“FOR SUCH A TIME AS THIS…”
Written by Trish Kanipe, overseer of Adopt-A-Cop, on July 9, 2021.
One Friday, I felt particularly impressed to pray for one of our Adopt-A-Cop Law Enforcement officers. At that time, I only knew her by name. She was only one of the 111 officers who signed up for a prayer partner, and yet, throughout the day, God continually brought her to my mind. I did not know why I needed to intercede in prayer. I did the little I could do and prayed for her safety, strength, and wisdom. As the day drew on, I eventually decided to write her an extra note of encouragement which included two verses of Scripture that God had impressed upon my heart. Feeling burdened for her, I decided to immediately take the card to the Police Department. Returning to my car, I sensed that I had been released from the need to remain in prayer.
The next morning, I received the following text: “I read your card today and it stopped me in my tracks. I have been struggling with God’s will in my life for a while now. I thought maybe it was time to quit this career. I’ve even told members in the department that I was planning to leave. A few months ago, I studied Esther for weeks. ‘For such a time as this’ has been resonating in my mind since then and when I saw that verse in your card today, I knew in an instant that I must stay here for now to do God’s will. You have no idea what your card and prayers are doing to encourage me to keep going. It is so appreciated.”
Our prayers take so little time and yet, mean so much!
“UMM, CAN I ASK YOU A QUESTION?”
I sat across the desk from a neighboring Police Chief, explaining the Adopt-A-Cop program, and silently praying that he would sign up. While he was eager to bring his staff onboard, I sensed that he wasn’t a believer. As you can imagine, discerning such things come quickly when the subject of prayer is broached; they will exhibit the good-for-my-staff-but-not-me body language. Even the toughest nonbelieving policeman (or woman) gets antsy when you bring up God or prayer. Little did I know that his restlessness had roots in something deeper and much more profound. As we closed our time together and I stood to leave, he opened a conversation that both surprised and warmed my heart. It went as follows:
“Umm… umm… Can I ask you a question?” (He reminded me of a shy little boy inside a large, confident Law Enforcement Officer.)
“Do you know a Priest, or maybe a Pastor that I could talk to? I was talking with some of my men and we decided that we need to get baptized (wait for it) …. or SOMETHING?”
“I certainly do know someone who I am sure would be glad to talk with you and your men.”
“I asked a Priest and a Pastor and I was told they couldn’t help me because I couldn’t be at church every Sunday. Many of us work on Sundays.”
“I’d be glad to connect you with my Pastor. Even if you can’t be there on Sunday, there are things going on all the time for men in my church. You’d fit right in.”
“Well, I don’t know much about religion.”
“That’s great because it has nothing to do with religion. Religion is man attempting to connect with God and TRUE Christianity is God attempting to connect with man.” (Credit to Billy Graham on that one.)
My heart was sad that he had experienced legalism and rejection instead of grace and mercy while truly seeking God. But perhaps this was God’s way of closing doors to a congregation that wouldn’t show him God’s grace and truth.
We didn’t finish the conversation because he was called away, but this is a prime example of why Adopt-A-Cop was founded. Love them well and when they need help, they will know where to come! Please pray for this Chief and his men. Officers can become mistrusting and hardened in this profession. The wall that goes up around their hearts is thick and high; it allows them to see the vile and broken without falling apart. Unfortunately, they still carry the burden home. Needless to say, Pastor Scott is connecting with this officer!
SINGLE MOTHER OF TWO
When an officer signs up for an Adopt-A-Cop prayer partner, we ask three things of them; their name, their position, and their birth month. There is also a place to share prayer requests. A high percentage do not add a prayer request, but we also get everything from “protection, wisdom, and strength” to “pray for my wife and children as this career is hard on them.” Every once in a while, you get one that blows you away and deeply burdens your heart. Such was the case with one that signed up from a neighboring county. I could feel the pain and desperation in her words: “Single mother of two, working two jobs just to survive. Please pray for strength to make it through each day and for my children to make wise choices.”
Can you hear the emptiness of her soul? Her hopelessness? Her anguish? While she puts her life on the line to serve and protect us every day, she remains beaten down by life itself. It haunted me and so I shared the request with Connection Group 4. They collected $300 in gift cards for food and Wal-Mart for the children’s needs. I never met up with this officer again but Alliance and Adopt-A-Cop were a reflection of Jesus Christ’s love for not only her and her children but the entire Sheriff’s Office who experienced what God’s love really looks like. “I tell you the truth, anyone who gives you a cup of water in my name because you belong to Christ will certainly not lose his reward.” Matthew 10:41
DISASTER IN WATAUGA
No one thought the heartbreaking disaster that hit our community on April 28 would come. I certainly didn’t, but God — in His infinite wisdom — had us set up an emergency prayer request system with all of our Law Enforcement partners for just such an event. I was at home and heard the shots that killed Officers Ward and Fox; (I live close to the crime scene) and then my phone buzzed with the designated alarm from Boone Police Department. The message simply said one word, “PRAY!” At first there was disbelief and the hopes that this really wasn’t happening but when all the Police cruisers raced down the street, I knew it was true. The nightmare was real and there was a great need for prayer. Adopt-A-Cop has an understanding with Law Enforcement that sending that one word would mean immediate notification for our prayer warriors to hit their knees. We do so with no questions asked or an expectation of the who, what, and whys of the situation from the Police. Little did I know that we would have the opportunity to pour out God’s love in such a difficult and heart-rendering manner.
Days after the funerals for Officer Ward and Fox, I met with a Police Chief. He was familiar with the involvement of Adopt-A-Cop and Alliance and asked me one simple question – “What time were you praying?” When I told him, he shared that one of his officers volunteered to enter the building first in the attempt to rescue Officers Ward and Fox. He shared that they are trained to go fully into a room so that others can enter behind him. For some reason (and we know why) the first officer, going against all his training, moved to the left instead and the suspect jumped up from behind a half wall and started firing. If the first officer hadn’t moved left, he would have been shot in the throat. The second officer to enter was much shorter and the bullet struck the very top of his shield and deflected up to his helmet. This non-believing Police Chief, looked at me and said, “you all were praying at the same time this happened! What the officer did went against all his training and he doesn’t understand why he moved left.” Prayer does change things!
Lastly, I thought you might want to know what Adopt-A-Cop, through Alliance, accomplished during those next days. Both the Ward and Fox families received 40 meals. Boone Police Department was fed twice and Blowing Rock Police Department once; both stations received enough to feed fifty people over two days of shifts. Condolence cards were sent to every member of the Watauga Sheriff’s Department (someone else fed them). We had the opportunity to pray with and listen to many officers at the staging area throughout the day and into the evening hours. While it was truly heart-breaking, Alliance and Adopt-A-Cop were there amidst the tragedy. “You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, saving many lives.” Genesis 50:20. Because of that eventful day and the manner in which Alliance showed Christ love, many officers have signed up to be personally prayed for each day. Yes, what Satan meant for evil, God meant for good!”