(Unedited segment of Chapter 3 Unmasking the Myths: Is This Prayer? to be published 2020. Unmasking the Myths is the first of three books on prayer containing over 70 interviews from people around the globe. Their stories and experiences give insight to the power and effectiveness of prayer.)
|“All along, prayer has been the Holy Spirit
planting love in me for Jesus.”
As young as seven years old, Kevin wondered if God was real. Even though he went to church and took communion, Kevin felt there was a huge distance between God and himself. As a young boy, whenever he had trouble falling asleep, he would reflect on God. Yet, he felt confused.
By the time he turned 16 the confusion had turned to fear. Though he assumed he was a Christian, he honestly didn’t know what that meant. Only three years later, he was heading in the wrong direction fast.
“Back home from my first year of university, I was working for the town. However, Because of a severe spinal injury from playing hockey, I couldn’t do anything without being loaded up on prescription pain killers. When I came to the end of that summer, I had no money left. I was drinking daily and spending every penny at the local bar. I was on a destructive path.
Here I was a 19-year-old guy who couldn’t even stand up straight or sit down. I was depressed. I didn’t want to go back to university the way I was. Everything was on a bad track, although I maybe wasn’t aware of it at the time. My family had been set free from alcoholism. However, I was on my own journey of recovery after being raised in a dysfunctional home.
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How do you prepare for triplets? Making room for one new addition requires planning, energy and resources, but triplets demand so much more. Before you think this seasoned grandmother, well beyond the childbearing years, has lost all grip on reality, I can explain. No! Cuddling the recent influx of babies being joyfully deposited among the young and thriving families hasn’t given me the desire to turn back the clock and start over.
Nonetheless, God has conceived in me triplets. When I first became pregnant with anticipation, I consented to one birth; but alas one has become three. Such surprising encounters occur to those who wait and listen for God’s promptings.
“I will stand at my watch
and station myself on the ramparts;
I will look to see what he will say to me,
and what answer I am to give to this complaint.”
To “station” oneself “on the ramparts” means to take a stand at a place of siege or distress. Though I didn’t realize it at the time, that is exactly what God was calling me to do. About two years ago, I was standing at my prayer watch — well more specifically on my face, weeping in the prayer room. I felt God’s distinctive nudge to write a book on prayer. Though prayer is an active part of my Christian faith, I certainly neither felt equipped nor authoritative on the subject of prayer.
Yet, God persisted.
Then the LORD replied:
“Write down the revelation
and make it plain on tablets
so that a herald may run with it.
For the revelation awaits an appointed time;
it speaks of the end and will not prove false.
Though it linger, wait for it;
it will certainly come and will not delay.”
Writing and making it plain sounds simple enough for a less weighty subject. However, looking at books written on prayer by Dutch Sheets, Anne Graham Lotz, Stormie Omartian, C. Peter Wagner and many others left me feeling intimidated and inadequate to say the least.
Regardless, I was pregnant! There was no turning back. After several months of hesitation and deliberation, I accepted the reality. “Okay, Lord, we’re having a baby, but this definitely has to be more You than me.”
And so, the writing began. About thirty thousand words into the process, God nudged me again to interview people, gathering testimonies about the miraculous interventions they have witnessed as a result of prayer.
My excitement was building. Since I love hearing other people’s stories, I looked forward to the process without considering the technical details involved. I began to approach people I respected in my small prayer circle, asking for their assistance.
“. . . ‘declare how much God has done for you.’
And he went away, proclaiming throughout the whole city
how much Jesus had done for him.”
The voice of this once demonized man exemplifies the power of testimony. As I began to listen to these prayer testimonies, I knew they would inspire faith and increase prayer momentum. Surprisingly, recounting their prayer journeys ignited something deep and fresh within themselves before their words ever hit a page in my files.
Who but God would have known these multiple hours and dozens of voices would accumulate to over 400,000 words of intensely vulnerable and honestly raw prayer testimony. Their experiences reached from Mongolia to Jamaica, Chile to Great Britain, Nigeria to North America. Their ages spanned from nine to ninety years. Each held a piece — a unique story — of a prayer tapestry.
Together their voices impacted my own prayer life and spiritual perception.
“I will tell my people what you have done;
I will praise you in their assembly.”
Now came the task of honoring God and honoring their testimonies. As I mapped and charted their stories, I discovered distinct patterns within three main themes: the misconceptions that keep people from believing their prayers could be effective, the strategies necessary to defeat the enemy and praying with authority, and the miraculous interventions of God.
Prepare for Triplets
It was then that I realized, I was birthing not just one but three book babies:
- Unmasking the Myths; Is This Prayer?
