After the sudden death of his three-year-old son, a father clings to Christ and finds hope.
- [Gordon] Her boyfriendwas a serial killer
and she was almost his next victim.
- I knew God had spared me from something.
- [Gordon] Plus, he wasonly three years old.
- Out of nowhere shesaid, "Cameron is dead."
- [Gordon] A father finds a lifeline
in the midst of tremendous loss.
- Ever since the firstday I have had hope.
- All that and more ontoday's 700 Club Interactive.
Well welcome to the show.
As a pastor, Cameron Colewould often comfort others
facing sudden tragedy or great loss.
And then one Sunday in 2013,
what Cameron describes asthe worst thing imaginable,
well it happened to him.
- Cameron woke up that morning to see
he had three missed callsin the span of a minute.
And when he finally gotthe devastating news
his immediate and unlikelyresponse was, God is good.
Here is his story.
- Back in 2010 my wifeand I had our first child,
he's named after me, his name's Cameron
and he was a sweet, beautifulboy with white, curly hair
and I do not think I evertook him out in public
without somebody talking abouthow beautiful his hair was
and how God wasted it on a boy.
On November the 10th,2013 we were playing Legos
on a normal Sunday afternoon
and my perfectly healthychild lost his Lego.
And so he asked, "Can we askJesus to help me find my Lego?"
And so we prayed and we found the Lego
and Cameron said, "Thank you,Jesus, thank you, Jesus."
And he then from there went into this line
of spiritual questions thatkind of came out of nowhere.
He said, "Daddy, canwe go see Jesus today?"
I said, "Well, Cameron, youknow Jesus is here with us.
You can't see him, butJesus is with us right now."
And he said, "Well why can't we just
go get in the car and go find Jesus?"
And I told him, "You know,Cameron, you'll get to see Jesus
when you go to Heaven one day
but for now we just haveto trust that he's with us
even though we can't see him."
And he said to me, "Jesus died on cross,
Jesus died for my sins."
Little did I know that thatis the last conversation
I would really even have with him.
That night I went on a camp out
with some boys in my youth group
and the next morning at7:30 I noticed that I had
three missed calls from mywife in the span of a minute.
And she finally reachedme on the fourth call.
She said you need to get tothe hospital immediately.
And I said, "Well, what's wrong?"
And she said, "I cannot tell you."
And I said, "Lauren, Icannot drive 45 minutes
not knowing why I'm drivingto the children's hospital."
And just out of nowhere shesaid, "Cameron is dead."
I was just in utter shock.
My child was perfectly healthy,
I had played with him the day before,
and here my wife istelling me that my child
has mysteriously died in his sleep.
One of the biggest questionsand fears that a person has
when they first encounter tragedy is,
am I ever gonna be the same again?
Like am I ever, is my life ruined?
Because I think when my son died
I think I really had thissense and this fear at times
that I'm gonna be miserablefor the rest of my life.
It's helpful to haverealistic expectations
that you're never gonna completely heal.
For my wife an I it's stilla very real and present part
of our emotional undercurrent.
Whether it's his absenceat a birthday party,
or on holidays, or whenwe do a family picture
it's something that just pokesat that wound in your heart
that really will be therefor the rest of our lives.
I feel like every time I cry,no matter what it's about,
I feel like in a lot of ways
I'm still always crying for Cameron.
Seeking the Lord and seeking His word
is still something that I continue to do,
and have to do, tocontinue to move forward.
In particular I have foundthat thinking about Heaven,
you know, it's something thatis on my mind all the time
because that's where my child now lives.
And it's also too, it'sthe point where I know
that I'm gonna be fullyhealed and it's the point
where I'm gonna be reunited with Cameron.
I wanna make clear thatI have not been spared
of any of the pain thatcomes with losing a child,
but the Lord has continued to heal me
more and more over thelast four and a half years
and I will say ever since the first day
I have had hope, I havebelieved that God can heal,
that God can redeem my heart and my life.
You know, the thing thatwould always give me hope
was remembering the cross.
Because if you look at thecross through a human lens
a man is unjustly executed,
his movement ends in failure, it seems.
