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700 Club

Prodigal Returns Home to Help Others

“I had a chip on my shoulder. I was taught that you didn't let anybody push you around. If you win a fight, people praise you for it.” Fighting, drugs, and alcohol-- things Josh Timms picked up from his parents: two teenagers living in poverty and addiction. For Josh, a dropout and crack addict by age fifteen, the fighting was about respect and attention. “The people I looked up to were tough guys. I wanted to be somebody you didn't mess with I was real arrogant, cocky.”

As for the drugs….“I didn't like Josh. I didn't wanna deal with any of the hurt or pain I had caused or that I had myself. I just wanted to drown it out.”

Addiction, crime, and violence would become a way of life for Josh for years to come. His anger drove him; defined him. Even spending almost two years in prison for armed robbery and numerous assault charges seemed to have no effect on him. “Prison for me was like training or something. That's the way I looked at it. Like, I'm not ever gonna be anything anyway. I honestly thought I'd either get killed or I'd spend the rest of my life in jail.”

Six months after his release from his first prison term, Josh was arrested again for assault and stealing cars. That same morning, he got some news from his girlfriend, April, that would soften even his hardened heart. “When she told me that she was pregnant with my daughter I was happy. Even though it was like, my life is an absolute mess, I was still happy. I didn't fully grasp it.” 

Sitting in prison for a year and a half, Josh began to think about his life and his child’s future. “I wanted to come home and I wanted to be a dad. Now, I didn't know how to be one, I didn't really know what that meant, but I wanted to try.”

So, when Josh got out of prison, he married April and started working construction. For five years, he tried to go straight and be a good husband and father. He always fell short. He and April fought constantly.

“It was really hard for us to get along because he wanted it his way, and I wanted it my way and neither way went together,” April recalls. “There was no compromising.”

“I was really sad about the way I was,” Josh remembers. “I wasn't happy. I didn't wanna be the way I was. I just didn't know how to get out of it. I had no power over it. I was willing myself to quit doing drugs, willing myself to quit having the attitude and the temper and all that stuff, but it didn't work.”

Then, one day while doing drugs with a friend, Josh felt a darkness he couldn’t shake. “It was like, the weight of everything in my life just kind of came down on me. The way I was as a person, as a friend, as a father, as a husband--the guilt of my life came down on me.”

Josh went home, hoping the feeling would go away after a good night’s sleep. The next morning, it was still there. “I didn't hear a voice audibly, but I felt it, inside. And it was God,” Josh remembers. "And He told me, ‘You're going die and go to hell for the way you lived.' And in that moment, I thought, 'I'm dying, going to hell right now.' And in the same instant, just as clear as a bell, He said, ‘But you don't have to.’”

Josh remembered his grandma and others talking to him about Jesus through the years. “It don't matter about how tough you are. It don't matter about how bad you are. It don't matter about how much money you have. None of that's gonna matter. Like, the only thing that'll matter is your relationship with the Lord Jesus. And at that point, I just broke down. And I started praying. I don't remember what I said as far as my prayer, like word for word, but I just asked God to forgive me. I put my faith in Christ that morning and immediately the whole dread, all of that stuff, just left me. And I feel this weight lifted. I wasn't angry anymore. God took that from me.”

At first, April wasn’t convinced he had changed. She had heard it before. Then, Josh told her he wanted to go to church. “I knew then, like, this is--he's serious,” April recalls. “His demeanor, his attitude, our conversation, just everything about him was different. He just seemed more gentle immediately.”

That Sunday, at the end of the service, they went down to the altar together. April remembers that day. "That's when I prayed and said, ‘Lord, I know that I really messed up and I don't wanna live like this anymore, and I really want to commit my life to you.’ And so, from there, God just really changed our lives. We would not be married today if we had not gotten saved. There's no way.”

“I wasn't free before; I was a slave,” says Josh. “I was a slave to getting drunk. I was a slave to sin. I was a slave to getting high. I was a slave to, you know, maintaining a persona. I was a slave to that. And when God stepped in, He released me from all that. He broke all those chains for me. He freed me from that desire. He made me free.”

Now, Josh can be the man he never thought he could be. Today, a father of three, he pastors a church in the same town he used to terrorize. He says he’s amazed at what Christ did in his life and his family’s. “If you're still here, you're not too far gone. You still got breath and you still got a chance. God's there. If you'll call on the Lord, He'll save you.”

700 Club

Heroic Black Women of WWII

The 6888th Postal Battalion lifted spirits of soldiers by delivering mail to the frontlines.

700 Club

Sewing the Gift of Love for Single Mom

Araceli is a single mom raising her two children near Mexico City. Her 7-year-old daughter, Vicky, knows times have been tough for the family, “I noticed my mom did not buy us much of anything because we don’t have any money.” 

Araceli tries to make the best use of the little they have. She says, “When it's time to buy shoes or clothes, I buy less food because there’s not enough.” Araceli cleans houses for a living and her 13-year-old son, Henry, tries to go with her to help. He says, “I sweep, mop and take out the trash.”  

To supplement her income, Araceli tried to take on small sewing jobs in between cleaning, but when her machine started breaking down, her regular clients disappeared. “My sewing machine is useless for sewing denim or stretchy fabrics. The thread always breaks,” shares Araceli. Araceli and her children prayed. “We asked Him to give us good health and I asked Him if He could give us a new sewing machine,” shares Vicky. 

