FCI Founder and Executive Director
In January 2008, shortly after my recovery from fibromyalgia, I started a support group at my church. Within a few months more than 70 people were attending the meetings.
That September our support group hosted a seminar at the church and the pastor came in. Some of the attendees were arriving in wheel chairs, with walkers, pulling oxygen tanks, etc. He was surprised to see this and the next day at church he said, "Yvonne, why don't you start a nonprofit? You could help a lot more people."
I don't remember what I said but I was thinking, "You've got to be kidding!"
How could I possibly run a nonprofit? I didn't have a clue about how to start one. Besides, I was very busy. In addition to facilitating the support group I was office manager for my husband's business and I was deeply involved at church. But the biggest reason? I didn't feel qualified! I thought of all kinds of excuses. I kept feeling like I should do this but I also kept fighting it.
And then the strangest thing happened!
One Saturday morning while I was doing my prayer and Bible study I said, "Lord, are you sure you want me to start a nonprofit?" And suddenly a thought came to me—like an audible voice, "Matthew 9:35" —so I turned to the Scripture and read through verse 38.
"…And Jesus was going about all the cities and villages, teaching in their synagogues, proclaiming the gospel, and wherever he went he healed people of every sort of disease and sickness. And what pity he felt for the crowds that came, because their problems were so great, and they didn't know what to do or where to go for help. They were like sheep without a shepherd. The harvest is so great, and the workers are so few, He told his disciples. So pray to the one in charge of the harvesting, and ask him to recruit more workers for his harvest fields.
I got the picture but I guess the Lord knows how stubborn I am. A moment later I heard the same voice say "First Timothy 4:14".
I turned to first Timothy 4 and read verses 14-16: "Be sure to use the abilities God has given you through his prophets when the elders of the church laid their hands upon your head. Put these abilities to work; throw yourself into your tasks so that everyone may notice your improvement and progress. Keep a close watch on all you do and think. Stay true to what is right and God will bless you and use you to help others."
(When you become an elder in our church, you go up front and the elders lay their hands on your head in a ceremony, the pastor reads some Scripture, and then the congregation welcomes you as an elder.)
I gave up! I went into the other room and told my husband what had happened. I read the Scriptures to him, tears streaming down my cheeks. He said, "We have to do it."
So here we are—almost 20 years later.
With God's help, and that of many others, we've been able to offer real hope and help to thousands of fibromyalgia sufferers throughout the United States and several foreign countries!
Someone once told me: God doesn't always call the qualified. Sometimes he qualifies the called.
And just for the record, I've never heard voices before or since!