A Celebration of God’s Goodness – Enos Daniel Martin’s 70th Birthday Party

“Commending the Father’s Goodness to the Next Generation”

E. Daniel With Granddaughter Lorena

E. Daniel With Granddaughter Lorena

 Jesus says in John 15:12, “Love each another as I have loved you.”  Then He goes on to say that the way he loved us was ‘to make known to us everything that he had learned from his Father. And in so revealing himself to us he was making us His friends. (Jesus said in John 15:15 “I have called you friends, for everything that I learned from my Father I have made known to you.” )

 Based on this I can say that my friends are the ones that I tell everything I have learned from my Father.  That is why I planned a large 70th birthday party- it was to tell my friends everything I have learned from my Father.

 So, as you read this, know that you are my friend, for everything I have learned from my Father I have made known to you.

 And what I have learned is that ‘God is good!’

 When Moses asked God to show him his glory. The Lord responded, ‘I will cause all my goodness to pass in front of you.” Exodus 33:18-19.

 So allow me to cause God’s goodness, as I have experienced it,  to pass in front of you.

A Celebration of God’s Goodness

Enos Daniel Martin’s Seventieth Birthday Party

Monday Evening January 27, 2014

Shady Maple Banquet Facility

Joy filled the Shady Maple banquet hall, East Earl, Pa., as we met January 27, 2014, to celebrate Enos Daniel Martin’s 70th birthday (January 27, 1944).   Friends reunited and acquaintances were made as over 200 people fellowshipped and feasted on a fabulous meal.  Enos stated that although he had changed his name to “E. Daniel” a number of years ago, he wanted his friends and family to be comfortable to call him either “Enos” or “E. Daniel.”

The theme of the evening was taken from Psalm 145: “… commending the goodness of the Lord to the next generation.”  Clusters of balloons on high poles and “blackboard” script of phrases from Psalm 145 decorated the banquet hall:  “You open Your hand and satisfy the desire of every living thing;” “The Lord is gracious and compassionate, slow to anger and rich in love” and many others.  The words of the psalmist were felt in tangible ways on this evening.

Don Hess Sings a Song for E. Daniel

A GRAND ROUNDS EVENING

 E. Daniel welcomed his guests to a “Grand Rounds” of his life.  In medical Grand Rounds, a patient is chosen as the focus of the conference with the caregivers presenting all known facets of the patient’s case.  If it is a psychiatric Grand Rounds, the psychologist presents the psychological testing; the nurse presents the patent’s functioning on the inpatient unit; the therapist discusses the main issues in therapy and the psychiatrist discusses the medication issues. Another physician will discuss the medical literature relevant to this case. As a result of this thorough analysis, the medical staff will gain a better understanding of principles that will likely apply to other patients under their care. The patient chosen may not necessarily be the most interesting or most dramatic illustration of an illness but by the end of this process even the most “boring” patient yields interesting and helpful insights.

E. Daniel stated that because it was his birthday he wanted to offer his life to his family and friends to reflect on how God had worked in his life over the past 70 years. His goal was that his guests would end the evening with joy at the goodness of God.  And they would say, “If God did that once, He can do it again; if He did it for E. Daniel, He can do it for me as well.”

After an hour given for eating and fellowship, the planned program began.  Chauncey Martin, husband of E. Daniel’s eldest daughter Gwen, moderated the evening. Don Hess, a member of the pastoral team at LifeGate Church, was assistant moderator.

Sonya Penya, the youngest daughter, led the celebrants in joyful worship with “Come, Bless the Lord” and “10,000 Reasons.”  Though those gathered represented a wide spectrum of Christian doctrine and belief, they, with one voice, entered in, blessing the Lord and thanking Him for this special evening.

Don Hess had prepared a special song for E. Daniel.  He took to the podium next with the remark “This is a pretty scary crowd.”  He used the old John Denver tune “Matthew,” and revised the words to honor E. Daniel.

        “Yes, and joy was just the thing that he was raised on; Love was just a way to live and die;

          Gold was just a windy Maryland wheat field, blue was just a Maryland summer sky.”

Then later in the song,

“Gold has become the precious Word of God, blow-w–ing on the hearts of men,

yes and blow-w-ing on the hearts of men.”

CHILDHOOD VIDEO

 A video,  prepared by E. Daniel’s son-in-law Horeb Penya, presented scenes from E. Daniel’s childhood and reflections on what God taught him through his life. Enos was born into a conservative Mennonite family near Hagerstown, Maryland.  His parents created a loving environment for the raising of their four children: Enos, Truman, Dorcas, and Joseph. Enos remembered asking his father when he was 70, “What was the best time of your life?” His father responded, “When all the children’s feet were under the table.”

