Read an Excerpt
I Saw Him in Your Eyes Copyright 2006 by Andrew Collins Requests for information should be addressed to:
Zondervan, Grand Rapids, Michigan 49530
Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data Collins, Ace I saw Him in your eyes: everyday people making extraordinary impact in the lives of Karen Kingsbury, Terri Blackstock, Bobby Bowden, Charlie Daniels, S. Truett Cathy, and more / Ace Collins.
Includes bibliographical references.
1. Christian biography---United States. 2. Celebrities---Religious life---United States. I. Title.
277.3'082'.0922 --- dc22
All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible: New International Version. NIV. Copyright 1973, 1978, 1984
by International Bible Society. Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved.
All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted in any form or by any means --- electronic,
mechanical, photocopy, recording, or any other --- except for brief quotations in printed reviews, without the prior permission of the publisher.
Interior design by Michelle Espinoza Printed in the United States of America
The Power of Unknown Prayers Nancy Coen Founder of Servant Ministries Nancy Coen is a wife, a mother of three, and a grandmother, yet she has the energy of a college student and the enthusiasm of a three-year-old child. First appearances would lead most to believe she is a successful businessperson. She once was, but this dynamo is now the founder and leader of Servant Ministries, an organization whose main thrust is taking the gospel into areas where believers are persecuted and even killed. Traveling 380,000 miles a year, the diminutive woman with the big smile and booming voice constantly puts her life on the line in the most dangerous places on the globe. She really lives the Great Commission each day of her life.
Nancy's story is a testament to the power of prayer. It is a dramatic narrative of stubborn resistance and faithful obedience.
This story shines a bright spotlight on the dedication of those who simply will not give up on people.
'As a young child I saw a lot of things that bothered me about the Christian faith,' Nancy recalled. 'I was raised in a very legalistic church. As soon as I got away from home, I turned away from the church and vehemently turned against all things that I considered Christian. I would have sooner spit in the eye of a Christian than talk to them. At that time I even actively campaigned against Christian programs and missions.'
As a young wife, mother, and businesswoman, Nancy wanted no part of God. Living in Indiana, she was a member of the local social set, a country-club regular, a loud boisterous woman who loved a party and embraced a 'live for the moment' lifestyle.
Though friendly and likable, she was a voice against any type of religion worming its way into her life. She didn't want to hear a prayer before a high school football game or have a local Christian youth group meet in the school. She taught her children there was no higher power and that Christianity was a fable.
'One day my daughter ran across the rural road where we lived to retrieve a ball that had landed in the yard of some folks who had just moved into our neighborhood. These were anything but my kind of people. They were poor and uneducated.
They had no social skills. I didn't even like having them on the same street where I lived.
'When my daughter got into the yard, she was invited into their home. At that point I marched across the road to go get her. When the husband opened their front door, this Jesus music started coming out. And I thought, These people are not only ignorant and poverty-stricken but on top of everything else they are Christians!
'I was so upset that I would not let my daughter go back to their house again.'
But the man who greeted Nancy at the door had not been put off by his neighbor's lack of respect for his family or his faith. In fact, he felt a call from God to pray for Nancy. Beginning that day, and continuing for seven years, he and his family prayed that Nancy would give her life to Jesus. They even involved their church in this practice, telling friends that this atheist would someday be used by the Lord to affect the lives of people all over the world. Anyone who knew Nancy would have scoffed at the idea of this ever happening.
'The interesting thing about this situation,' Nancy remembers,
'is that I never spoke to that man again. Three months later we left Indiana and moved to Texas. Yet I later found out through friends that he and his wife took seriously that call from God, and every day for seven years they prayed for me to be saved.'
Seven years later Nancy had not changed. She was still a hard-hearted militant nonbeliever who felt the only light in the world came from either the sun, the moon, or a bulb. Yet with a family and church still praying for her, the successful businesswoman was about to find herself in a situation that nearly scared her to death.
'One day I woke up and I began to hear voices. The first one said, 'Behold, I stand at the door and knock.' Then a second voice would cry out, 'You know Jesus is dead and in the grave and never coming back.' Then a third voice popped up saying,
'I loved you so much I gave my Son for you.' '
The voices continued to war in her head all night long. At the time she believed she was going crazy.
'My mother had mental problems. She heard voices. She would cry for days on end. I now thought I was going through the same thing. I was going to be crazy like my mother. I had three small children and three successful businesses. I didn't have time for this. Finally, after several nights of this, I actually shouted down the hallway, 'I don't believe in God, I won't pray, and You can't make me!' Even at that moment I realized how funny it sounded for me, an atheist, to be telling God to get away from me.'
The voices tormented Nancy for an entire week. During this time she became a basket case, exhausted, frazzled, and completely out of control. On her eighth night of not being able to sleep, she finally gave up, deciding to get on her knees. Not knowing how to pray, she simply repeated the prayers she had learned in childhood. They did nothing to ease her mental anguish.
'My prayers were not getting beyond the walls,' Nancy recalled. 'I finally confessed, 'I don't know how to pray. If You want me to pray, You are going to have to tell me how to pray.'
Even though it was night and very dark, I saw a bright light right in front of me. I knew the Lord was there, and I was so scared I repented for everything I had ever done wrong in my whole life.'
The next morning Nancy was a different person. The first thing she did was race to a local bookstore and buy a study Bible.
For three days she constantly read the only Bible that she had ever allowed in her home. Overcome with passion to share her joy with others, she drove into the worst sections of South Texas towns and sought out prostitutes, drug addicts, alcoholics, and homeless people. She didn't just witness to them, she brought them back to her home, cleaned them up, fed them, and allowed them to sleep there. Needless to say, it took her family awhile to understand and adjust to the new Nancy.
At church and on her own, she tried to reach out to everyone she saw. Yet in time Nancy understood that this dynamic transformation must have taken place for a specific reason. Through prayer and study she came to realize she had been called to take her strength and conviction into regions of the world where Christians were persecuted.