Who God Is...
In 2006, after years of infections, suspected brain rumors and the like, Ronnie and Sharon Stricklin sold their home in Milwaukee, WI and moved to Arizona to escape the humidity that was blamed for causing his illnesses. Eighteen months later, another, stranger sickness began that took Ronnie's gall bladder.
He didn't get any better and in fact, got worse. Daily multiple episodes of vomiting and diarrhea, accompanied by sleepless night sweats and the loss of sixty pounds became the order of the day. Sharon continued praying for his recovery, sometimes unable to see his shrunken and pale body through her tear filled eyes. Satan was trying to kill her husband! She declared, from her spirit, "You shall not die, but live to declare the Glory of God. (from Psalm 118: 17)
Doctor after doctor, hospital after hospital and seven different biopsies, no one had an answer or diagnosis. Unable to lie down in bed, and generating tremendous body heat that soaked the bed, Ronnie began "sleeping" on the couch in the living room. One sleepless night in September 2008, Ronnie passed out on the couch. Then, "the vision" began.
I continued to struggle with the illness, getting worse and worse. Finally, January 2009, I allowed Sharon to take me to the Mayo Clinic of Arizona for "complete evaluation and treatment." Several days later,the diagnosis came back--4th Stage Lymphoma and Kidney failure. To complicate things, I had unknowingly been terminated from the job, and my insurance was terminated along with the job. We found out when being admitted to the hospital. Sharon was between jobs and had no insurance. The Lord, however, was moving again in our lives as we got help to apply, and receive Cobra, a partially government insurance program on our last day of eligibility. First He saves me from the enemy, then He provided insurance! God IS good! For we walk by faith, not by sight.
2 Corinthians 5: 7
The cancer was removed and I began chemotherapy and dialysis. It was after this I found out that the doctors had expected me to die. For what if some did not believe? shall their unbelief make the faith of God without effect? God forbid: yea, let God be true, but every man a liar... Romans 3: 3,4
I began treatment at a dialysis center only a few blocks from our home in Mesa. Eventually, I began sharing my testimony with patients, nurses, technicians and everyone else who stopped by my station to hear for themselves what others were telling them. I had began intense bible study to understand more about the Lord and His will for us. I began praying with people and evangelizing right there in the dialysis chair, Sharon teased me that I had started a "Dialysis Ministry." I couldn't argue!
March 2011 came and I was being processed to join the list of people waiting for a kidney transplant. I had a new primary physician and he insisted on me going through a complete battery of tests because, "We've done to much to pull you through to let something happen to you." Weeks later the test showed abnormally high Prostate Specific Antigens (PSA,) meaning something was not right. I submitted to another biopsy, of my prostate, without anesthesia, the only way it can be done. Think of surgery without drugs! The urologist would call me with the results.
A couple weeks later, Sharon and I were meeting with the Mayo Clinic Transplant team, when they informed that I would have to wait two years, after I was through with Prostate Cancer. WHAT??? We had received no notice from the urologist. The Transplant team was embarrassed and angry. We. Were. Angry! I had surgery to remove the cancer and began the long road back. This time, no chemo for the cancer was confined to an area in a non-organ.
The two years elapsed and I was re-activated for the transplant list. We had started a ministry and were evangelizing in the streets, at shelters and nursing homes, and anywhere else we could. Meanwhile, we had discovered Dr. Bill Winston of Living Word Christian Center in Forest Park (Chicagoland,) IL on television and internet and began attending services on Wednesday and Sunday, streaming live over the internet. In June 2013, we were in Milwaukee and decided to drive to Forest Park to attend services at Living Word. We felt we were at home. We returned in September and attended the week long "International Faith Conference," hosted by Living Word. It was then that Ronnie got the call to formalize his ministerial training and become a student in the Living Word School Of Ministry for the 2014 - 2015 session. (Sharon had completed ministerial training in Milwaukee several years before.)
August 2014, we moved to Lombard, IL, a few miles west of the church and Ronnie began classes the end of September, still in dialysis. The church, the school, the instructors, staff, volunteers, and fellow students were all great! Having been baptized in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost as a youth, Ronnie rededicated himself and was baptized in the name of Jesus Christ on May 31st. Ronnie graduated from LWSOM on Sunday, June 7, 2015 in the Five-fold Ministry Offices of Evangelist and Teacher. The day before, Mayo Clinic called and asked if I could fly down for a transplant if they could not find the number one candidate. Sure! An hour and one half later they called back to tell me the candidate was found, but I should stay ready. There was no disappointment, for I knew God would take care of me, as promised, whether through transplant or supernatural healing. For I am the LORD, I change not... Malachi 3: 6
I had accepted an invitation to give my first public sermon in Milwaukee at New Creation Church Ministries, for Pastor and First Lady Jeff and Theresa Harmon, old family friends, on Father's Day, Sunday, June 21, 2015. We left our apartment in Lombard Saturday, June 20th and stayed in a hotel in suburban Milwaukee. Many family and friends, in addition to the church members were in attendance to receive the word. My topic was "Faith, It Is About Trust!" My main point was "Putting Your Faith and Trust in the Lord gives Him Room To Move in Your Life." The message was well received because it spoke directly to a lot of those people who did face and were facing challenges in their lives. We spent time afterwards praying with individuals and sharing God's moves in our lives. The rest of the afternoon, we were guests of the Harmon family.
We finally returned to our hotel that evening, well spent, but joyous at how the Lord was with us. The next morning Monday, June 22nd, my cell phone started ringing at seven am. I did not recognize the area code and did not want to get up, so I let it go to voicemail. The Holy Spirit would not let me return to sleep, so at Sharon's urging, I checked the message. "This is the Mayo Clinic in Arizona. We have been trying to reach you to offer you a transplant of a kidney we have received. You have thirty minutes to call us with an answer or we will be forced to select another person." Whoa!!
We called back and asked for a few minutes to confer. We prayed together to seek God's permission and He gave the okay. We called and agreed to get down there immediately. We left the hotel at eight and drove to Chicago's Midway Airport where there were more flights to chose from. We did not stop at our apartment, parked in the airport lot and left with the clothes on our backs. We missed the first flight and caught the next, with a forty minute layover in San Diego, finally getting to Phoenix at eight that night. There we rented a car and drove to the hospital, getting there at nine. I was admitted, processed, and prepped for surgery. At midnight Tuesday, I was on the table for the four hour surgery. I woke up in my room around seven am. with a new kidney! All I could do was praise God and think about "Putting Your Faith and Trust in the Lord gives Him Room to Move in Your Life!" It was less than a day since I had delivered that message and He moved in our lives immediately!
Still moving in our lives, He provided for our daughter and her children to retrieve our car from Midway, pack up our household in Lombard and drive our cars and belongings down to Mesa. Lo, children are an heritage of the LORD: and the fruit of the womb is his reward. Psalm 127: 3 Ronnie is walking in his recovery, knowing that Who his own self bare our sins in his own body on the tree, that we, being dead to sins, should live unto righteousness: by whose stripes ye were healed. 1 Peter 2: 24 Ronnie, Sharon and Childrens Bread Ministries Inc. are back in action. "Keep walking by Faith," (quoted from Dr. Bill Winston.)