- Unlocking the Legacy; Taking Territory
- Unstoppable; Moving in the Miraculous
It’s a good thing God didn’t forewarn me of the magnitude of the project. I would have found the fastest way out of town and hid somewhere in the hills. However, these testimonies produced such a powerful impact on my life, I couldn’t wait to share their stories with others like you.
It’s incredible to me that Jesus would say that we are the light of the world. Of course, in and of ourselves, we are the opposite. Because of His Presence within us, we have become light and He desires that light to shine brightly.
“You are the light of the world.
A town built on a hill cannot be hidden.
Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl.
Instead they put it on its stand,
and it gives light to everyone in the house.
In the same way, let your light shine before others,
that they may see your good deeds
and glorify your Father in heaven.”
Dozens of people willingly opened their lives within the pages of these prayer books so that others will clearly see the power of prayer and give God glory. Only a handful are in full-time ministry. The vast majority are farmers, housewives, doctors, teachers, laborers, truckers, students . . . They are normal people we brush shoulders with everyday, people trusting in the grace and goodness of God to hear and answer prayer.
But through them, God is glorified. Prepare for triplets!
Born with Teeth
Even though these soon to be published testimonies remain hidden in files, sifted through by beta readers, polished by editors, and formatted by designers, they already have teeth and speak in full sentences.
Two years ago, I didn’t realize God was setting me on the ramparts of the desperate situation of prayerlessness, not just in our nation, but in our churches and homes. Such a void exists mainly because of the impotence many people feel in the context of prayer. John professes,
“They triumphed . . . by the blood of the Lamb
and by the word of their testimony . . .”
The blood has already been shed, but the words of testimony still speak. Every testimony vibrates with faith in Jesus Christ. Their testimonies expose the reality that God still saves the lost, heals the sick, casts out demons, and raises the dead. Neither God nor prayer has suddenly become powerless.
As I prepare to deliver the triplets, these three books on prayer, I no longer sense trepidation and fear. Rather, I anticipate the impact these shared voices, spoken so simply, yet boldly, will have on those ready to listen. With my part of writing and making it plain almost complete, the time to run ticks closer and closer.
“And for what purpose?” you might ask.
“For the earth will be filled
with the knowledge of the glory of the LORD
as the waters cover the sea.”
(Not final cover designs!)
Is Jesus still the Healer? Is He the Lord who heals, or is healing coincidence? Many people believe that divine healing ended with the Acts of the Apostles. Personal belief is often based on personal experience.
Moses led the people of Israel through the Red Sea and into the “Desert of Shur.” After three sweltering days without water, they came to Marah. Here they found water enough to satisfy everyone’s thirst, but it was “bitter.”
God’s Name, God’s Nature
Bitter water formed the perfect backdrop for God to demonstrate His character,
“He said, “If you listen carefully
to the LORD your God
and do what is right in his eyes,
if you pay attention to his commands
and keep all his decrees,
I will not bring on you
any of the diseases I brought on the Egyptians,
for I am the LORD, who heals you.”
Under God’s instruction, Moses threw a piece of wood into the water. The water instantly became pure and life-giving, complements of the “Lord who heals” — Jehovah Rapha. God’s nature is to not just to heal, but to keep us from disease.
Healing in The Cross
Jesus displayed the perfect image of the Father (Heb 1:3). Healing was and is part of the ministry of Christ,
“Jesus went through all the towns and villages,
teaching in their synagogues,
proclaiming the good news of the kingdom
and healing every disease and sickness.”
The word “every” leaves no room for exclusion or doubt. Peter refers to Isaiah’s prophecy (Is 53:5) being fulfilled through Jesus when he says,
“‘He himself bore our sins‘
in his body on the cross,
so that we might die to sins
and live for righteousness;
‘By his wounds you have been healed.'”
1 Peter 2:24
Peter witnessed Jesus heal multitudes before His crucifixion. God later used Peter powerfully as an instrument of healing.
Jesus didn’t have to be brutally beaten to save us from our sins. Such cruel treatment, “his wounds”, made healing available for every condition, however.
How can I be so confident Jesus still heals? Though my faith rests in God’s Word, not in experience, my experience validates that Word. God has taught me aspects of healing using my body as an example.
The first healing I experienced occurred shortly after I became a Christian. Even though the bible was relatively new to me, I approached it with childlike faith believing every word to be true — including healing.
I had suffered from ulcers since my early teens. It wasn’t uncommon for me to vomit blood during painful flare ups. As a young twenty-three year old, I was bent over the toilet vomiting when a verse of Scripture came to mind:
“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ,
the new creation has come:
The old has gone,
the new is here!”