Some of Enos’ favorite memories are of growing up on a farm along a mountain at the western edge of the Cumberland Valley. This farm had been a proving ground for artillery. A 37 mm cannon tested on this farm was used in the decisive battle of WWI.  This farm had been later purchased by Mennonite Central Committee and during WW II used as a camp for conscientious objectors to war.  And thus Enos grew up in the shadow of reminders of two wars and of two different responses to those wars. Recently he asked the Lord the significance of growing up on this historic farm. He sensed the Lord saying, “Prepare for war; fight for peace.” By this he understood that God was calling him to take a more aggressive spiritual stance in his intercession for the nations of the world.

The video can be seen here

E. DANIEL’S CHILDREN AND GRANDCHILDREN

Gwen Martin Shares About Her Father

Gwen Martin Shares About Her Father

Vaughn Martin Shares About His Father

Vaughn Martin Shares About His Father

 Following the video, E. Daniel’s children stepped to the mic, oldest to youngest, sharing both memories and tributes to their father.  Gwen shared that she was grateful her father had been a “watchman of her soul.”  She shared a story of her teen years when she was dating a young man that was a bad influence on her.  Her father had stood his ground and said she needed to stop seeing him.  Though she was angry, she obeyed and she knew her parents prayers were constantly being lifted for her.  She expressed gratitude to her father, as today she is happily married and grateful to God for giving her a father who fought for her soul to stay on track. She recalled with gratitude her father’s tears as he told her, “Some day I will need to stand before God and give an account for how I have parented you; and I want to do it with joy and not with grief.”

Vaughn shared next about the character he sees in his father.  “I don’t think there is a mean bone in his being.  He’s always looking for how to bless, even those that have wronged him.”  He shared stories about the love his father has for his grandchildren, and also about how E. Daniel ministers with a father’s heart.  The ministry in Kenya received a special grace when E. Daniel came and blessed it. Vaughn added that his dad has been very much in the world but not of it.  He has stood for truth in a postmodern world and honored the heavenly Father in places where intellectualism was a god to others.

Marita Scholtz Shares About Her Father

Marita Scholtz Shares About Her Father

Marita took to the mic then.  She honored her father for his faith.  She said his encouragement over the years to minister boldly and to be looking to glorify Jesus in every situation was such an example to her.  She shared a song that she and her sister had written– Daughters of Sarah:

      “How much better to dwell in Your shelter than in the wasteland of doubt and fear, to have

        confidence that You hear us, the fulfillment of Your promise is near.

      I have yet to hold Isaac in my arms.  But I believe Your promises, Lord.  I am becoming a

      daughter of Sarah, not a scorner saying “How can this be?”

      And my mouth is filled with laughter- the joy of welcoming your promises ahead of time.”

Sonya Penya Shares About Her Father

Sonya Penya Shares About Her Father

Sonya began by sharing a line that E. Daniel often shares “If the good news is that if you come from a good family with a good mom and dad then you can have a good life– that’s not very good news for a lot of people.”  Though Sonya shared that she did come from a good home with a great mom and dad, that wasn’t what kept her on the path of life– it was meeting God, encountering Jesus.  She shared about E. Daniel’s father heart, his forgiving heart, as there was a time in her life when she dishonored him.  He loved her and prayed for her through this time and now she spoke of the honor she has of serving under his leadership at the church where she and her husband attend.  She attested to the fact that the Father heart of God is displayed in E. Daniel’s person and ministry.

After the children had shared, another video that included the blessings of 13 of E. Daniel’s 14 grandchildren (one is an infant) was viewed.  This video can be seen here.

DR. TAN’S STORY

Dr. Ling Tan

Dr. Ling Tan

 E. Daniel, continuing in celebrating the theme of God’s goodness over the years, called his former teacher and colleague to the front, Dr. Ling Tan.  Together, in tag team fashion, they shared the story of God’s amazing work in bringing Dr. Tan to faith in Christ.

Dr. Tan, a Chinese-Indonesian, had grown up in the Confucian faith in a wealthy, privileged family in Indonesia. He came to the States with his young family and became a Professor of Psychiatry at Pennsylvania State University College of Medicine, Hershey, PA.   Enos was first a medical student there, graduating in 1973; then a psychiatric resident graduating in 1976; and finally a faculty member for the next twenty years, leaving in 1997.  Dr. Tan was first his mentor and then his colleague as together they directed the psychiatric inpatient unit at Hershey and helped train residents in psychiatry.

