A few years ago my husband and I had the privilege of accompanying Apostle Ken Malone and a group he had assembled. He wanted us to witness first hand the miracles which God had performed in Clay County, Kentucky. A few years prior to that there had been a major revival which had impacted the entire area and Ken wanted us to see it for ourselves. As we listened to the testimonies of person after person, we could only marvel at the goodness of God.
Prior to the revival, Clay County, Kentucky was famous all over the nation and beyond – but not for the right reasons. It was famous for being the drug capital of the United States. As much as 40% of the population was growing marijuana. There were even suggestions that Daniel Boone National Forest was being turned into the world’s largest Pot farm.
The county was also known for being the illegal prescription drug capital of the country. People were openly selling the drugs with no pretense of secrecy. There was one dealer who opened a window of his house for a drive-through dispensary. People would line up for their drugs in a fashion similar to a trip through McDonald’s.
Needless to say, many of the ministers and serious Christians were lamenting the facts, but feeling helpless in the presence of such blatant sin. Obviously, for such drug dealings to be the norm, there was much corruption throughout the region. Politicians, law enforcement officers, and even judges were involved in the payoff.
Along with the drug dealing, violence and poverty prevailed. Families were torn apart and children neglected. Murders and violent fights were common. Deaths from overdoses were the norm. Education levels were at an all-time low.
Sad situation, indeed.
Then when several overdose deaths occurred among the “respectable” families, there was a ground swell of “enough is enough!” It was time for a change.
A nondenominational charismatic pastor and a Baptist pastor got together and started to pray. They determined to set aside doctrinal differences and to focus on common ground. (Namely, the completed work of Jesus Christ). They had known each other before this time, but their friendship truly blossomed with the cause which had energized them.
Other pastors began to join the two, and eventually there were leaders from many different churches who wanted to be included. The result was a chorus of born again believers raising one voice for God to heal their land. They were humbling themselves and coming to the only One who could provide the answer.
And answer He did!
First they were impressed to have a demonstration of unity. A march through town – declaring freedom from the lethargy which had gone before. The march was to end at a public park where they would pray for revival to invade their land.
The day for the march came and the sky opened up – but not in the way expected. Rain began to pour down with such force that the leaders discussed postponing the event.
Then the question came up: do drug dealers postpone their sales because of the rain? Absolutely not – and neither would these brave fighters. So with water flooding all around them, the parade started – with a handful of marchers walking in step. As their cadence continued, others joined in – until 4,000 people joined in the demonstration to end the drug siege. What a day!
After the march through town, the huge crowd gathered in a park to repent of their apathy and pray for God’s mercy on the community. They prayed, shared, and sang until the sun broke out in more ways than one.
Nobody could have anticipated what would happen next. People started getting saved – right and left. Then the FBI got involved and dealers were arrested. It was quite an operation when even school officials, police officers, and judges were being taken to jail. In fact, some of the most popular leaders of the community were sentenced – even some who were in church every Sunday.
Prayers were being answered and God was on the move.
The transformation of the county was so profound that the city council changed Manchester’s slogan to “The City of Hope.” George Otis, Jr, a well-known film producer, capped it off with a documentary. In it he told the story and included the testimonies of many whose lives were transformed.
My husband and I had the opportunity to meet some of the people. There was one man who had been in and out of jail almost all of his life. His parents were rough and tumble mountaineers who thought drinking and fighting were normal behavior. This man had left his home when he was 13 – and over the next 20 or so years lived a life of extreme drug addiction and crime. He was in and out of jail, running from authorities most of the time – and notorious as a violent man.
He told us of his dramatic salvation, which could only have come through an extraordinary visitation from God. At the time of our visit, this man was known for bringing more people to the Lord than all of the ministers combined.
Then there was the daughter of the school superintendent who was so addicted to meth that her life had spiraled to the pit. She had once been a beautiful, intelligent girl with a bright future. Yet the drugs had degraded her life to the tragedy of living with her dealer who kept her in submission by his brutal beatings.
When we met her, she had been free for several years. Her face was radiant as she shared how Jesus had saved and delivered her.
Tears flowed in abundance when the local chapter of Teen Challenge boomed out their rendition of Amazing Grace. Hopeful voices where there had been nothing but desperation.
The stories went on and on. One by one, lives had been transformed. As a unit, the whole community had been transformed. There had been a visitation from God’s Holy Spirit which changed the entire complexion of the county. All of the churches filled up and broken relationships were mended.
It was truly a sign and a wonder – on par with the Book of Acts.
It was also a demonstration of God’s word in action.
II Chronicles 7:14 If My people who are called by My name would humble themselves, pray, seek My face, and repent from their wicked ways, I would hear from Heaven and heal their land.
That’s exactly what happened in Clay County, Kentucky.
Do you think that this could happen in your community? In mine? I believe that it could happen all over our nation and all over our world – if we too could do what He says.
Humble ourselves, come together in unity, pray, seek God, and repent. These are the keys. If we will, He will.
That’s the way of God, and I believe Him.