2 Corinthians 5:17
Though this verse doesn’t refer to healing, Holy Spirit amplified the word enough for my faith to grab. I stood up declaring, “Wait a minute! That means I have a brand new stomach.” You may laugh but I walked away, never to have any further trouble with my stomach. Ever!
In that instant, God became my Lord who heals! Not all healings are instant, however.
Some healings are more like a slow road to recovery. At fifteen years old, I was admitted to a psychiatric centre for treatment as a suicidal alcoholic. The journey out of that dark valley took decades, as God replaced truth for lies.
“Then you will know the truth
and the truth will set you free.”
I have witnessed many others escape mental illness through Jesus Christ, The Truth.
Lung disease plagued my father’s family resulting in many deaths. When I was diagnosed with emphysema, the doctor proclaimed it a life long condition.
A word of knowledge led me to “cut off” the generational “curse” over myself and my family by renouncing the spirit of abandonment. In prayer, I agreed that I have been adopted by God into His family. Any sickness entering through natural genetic lines was eradicated through my new “bloodline” in Jesus Christ.
Was it a coincidence, or the Lord who heals, that further investigation revealed clear lungs?
“Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law
by becoming a curse for us…”
The cross is enough!
Not Done Yet
God’s healing continued:
- the connection between severe allergies and a broken heart was revealed through another word of knowledge. I claimed healing for my heart and renounced the side effects of allergies as I watched them disappear
- painful arthritic hip was healed by the laying on of hands
- ovarian cysts dissolved through forgiving of offenses
- severely deformed hands were brought into alignment by speaking blessing over them in Jesus Name
- restoration of movement and feeling to legs after an accident causing a 75% displacement of the spine, healed through active worship and much prayer
- migraine headaches instantly left never to return through speaking the Name of Jesus
- torn ligaments and a frozen shoulder instantaneously healed by rebuking the spirit of infirmity and commanding it to go.
These were all medically diagnosed. After the healing, specialists responded, “astounding”, “a miracle” and “unbelievable”. Even without God’s redemptive healing power, I believe Jesus remains the Lord who heals. These testimonies continue to elevate hope in the lives of others to also believe.
“Jesus Christ is the same
yesterday, today and forever.”
God never changes. He remains the same. What He has done for me He continues to do for multitudes.
Some people came to Jesus with unquestionable faith. While others came with wavering faith. Some, perhaps, lived “worthy” of such healing grace. Others became social outcasts, despised and rejected, yet bravely approached Jesus for healing.
Healing draws us to The Healer, filling us with awe for Jesus Christ.
“The apostles performed many
signs and wonders among the people…
Nevertheless, more and more men and women
believed in the Lord and were added to their number.”
Healing demonstrates Christ’s presence and power among us.
“As a result people brought the sick into the streets
and laid them on beds and mats
so that at least Peter’s shadow
might fall on some of them as he passed by.
Crowds gathered also from the towns around Jerusalem,
bringing their sick and those tormented by impure spirits,
and all of them were healed.”
As you read this, may faith increase in your heart. God loves you! He is still the Lord who heals.
I seize every opportunity to pray for people. Many have also experienced healing — some instantaneous, others progressively still others have not been healed. Honestly, I don’t understand healing, but I know the more I pray for healing, the more I see healing happen.
I have faith to pursue healing for those who dare not hope themselves. Whatever the outcome, I trust God and want Jesus to get the full benefit of what He paid for on the cross.
“Therefore God exalted him (Jesus)
to the highest place and
gave him the name
that is above every name.”
Whatever your diagnosis, may I agree with you today for healing? Would you trust to receive healing today from the Lord who heals?
Lord Jesus, I thank You. You are the Lord who heals.
I bring this precious reader to you today.
In Jesus Name, I command all sickness and infirmity to go
from this person’s whole body, mind and soul.
I command every part to come
into complete alignment —
restored, healed and delivered.
In The Name above the name of every disease,
I declare, “Today is a new beginning!”
May the blood of Jesus
cleans and make every part new.
I thank You Lord Jesus for Your healing power,
in Your precious Name.
One thing remains constant — Dennis Boettger passionately communicates the lessons God is teaching him through dreams, visions and revelations of His Word. Defining Dennis, however, isn’t easy! Husband, father, physician, pastor, author, song writer and composer or photographer?
An encourager and contemplative, Dennis is remarkably sensitive to God’s voice. He possesses a sincere love for others, especially pastors. After meeting with Dennis, one cannot help but sense a portion of the Father’s heart!
At the same day as the atomic bomb dropped on Tokyo, August 6, 1945, Dennis was born. It was August 5 in Canada.