Enos and Dr. Tan developed a close friendship. Enos often prayed that Dr. Tan would come to faith in Christ and he pondered how best to share his faith. However, he never directly encouraged Dr. Tan to become a Christian. It seemed that life was good for Dr. Tan and that there was no reason why he would ever be convinced to consider Christian faith.  Dr. Tan did honor his friend and he would ask Enos to speak at special events in his life such as his 25th wedding anniversary.

But then the Tan’s experienced an unspeakable tragedy in the death of their beloved son Bobby. Dr. Tan asked Enos to preach at the funeral service. Hundreds of people from “all nations and peoples and kindreds and tongues” who had been blessed by Dr. Tan’s life and friendship crowded the largest funeral home in the Hershey area for the memorial service for Bobby. Enos cried out to God for a word for this large group of people many of whom were not believers.  He was led to speak from the story of the raising of Lazarus. And he prayed that here in this funeral service when everyone was preoccupied with death they would be surprised by the resurrection life.  People did later testify to the sense of God’s tangible presence in that service.

Shortly after the funeral, Dr. Tan and his wife Betty attended Enos’s home church and then came to the Martin home for lunch after the morning service. Harold Fly, a pastor who had led at least eight tours of the Holy Land and was now planning his ninth was also at the Sunday meal.  Unexpectedly, the grieving Dr. Tan said to Enos, “Let us go with Harold on this tour of the Holy Land.”

Enos and Ruth had not planned to go on this tour but upon hearing this request they made plans to join the tour group of some 70 people. In the months leading up to the tour Enos called upon friends and acquaintances to pray that Dr. Tan would become a Christian on this tour and that Enos could baptize him in the Jordan River.  And people did pray. In preparation for the trip Enos went to a Church of the Brethren pastor friend for instructions on how to conduct a baptism by immersion. Mennonites historically baptize by pouring and Enos wanted to be prepared should someone want to be immersed in the Jordan River.

Finally the day came to leave on the trip for the Holy Land. The Martins and Tans left Pennsylvania in early January 1996 in the middle of a severe snow storm. The tour schedule was full and allowed little time for theological discussions between Enos and Dr. Tan.  On a Friday evening the tour group stayed at a kibbutz on the shore of the Sea of Galilee.  The next day the group would be at the Jordan River and a number of persons had made their wishes known to be baptized or re-baptized in the Jordan River.  Enos was now anxious in that the decisive moment was at hand and Dr. Tan was not yet a Christian.

That evening Enos and Ruth sat and talked with Ling and Betty in the lounge of the kibbutz as the tour members milled about.  At one point Enos said to Ling Tan, “Where are you in your spiritual journey?”

Ling responded, “I am open to becoming a Christian but I have two questions.  First, Jesus seems rather weak to actually be God. How can He be weak and still be God?  And secondly maybe one has to be born into Christian faith. I was born in to Confucianism and my wife was born into Christianity.  How can I be a Christian if I was not born into it?

Enos responded to the first question to Dr. Tan’s apparent satisfaction and was pondering what to say to the second question when a fellow tour member approached with the comment, “I hear you are having a spiritual conversation. May I join you?”

Enos wanted to respond that this was a critical point in the conversation and he did not want it to be interrupted but instead he responded, “Of course, please join us.” And then he turned to the newcomer and said, “And how did you come to faith in Christ?’  The new comer responded, “Well I was not born into a Christian family; I was born into a Jewish family and I came to faith later in life.”

At this point Enos inwardly repented and thanked God for bringing this person into the conversation to answer Dr. Tan’s question.

The next morning the tour group met on the shore in the early dawn for a prayer meeting. Special prayers were offered for the Tans in their time of grieving.  Following breakfast, the group drove to the Mountain where the beatitudes were given. Someone read the beatitudes at this site. Then the group departed for the baptismal site on the Jordan River. It was cloudy and rainy by this time. Enos wished to postpone the time of going to the Jordan because he did not yet know where Dr. Tan was in his journey toward Christ. But the tour schedule was set and at 1pm the group arrived at the Jordan.

Hundreds of people were milling around at the baptismal site. Enos and the four or five people went into the building near the river to get their baptismal gowns. Someone said to Enos, “Is Dr. Tan going to be baptized?”

Enos responded, “I do not know.”  After getting into his gown Enos went down to the riverside to join the tour group. And there in the middle of the five people gowned for the baptism was Dr. Tan. Enos was overcome with tears of joy as he approached the group.

