People often ask me how GOD of the WORD came to be. Well, I suppose it really began in 1999 when local church leaders started telling me that I belonged in a teaching ministry. No opportunity for me to act on that initially presented itself, but four years later, the opportunity finally came. Although it seemed successful, it was short-lived. On the heels of (but unrelated to) a cross-country move, a family crisis developed and suddenly, my full-time attention was required on the home-front.
For several long years, I prayed and wondered, continuing to believe that God’s call to teach had been unmistakable. Nevertheless, every opportunity to teach had to be turned down. During those now-precious years of waiting, the words of Ephesians 3:20, that God does immeasurably more than we ask or imagine, repeatedly came to me like a promise. I certainly couldn’t imagine how my situation would resolve, but I nevertheless took Him at His word.
God’s surprises began with an invitation and what felt like a risk. Although my dear, supportive husband had been in agreement that up to this point, teaching had been out of the question, we both agreed that the time seemed right to “test the waters.” On a Thursday morning in 2008, a handful of women, whom I didn’t know but who were eager to study the Bible, met for the first time. The only decisions I made were that the Bible would be our only text and that we would start where the Bible started, in Genesis. A year later, the group numbered in the 50’s. A woman asked, “Are we studying through the Bible?” The thought appealed to me. Then, another woman’s pastor asked to use my curriculum. “What curriculum,” I thought? All I had at the time were my scratched-out notes! I knew the time had come for me to act as though God indeed wanted to do more than I could imagine.
Looking back, I have often thought that no one could have been more surprised by what God did than me. Within four years, a full Bible curriculum was developed and used both in and out of United States. Then in 2012, the Chinese house church requested that the eight studies be translated into Chinese. The result was an intensive four-year editing and revision process, culminating in widespread distribution in mainland China.
God certainly does immeasurably more than we ask or imagine. And His surprises continue – to Him alone be the glory! My prayer is that you will better know the GOD of the word through these studies. I’m confident that He will never cease to amaze you!
Debbi Hammond and her husband Jim have been married since 1981. They have four grown children and a number of grandchildren. Currently, Debbi teaches the GOD of the WORD studies in upstate New York to the staff of CAMP-of-the-WOODS and in her local church.