And yet the cross is thevehicle and the instrument
through which God isredeemed the whole world.
When I had to go to the hospital
to see him for the last time
it was absolutely asawful as you can imagine.
But at the same time, evenfrom the first moment,
I still had this sense of hope,
I had this sense that thiswas the worst thing ever
but that the Lord was with me.
And so I said to thenurses and the doctors,
I said, "Listen, you need to at me
and you need to listen to this.
Jesus Christ rose from the dead
and that means that I have hope.
Jesus rising from the dead means
that all this Christianstuff, all these promises,
that God loves you, that God is real,
that God has a purpose in everything,
it's all true if Jesus rosefrom the dead, and he did.
- If you've gone throughloss in your life,
and who among us hasn't,we all experience it,
we all experience thatheartache, that grief, that pain.
But as you're going through it,listen to the words of Jesus
who says, in this lifeyou will have trouble.
He promises it, in thislife you will have trouble.
But be of good cheer forI have overcome the world.
It's a great contrast.
He acknowledges that we'regoing to have trouble,
we're going to have grief,we're going to have pain,
we're going to have all of these things.
And then he says to us, be of good cheer
for I have overcome the world.
And when you look to him, you look at
the price that he paid, what he did,
how he left Heaven for us to redeem us
and that process of redemption is ongoing,
and one day we will stand on this earth,
and we will know that our redeemer lives,
and we will seem him face to face.
And we look forward to that day.
We look forward to theday where we will live
in a city that is not made by men.
That has been made by Godand it's for you and me
to dwell in all eternity.
And in that place no moretears, no more suffering,
no more disease, no more trouble.
So today find cheer inthat, find hope in that
and may the God of all comfort come to you
and comfort you now, inthe middle of your grief.
One of the things that I'vefound about times of grieving
is that when I try to stuff it inside,
when I try to say everything's okay
and let's just get on with life,
well then I'm not reallydealing with the grief.
And one of the great thingsto do in a time of grieving
is to just let somebody else know
how you feel to get it out, to say,
I'm going through a reallyrough time right now.
I don't know where to turn,I don't know what to do.
Life doesn't seem tohave any meaning anymore
and I need help.
And then I always add toit, would you pray for me?
Could you pray for me right now?
Well we're here for youand if you need prayer
all you have to do iscall us, 1-800-700-7000.
And whatever's on yourheart, just let us know.
We're not here to judge, we're not here
to try to give you falsecheer, none of that.
We're here to bring you the peace of God.
Now let's just take a moment right now,
let me pray for you specifically,
anyone who's going throughheartbreak, let me pray for you.
Lord we just lift those in the audience
who have lost loved ones andhow the memory's still there
and how that pain is still there.
And we just lift them toYou and we just ask for You
to encourage them, and strengthen them.
And Your name is, the God of all comfort,
and so come now and be the comforter
for your children, Lord God.
You know what it's like to lose a child
so let your comfort come tothem and let them know you now
for we ask it all in Jesus' name.
- Again, if you -needprayer we're here for you.
Just call us, 1-800-700-7000.
- Well if you or someone you know
is going through a timeof loss or heartbreak
Cameron Cole, the man inthe story that you just saw
has written a book that can help.
It's called Therefore I Have Hope:
Twelve truths that comfort,sustain, and redeem in tragedy.
And this book is available nationwide.
Well coming up a pastorwho placed his church
in the heart of a neighborhoodthat's 97% Muslim.
- What better place inthe whole wide world,
you know, to find peoplethat don't know Jesus
that need him and needwhat Jesus has to offer.
- [Terry] Watch thetransformation happening
in Dearborn, Michigan, home to one of
the largest Muslim populationsin the United States.
The city of Dearborn, Michiganrecently made headlines
after one of its residentswas captured in Syria
and accused of workingfor ISIS for three years.
Dearborn has a large Muslim population
but this recent news doesn't reflect
the good things that are happening there.
Mark Martin talked to one Christian pastor
who strategically placed his church
in a neighborhood that's 97% Muslim.
- Dearborn is known for being home
of the Ford Motor Company.
It's also home to one of the largest
Muslim populations in the country.
Drive around town and it's like
you're transported to the Middle East.