Then the time came for the baptism. Dr. Tan’s wife, Betty, was re-baptized. Then Dr. Tan stepped down into the Jordan River. As he stood in the water, he testified that his father had always said, “If you share your joy with someone, you double it, but if you share your grief with someone, you reduce it by half.  And now I want to share my grief with Jesus. I want him to be my Savior and Lord.”

Upon this confession of faith, Enos immersed Ling three times forward in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost.  As Dr. Tan came up out of the water, the rain stopped, the clouds parted and the sun shone down upon him. And Enos testified, “For a moment I thought I saw a dove descend upon my friend.”  The crowd erupted with joy upon this baptism and the angels in heaven greatly rejoiced.

 “Thank you for being my brother, and thank you for being my friend,” E. Daniel said to Dr. Tan.

Dr. Tan added that many people over the years had spoken to him about faith in Christ but he had never responded to them. He sometimes wondered why Enos did not say more.  He did at one point comment to Enos about this and Enos responded that, “You will know when it is time.”

Tonight as these two psychiatrists reflected on their friendship, both agreed that God had overseen this relationship and Dr. Tan’s journey toward faith. God knew Enos’ heart of love and heard his prayers for his friend.  And at the appointed time God used the context of the friendship to bring Dr. Tan to faith in Jesus Christ.  And tonight the two friends, the student and the mentor, the older aged 78 and the younger aged 70, praised the Lord together for his goodness and faithfulness.  Blessed be the name of the Lord.  The crowd applauded as the two embraced, tears of joy running down their cheeks.

SPECIAL MINISTRY CONNECTIONS

 Following this testimony, representatives from the different ministries that E. Daniel is a part of came to the front.

 PTL  India

P.C. Alexander of PTL India

P.C. Alexander of PTL India

P.C. Alexander (Alex) from India took the platform.  E. Daniel told the story of Alex’s faith and steps of obedience and how the Lord has blessed the ministry in India.  E. Daniel is a partner with P.C. to reach the nation for Jesus.  Twenty-five years ago Alex started with 20 people in a ministry called PTL-India. God has powerfully moved and over the years over 20,000 people have come to the Lord. Today there are 100 churches, a Bible College and 4 primary secondary schools for over 1000 students. Over the years, from five to seven women form a prayer team that prays five hours a day, five days a week for the ministry. About ten years ago Alex asked E. Daniel to become a part of the ministry and to represent the ministry in the U.S.A. He had handed Enos a stick and asked him to be a spiritual father in the ministry.

P. C. began with “Thank you, E. Daniel, for accepting that stick” He spoke of how he had prayed for “Samuels” in his life, people who would have discernment to speak into his life as the biblical Samuel spoke into David’s life.   Alex praised God for E. Daniel’s willingness to accept that role in his life.  In the year 2013, over 800 people were baptized through the ministry of PTL-India.  Alex gave credit to E. Daniel for his prayers and support.

LifeGate Church

LifeGate Church

LifeGate Church

As Alex concluded his comments, he was joined by Don Lamb and Don Hess, co-pastors with E. Daniel at LifeGate Church. (This part of the program was planned without E. Daniel’s awareness)

Don Lamb said, “If we branded E. Daniel to market him in the community, these things would be part of E. Daniel’s brand:

     Persistent compassion,

     Unrelenting hunger for more of God,

     Frequent behind the scenes unstoppable generosity

     Desire to create a safe place for people to meet Jesus, and

     Continuous expanding vision of how to link people together for transformation

Then he acknowledged E. Daniel’s wife, Ruth.

“This brother wouldn’t be here without Ruth.  She is always behind the scenes supportively working with him in all he does.”

Don Hess and Don Lamb then introduced the foundation of a new organization called HWSW. These letters stand for Husbands With Smarter Wives.  This organization will charge a $20 a year membership fee and will provide a monthly blog on principles of good marriages.  It is envisioned that this will be a very successful organization in that half the married population will encourage the other half to join the organization. Don Hess and Don Lamb then gave E. Daniel a document naming him as the first charter member of HWSW, to laughter and applause from the other guests.

Then Alex, Don Hess, and Don Lamb conferred an honorary doctorate upon E. Daniel. This honorary degree was awarded by the PTL-India Bible College. This honorary doctorate was for “Spiritual Mentorship in the Global Church.”

E. Daniel was speechless.

Following these unscheduled activities several other persons shared briefly.

Gail Viscome, Executive Director of a State-funded organization called Communities That Care, and  a member at LifeGate Church said simply, “Because of E. Daniel and Ruth, my family has not missed the grace of God.”

E. Daniel affirmed and honored Gail for her faithful persistence in following Christ and her support of him and Ruth in their ministries over the years.