“I was just born, but obviously things like that have a deep impact. As a kid I was afraid someone would drop a bomb on me. I can only imagine the pain, fear and anxiety that refugee kids experience.”
The third of eight children, Dennis grew up immersed in faith. His farming father also assumed responsibility as a self-supporting Mennonite pastor. It was natural for Dennis to give his heart to the Lord, when about four years old.
“I will sing to the LORD all my life;
I will sing praise to my God as long as I live.”
From very young, Dennis sang the songs of faith from his heart — often in four-part harmony with siblings. “God was good to us! There was a sense of God’s presence.”
The Mennonite church emphasized being born again and walking in discipleship: faithful, servant-hearted and loving. Dennis wanted to please the Lord and personally know His will.
Missionaries, especially missionary doctors, had a big impact on Dennis’ young life. Although nobody in his family had attended university let alone medical school, Dennis nurtured an impossible dream of becoming a doctor. He equally sensed the call to preach.
Which path should he choose? For advice, Dennis approached one of his teachers who had also been his youth pastor. He received this directive:
“If you go to seminary
you will have answers for people
but you will have to convince them.
If you go to medical school,
people will come to you with problems
and you will give them answers.”
Dennis committed one year to bible school. The Lord also gave him freedom to consider medicine. Dennis’ mother said, he danced when he received the letter of acceptance to medical school.
During his second year in medicine, Dennis married Lucille whom he had known since Grade 3. She was a nursing student who had graduated from Prairie Bible Institute. They had their first of three children while Dennis was interning.
After receiving degrees in both pharmacy and medicine, Dennis and Lucille responded to God’s call to Ethiopia. For two years, from 1972-1974, Dennis became a missionary physician with the Eastern Mennonite Mission. In this time, during Ethiopia’s first modern famine, they witnessed many children dying from starvation and cholera. The experiences deeply impacting the Boettgers.
They attended an indigenous church, but without translation understood nothing about what was going on. A move of the Spirit was taking place in Ethiopia in those years. This season would prove to be the preliminary to receiving the baptism of the Spirit.
With the deposing of Selassie, the bloodless revolution began and the Boettgers returned home.
A Mennonite pastor, baptized in the Holy Spirit during the Charismatic Renewal, prayed for the Boettgers. Dennis felt convicted to repent of attitudes towards others, but nothing more. The seed was planted!
During their time at home, Dennis and Lucille did receive the baptism in the Holy Ghost. Dennis experienced healing and deliverance from anxiety and fear. This touch of Jesus transformed Dennis’ life and prepared them both for the return to Ethiopia.
“God gave revelation to me!
He could heal issues of my life
and restore things that had been damaged!”
As the Red Terror swept across Ethiopia, significant violence filled the nation! Victims of famine and leprosy, plus those beaten, burned and tortured were brought to the clinic.
With tears Dennis recalls, “We could hear the bullets hitting the bodies of innocent victims.”
Communication back home was non-existent! In two years, they phoned home once. But the Lord was gracious!
Dennis affirms, “The presence of the Lord in the midst of uncertainty, even death, calms our soul!”
Back to Canada
Back home, the Boettgers asked, “Where do you want us Lord?” Through a prophetic word, God gave a clear call! The Lord miraculously used them to plant a church in McLennan, a French community in Alberta.
Within 3 weeks of holding a bible study in their basement, a study they didn’t organize, a church was birthed. During their 25 years in McLennan, Dennis became ordained as a pastor/elder with the Fellowship of Christian Assemblies while continuing to practise medicine.
God was opening Dennis’ understanding through pictures and revelations both through him and the voice of others.
Dennis says, “At that time, I totally operated in revelation in the “night seasons”. God told me what to preach about. I had no plan or purpose other than sharing what God wanted me to hear.”
Thus his sermons presented fresh impressions God put upon his own heart.
Lucille developed ovarian cancer. The Lord was very near.
“Precious in the sight of the LORD
is the death of his faithful servants.”
Several significant revelations during her terminal illness confirmed her home-coming was near. She went to be with the Lord in 2002.
“We prayed and hoped for healing.
It was revealed to us it was her time to go.”
In a dream, Dennis saw himself standing on a hill alone. God showed him a river, familiar but diverted, rushing along in standing waves. When he woke up, the Lord said, “…Everything will change. You will be directed along a new path. You will not be able to go on as you thought it would be.”
Dennis thought, “How can they do this to me and I not know it?”
Not wanting to be single, Dennis questioned, “How can I do this?” At 59 years old and almost ready to retire, he didn’t want to give a woman false hope. He had no interest in dating or having women pursue him.
