Mercy Revival's Founding
"Train up a child in the way he should go; even when he is old he will not depart from it." Proverbs 22:6 ESV
I was living the dream at the sugar white sandy beaches of Florida when God called me to bring a message to Boone County, West Virginia. “Why am I doing this?” I asked God. “I live in Florida not West Virginia. Plus, they are going to think I am crazy to come back to Boone County after 40 years with a message from God.”
It all started back in 2010 when my mom was diagnosed with cancer. I love my Mom and knew that I had to be there for her. I had missed many years as I had left in the mid 70’s to find myself, and a career in corporate America. I guess you always think your parents are going to live forever, and then you look up one day and find them gone or terminally ill. Regardless, I spent weeks in West Virginia over the next couple of years with my Mom in hospitals and on Route 17.
Each visit to the hospital brought gatherings of family and friends, and was highlighted with stories of the deaths of several more locals and/or family members by drug overdose. The stories were relayed with sadness, fear of "will it be my child next", disbelief of the pure numbers, and a sense of "what do we do"? The trips brought heaviness to my heart as I could feel the darkness and the hopelessness. I would leave with that heaviness following me home, and with a pull that I could not understand..
In January 2012, after my Mom’s brain surgery, I was considering renting an apartment in West Virginia. I could not understand that pull as I knew my Mom’s time on earth was short. She confirmed it when a nurse asked her after the brain surgery how she was doing. My Mom responded, “I’m getting ready to go home to Jesus”. Even though I was sad, it gladdened my heart to know that I would be with her one day on the golden streets of heaven. My Mother went home to Jesus in March 2012. When she received eternal life, I believed that pull to West Virginia was gone from my life, but God had a different plan.
During an outreach program for my local church on June 22, 2012, someone mentioned a movie about West Virginia. Even though I had not lived in West Virginia for 35 years, anything about West Virginia always caught my attention. The documentary was actually an amazing success story of a transformation revival of a community in Eastern Kentucky. An Appalachian Dawn, the story of Manchester: The City of Hope, Kentucky was a result of The Sentinel Group researching this story and determining that it met all the criteria to be documented as a true transformation revival of God. How could this be!
I was glued to my computer for five days reading everything I could find on this miraculous story. On the 6th day I woke up with my fingers flying over the keyboard. Questions started coming to my mind. Why am I building a web site about West Virginia? Where did the name Mercy Revival come from? What am I going to do with this web site? Amazingly God started speaking to me and telling me. Well, let me say it was amazing for me as I was a relatively new Christian, and had no experience of this nature. I did not know what to do but record on my iPhone each time He whispered in my ear. I was confused and kept saying, “But God I live in Florida.” Like, He did not know that!
Carefully noting each direction from God, I felt compelled to follow them to a T. One of his directions was to change my plans and come to West Virginia for my 40th class reunion, and to find out if we had anyone in ministry that graduated from my class. As a result, I contacted a fellow graduate from Scott High School that I had not seen or talked to in 40 years. The conversation went something like this, “Bill, this is Jeanne Hager. I understand you are in ministry. I have built a web site that God has placed upon my heart, and I believe he wants me to come to West Virginia with this message. Would you please look at it and see if it is something that you might be interested in getting involved with.”
“Wow! You have blown me away! Sister, I am with you all the way.” Those are the beautiful but scary words that Bill Cook came back with. Words I am not sure I expected to hear. Words that meant that I had to either rescind my determination to follow the purpose God had given me or to step out in faith. Words that meant Mercy Revival had a foothold into Boone County.
During our first meeting on July 21, 2012, six churches and 35 people were represented. All had been praying to God for a solution to the addiction that was destroying families. All believed this was a worthy cause to pray about and thus began Mercy Revival. We soon found out that the MERCY was for the addicts, but the REVIVAL was for His people. A revival of their faith.
I went back to Florida with a commitment to my people (and as a 9th generation West Virginian, they are my people as well as God’s) that I would give them a year. My original intent and commitment was to attempt to spend one week of every month in West Virginia. Doing what, I’m not sure as I had never been involved in ministry. But, I knew that was what God wanted from me, and was compelled to follow His lead. I learned quickly God actually had me in training. Invitations to Manchester followed, along with offers of help from people around the state and country.
However, a turning point for my personal life came in October 2012. On October 17, during a day of fasting and prayer I asked God for a message for the direction of my life and randomly opened my Bible to read that message. My pages fell open to Isaiah 60: 1“Arise, Jerusalem! Let your light shine for all to see. For the glory of the Lord rises to shine on you. 2Darkness as black as night covers all the nations of the earth, but the glory of the Lord rises and appears over you. 3All nations will come to your light; mighty kings will come to see your radiance. 4“Look and see, for everyone is coming home! Your sons are coming from distant lands; your little daughters will be carried home.
My day of fasting and prayer continued along this line confirming what I must do. I was convinced that God wanted me to move back to West Virginia, but I knew not what for. I had to get my arms around that and accept His destiny for me. I accepted it in my heart and advised my Brothers and Sisters in West Virginia that I was moving back, and requested their prayer.
On a trip back to West Virginia in late October, I stopped at my beloved friend’s house in Knoxville for a night of rest. I was awakened by a dream. You have to understand, I don’t remember dreams. However, this dream was crystal clear. God showed me ministries across West Virginia uniting together for a common purpose and spreading to all 55 counties of West Virginia. He gave me a sentence. PRAYWV in One Voice for a Mercy Revival to ReachWV. This represented four (4) ministries with common goals.
I was beside myself and prayed about it all the way to Foster, West Virginia. Upon arriving, I shared my dream with Pastor Stacy Dingess of Fountain of Life Worship Center. His comment to me was, “That’s God”. I then shared it with Debra Davis of One Voice, and her comment was, “That’s God”. I asked if I should share with the other two ministries and they encouraged me to do so. 2013 found me moving to Beckley, at the same time that a conference was being scheduled to bring these and other ministries together in Boone County for the AriseWV Regional Conference, Kingdom Solutions for Addictions.
I realized God was at work and moving fast. He wants redemption, salvation, and deliverance for the people of West Virginia that are being held captive to addiction. Praise the Lord!
Come join us and pray for God’s aspiration for The State of West Virginia. Mercy Revival needs your time, energy, and belief in Our Lord Jesus Christ to be part of our prayer team in order to be successful and make a difference in West Virginia. Please be part of the solution and help revive your community and your family. God wants you!
Borned in Logan, Raised in Boone County
1038 N Eisenhower Drive, #289
Beckley, WV 25801