Naaman Center

E. Daniel then introduced Trish Frank the Executive Director of the Naaman Center. He then gave a brief history of the Naaman Center founding.  Norman and Jean Shenk had encouraged their parishioner Roy Sauder to call Enos Martin and to offer a house and 25 acres that Sauder did not need for the development of his new golf course, as a home for a Christ-centered drug and alcohol treatment center.  Enos accepted the offer and put together an interdenominational board to oversee the organization. After years of struggling, Trish Frank became the executive director. Under her capable leadership, the Naaman has grown dramatically. Today it has a budget of one million dollars a year and operates out of four sites and has an amazing staff of committed Christians who treat hundreds of person a month who struggle with substance abuse issues. An intercessory team composed of Rhoda Carr and Ruth Martin pray weekly for the ministry.

In response to E. Daniel’s comments, Trish Frank said, “This man had a dream and multitudes of people are receiving help.  People who were set aside are getting the help they need.  We are poking a hole and planting a seed.”

Ministry Through Work

Enos then spoke of how God had directed him to his present work as a psychiatrist in a local prison.

After 20 years on the faculty at Penn State University College of Medicine Enos felt God’s call to leave the university. This was a difficult decision in that he highly valued his relationships with the chairman of the Department of Psychiatry, Dr. Anthony Kales, and his wife Dr. Joyce Kales and the Tans who had played very significant roles in shaping his professional life. At this point of leaving Enos was a tenured Associate Professor of Psychiatry and was serving as Vice Chairman of the Department. In spite of all these benefits and security, Enos felt that he must leave. He was only able to leave after several brothers laid hands on him and prayed that he would have the grace to do what he was called to do.  Following this prayer he and his chairman, Dr. Kales, made plans for the transition. At this point Enos did not know where he would work upon leaving the university.

Three weeks after this initial plan to leave he met Dr. Carl Hoffman and was engaged as a psychiatric consultant with his organization PrimeCare Medical (PCM).  PCM contracts with jails and prisons to provide medical and psychiatric care for the inmates. Presently Enos provides psychiatric consultation to the Dauphin County Prison. The warden of the Dauphin County Prison, Dominick DeRose and the owners of PrimeCare, Dr. Carl and Theresa Hoffman were present as guests and were honored by E. Daniel.

Enos went on to say that his training in psychiatry was in the Freudian psychodynamic model. According to this model if you could see a patient in hourly psychotherapy once a week for one to two years you could help bring about significant change in a person’s life.  However he knew that he would not have an hour to see people– he might only have five minutes or 15 minutes. So he prayed, “Dear Father in heaven, please help me to make a difference in five minutes.”  And God did and continues to answer that prayer. Enos then gave the following story to illustrate the way God answered that prayer.

It was 9 PM on a Wednesday evening a number of years ago at a county prison in the region. Enos had one more patient to see before going home. He, by his own choice, had begun work at 7 AM and had already seen approximately 50 patients that day. This last patient was housed in a Restrictive Housing Unit with other cells around her cell. Because of the late hour, Enos needed to go to her cell and tap on the window and then speak to her through the crack in the door. There was no privacy or confidentiality.

The patient in question was an attractive young woman of 24 years. Her father was African American and her mother was Asian. She was a college student, bright and articulate.

Enos asked her, “How did you get here [in this prison]?”

She responded, “How did I know that the two guys I gave a ride to were going to kill someone? But they did and now I am considered an accomplice to a murder. In Pennsylvania that is second degree murder and in Pennsylvania that has a mandatory sentence of ‘life in prison without parole.’ So people are telling me I may never ever get out of prison.”

Was she depressed? Yes. Was she suicidal? No. Did she need antidepressant medications? No. He did also ask her if she were a Christian. She responded that she was a Christian and that she prayed all the time. This is frequently the answer given to this question in the prison. So in five minutes Dr. Martin had assessed all that he needed to assess to determine that this patient was receiving appropriate psychiatric treatment.  But nothing of spiritual significance had been done for her.

Then Dr. Martin said to her, “Would you give me any number that pops into your mind between 1 and 150?”

She responded, “Number three”.

He then said, “Before I asked you that question, I prayed and asked God to speak to you. I did not know what number you were going to give me and you did not know what I was going to do with the number. But there are 150 Psalms in the Bible. So I was asking God to put a number in your mind that was associated with a Psalm that said something which He wanted to say to you. So I did not choose Psalm 3 and you did not choose Psalm 3. But I believe God chose it for you. But you do not have to believe that unless you agree after I have read Psalm 3 to you.”