Through revelation, God showed Dennis that his future wife would be like the sons of Zadok who drew near to minister to God. These priests could only marry a virgin or a widow of a priest.
God said, “I have someone for you. It’s a very narrow field.”
Dennis was neither wondering or looking!
He started a sabbatical, travelling to Israel and Europe. Upon returning, Dennis spent time at the Toronto Airport Church before driving to Quebec to meet pastor friends who had been part of his Alberta congregation.
“Seek the LORD and His strength;
seek his face continually.”
1 Chronicles 16:11
Betty, a widow, was already there when Dennis arrived. She had been a farmer’s wife, was the mother of three sons, and didn’t fit the letter of what God had given Dennis. He had no sense there was or could be anything between them.
Just prior, Dennis had been meditating on the tree of the knowledge of good and evil and its pervasiveness in our thinking. At the pastor’s meeting, he stayed off by himself, deep in thought.
“Not paying attention,” he comments!
While touring Ottawa together, Dennis had a fleeting thought, “What about Betty? Don’t exclude Betty?”
That was November 2003. They parted ways. Betty continued her ministry in Quebec bringing hope to the abused. Dennis went to preach in Peace River.
In another vision, Dennis looked out of a window of a high-rise building. He could see a long way. Yet, his focus became fixed toward a “secluded corner, surrounded by snow and trees. There was a swimming pool without any tracks to it.”
An avid swimmer, Dennis recalled recently swimming in “the Dead Sea, Red Sea and Med (Mediterranean) Sea.”
He asked, “Lord, what are you showing me?”
“We have an elevated point of view.
We’re educated, can read and write.
As Christians, we’re filled with Holy Spirit.
We’re born again.”
“God was dealing with me!”
God called Dennis to leave his “high” point of view to catch God’s higher view.
“As the heavens are higher than the earth,
so are my ways higher than your ways
and my thoughts than your thoughts.”
God clearly revealed, “What you need is a change in attitude.”
Through revelations, visions and divine encounters involving windmills, God increased Dennis’ understanding. God brought Dennis to realize that with the right attitude the wind of Holy Spirit moves in unknown ways to generate things.
Dennis knew God was answering prayer! The Lord was dealing with something that needed to be changed in order for him to receive all God was prepared to give him.
In 2003, people were talking about the next wave of the Holy Spirit. God said, “I am going to take the former moves of the Spirit and connect them with what is coming. It will be one move of my Spirit. I want to use you.”
“There was a time when
I could not hear God’s voice
and did not understand these things.”
God had already shown Dennis that He had received ministry from Betty. She fit the picture of a “Son of Zadok”. “Lord, was it an accident that I met Betty,” he asked.
“No!” God said, “I am in charge of the micro seconds.”
“You can make many plans,
but the LORD’s purpose will prevail.”
Dennis was meditating about that when he saw another vision of a large Saskatchewan field. It was an enormous farm with huge implements: tractors, combines, cultivators, discs, all kinds of equipment.
In my vision, the Lord asked, “Where are you in this picture?”
Dennis thought and thought and thought but said, “God, I have no idea.”
He said, “You are the draw pin. The tractor is the word of God. The fuel in the tractor is Holy Spirit and the driver is the will of the Father. All the other implements are the gifts and operations of the Holy Spirit.”
“The only thing God needs
is someone to be in the word,
in the Spirit
and in the will of the Father.”
He says, “I am so thankful for the voice of the Lord. He is able to reveal things to us, taking us through anything!”
After God showed me that meeting Betty was no accident, I wrote her a letter asking, “Is God telling you anything about us?”
“If there is to be an us, He will talk to you first,” She curtly responded!
They didn’t physically see each other again until July in Langley, British Columbia. Dennis was preparing to ask Betty to marry him. On his way there, the Lord reminded Dennis about the dream of walking along the river, diverted and rushing along in standing waves. He asked, “Do you know what that rushing water was?”
Dennis said, “No!”
God said, “It was a swift current.”
Betty was from Swift Current. Through one more revelation, God confirmed He brought and put them together.
“I’m so thankful because she has been good for and to me.” Dennis says.
Dennis and Betty were married on Thanksgiving 2004.
“Whoever you are!
Whatever your life circumstances are!
Jesus wants to walk with you,
talk with you,
and go through life with you.”
“With God there are no accidents! God has a plan! We don’t have to wonder or search. He will make His ways known.”
“For I know the plans I have for you,”
declares the LORD,
“plans to prosper you and not to harm you,
plans to give you hope and a future.”
Through the joint calling of ministry and medicine, Dennis has impacted untold lives in many nations. Whether in the pulpit or on a hospital ward, Dennis leans heavily upon the wisdom of God.
