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For the Leupens, Age Is Not An Issue

CBC-Colorado graduates and founders of TG Leupen Ministries, Tom and Gladys Leupen. (Click to enlarge)Many times the posts to this blog, particularly the Charis Bible College graduate testimonies, will compel readers to post comments relaying their appreciation for an individual’s faith-filled story. Occasionally those comments will include an element of desire to attend CBC, coupled with a degree of self-doubt stemming from the reader’s perception of their own advanced age. The following story should be an encouragement to those who doubt God can use them because they may have a little more salt than pepper left in their hair.

After nearly 50 faithful years of marriage and three decades following the Lord, Texas residents, Tom and Gladys Leupen, were comfortable and steady in their Christian walk. According to Gladys, Tom spent time nearly every morning, for as long as could remember, studying the Scriptures. She too had made reading the Word a daily practice, but not to the extent that Tom had; there were certain things she could not seem to comprehend. In 2010, a well-known minister visited the Leupen’s church and made a significant impact on Gladys, inspiring her to try to memorize more Scripture.

Tom & Gladys with their CBC second-year mission team in the Dominican Republic. (Click to enlarge)Gladys’ favorite chapter in the Bible is John 14, so in her new pursuit, she set out to memorize each verse. While her quest was time consuming, she did manage to memorize the entire chapter. As she progressed however, Gladys found that she had serious questions about what she had committed to memory. John 14:12 in particular, provided her with quite a challenge, and she began to ask God some weighty questions.

One morning in 2011, as Gladys was preparing breakfast, she tuned in to Andrew’s television program, The Gospel Truth. She had come across the program once before and had liked what she heard, but this time she was caught off guard by the things Andrew was teaching; he was systematically answering the questions she had put before the Lord regarding John 14. She was amazed by God’s faithfulness to answer her questions and intrigued by Andrew’s teaching.

Tom & Gladys praying for a pastor in the Dominican. (Click to enlarge)As the days passed, Gladys continued to tune in to The Gospel Truth, and Tom joined her. During one episode, Andrew shared the miraculous Healing Journey of Alan and Debbie Moore. Alan had suffered a massive stroke, and his wife Debbie came to his rescue, armed only with the Word. Today Alan is healed and has since graduated from Charis Bible College in Colorado. Gladys recalls being stunned by Debbie’s response to Alan’s stroke. “When I heard the Moore’s testimony, I thought, I would never have responded like that.” In those moments after watching the testimony, Gladys purposed in her heart to know more of God’s word, and she and Tom began to make arrangements to relocate to Colorado to attend CBC.

Prior to attending CBC, the Leupens had not fully grasped the authority that God has given believers. After sitting Over the course of 50 years the Leupens have seen some ups and downs. While they were students in Colorado, the Waldo Canyon Fire of 2012, wiped out their home. They lost 48 years worth of belongings and tangible memories. Gladys said they never shed a tear, and looked forward to what the Lord had in store for their future. Above, the place their house once stood. (Click to enlarge)under the Word for four hours a day, listening to the in-depth teaching of the Scriptures, their spirits soared with the truth and new understanding. “For me, CBC helped me truly understand the Old Testament and the New Testament and the heart of God. The Bible just came together for me,” said Gladys.

During their second-year at CBC, Gladys received a word of prophesy from one of her instructors, CBC’s Dean of Education, Greg Mohr. In the middle of one of his classes, Greg asked Gladys to stand, and he told her she would be teaching and preaching in the future, and he also said she would be a sign and a wonder, and signs and wonders would follow her. Gladys treasured the words, and was excited to see how the Lord was going to bring those things to pass. “In the natural, I disliked getting up in front of a group. My knees would shake, my voice would quiver, my mouth would get dry, and so many times I would not say what I wanted because I knew I would cry,” Gladys said.

Gladys and Tom stand with their son, Derek, and their grandson, Charles Andrew, after the 2013 CBC commencement ceremony.
(Click to enlarge)
During their second-year mission trip, the Leupens went to the Dominican Republic. While Tom had become comfortable with teaching and preaching over the years, Gladys still had not. No matter the effort she put into creating a message or speaking points, Gladys wasn’t able to put anything together to share. In light of this, Gladys did not sign up for a teaching role on the trip. One night however, the Lord gave her something to share, and the message burned in her bones. Although she was not scheduled to speak on the trip, the opportunity arose for her to give her testimony. As she spoke, Gladys wove her message into her story. She was so excited that the Lord spoke to her that she delivered the message fear and quiver free. Gladys realized, in that moment, that the ministry prophesied over her in class, had begun to manifest. The joyful experiences in the Dominican set the course for the Leupen’s future ministry.