Then E. Daniel pulled his palm (electronic digital assistant) out of his pocket and began to read Psalm three. “O Lord, I have so many enemies; so many are against me. So many are saying, ‘God will never rescue him [her]!’ But you, O Lord, are a shield around me; you are my glory, the one who holds my head high. I cried out to the Lord, and he answered me from his holy mountain. I lay down and slept, yet I woke up in safety, for the Lord was watching over me. I am not afraid of ten thousand enemies who surround me on every side. Arise, O Lord! Rescue me, my God!)

As E. Daniel was reading this, the young woman was weeping. E. Daniel asked, “What is happening?”

She responded, “That is my life.”

E. Daniel left her at that point content that he had done all that needed to be done and the rest would be in the hands of God.

E. Daniel saw her a week later.  She looked like a different person. She was bright in her smile and spoke freely.

She stated, “After that encounter with you, I cried all night, and I asked God to be my attorney and my judge. And I promised him if I ever get out of jail I will serve Him by serving the under-served.”

Enos saw her about four to six weeks over the next two years, the time it takes for a murder case to come to trial. She got involved in a prison Bible study and began to grow in her Christian life.

One day about two years after the initial encounter, Enos received a letter from this young woman in which she said, “Dear Doctor Martin, I am sorry I could not keep our last appointment. But I went to court today and I was found innocent of all charges. I now plan to go back and finish college and then to complete law school. Then I want to serve the under-served. I just want to thank you for being there that day and pointing me the way to Jesus because that has made all the difference.”

Enos testified that God has continued to make a difference in five minutes.  He sees this approach not as a technique but as creating a space and inviting God to come into this space and demonstrate His presence and His power.  Enos stated that he enjoys his work in the prison so much that he would almost be willing to pay to do what he does rather than being paid. (He said he hoped his employer, who was present, was not paying attention when he said this.)

E. Daniel then called upon Dave Zug, the psychologist who has worked with him over the past 18 years in the prison. He stated that Dave is very effective in what he does and that his work “makes me look good, even as my wife Ruth’s work behind the scenes makes me look good.”

Dave stated that he is impressed with E. Daniel’s ability to connect with people of all types– Muslims, Jews, Christians.  He saw it as his ability to find the good in all people that makes him effective.

Other Special Connections

Following the prison stories several other people shared their experiences and impression

Bishop Henry Buckwalter, vice chairman of Kingdom Life Network, shared his appreciation for E. Daniel’s deep passion for the Lord, and for his friendship.

Wayne Lawton, pastor of Cedar Hill Community Church, spoke of the restorative ministry that E. Daniel had in his life when he was broken and wounded.  He said that Enos prayed Psalm 20 over him years ago and that the words of this Psalm have become true in his life.

Laura Viscome, a third year medical/pediatric resident at Hershey Medical Center, said, “E. Daniel is my pastor and my mentor.” She shared that E. Daniel has been an inspiration to her as he walks the fine line of a career of excellence that honors God in the midst of that career.   She witnessed E. Daniel making a space for God’s Spirit to move in the midst of his encounters with patients in the clinical setting.

Mel Weaver, pastor of Grace Chapel, burst out with a heartfelt “Great is the Lord and greatly to be praised!” He honored E. Daniel as a father in the region, as an encouragement to him and his ministry.  “You’ve created a band of brothers.  Thank you,” he exclaimed.

Dr. Samuel Rashid, a local family physician and the proprietor of a local restaurant, shared that he is personally going through something very difficult and E. Daniel has stood with him. He made an acronym for Martin as his tribute.

E. Daniel, he said, is

M– Man of God

A- Amazing Friend

R–Reflects the heart of the Master

T-Tears, very tender-hearted

I- Inspiring, your stories, history and life

N-Non-judgmental (“you treat all people at the level of doctors”)

E. Daniel asked the people to stretch out their hands towards Dr. Rashid; then he led them in prayer for this brother.  E. Daniel proclaimed that “The storm is not going to sink this boat.”

PLUNDERING THE STRONG MAN’S HOUSE

 

It was getting late, but there was still one very important thing E.Daniel had yet to say, or rather, reveal.  On the program it read, “Plundering the Strong Man’s House”. No one would have guessed the beautiful testimony that was yet to unfold.

"Bob Smith" Receiving Forgiveness

“Bob Smith” Receiving Forgiveness

Bob Smith (not his real name) was called to join E. Daniel on the platform.  With tears, E. Daniel embraced him.  Then they sat in chairs side- by- side facing the audience.

