Haircuts were not allowed. Pants and jewelry were not allowed. Hospitals and medicine were not allowed. Talking to "outsiders" was not allowed in the church in which Virginia was raised. She was strictly forbidden to ever question any rules or doctrine that came from the pulpit at her church, as her pastors claimed they had the only “truth.” Breaking rules meant that God would strike you with sickness or even death. Virginia chose early on to walk the straight and narrow path so no punishment would come upon her, so when illness struck her as an adult, she began to call out to God and question whether or not He was real. She wasn’t entirely prepared for His answer.
Virginia married Richard, a man from within her church, and was living her life as she was taught she should; avoiding people outside the church, despising television, radio, and social events. She recalls looking at people with condemnation in her heart. “I was so steeped in self-righteousness and legalism,” Virginia said.
Two years after having her second child, Virginia became seriously ill. Standing firm on her belief that going to a hospital was giving place to man and abandoning God; she instead put faith in her own righteousness and believed that God would heal her because she was so good. Unfortunately, Virginia only grew worse; her fever was so high she could peel her skin off, her hair fell out and she could feel a slow burning in her side. She grew so sick; she could no longer care for her children. “I couldn’t understand why God was doing this to me,” Virginia said.
Her sickness led Virginia to a crisis of faith. She shared with her sister that she had begun to doubt whether God was real. One day, out of desperation, Virginia reached for her Bible and began to read. Right away she began to receive revelation from the Word of Truth; however, she didn’t trust it. According to her doctrine, only the men in the church could interpret and understand God's Word. Virginia believed that she was hearing and being deceived by the enemy and she put her Bible away.
Three days later, as Virginia continued to fight her illness; she heard a voice say to her, "Why aren’t you reading My Word?" Virginia asked, "Who are You?" She heard in reply, "Read My Word." Although she was afraid, Virginia began to read the Word and found that she was so hungry that she could not stop. Her heart became full of revelation, yet she was too afraid to share what God was showing her.
Before long, Virginia began to share a bit of what she was experiencing with one of her sisters, and was thrilled to hear that her sister was hearing from God as well. It was encouraging to know she wasn’t alone, but the rest of the family would hear nothing of what they had to say.
Virginia soon felt brave enough to buy an old television and VCR at a yard sale so she could play nature films for her children. Since she had no antenna or cable service, she made a habit of putting the VCR tape in the machine before she turned the television on so that she didn’t have to listen to the annoying white noise. One day, however, Virginia turned the television on first and instead of white noise, a man's voice filled her living room. It was Andrew! His teaching immediately caught her attention, and although she thought what he was saying was quite bizarre, she knew she needed to keep listening.
Virginia, still perplexed by how she was able to hear this voice on her television at the same time each day, began to use all of her children's VCR tapes to record Andrew's voice from the Gospel Truth program. Virginia would hide the tapes from her husband and then listen to them over and over during the day. For eight months Virginia recorded Andrew’s program, and also ordered the free tapes and CDs that were made available during the broadcast.
Eventually, Virginia’s husband knew something was up. She had overcome her illness and had begun to speak out at church when the pastor said something directly contrary to what she knew was the truth. Her husband was outraged and became verbally abusive and threatened to take the children. He forbid her to go to church, but continued to attend with the kids. Virginia didn’t want to cause trouble in her family, but she had come to know Jesus. “I, a woman, could have this God love me. He wasn’t up there waiting to strike me dead if I didn’t do something right. It was life changing,” said Virginia.
Despite her husband’s attempts to destroy their marriage, Virginia kept herself full of God’s Word and love, and managed to keep herself from repaying anger with anger. During Virginia’s unplanned fourth pregnancy, she had labor complications that led her husband to make the decision to bring her to the hospital; a decision they both believed would send them straight to hell. Although Virginia had been set free, she found, in her moment of weakness that she still had fear regarding hospitals being one of the worst sins.
When she arrived at the hospital they told her that her baby had already died, and that she had a raging infection that would most likely take her life within an hour. As they proceeded to deliver the baby via cesarean section, they were able to shock him back to life, but his prognosis was very bleak. Virginia had spent a week trying to deliver the baby at home and the pressure had caused his leg to be wedged in her hip bone and also lacerated his shoulder. The doctors told Virginia that although they felt they needed to operate to address her deadly infection, they would not do so, for fear of the almost certain life-threatening complications that would follow. The doctors left Virginia to face death on her own.
Virginia strengthened by the seed of God's word, did not die and her son is strong and healthy today. In addition, because her husband was no longer welcome at church, as a result of his decision to go to a hospital, he became more open, little by little, to what Virginia had wanted so much to share with him. Virginia, her husband and their four children now attend Andrew’s seminars and a Bible believing church, as a family.
“I tell people all the time, Jesus can’t be explained, He can only be experienced,” Virginia said. She certainly knows that for sure.