Against all odds, this ministry called E-MIN exists. It was born of intense pain, great struggle, and incredible challenge, the like of which I could not have imagined, even in my wildest dreams, including but certainly not limited to my wife's death from cancer in 2000.
E-MIN's very existence and success is a witness to the absolute faithfulness and love of God. I hope that after you read this, you will better understand the heart and passion of this ministry, and why, as some subscribers have remarked, that the messages from E-MIN are so "real".
From text of the "5-For-Life Promise":
That commitment changed my life. It has since changed the lives of thousands of others around the globe, because it was the foundation in my life upon which the ministry known as E-MIN would be built."
"At about age twenty one, I made a decision that would change my life forever and have impact beyond anything I could ever have imagined. I made a solemn promise to God that I would read AT LEAST 5 minutes in the Bible every day. This would be for the rest of my life--no conditions--no exceptions.
I cannot begin to express the benefit this commitment has been in my life. Regardless of circumstances, situations, feelings, pressures, etc., it is very difficult to get very far away from God if you know you have to spend 5 minutes with Him. Some days I just didn't feel like it. Some days, I just didn't want to. Some days, I felt I just didn't have the time. But I had made a promise, and a promise is a promise "in my book", so I did it."
It was a bit unsettling to think about that commitment at first because it would have to be done every day, no exceptions. Could I do it? I knew I had to because I had made a promise to God.
In the late eighties, I had a little computer program that would display a different Bible verse each day when I booted the computer. It was simple, but effective. I was already acclimated to reading at least five minutes a day in the Bible. This was "icing on the cake" so to speak. Regardless of what other study I did throughout the day, this little program and the verses it displayed often "spoke" directly to what I needed for that day.
In the mid nineties, something else began to stir within me. How could I share these benefits and these things I had learned with other people around the world in large numbers? I believed that if it worked for me, it should work for others. As I prayed about this, I began to understand that the most logical and effective way to bring these benefits to others would be through e-mail. I have learned how to recognize God's direction in my life (at least on occasion!) and I knew this was something He was "birthing" in me. I had to pursue it to the conclusion, whatever that would be.
After about a year of prayer, research, and trial-and-error, E-MIN was ready to be born. E-MIN was initially conceived as a daily e-mail service to encourage daily Bible reading, prayer, and a cue for busy individuals to spend a few moments with God each day by providing condensed "packets" of scripture to individual e-mail boxes. I believed that if it wasn't brief, busy people wouldn't read it. Therefore, by design and intent, the daily message (called "Today's Seed") takes about one minute to read, is private, and easily accessible anywhere e-mail may be accessed.
E-MIN began broadcast of test messages to a small group on September 30, 1998, and then to the entire subscription base on October 7, 1998. (That first message was to just over a hundred people. Approx. one fourth were friends, family, and acquaintances. The rest were referrals from them.)
The number of subscribers grew rapidly. The idea was catching on. "Today's Seed" from E-MIN was becoming a vital part of subscriber's lives - and they were "getting it"! I began to receive responses from subscribers telling me of the things that were happening in their lives as a result of E-MIN. It was thrilling!
I had originally intended to keep E-MIN "word of mouth" for about a year. I wanted to see how it would grow without any "artificial life support" (promotional activities, etc., to increase the number of subscribers). It was exceeding my expectations. But great challenges were just around the corner. Some had already begun.
There would soon be many "opportunities" to grow weary, lose heart, or just give up in the face of what seemed to be insurmountable problems. But I could not do that because I knew this was something from God, and I could not quit. Indeed, there were many days I did not know how to go on. I just knew I was not going to quit.
"She died on February 11, 2000"
A few weeks into October 1998, some very serious circumstances developed pertaining to my son. I thought at the time that it was one of the most difficult things I had ever experienced. I had no idea what was waiting just around the corner.
In August 1999, not quite one year from the beginning of E-MIN, my wife was diagnosed with advanced cervical cancer. The next six months were far worse than the worst nightmare I could have imagined. It was an intense and traumatic time, with all else that was going on at the time. I cared for her 24/7. She died on February 11, 2000.
Those circumstances were spiritual and emotional struggles beyond what I thought I could endure at times. The value of all those years of reading and studying the Word of God was now becoming more evident than ever before. I truly believe it made the difference between survival (or not) during those times.
My commitment to the vision of E-MIN remained firm through it all. In fact, I believe those circumstances strengthened that commitment more than it ever would have been without them.
On the day my wife died, subscribers received their message. On the day of her funeral, subscribers received their message. All during the situation with my son, E-MIN subscribers received their message.
Even though I was hurting, I knew that there were other people "out there" going through difficult circumstances because I had heard from some them. I also knew that they needed what I could give them. So, regardless of my own circumstances, my own pain, my own loss, I chose to give to them that which I had to give. I knew from the responses I had already received over the previous year that E-MIN was making a difference in their lives.
Some people told me to
forget it -- let E-MIN go
There were other struggles than just those above, some equally as "serious". Suffice it to say that I could not have imagined the enormity of the difficulties I would face, and had I been able to see it ahead of time, I could not have imagined surviving through it all.
Some people told me to "forget it" -- let E-MIN go -- it was too much to do with all I was going through. I could not "forget it" any more than I could forget myself, because this ministry was now so much a part of me. There were many days I truly did not know how to go on. I only knew I would not quit. And somehow, through it all, God's faithfulness was >always there, and there was always a way to keep going.
The testimonials from subscribers as to how their lives had been changed by this ministry and my efforts often encouraged me. Though I ministered to them, they also ministered to me in ways they may never know. I was not able to respond to most of them because of the demands of my own situation, but I read them, every one. (And I still have them today!)
Just knowing that there were people in the United States, in Africa, in Europe, in Asia, in Russia, in India, in the Middle East, in...so many places, whose lives had been and were being changed and affected was enough. I would not -- could not-- quit. I did not regret the choice then, nor do I regret it now.
Today, much has changed. The darkness and pain of those past days have given way to restoration and hope. During those dark days, I could not have imagined what God had in store, just waiting until the time was right. He knew what was coming. I just had to wait until I got to the place where it was waiting.
The messages that E-MIN subscribers read are more than just "nice" or "religious" words. They are in many ways a chronicle of my struggles and a "window" into my relationship with God, exposed for all to see. All these things are a witness of His faithfulness.
His great faithfulness has been proven. I am so glad that I waited on Him and stayed "in the process". I am excited about the future of this ministry as it continues to grow and reach more and more people around the world. I truly believe that our greatest days of ministry are yet to come!
E-MIN is not about religion, it is about relationship. It is not about doctrinal controversies, it is about faith and trust in an absolutely faithful God. It is not about "nice" words, it is about truth that will stand whatever test it is subjected to, and that will change and save lives. I know. God changed saved and changed mine. It stood the test.
What I share through the ministries of E-MIN is not what I think or what I hope is real or true. It is what I KNOW is true by the pain, joy, and certainty of experience.
Without His promises and His word to depend upon, I do not believe I would have survived my struggles, much less have been able to establish and maintain a ministry and organization in the midst of them that could impact so many people in such significant ways.
E-MIN was not founded and does not operate just to be another "good idea", a "marketing system" with a Christian label, or an alternative to "traditonal" church. Rather, E-MIN was begun with a passion and a mission and vision from God to impact a generation with the Gospel of Jesus Christ via the Internet. That is our purpose for existence. That is the reason we do what we do. If we ever lose sight of that purpose, we cease to have a reason to exist.