The Leupens speaking at a meeting at Family Worship Tabernacle in Polokwane, South Africa.
(Click to enlarge)
The Leupen’s trip to the Dominican stirred a desire in their hearts to travel the world sharing God’s love, grace and mercy. Their newfound desire led them to discuss, with classmates, the possibility of traveling overseas to minister. One day, fellow CBC students and friends, Craig and Odette Bredenkamp, asked if the Leupens would like them to make some connections for them in their homeland of South Africa. Remembering the words spoken over her, excitement began to build in Gladys’ heart.

After graduation from CBC, Tom and Gladys packed up and headed to South Africa for six weeks. When they arrived, they hit the ground running; their schedule was packed with 22 amazing nights of speaking and ministry while crisscrossing the countryside. They had the opportunity to minister in small venues as well as churches with up to 600 people, always teaching with signs and wonders following.

Gladys praying for people in the crowd in Polokwane, South Africa.
(Click to enlarge)
The funny thing was, just as Gladys struggled to prepare teachings for the CBC mission trip, she encountered the same issue on the road in South Africa. Just as had happened in the Dominican, the Lord would give her a message the night before. Gladys would have a dream, and see herself preaching, and then she would know what to teach on the following night.

Gladys said that one of the pastors made the remark that what the Leupens had shared was the most relevant message he had ever heard in church. His comments made Gladys laugh. “To myself, I was chuckling at what the Lord had done, and I thought, They don’t know this is only my second week of doing this,” she said.

With all the teaching and preaching in those 6 weeks, Tom and Gladys never tired. The couple heard testimonies of the many healings and salvations people received. She said, “There was Gladys and Tom on the platform at Praise Mountain Churchin in Tembisa, just north of Johannesburg.
(Click to enlarge)
one little boy, about 8 years-old, that responded to the invitation with tears streaming down his face the whole time.”

Though they have their eye on visiting their missionary friends, the Bredenkamps, now in Albania, the Leupens do not know where they will go next, but they are looking forward to their assignment. “Our age has been an encouragement for others. So many think their life is going downhill at the age of 65. We believe our life is just beginning, and we have many good years left for the Lord to use us. We are excited about the future.

Reader Comments (8)

Tom and Gladys, I was so blessed to hear what the Lord is doing with you and through you after graduation. Praise the Lord! Your exploits in Africa are making an eternal difference. Thank you for helping us fulfill 2 Timothy 2:2.

February 3, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterAndrew Wommack

Oh, my goodness, what an encouragement! I am 72 years old, have had such a burning desire to share the grace, love and truths in God's word with others, but have been hindered. Your testimony has certainly encouraged me, and I know that the first chapter of Jeremiah, particularly verses 12 and 19 will come to pass in my life. A door of opportunity has opened to me to share my testimonies, the medically verified miracles in my life, to share with others and to pray with others. I will start there, but am confident that the opposition will just have to yield to the compelling power of God, and ultimately I will be where the Lord wants me to be! I declare and decree it, in the mighty name of Jesus! Amen!

February 3, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterEleanor Lock

I know God used both Tom and Gladys many years ago in my life that will be with me forever.
I never doubted that this couple would go on to do wonderful things for the kingdom of God and touch many lives as they did mine. Thank you for being a true example for one to follow in our journey.

February 3, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterTammy Brown

Praise God!!! Thank you for your encouragement and allowing yourselves to be useable at any age :)

February 4, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterAngie

After getting to know Tom and Gladys on our mission trip and over the course of our year together, I'm not surprised by this one bit. God is so awesome, and I look forward to being just like you guys when I've reached your age :)

February 7, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterJoshua Dyckerhoff

My Heart is encouraged by this wonderful testimony!
I know God has called me to CBC and I shared that with my husband who isn't crazy about moving from Florida...but it is in my heart and I know God is faithful and will bring it to pass as we come into agreement. In one's 60's the world seems to put you aside...but not God! Purpose and direction are His desire for us and I agree with God! Thank you Tom and Gladys♄

February 8, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterMargie

Your story has been a great inspiration to us.
The Lord made it clear to us 5 years ago that we would stand amongst the nations.
At the time we had mixed emotions.
We were heading for retirement and have now been retired for 2 and half years.
However, God connected us with awmi and a whole new world opened to us.
We will be attending CBC this fall. We look forward to meeting you and hearing your adventures in God's assignments for you.
There is no age limitations in the Kingdom.
He no doubt will be sending you to Russia next.
Our love and prayers surround you.
Garry and Evie Ross

February 8, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterGarry and Evie Ross

WOW...WOW..WOW...I love what God is doing!

February 14, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterSandy

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