On multiple occasions, God has supernaturally spoken to Dennis specifically revealing life-threatening conditions of his patients.
Dr. Boettger’s patients, as well as medical staff, know that both he and Betty pray. Those who have worked beside Dennis have witnessed God use him in miraculous ways. A hand larger than his leads! There is more than medical training directing this committed servant of Christ!
“And then he told them,
“Go into all the world and preach
the Good News to everyone.”
In addition to Ethiopia, he was also part of a team who carried bibles into China. Dennis has ministered in Canada, India, and the Philippines.
Together Dennis and Betty have carried the message of Christ to the nations of Costa Rica, Guatemala, India, Indonesia, Mexico, Singapore, Spain, and the United States of America. In Canada, they continue to impact lives in eight provinces and territories, faithfully returning to Inuvik twice a year.
Dennis humbly defines himself as “semi-retired” working part time in family medicine and surgery. “Semi-retired” hardly describes Dennis! Ministering hope and healing everywhere possible remains priority for the Boettgers as they follow God’s call!
Image by fernandozhiminaicela on Pixabay
The following verse appropriately describes this woman’s life:
“We are hard pressed on every side,
but not crushed;
perplexed, but not in despair;
persecuted, but not abandoned;
struck down, but not destroyed.
We always carry around in our body
the death of Jesus,
so that the life of Jesus
may also be revealed in our body.”
2 Corinthians 4:8-10
A leisurely withdrawal from active service is the desire of many women her age. Betty is far from typical however!
Betty was born and raised in the Swift Current area of Saskatchewan. Her father, a Royal Air Force pilot from England, left his wife and his daughter in Saskatchewan when he returned to England after the war. Betty lived with her grandparents until her grandmother died of cancer when she was twelve.
Feeling angry, alone and abandoned, it was the age of turning for Betty.
The woods became a shelter where no one could see her play, wait and hide. In the seclusion of trees, Betty encountered a personal relationship with Jesus as Saviour. She simply talked to Him and He became extremely real to her.
“I love you, LORD, my strength.
The LORD is my rock, my fortress, and my saviour;
my God is my rock, in whom I find protection.
He is my shield, the power that saves me,
and my place of safety.”
As a teenager, Betty met Bob who was seven years older than her. He was the same faith, good looking and had attended university. Intrigued, she became his wife at 16.
Because Bob was polite and courteous while dating, Betty was unaware of the abusive situation ahead. Unknown to Betty, he was a “drunk”, a severe alcoholic. Only ten days into their marriage, she was beaten for the first time. This pattern of drinking and abuse marked the next 17 years.
Two to three times a week, Bob would come home angry and for no apparent reason, severely beat his bride. It formed a painful cycle their children witnessed on multiple occasions.
Betty called out to God many times in those years, as she sat at the window, watching, waiting, knowing what would occur when her husband returned. Even in the midst of brutal attacks, Jesus was always there!
What kept her in the marriage?
She knew Bob never liked what he did. She also knew he was never unfaithful to her. Lastly, in spite of the violence, Betty knew somehow he loved her. Yet, he didn’t seem to have any control over his conduct.
“But in my distress
I cried out to the LORD;
yes, I prayed to my God for help.
He heard me from his sanctuary;
my cry to him reached his ears.”
Early in marriage, Betty also carried the responsibility for her brother-in-law’s four children, when their mother abandoned them. The basic comforts and conveniences of running water or central heating were unavailable. It was a difficult life — physically, emotionally and spiritually.
After 17 years, Bob fell to his knees at the hitch of the farm tractor. He said, “God if you are real, there has to be more to life than this.”
“He reached down from on high
and took hold of me;
he drew me out of deep waters.
He rescued me from my powerful enemy.”
Instantly God healed, saved and delivered him from all his addictions and violent behaviour. Bob began to experience the freedom of letting God lead!
He didn’t disclose to Betty what had happened until two years later. He came in from the tractor and announced, “Things are going to change!”
Betty’s first thought was, “How?”
A dramatic and welcome change occurred, however!
In the remainder of their 21 years together, he never drank, smoked, threw food or beat his wife. Bob became a powerful man of God, praying his family into the kingdom.
“As for God, his way is perfect:
The LORD’s word is flawless;
he shields all who take refuge in him.
For who is God besides the LORD?
And who is the Rock except our God?”
Together they started watching Christian television. Many times Betty recommitted her life to Christ watching 100 Huntley Street. Betty began to walk hand in hand with her husband, letting God lead them together.
They read the bible believing all that was promised. Miracles were the norm. They saw God do many things during those years. They knew they just had to ask and God would provide.