“June 23, 2011,” E. Daniel began, “our house was plundered. Two thousand dollars worth of Ruth Bett’s jewelry, a camera that recorded the first two years of her little boy’s life, and a laptop of mine were all stolen that day.  We determined that the plunderer had come in through an unlocked window off of our patio. It was the first time they we were ever robbed.   Attempts to find the robber were fruitless and none of the possessions were recovered.”

Four months went by.  One morning E. Daniel delayed going in to the prison to work. Rather he spent the morning reflecting on Matthew 12 which states that you cannot plunder a strong man’s house without first binding up the strong man. He suddenly had the insight that the Great Commission in Matt. 28: 18-20 could really read, “Go into all the world and ‘plunder the strong man’s house.’”

Later that day as he was evaluating inmates in the prison he met “Bob Smith.”  In the course of the interview, he learned that Bob was from Elizabethtown.  And he learned that Bob had a serious heroin addiction.  In the back of his mind Enos began to wonder if this man might have been the one who plundered his house. So he thought it psychiatrically appropriate to ask, “In the course of your addiction, have you ever found it necessary to do anything illegal to support your habit?

Bob glanced about furtively and then said, “Is this confidential?”

“Absolutely!” E. Daniel responded.

“Well, yes,” Bob continued, “I have begun to go in to people’s houses and to take things that I can quickly stuff into a knap sack and then get out quickly before they get home. Then I pawn these items off to get my next hit of heroin. I hate myself for doing it. My parents, who are also addicts, as are some of my siblings, also are upset that I do this. But in my desperation to avoid going into the agony of withdrawal, I continue to do it.”

As the conversation continued it came out that Bob had gone into rehab for his drug addiction of June 23, 2011.

Enos thought that possibly his case was slipping away in that if this young man had gone into rehab he could not have been the one who plundered his house on that same day. So as one final attempt to clarify whether this was the plunderer, E. Daniel said, “Did you happen to steal anything on that day before you went in to rehab?”

Bob responded, “Yes, as a matter of fact, I did.” Bob had found a house where no one was home.

“What did you take?” Enos asked.

“I took a camera, some jewelry and a computer,” he responded.

“How did you get into the house?” Enos asked.

“I went in through a window off of a patio,” he answered.

At this point Enos said to him, “You went in to my house!”

Looking shocked, Bob said, “Where do you live?”

Enos described his house.

Then Bob stated with obvious discomfort, “Yes, I went into your house.”

Enos stated that at this point of discovery he had no anger toward Bob but rather felt compassion. He found himself saying, “I do not want to prosecute you, but I would like some of those items back. Is there any way we could do that?”  Bob answered that possibly his brother who was also an addict but was not in prison could have a suggestion. So they got the brother on the line.

The brother apparently asked Bob, “What is going on?” because Enos heard Bob say into the phone, “I think it is a ‘God thing.’” Enos saw Bob several times before he was eventually released from prison. Enos and his legal consultants decided that far more would be lost in breaching confidentiality than in the value of the stolen items. So it was decided not to pursue the case any further.

Enos stated that he continued to ponder how it was that out of the thousands of people in the region he should be sitting across the table from the very person who had plundered his house. In the year 2012 and 13 the answer began to become apparent. Bob’s brother came to the Lord and is now free of his addiction, and he and his family are actively involved in a church. The father and mother have also turned to the Lord and are free of their addictions. The father and brother attend the outpatient rehab treatment at the Naaman Center. And Bob himself has come to the Lord and is active in a means’s fellowship at a local church and is walking free of his drug addiction.

At this point E. Daniel turned to Bob and asked him to share how he had experienced the situation just described.

“I feel like I should be handing stones out right now,” Bob said with a wry smile.

“For Dr. Martin to show me mercy and grace that day just meant everything to me.  As much as I wanted to stay clean, it wasn’t something I could ever do on my own.  After that encounter I just decided to rely on God from that point.  In the course of time I got involved in a church family.  God put mentors in my life, (his three mentors were present this evening).  I have been attending a regular Bible study, building relationships, and I have many people I can call friends for the first time in my life.

“Also since that time”, he continued, “Dr. Martin has been treating my father and brother. All of them, including my mother, have been clean for over a year now. I actually have a family to go to now.  We were all just drug addicts before.”

He said he also believes the reason for meeting E. Daniel has just started.  “I want to make amends.  I want to be your friend.”

E. Daniel embraced him then and said, “God is plundering the devil’s house.  He is saying, ’You belong in My house!'”

Those gathered were clapping, wiping tears from their eyes and breathing out ‘hallelujahs’ when Ruth Bett, the former houseguest of E. Daniel, whose jewelry and camera was stolen, came to the platform with tears flowing. Her husband, Peter joined her.

