Gospel Fellowship Association Missions
By Matt Recker

God's Power to Transform

The Gospel’s transforming power in the hearts of individual people will always be one of the great joys of the ministry. Helen Stevens and Stephanie Marnoch demonstrated this miraculous transforming power when they were saved to serve with vibrancy for their Savior.

Helen Stevens

Before we met, Helen Stevens was heavily chained to drugs to ease her mind from fear. She also saw a psychiatrist who prescribed other medications which did not help her. When her doctor increased his rates, he told her, “I don’t think you will be able to afford me anymore; I think you should go to church.” Helen testified, “I felt so useless and unloved, so I began attending a large urban ministry in my neighborhood.” Filled with dissatisfaction and fear, Helen continued drinking and smoking pot. For some reason, however, she decided to turn on a Christian radio station. 


Soon she listened from morning to night and came under conviction of sin. She realized that what she was listening to on the radio did not coincide with what she heard at her liberal church. One night she heard our radio program and decided to attend Heritage Baptist Church. The first Sunday she came, the Lord saved her and set her free. She believed in Christ’s substitutionary death and bodily resurrection and became a new creation in Jesus Christ. Helen said of that day, “I felt the Lord’s hand upon me, and He touched my heart to live for Him. Now I know I am loved and useful in Jesus Christ.”

For the next 20 years, Helen became one of the most dedicated Christians I have ever met. A woman of prayer and the Word of God, Helen also never missed a service at our church. She had a burden for souls, and she distributed more gospel tracts than anyone I personally knew. She taught Sunday school and served the Lord any way she could. 

Recker story

Stephanie Marnoch

Stephanie’s mother was an alcoholic, her father neglected her, and her stepfather abused her. In spite of this, “Stef” helped raise her younger sisters, worked her way through college, and married a great guy, Jamie. Then something happened which changed her life. Stef was diagnosed with lupus. Over the next 34 years, she had 12 back surgeries, 2 hip replacements, 2 knee replacements, stage IV cancer which led to a right facial re-section, and her left leg amputated. Those are the major things! She suffered countless pneumonias, hospitalizations, and many fractures caused by long-term steroids. Her life was governed by doctor appointments, hospitals, and pain.


In the midst of her years of illness, Jamie was saved through our church radio broadcast. Stef thought he had lost his mind and threatened to divorce him. He would “imprison” her in the car by locking the doors when he was pumping gas while turning on Christian radio programs! That is how he got Stef to first listen to the Gospel! Because Stef was a Roman Catholic, in her mind she would never change.

God was at work through her trials. She broke her back in four places and was in the hospital for months. With lots of time to think and barely move, she laid in her bed in one spot. Outside her hospital window she watched the seasons change and people coming and going in their cars. She even knew the cars each doctor drove by looking out at the parking lot. Most importantly, Stef listened to a lot of recorded sermons. She began to question her religious beliefs, and Jamie just kept sharing the Gospel with her. God finally used the most well-known verse in the Bible to open her eyes: John 3:16. 


Stef said, “That verse told me that God Himself loved me, and no church was needed as an intermediary. That verse was a spiritual ‘Eureka!’ moment for me. I just ‘got it’—that Jesus died for my sins, and wow, what a humbling concept it was to really understand the sacrifice He gave for little, insignificant me!”

After her salvation, Stef and Jamie came to our church and served God continually in wonderful ways. Stef took meticulous minutes for our church business meetings and loved teaching the children of our church.

During the past pandemic both Helen and Stef went to be with the Lord. How we miss them, but we remember the amazing transforming power of the Gospel in their lives. I know that they are both happy in the presence of the One who loved them more than any man ever will!