Story of Our Journey"One act of obedience can yield a lifetime of rewards..."
The trip was pretty normal for most of the trip and then about 10 o’clock the night of the 12th after having passed through Tallahassee on Interstate 10 we were in prayer listening to Shekinah Glory and the Spirit of the Lord began to move. We were praying for our journey and as we each took turns to pray we shared what was on our hearts. As Willie began to close his portion of the prayer he said, “ And Lord send pastor Cole a wife” I remember those words like it was yesterday as they were forever etched in the back of my mind. Its almost as if I can still see him saying them and I remember exactly where we were on Interstate 10.
Upon arrival in Bradenton we went to the Wal-Mart and immediately began to evangelize those who were in the Wal-Mart. Keep in mind it’s now between 3-4 in the morning. We then stopped at Waffle House to grab a bite to eat. After eating we arrived at our hotel and settled down for the night.
The next morning would be Saturday, which was the start of the Discipleship Seminar. We had a great time teaching on the subject of Discipleship.
Fast forward to Sunday morning. I ministered from a theme that, “The Glory of the Latter House would be greater than that of the former.” 20 minutes before stepping into the pulpit to minister I noticed a young lady come in who really caught my attention. Not only was she stunningly beautiful, but her spirit was glowing and extremely beautiful. She sat on the lefts side of the sanctuary about 5 rows out. As I ministered on that morning I noticed that she appeared to be intently listening and my initial thoughts were, “my message must be really bad, she is looking at me very mean.” Later, I would find that she had actually taken very good notes of my message.
During the initial part of the service the visitors were acknowledged and it was mentioned that she was the daughter of one of the elders of the Church. They had also mentioned that she was from Tampa. It had been thirty years since she had been back to the church, as it had been the first church her family had been members of when she was a little girl. After service, I made during my introduction to her I inquired as to where the most beautiful beaches were. I asked if there were any nice beaches in the Tampa area and she said the nicest beaches were actually in the Bradenton/Sarasota area. Another interesting part of the beginning of the service was when Pastor Miller introduced me, He said now Pastor Cole is not married but we are praying for him. I laughed and when I got up to speak I made it clear that my purpose for coming had nothing to do with anything personal or potentially romantic. I made this statement that If God did send me a wife she would have to possess certain qualities; 1. She had to be a prayer warrior. 2. She had to be filled with God’s Spirit. 3. She had to be dancing and shouting in the Holy Ghost with a mighty burning fire. Little did I know that God had a surprise for me that day sitting in the sanctuary.
Once the service was over all the ministers and leaders of the church went to grab a bite to eat for lunch. While sitting at dinner my friend Pastor Keith Miller, Sr. leaned over to me and said that is your father-in-law and that is your wife. I laughed initially because I had been married before and had decided I really didn’t want to venture down that path again anytime soon and if I did it would have to be God Himself who told me. Once we left the restaurant we stopped by Lido Beach to take a couple photos of the beach before heading back home to Memphis. While standing on the beach we were approached by three separate groups of people who all asked us if we had just gotten married. Although we were dressed in dressy attire we thought it was ironic that we were the only couple standing there that anyone asked that question to. It was amazing and in our hearts we just knew that something special was happening and it had a God purpose to it.
After leaving the beach, we drove back through Tampa and made a stop to refuel and make our final bathroom stops before hitting the road. While in Tampa we stopped by Valora’s house. The Holy Spirit said to me, ask her to pray for your trip and safety. When she opened her mouth to pray I knew in my spirit that God was speaking to me that this confirmed my request. She prayed powerfully and began to decree and declare over us. She spoke of things that none of us had ever shared either with one-another or with her for that matter. Once she was done we had to take a seat because we were all pretty amazed by what had just taken place.
We talked on the phone as we left that night and my entire trip home we talked. We knew that we wanted to be together and that it just didn’t feel right not being together. It was beautiful and there was a peace in our hearts. Two weeks later I returned to Florida on Christmas Eve and stayed at a friend of Valora’s house for several days before returning to Memphis. The strange thing is that I knew God had shifted me to Tampa but I was really fighting Him. I literally told God that I didn’t lose anything in Tampa. So on one of the times I attempted to return to Memphis my car broke began to malfunction. I took it to a mechanic who said there was nothing wrong with it. So I again tried to get on the road to head back to Memphis and the same thing happened again. Once again I took the vehicle to the mechanic and he said nothing was wrong with it. This time I got in and headed back to Memphis. Unfortunately, I only made it to Atlanta and my car engine began to smoke. Whatever happened it had overheated and there I sat for a day. Guess who had to come to pick me up? You guessed right, Valora came and picked me up and we drove back to Memphis. I packed up a couple weeks cloths and we headed back to Tampa. During that time I lived with Pastor Miller in Sarasota. Within a month and a half we were getting married. We journeyed back to Lido Beach at sunrise on February 11th, 2009 which was Valora’s 40th birthday. Interestingly enough, it had been spoke over her life that something significant was going to happen to her on her 40th birthday. She had also received several prophetic words that she was going to get married soon and that he had an apostolic calling on his life.
A month after marriage we started Perfected Love International Fellowship and from there Agape International our Not for Profit. Now we have several not for profit entities and sever for profit entities which we founded and now provide leadership for. We have also authored several books and have been blessed to travel together. We both went back to school and finished degrees together and can honestly say that in the first 6 years of marriage we have not spent more than 6 hours apart. Not because we have to but because we enjoy being together and loving doing things as a team.
That one simple act of obedience in hearing from God and arriving at the same place on the same day was no coincidence or accident but the divine plan of God. We are committed to the covenant we made to each other. We have endured many things from financial trials to relational trials but through it all we are committed to covenant. In 2014 we received two phone calls 12 hours apart. The first at 9 pm shared that Valor’s dad had passed and the next at 9:30 am the next day that my grandmother who raised me was being taking to the hospital and that it didn’t look very good. We stood by her side during her last days here on earth and watched her transition to glory together. My grandmother loved my wife and truly entrusted me to her. She stated that she knew that “Little Bit” as she called her would take care of me once she was gone. Likewise, her dad said that he loved me and knew that his baby was in good hands. We are both honored to know that they approved of us and our covenant.