Nearly half of Dearborn'spopulation is Muslim.
Out of the 90,000 residents
approximately 40,000 practice Islam.
80% are Shia Muslims, mainlyfrom Lebanon and Iraq,
20% are Sunnis, mainly from Yemen.
- That makes this areathe largest concentration
of Arab Shia Muslims in the United States.
And that mosque behind usis actually a Shia mosque.
It's definitely the largest Shia mosque
in the United States.
- [Mark] It's known as theIslamic Center of America.
John Koski views himself as
a Christian missionary to Muslims here.
He's also the associatepastor at Springwells Church,
an assembly of God congregation
led by Pastor Trey Hancockand his wife, Becky.
The church sits less than 10 minutes away
from the Islamic Center of America,
in the heart of a neighborhoodthat's 97% Muslim.
- Jesus said, "I want you here."
So we're here.
And I mean, what better placein the whole wide world,
you know, to find peoplethat don't know Jesus
that need him and needwhat Jesus has to offer.
Right here we're not making it hard
for them to come to the Lord.
- [Mark] The church began meeting
in the Hancock's home in 2000.
More than a decade afterthe pastor and his family
first arrived in Dearbornto minister to Muslims.
Hancock says he heard the call of God
while in Dearborn receivingcultural training.
- And just walkin' and just prayin'
got down to about right here,right here at this very spot,
and the Lord spoke to me and said,
"If you're gonna learn about these people
you've got to live with them."
I thought whoa, that didn't come from me.
I knew who that was, it was really clear,
it was really distinct, and it was
a prompting from the Holy Spirit.
And I said, "Okay, Lord."
- [Mark] That step of faithhas led to a thriving ministry.
In addition to Sunday services,
church outreach includesdrama presentations,
a wrestling club, and Englishas a second language classes
which include learning Bibleverses in Arabic and English.
- I think it's very effective because
we're really building relationships.
We're ministering to their felt needs
and one of the biggest needs is
to learn English as a second language.
- [Mark] Kosky and others,like Paul Schindlbeck,
also take their ministry door to door.
- [Muslim Man] You said thisspeaks of the truth of Jesus?
- [Paul] Yeah, it speaksabout who Jesus was.
- Who Jesus was?
- [Paul] Yeah, yeah.
- [Mark] Diane Berry serves through
a Christian TaeKwonDo ministry.
The former Muslim says Springwellsis making a difference.
- Is God.
It's, it's all God, it has to be.
And the supernatural protection as well.
You know, you think aboutit and we're welcomed here
by most because it's a serving church.
- [Mark] Hancock is overjoyedwhen Muslims accept Jesus.
- Lights my fire, man.
When they say yes to Jesus,
it's an amazing thing.
It's an amazing thing, especiallyafter they get baptized
because that's when they'resaying to the world,
I belong to Jesus.
- Although rewarding,ministering in Dearborn
takes a lot of work.
Kosky says it takes 30Gospel presentations
for the average Muslim to accept Christ.
And that's not the only tough part.
And ministering in this area
spiritual warfare is definitely involved.
For example, Hancocksays in the last decade
more than a dozen churchesin the Dearborn area
have been sold to Muslimsand turned into mosques.
Churches like this one,you can see it's now
the American Muslim Center and the cross
has been removed from the steeple.
On this other former church,
an Islamic House of Wisdomsign has actually been placed
over the cross on the steeple.
Still, Hancock knows the Muslims
who purchase the churchesare not the enemy.
- I'm not fighting, quote, them
'cause I want them to come to Jesus.
- [Mark] The pastorlooks forward to the day
he learns many Muslims have responded
to the Gospel messagethrough his ministry.
- I hope when I stand in front of the Lord
that there's thousands standing behind me
that I had no idea that were listening.
- [Mark] He believes thereare more former Muslims
in Dearborn who believein Jesus that can say so
because they're afraid of each other.
And to the secretbeliever, he has a message.
- Find somebody who knows Jesus,
let them know what you're dealing with,
that you've said yes to the Lord.
Even if you have questions,ask them to pray for you,
and allow Jesus to minister to you.
