Follow Us Online
Previous News Topics
« TBN's Praise The Lord September 2011 | Main | Sanctuary Virtual Tour: The Barn Interior »

Terry McCandless: It's Never Too Late

Third-year CBC intern and Pastor of Set Free Ministries, Terry McCandless (Click to enlarge)Do you remember the moment you received Jesus as your Lord and Savior? Forty-three-year-old Terry McCandless does; he remembers his born again experience vividly—everyday. Terry was celebrating his thirty-fourth birthday, enjoying the special meal his wife had prepared, when there was a knock on his front door. That knock wasn't Jesus, but He would be there soon.

At the time, Terry and his wife Trina lived in a rough part of Oklahoma City, and they were far from God. They supported themselves making fast money; Terry operated an in-home methamphetamine lab, where he manufactured the drugs he sold, and Trina had a job as a dancer, hustling men.

There was a time that Terry wasn't involved with drugs, but he doesn't remember it. "I can't remember life before drugs. I must've been twelve—I know I wasn't thirteen yet—the first time A newspaper clipping from when Terry was shot. (Click to enlarge)I stuck a needle in my arm," said Terry.

Terry also remembers a brief period during which he attended church, but that ended abruptly when his first son died at birth. Terry was just fifteen at the time, and his pastor told him that God had taken his son away because of his lifestyle. In that moment, Terry decided he would not serve a God who would do that, and he declared that he would rather serve the devil.

Fast forward nineteen years, past the birth of his second son, when Terry was seventeen, past the death of his three-month-old third son, and past multiple trips to jail, back to the knock on the door on his thirty-fourth birthday; it was the girl from next door. When Terry answered the door, she said her boyfriend wanted to speak with him. Terry said he would be right out and he closed the door. Terry was shot at point-blank range with a sawed-off shotgun. As he lay dying he received Jesus as his Savior.
(Click to enlarge)
He paused, put the pistol he always carried on the coffee table and went outside. As he walked out to the curb, the other man turned and pointed a sawed-off, double-barrel-shotgun at Terry. For several tense minutes, the two men attempted to reconcile their differences. Soon, Trina came out and stood at Terry's side which, in Terry's mind, changed the circumstances. Out of concern for Trina's wellbeing, Terry lunged toward the man to grab the gun. He remembers seeing the flashes from both barrels and the force with which he was hit. The blast carried him to the neighbor's driveway.

Terry was in the hospital for almost a year and had more than 21 surgeries.
(Click to enlarge)
Fearing for his wife's life, Terry attempted to stand to defend her, at which point his wide-eyed neighbor turned and ran away. As he stood he could feel his insides falling out of his body. He stumbled to his porch and Trina ran to call an ambulance. As Terry lay on the porch dying, he called out to Jesus. He remembers telling Jesus that he knew he had lived a sinful life, and he repented saying if You will have me, here I am. At that moment a divine peace came over him. Then, Terry asked God for favor, "I said, 'Lord, if you will just allow me to live so that when I do return to you, I can hear the words, Well done, My good and faithful servant, I will live my life for You, one-hundred percent and I will bring others back with me."

Terry and the man that discipled him, Pastor, Rickey Musgrove.
(Click to enlarge)
When Terry regained consciousness, three and a half weeks later, he heard the very words he had prayed being repeated back to him by the Lord. As the doctor stood at his bedside, she said, "I can't believe you made it." Terry responded, "God answers prayers." "He must son, because you're not alive due to anything we've done," said the doctor. This confirmed to Terry that God had given him a second chance.

Terry lay in the hospital for almost a year. He spent most of that time soaking in the presence of God, and building his relationship with Jesus. "I remember fellowshipping, worshiping, and just being thankful that He had given me the opportunity to As Terry grew in the Lord, his pastor encouraged him to lead a Bible study. One study grew into several, and Trina added a childrens' study. Before long, the couple's ministry had outgrown their home. (Click to enlarge)fulfill the life I had prayed about as I was looking death in the eyes," said Terry.

Terry had suffered severe damage to his pancreas, lost his spleen, gallbladder, half of his intestines, most of his colon, most of his liver, and the majority of his stomach. Aside from the initial emergency room efforts to put him back together, Terry endured twenty-one surgeries.

In the hospital Terry developed a relationship with a local pastor; a man who discipled Terry early in his walk with Christ. While Terry experienced tremendous growth and acknowledged Jesus as his Savior, Healer and Deliverer, he still lacked a true revelation of God's unconditional love and grace.

The Lord provided a building in which to hold services in the same area Terry had sold drugs. Where he once sowed darkness he and Trina began to sow Light. (Click to enlarge)Once released from the hospital, it became clear to his pastor that Terry had a calling on his life, and he began to encourage Terry to step out and lead a Bible study in his home. Over time Trina had received Jesus as her Savior as well, so the two prayed about leading a study.

After realizing the pastor's encouragement was a word from the Lord, they moved forward and held their first Bible study. Based on that decision to answer the call to share God's word, the McCandless' ministry exploded. In a very short time, Terry and Trina were hosting multiple Bible studies, offering children's services, and had created a food pantry. "It didn't take long for our home to begin to fill up. There were souls being added to the Kingdom, Trina and Terry ministering together in 2008. (Click to enlarge)and we watched Jesus heal and deliver people right before our eyes," Terry said.

While the couple's ministry, now called Set Free Ministries, was blossoming, Terry was still struggling physically. His stomach had been so badly damaged that he was unable to keep solid food down. He spent more than three years being fed intravenously at the hospital and drinking protein shakes, until one day, a friend stopped by and gave Terry Andrew's book, You've Already Got It. After reading it, Terry realized that he had been trying to earn his healing. As the revelation became his, Trina packaging meals from the Set Free Ministries food pantry. (Click to enlarge)Terry's digestive issues were resolved and he was able to eat solid food.

It wasn't long before their ministry outgrew their home and they moved into a building in the neighborhood where Terry had previously sold drugs. This troubled Terry, but the Lord spoke to him and said, "Where you once spread the kingdom of darkness, you will now spread the kingdom of light."

Several fruit-filled years passed and Terry began sensing that the Lord wanted him to attend Charis Bible College in Colorado. In light of their growth and success in ministry he didn't know how to share this with Trina. A short time later,

CBC students,Trina and Terry, at Garden of the Gods in Colorado Springs. (Click to enlarge)Trina approached Terry and said she thought they were supposed to move to Colorado to attend CBC. Terry told her that he thought she was hearing from God.

The McCandlesses left their church ministry in good hands and with its support moved to Colorado two years ago. Their time at Charis has expanded both their revelation of God's unconditional love, and their ministry's territory as the Lord has opened up opportunities in Colorado Springs for the couple to feed and care for those in need. Terry and Trina will complete their third year at Charis and step back into full-time ministry in 2012.

Reader Comments (1)

Thank you for sharing your wonderful story. What a story! God is so... Good. I pray God's blessings on you and yours always. Isn't it so... wonderful, God has already done everything for us. What good news. Now, it's up to us to receive His many blessings into our life. I am learning to do just that as I write this. Again, thank you for caring and for sharing.

October 18, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterLinda L.

PostPost a New Comment

Enter your information below to add a new comment.

My response is on my own website »
Author Email (optional):
Author URL (optional):
Some HTML allowed: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <code> <em> <i> <strike> <strong>