Though Bob’s transformation and deliverance was instant, it took about 10 years for Jesus to heal their marriage. Betty never hated her husband. However after years of abuse, she did not love him.
Many who live in abusive situations experience this reality, because the love of God available for them is consistently undermined.
Betty knew in her head God loved her. “The space between God and I was no problem! The space between my head and my heart was!” she confesses.
One weekend, Betty travelled to Medicine Hat to their son’s hockey tournament. Bob stayed at home. While reading in the bedroom, he saw a vivid vision of Betty standing in the doorway. She appeared more beautiful than ever before.
Amazed by her beauty, he said, “God, I don’t see her that way.”
“Well, I do!” God’s voice boomed so loud it cracked the window in the bedroom.
“Ok! Ok!” Bob fearfully said.
As he later related the vision to Betty, the realization of the God’s great love for her shifted from her head to her heart. Such love has never left her!
Through the power of God, the family grew and became strong. Betty completed a university degree while her children were in school. She became a rural municipality secretary, a notary of public, and served on the hospital board and a school board for many years.
Letting God lead in a new way, Betty started a home based business which grew over the next 35 years. For nine years she owned her own kitchen supply store in the Swift Current mall.
Bob went to be with the Lord in 1997 as a result of cancer.
Ordained with two Pentecostal organizations, Betty was launched into ministry with a heart for evangelism and bringing hope to the abused. After experiencing healing and the baptism of the Holy Spirit, she ministers the same at every opportunity.
“It is God who arms me with strength
and keeps my way secure.
He makes my feet like the feet of a deer;
he causes me to stand on the heights.”
Speaking opportunities soon opened for Betty from Vancouver Island to New Brunswick. Betty’s motto, “If you’re not a missionary, you’re a mission field.”
Pursuing itinerant ministry, she had no intention of marrying again. She was single, happy and fulfilled!
While staying with mutual friends between ministry engagements, Betty was introduced to Dennis. In spite of there being little time for interaction, one night God laid Dennis on her heart.
Betty wanted no part of marriage!
She challenged, “God if this is You, You are messing up my life.”
Nonetheless Betty added, “But I know that You know what is good for me better than I do, so if this is You, You are going to have to make it plain to me. If this is You, tell him to ask me to go to Ottawa tomorrow.” Never one for the “tourist thing”, the request was unusual!
The next morning as Betty was making breakfast, Dennis asked, “What are you doing today? … I am going to do the tourist thing and go to Ottawa. I wondered if you would like to come along.”
Shocked, she sat in a chair! God had given confirmation. Even while letting God lead, Betty stayed three feet away from Dennis all day, unwilling to even use the armrest in the car.
How could a relationship even develop? One from Saskatchewan, the other from Alberta! One a farmer, the other in medicine! Both from different denominations! Yet her heart was being stirred!
Though Betty knew God was speaking, it would take a little longer for Dennis to hear. And Betty was in no way willing to help the process along!
By a sovereign work of the Lord, they were married in 2004 at Thanksgiving. Together they have six sons, six daughters-in-law and 20 grandchildren. All love the Lord and are serving Him.
You have given me your shield of victory.
Your right hand supports me;
your help has made me great.
You have made a wide path for my feet
to keep them from slipping.”
Today Betty touches lives at every opportunity, bringing hope and assurance that God loves and cares.
Before remarriage, Betty ministered itinerantly across Canada as an evangelist and in healing ministry. She has seen many lives changed, hearts and bodies healed. Jesus remains unquestionably her first love.
Accepting God’s change became a great blessing! Betty now says, “I would not know what it is like to be so incredibly happy.”
She counsels all ages, “If you are looking for someone in your life, let God do the choosing. Go to Him to choose your mate. Don’t go looking yourself!”
Together Dennis and Betty have ministered to the nations of Costa Rica, Guatemala, India, Indonesia, Mexico, Singapore, Spain, and the United States of America. In Canada, they continue to impact lives in eight provinces and territories, faithfully returning to Inuvik twice a year.
The impact of their ministry continues from the Arctic Circle to Virginia and from British Columbia to New Brunswick.
“The LORD lives!
Praise be to my Rock!
Exalted be God my Saviour!…
Therefore, I will praise you, LORD,
among the nations;
I will sing the praises of your name.”
God made no mistake in bringing this couple together! Easing back is not in the Boettger’s near future!
Dennis and Betty exemplify letting God lead all the way! Supercharged and ready to go? Absolutely! Together they minister with liberty and transparency, wherever God gives opportunity.