- [Mark] Mark Martin, CBNNews, Dearborn, Michigan.
- Well we say wow, but reallythat's the great commission.
It's what we are all said to do
but you just commendthis pastor, his faith,
really his heart for people who believe
something very different,who live differently,
and, you know, who mostof the world right now
is kind of pushing away from.
He's diving right intothe middle of the pool.
- Yeah, and I think that'sa message for all of us.
Let's dive into the pool here.
There is a great missionfield right before us.
And one of the great things happening
in the Muslim world these days
is that they're openlyquestioning their own faith.
If ISIS is a true reflection,
if Al-qaeda is a true reflection,
is this really what I believe.
And in that they're earnestly seeking.
And every Ramadan we get thereports of Jesus appearing
because they're asking God to show up.
They're going through a month-long fast,
and they're asking God to show up,
and when you ask with all your heart,
when you seek me with all of your heart,
then you'll find me.
So dreams, and visions,miracles are happening
in the Muslim community,specifically in the Middle East,
and it's a great thing happening.
Here's a fact I bet you didn't know.
What would you guess is the country
with the fastest growingChristian population?
I'm not talking about total numbers,
the answer on total numbers is China,
but fastest in terms of percentage growth.
Well that country is Iran.
So that should give us all great hope.
Well up next a youngwoman remembers the day
when a convicted murderercame banging on her door.
- And I said, "I'm so sorry."
And he began to step back,
and all the while I'm praying,
"God, just let 'im walk out."
- [Gordon] Hear what saved her life
from the arms of a serial killer.
That's up next.
- Talk about looking forlove in all the wrong places.
Octavia Stanley dateda rapist and a murderer
who was still in themiddle of a killing spree.
Octavia knows she couldhave been one of his victims
and she says, it's a miraclethat she's still alive.
- It made me feel like Iwas something, you know.
You're in a commercial, youknow, you're in a magazine.
- [Reporter] Octavia Stanley was modeling
for some of the biggestfashion brands in the industry.
But away from the runways,lights and cameras
she couldn't believe she was
the beautiful woman others said she was.
- I would look in the mirrorand just literally like
scrub the make up off,and like, you are ugly.
Like why are they calling you stunning?
Why are they calling you beautiful?
- [Reporter] That'sbecause Octavia carried
a secret that was destroying her.
From three to five years old
she was molested by three family members.
Octavia learned to hidethe truth and the pain.
- Inside I was so broken.
I felt very ugly, I felt veryinsecure, I felt not wanted.
- [Reporter] She felt God didn't love her
and blamed Him for the abuse.
- Why did I deserve this?
Is there something wrong with me?
How can you love somebody who
the only way people likeher is if they touch her?
- [Reporter] Octavia carriedher childhood secrets
and insecurities into herteen years and to college.
There she started dating an older man.
Then one night she lost hervirginity when he raped her.
Octavia distanced herselffrom God even more.
- If You care there's no way You
will let me be touched like this.
It was just like, You like to see me hurt.
That's what I felt about God.
- [Reporter] By then,she had started modeling
and she also began smoking weed, partying,
and became promiscuous.
- If I wasn't giving myself,then I wouldn't be liked.
I thought I neededtouch to feel beautiful,
but yet when I wastouched I would hate it.
- [Reporter] Octavia quit school
and continued living thatlifestyle for another five years.
During that time she gotpregnant and had a son.
Then she met a man, theymarried, and had two children.
They also went to church together.
Octavia felt for thefirst time in her life
things were going well.
- My relationship with God got better.
It wasn't perfect, it was just like,
maybe He does hear me, you know.
Maybe I'm not horrible.
- [Reporter] But Octavia still struggled
to trust God's love for her.
And when the marriage ended in divorce,
she again blamed Him forthe pain in her life.
- When I looked at my kidI was like, He loves me.
But then mirror would makeme be like, He doesn't
because now I wouldn't havegone through this divorce.
- [Reporter] The stressof being a single mom
and feeling like a failure led Octavia
to become even more desperate.
It finally drove me to a place where
I wanted to commit suicide.
And I tried, and I took all these pills,
and I drunk this alcohol,
and I just work up with a headache
'cause God didn't want me to go anywhere,
it wasn't my time.
