By Karen Brown
It has often been said at The Bucket Ministry headquarters that the most important part of our ministry is prayer. It’s how we talk to God. We make our requests known, we give praise, we find support in prayer. As TBM grew, it became clear that we needed to start a prayer team. When looking for the right leader, it was crucial we found someone who believed in the power of prayer, had the time to take the lead, and was excited about the work TBM does. We found that person in Rhonda Martin.
Rhonda is a kind-hearted, God-fearing prayer warrior. She retired as a school librarian five years ago. To meet her is to have no doubt that the kids thoroughly enjoyed her as a librarian, especially when you get to see a glimpse of her former career come out as I did. While driving to Plano for a meeting, she told a few of us that she really missed reading to kids with an accent. She then proceeded to read “Petite Rouge” (a Cajun version of Little Red Riding Hood) in a thick Cajun accent. When I’m around her, it is obvious that she has the Holy Spirit in her. She is a true joy to be around and it is a blessing to hear her prayers.
But how did she become the prayer warrior we know today?
After truly beginning to walk with Christ in 8th grade, prayer was always very important to Rhonda. “I remember sitting down writing out a prayer each year of high school that God would use me and I could be a witness for him,” she says. “… I knew I wanted to make a difference for him.” She helped start a Christ on Campus club her senior year and taught 7th grade Sunday School as a college freshman. Her prayer life continued to grow as she became a young mother, a youth teacher/librarian, and then a retiree. “These past five years in retirement have given me more time to be able to focus even more specifically on prayer than ever before,” she says. “The opportunities to grow in prayer came as friends shared needs that only God can answer.”
Through the years, Rhonda has seen prayers answered many times, but one of the most amazing times happened when she was in her thirties. After her mother-in-law was struck with a major headache, a CAT scan found the cause to be an inoperable aneurysm. “That night I remember crying out to God,” Rhonda says. “I truly experienced Romans 8:26, ‘In the same way the Spirit also helps our weakness; for we do not know how to pray as we should, but the Spirit Himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words.’” God heard her prayers. After her mother-in-law was further examined, it was discovered that the aneurysm had burst but had sealed itself off and was not a danger. After staying at the hospital a few days for observation and tests, she went home completely healed!
Rhonda is not new to prayer teams, although the TBM prayer team is the largest she’s been a part of. She is also on small text groups with others. When someone is going through a trial, they will reach out through text and Rhonda and a few others will begin writing out their prayers to each other. Rhonda’s first prayer text was for a young girl named Scout who was very ill and the family was concerned she might have leukemia. As the prayer team would receive updates on Scout, they continued to write out their prayers to one another. The young girl was completely healed to the complete amazement of the doctors and nurses. “We witnessed a step-by-step miracle and felt like God allowed us to be a part of it through our prayers,” Rhonda says. “We certainly were part of the jubilant rejoicing of this victory!”
Rhonda and her prayer group have continued to pray for each other and those they know. She loves seeing her favorite verse about prayer come true, Matthew 18:20, “Where two or three have gathered together in My name, I am there in their midst.” As Rhonda says, “We witnessed so many ‘little miracles’ that our faith grew by leaps and bounds that THIS is God’s tool for today’s world. When you can’t get together each day because of work, time, activities, and because we live in so many different cities, we can get together instantly through prayer texts.”
After seeing a demonstration of how the bucket and filter worked by TBM Founder Christopher Beth during a team meeting for a mission trip to Haiti, Rhonda was immediately hooked. “As he [Chris] poured the water sludge from Lake Ray Hubbard into the clear bucket, I was horrified,” she says. “When we saw the clear water drain out, I was amazed.” The fact that people are more willing to hear the Gospel after giving them access to clean water confirmed in her mind that this was a special ministry. When Rhonda had the opportunity to ask Sheri, Chris’ wife, more about TBM, the questions began to tumble out of her mouth. “How did TBM get started?” “How often do you go on missions?” “Where have you been?” “How is Chris able to go on so many missions while working?” Rhonda says, “I was very annoying, I’m sure.”
While Rhonda familiarized herself with TBM, she had the opportunity to show Sheri what God could do in a prayer team. “Savannah, Chris and Sheri’s daughter, was experiencing severe back pain from a car accident years before which broke her back and she needed surgery which was being slowed by the red tape of [Worker’s Compensation]. I asked Sheri if I could put her and Savannah on a prayer text and she agreed. As we prayed, we watched things slowly unwind and be released so Savannah could be released from [Worker’s Compensation] to regular insurance and get the surgery she needed!”
As Sheri got to see the power of the prayer text team, she agreed with Chris’ decision to ask Rhonda to lead TBM’s team. Rhonda was thrilled at the offer. “When he asked me, I was so excited that I could be a part of God’s work through this precious ministry! I said excitedly, ‘Yes! I’ll pray about it, but until I hear God say no, Yes!!’”
The prayer text team started last summer and has grown to 72 people, including members from Texas, Colorado, New York, Haiti, Brazil, Uganda and Kenya, just to name a few. It’s a place where mission team members can send specific prayer requests about issues that happen while they’re in the field. TBM leaders can also post specific prayer requests regarding different needs.
When in the field, our mission teams are filled with peace and encouragement when they read the prayer texts. It gives them the will to continue on. It gives them the wisdom to stop pushing and surrender the issue to God. The prayer text team is so powerful.
If you are interested in starting 2019 off right in a ministry, please consider joining our prayer text team and be a part of something great. For those who can’t or don’t feel led to give or go on a mission trip with us, this is a perfect opportunity for you to get involved. It doesn’t matter if you’re a veteran to prayer or new to it, we’d love to have you join. Here’s how you can join today:
We send all prayer requests via the Whatsapp group texting app
- Please download the free app
- Please follow set up instructions when downloaded (including verification code)
- You may consider turning off Whatsapp notifications in settings (if not you will hear a lot of “dings”)
- Please text Rhonda at 2one4-724-5170 when completed (text the number 1, not the letter)
Thank you for joining the team!