“I don’t have much to say”, she began. “I just want to give you a hug and tell you that I love you.”  They embraced as the congregation applauded and we all felt the precious Spirit of Christ as He moved in our midst.

E. Daniel highlighted what a miracle Ruth’s action had been in that when she first heard the “robber” would be here, she wasn’t sure she could come.

Ruth and Peter

Ruth and Peter

Peter grinned widely and said, “We want him to know that we love him so much and he’s one of us now.”

The joy and faith had risen high in our hearts as the evening drew to a close.

GIVING OPPORTUNITIES

In conclusion E. Daniel said that in lieu of gifts to him, if people wanted to give, there were two ministries particularly close to his heart: Mt. Clare Christian School in Baltimore where seven of his 14 grandchildren attend and Ukunda Missions school in Kenya, Africa recently founded by his son Vaughn.

Gwen, Enos and Ruth’s oldest daughter, shared briefly that Mt. Clare is making a difference in inner-city Baltimore.  She shared about seeing one of her students crying outside the school just that morning because his father had been put back in jail once again.  Though the school is a mission field in the midst of much brokenness, she and the other teachers and staff experience great joy in ministering the hope and power of the Gospel of Jesus Christ and seeing the change that He brings. Gwen and Chauncey’s three children attend this school as do Marita and Todd’s four children.

Vaughn then shared about the Ukunda Mission School:  At the age of 18, Vaughn felt led to buy a piece of land near Mombasa to someday start a school to train Kenyans to take the Gospel to other nations.  God spoke to his heart that “In the future, Kenya will send many missionaries.” That was in 1989.

In 2012, he was praying and the Lord spoke the same thing– “Go back to that piece of land and start a mission school.”  For all of 2012, he tried to start it, but they struggled.  After E. Daniel came and prayed, things began to move very quickly.  He has seen strongly dedicated students, ready to go to the nations, ready to lay their lives down in Yemen, Iraq and Iran.  He believes part of the fruit of E. Daniel’s life and ministry is in this Ukunda Mission School and what comes out of it.  Presently 23 students ages 23 to 53 are enrolled in the school. Hundreds of persons have come to the Lord in the past six months through the evangelism efforts of the missionary training school.

CLOSING

 E.Daniel called Sonya up to lead the group in “Bless the Lord (10,000 Reasons)” again.  But the friends sang a special Happy Birthday song for E. Daniel first.

    “God has blessed you, and prospered you this year…

    You are the blessed of the Lord; You’re the favored of the Most High God.

    You are bound to succeed; You have a destiny!  Happy Birthday to you…”

Then we joined with passion to sing the chorus

“Bless the Lord O my Soul, O my soul, worship His Holy Name”

E. Daniel called Lamar Hoover up to give the final prayer. E. Daniel said he spent more time on the phone with Lamar than with anyone else in the room.

Lamar said, “Thank you so much for being my friend.”

Then he prayed, “Lord, each of us in this room have been blessed by You through him.  Help each of us to walk in our calling, to do exactly what You’ve called us to do.”

We lifted our voices once more to sing the full song of 10,000 Reasons, Bless the Lord O my soul.

David Kandole, a Ugandan evangelist to the U.S.A who with his wife Grace is currently living in the home of Enos and Ruth, moved to tears, closed in an additional  prayer,

“I think we all have a vision now of how our lives should be. E. Daniel is persistent in saying, ‘It’s not about me: it’s about Jesus.’  I guess it’s about us getting a vision of how God wants us to be,” he said.

“Father, we dedicate our lives to You; that You would work through us, that perhaps what You’ve done in this man and his wife– that you would help us live a life that is pleasing to you, to be a blessing to our generation.  We thank you for touching us tonight. Touch our children and grandchildren, great-grandchildren, that they would know the living Christ. Amen!”

And thus ended the grand party celebrating the faithfulness of the Lord.  And thanks be to God that his faithfulness continues from one generation to the next.

-written by Sonya Pena with E. Daniel

1 Comment (+add yours?)

  1. Ann Place
    Feb 22, 2014 @ 18:34:03

    Every word of this blog about your birthday celebration was life-giving! Thank you for posting it and sharing about the goodness of God in your own life and in the lives of others. In reading every word to the finish, I was blessed, encouraged, and challenged, and found myself tearfully praying along with the final prayer of dedication/re-dedication). Indeed, “Praise the Lord for His goodness and His wonderful works to the children of men!” (Ps. 107)

    You, dear Sonya, and E. Daniel, ended up with a great blog entry that made me feel almost like I was there — ‘listening’, applauding, praising God, and singing along to “10,000 Reasons”!!

    Reply

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