- [Reporter] Octavia realized she needed
to take care of her children.
She continued modeling andstarted working as an EMT.
She also hoped to recapture the feeling
she had when she was married.
It was during this time she started
dating a man she called DJ.
Even after he told herabout his troubled past.
- He admitted to me that hehad been in prison before
but it was a false charge.
I kinda pushed the foreboding away
and the desire to justwanna be with somebody,
you know, came back.
- [Reporter] But soon it became clear
he was more interestedin sex than marriage.
Octavia gave in to his sexual advances
out of fear of losing him.
She also stopped going to church.
A few months later, Octaviaknew her life needed to change.
- You gotta stop, like this is horrible.
You know you're notsupposed to be doing this.
- [Reporter] Two weeks later she went
to a Friday night church service.
- And I was telling God, I'msorry for all that I did.
And it wasn't I'm sorry.
Like I felt like I neededto spill out everything.
He never rejected me, I rejected Him
thinking that He rejected me.
But this is the first time that I received
His love and His forgiveness.
So for me that was my veryfirst salvation moment.
It was life changing to me
because I didn't feel unworthy no more.
It was like a glimmer of hope now,
like I have hope for mylife, hope for my future.
Like He's not distant, He really is near
and I walked away with thatjust knowing I was loved
and, the main thing,I knew I was forgiven.
- [Reporter] A couple of days later
her boyfriend came over wanting sex.
She said no.
- And I said, "I'm so sorry,"and he began to step back.
And all the while I'm praying,God, just let him walk out.
And I shut the door.
I knew God had spared me from something.
- [Reporter] Over the next year
Octavia started healing from her past
and learning to trust God.
Then one day she realized
just how much God had done for her.
Through the news Octaviafound out that DJ,
her old boyfriend, had been arrested
for raping one woman andmurdering three others.
One he killed not long afterOctavia told him to leave.
Jones pleaded guilty andwas given a life sentence
with no possibility of parole.
- And I just began to cry outto God and tell Him thank you.
I said, thank you becausethat could've been me.
- [Reporter] Octavia wasfinally able to trust God
and believe Him whenHe calls her beautiful.
- I see a woman who has a destiny.
I see that I'm not my past,
I'm not my multiple relationships,
I'm not the weed smoker,I'm not the seductress,
I'm not the manipulator, I'm not the liar.
I am a woman of God whofound that her God is real.
- [Reporter] Octavia wentback to college and graduated.
She married Dean and together they pastor
Dominion Power Church International
in Kansas City, Missouri.
She's written several books including
I Dated a Serial Killerthat helps other women heal
from a painful past so that they can live
an abundant life in Jesus Christ too.
- If you give it to Godand trust Him to take out
everything that was meant to destroy you,
He will put you back on a path to destiny.
And you will be able to fulfill everything
that God ordained for you too.
- Pretty amazing story.
You know the Bible says that you and I
are created in the imageand likeness of God.
His very image and likenessis a part of who we are
and there's nothing thatthe enemy of God likes more
than to come into yourlife and mar that image
so that, not only do you notsee God the way that He is,
you don't see yourself theway you really are either.
You know when that happens it seems to me,
the stories that we do over,and over, and over again
where we see people who are molested,
or abused, or go throughsome terrible physical abuse
some point in their childhood,
it just leaves them with this open door
of not understanding who they are,
why they're here, why lifeis valuable or worth living.
It's like the joy has beensucked out of their souls
and then somewhere along the way God,
who continues to pursueus even in our lostness,
even in our lostness comes and says,
I'm over over here, come to me.
He comes to us first and theninvites us to come to Him.
And He begins to restorethat image with His love.
He's always there, He neverleaves us or forsakes us.
We are created in His image and likeness
with eternity in mindand it's never too late,
never too late to receive His love,
to receive His forgiveness,
to receive a brand new beginning.
That's what He specializes in.
If you'd like to pray with someone today
about a need in your lifecall our toll free number,
- We close with a word from Philippians.
Let that word watch over you,
He will complete the goodwork that He has begun in you.
God bless you, we'll see you again.