ‘faith pleases God’ (Romans 11:6) frees the believer from ‘religious’ works and releases him into ‘faith’ works. Faith works are those works initiated in God and directed by God. God is not interested in your self-effort works. God is interested in working through you. That means that you hear the word of God; the faith of God on the inside of you impels you to act on the word that you have heard. That word will produce a corresponding result in your life.”
She added, “He wants the believer to rest and abide.”
“He’s our source,” Reed stated.
Raburn said “Faith — Yes! Results — Yes!” is for anyone who wants to study alone or for those who would like to study one-on-one like she and Reed did. She added that it’s also useful for a group of people wanting to study together. She noted that there are study questions throughout the book, which requires some thinking.
Raburn stated that it’s not a how-to book; it’s a book designed to help people “grow and go” in their walk with Jesus.
Reed, who has read the book, said she didn’t know Raburn was writing a book, but she’s glad that she did. For her, it’s a reminder. She and Raburn were able to feed off each other and have fun during their lessons.
“We were very honest with each other. I told her just because I was teaching her didn’t mean I was up here and she was down here,” Raburn motioned with her hands.
Reed said God directed her to Raburn in December 2010. She stated that if she had not called Raburn that day, the book may have not been published.
“It wouldn’t,” Raburn admitted.
One unexpected phone call led to a close and unforgettable friendship, which was evident as Raburn and Reed told their story.
“We’re always going to be sisters,” Raburn said, smiling at Reed.
Reed smiled back and stated, “My faith is on a whole new level. I’m free, free, free. If it had not been for her, I probably would have given up. She helped me to mature.”
“Faith — Yes! Results — Yes!” is available through WestBow Press at westbowpress.com, Amazon.com and barnesandnoble.com. It is also available as an e-book by contacting WestBow Press through their website or call 1-866-928-1240.
To contact reporter Latasha Everson, call 382-4321.