That’s when CBN Orphan's Promise provided some help. First, they trained Araceli how to create a business plan. Then they gave her a new commercial sewing machine, thread, and other supplies to grow the business. Araceli says, “When I saw everything, I was so happy—so full of joy God had heard our prayer. I told my old clients that I have a new machine.”  

Now Araceli has developed a new client base, repairs clothes and is creating items for her clients. Vicky shares, “Now we can buy fruit whenever we want! I feel so happy. Thanks for helping us.” 

700 Club

A Marriage Explodes for the Better

Carol Esham remembers, “September 19th, 1999, we took the boat out onto the river for a cruise. What happened next, it changed our lives forever.”

Bob Esham says, “Carol and I were married on August 24th in 1984. What should have been a day that ushered in marital bliss was instead the beginning of a volatile union.

“We argued about everything,” says Carol. “We argued about nothing.”

“Carol wanted to get married and I didn't,” recalls Bob. “And I figured if I married her, that the arguing would stop and we'd get along a little better. And obviously that didn't work out very well.”

“We’re two different people. We're just total opposites and many people are total opposites. But we don't see eye to eye on anything,” says Carol. “What made matters worse was that I grew up in an Italian family and it seemed like the men gave the women whatever they wanted. And that's what I expected.”

“Our worldviews were so different and we really didn't even live like a married couple. We were more like roommates. I think there was always a spark of love there, but we just didn't like each other,” says Bob.

Carol says, “I think we both wanted to be right and we both couldn't understand why the other person wasn't thinking the same.”

"As Carol became more and more bitter, I escaped through drinking alcohol and staying gone. I was a pilot. I was able to pick up the longest trips I could pick up,” recalls Bob. “I stayed gone as much as I could.”

Carol says, “The more that I tried to change him, the more that he stonewalled, he disengaged, and that's why he didn't even want to come home.”

“Alcohol just seemed to dull the pain. Drinking was a real problem for me,” says Bob.

“If he had one drink, he was going to have ten drinks and then he would just not be fun to be around,” remembers Carol. 

“For the next 15 years, we drifted further and further apart,” says Bob. 

“We sort of settled into what was mediocre or less than mediocre,” Carol says. 

“Everything changed on September 19th, 1999. It started with us attending my friend's wedding,” says Bob. “At the beginning of the wedding, Billy goes down to the front of the chapel and he gave his testimony, just talked about what Jesus had done in his life. I just knew God was speaking to me and God was telling me, 'Bob, it's time to get off the fence. It's time to quit drinking.' It was just probably the clearest I'd ever heard God speak. And I just knew that my life was going to change. Later that day, we took our boat out under the Ohio River for a cruise. I told Carol what I felt. God had spoken to me that day.”

Carol recalls, “I'm thinking, 'Well, that sounds really good. I don't really know that that's going to happen. But one could only hope.' Bob went to start the boat back up, but the engine was dead.”

Bob says, “There was a fuel leak, and I fixed the fuel leak, cleaned everything up and I thought everything was going to be fine.”

“When Bob hit the starter switch, the boat exploded!” recalls Carol. 

“Blew up! Flames everywhere. And here I looked at her, and she was actually flying backwards off of the boat. And I'm guessing probably 20 or 25 feet from the boat. She was just in the air going backwards,” says Bob. 

“Since I wasn't a swimmer, I didn't have a life jacket on. I was pretty sure I would drown,” Carol recalls. “And that's when I cried out to God. And I said, ‘Lord, please don't let it end like this!'”

“I was completely surrounded by flames,” says Bob, “And, and I...I saw Carol come to the surface in the water.”

Carol says, “I can't explain it, but just it was serene, just looking around, looking at a burning boat, not understanding what was really happening at the moment.”

“Nearby boaters saw the accident and called 911. They helped us to shore, and an off duty nurse tended to us,” recalls Bob. “I was remarkably unscathed. Carol, however, suffered first, second, and third degree burns. She spent a week in the hospital recovering, and the near-death experience was a wake up call for both of us. We knew that...that God saved us for purpose. There was just no question about it. Carol and I were in total agreement on that. One of the first times we ever agreed on anything.”

Carol says, “All of a sudden, when you almost lose somebody that you love, even though the marriage wasn't good, we were both immediately on board to find a way to have a good marriage.”

“We just immersed ourselves in God's Word and everything we could do to get closer to Jesus and we began a faith journey that day,” says Bob.

“God was teaching me things that I didn't know about myself. And Bob was doing the same thing. All of a sudden we found ourselves to be on the same page. We were chasing after the same things,” Carol says. 

Bob confirms, “We had done it our own way for way too long. And once we started being obedient to what God was telling us, we fell in love.”

Carol says, “Over the next 15 years, our marriage went from being something that caused us pain to becoming something we cherish to this day. As a result, in 2014, we started a ministry we call, Merci, to help others struggling in their marriage. God has transformed every area of our lives which made it easier for us to do well in marriage.”

Bob says, “When we do this God's way, it's beautiful. We do it our way, not so much.”

Carol says, “Love is totally different when it's unselfish. It's like finding the cure for cancer. You just want to shout it from the rooftops that if God could save our marriage, he could save everybody's marriages. 'We went through fire and water, yet You took us to a place of abundance.' And that's the life we're living now. We're living a life of abundance, following God's ways and sharing it with other people. And we can't have a greater joy than that.”

Find out more about Carol and Bob Esham's marriage ministry, Merci, at

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