Watch 100 Huntley Street Interview 2019:
I am writing “The Prodigal” for three reasons. First, to draw attention to the amazing grace of our Heavenly Father. Second, to honor my Christian parents and recognize their investment in my life and their prayers for Pat and I. Thirdly, to encourage parents, grandparents, family and friends to keep on praying for your loved one, no matter how hopeless things may look.
“The Lord is near to all who call on him,
to all who call on him in truth.”
I was a normal kid living on a farm with honest and God following parents. Our church was a small Full Gospel work in Radville, Saskatchewan. There was nothing to inspire young people.
Two negative things marked the wonderful innocent years growing up on the farm. One was sexual molestation, another was a violation of my sexual innocence by materials that were never in our home. These are not an excuse for my behavior in my early teens but they were an introduction of evil into my mind and heart.
A Prodigal’s Rebellion
I determined to experience the things my parents had warned me about: girls, rock music, alcohol, fighting, driving too fast, dancing and movies. It sounds old fashioned, like the innocent pursuits of a teenager, but I was out of control.
I defied my parents and broke all the rules. Outwardly looking like a typical kid growing up in the 60’s, inside I was filled with conflict, self-doubt and fear. I was afraid of God, afraid of being left to perish if the Rapture occurred and ashamed of what I was doing.
As the years went by, I failed at school and was soon a high school dropout. I remember being on the verge of a sexual sin with a local girl and suddenly coming under a terrible conviction. We stopped doing what was about to happen and drove to my parents farm. They led the young woman to Christ.
However, I could not surrender. So a wild, out of control season took a dark turn into a drunken fog. After drinking all day in Westby, Montana I wrecked my car and ended up in jail in Weyburn. I was so toxic on alcohol the police took me from the cell to the hospital. My parents came in the wee hours of the morning to get me.
Mother told me years later that she asked me that night why I was running away from God. My reply was, “If I stop running I will have to be a preacher.” I do not remember!
The assistant manager at Northgate Mall Safeway, where I worked, was a godly Christian man who attended Hillsdale Alliance. God showed him I was from a Christian background. He would plead with me to give my life to Christ. I just couldn’t!
Years later while attending Bible School in Eston, I connected with Bob Kinnie my boss at the Safeway. He wept with sheer joy when he heard what God had done. He told me he prayed for me all the time.
“If you see a Christian brother or sister
sinning in a way…
you should pray,
and God will give that person life.”
I John 5:16
About 1967-68 I was engaged to Pat, my one and only wife. However, I drank so much everything about me was crumbling. A girl from the past came along as a distraction. In a foolish state I walked away from everything: Pat, job, and car.
I hitchhiked to Calgary to “find myself“. The prodigal didn’t find anything but a drug and alcohol mess. I hitchhiked back to Regina for Pat. She was heartbroken and angry at my behavior. She had gone to live with her grandparents in Hazenmore to find her balance. I arrived looking like the lost soul I was. She slowly let me back into her life.
While walking around Hazenmore we found a closed Anglican church. The door was unlocked so we went in. Walking up to the pulpit, I stood there gazing down at a large dusty Bible. Feeling a sudden homesick melancholy, I went and sat in a pew and quietly wept. Pat came and sat down, asking what was wrong. God was tugging at my heart. The prodigal pushed it away!
A Prodigal’s Breakdown
Shortly after, Pat and I “ran away together” beginning a new life in Calgary. There we lived in a common law relationship.
All the while, my parents prayed and prayed. From time to time they would send books, Bibles or encouragement to go to a church. But we pursued a life of drinking, partying and drugs.
“Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction,
faithful in prayer.”
Pat and I were married back in Regina at a United Church. I remember my parents trying hard to smile at the wedding but all the while being haunted by our dangerous lifestyle.
In 1972, Pat and I were home for Christmas on our farm near Radville . We had drugs with us, using them all the time, even while flying on the plane. Mom told me later, she felt a real “darkness” around us.
Early in 1973 a number of events and experiences shattered my prodigal world. We had put some money together with others to send someone to Beruit to buy hashish, a strong drug you smoke. The person was arrested and put in prison in Lebanon.
Our marriage began to fracture with all the drugs and the parties. I was working as an assistant manager in Loblaws. Unknown to me, I was on probation. The leadership knew I was stoned everyday at work.
We began to hang out with a motorcycle gang called the Grim Reapers. Things reached a climax with Pat back in Regina, both to escape the stress between us and to visit her folks.
I partied all night with the Grim Reapers arriving back in our apartment in the early hours of morning. I was high on “speed”. Everything in my mind and body was racing. The prodigal felt invincible!
“The Lord isn’t really being slow about his promise,
as some people think.
No, he is being patient for your sake.
He does not want anyone to be destroyed,
but wants everyone to repent.”
2 Peter 3:9
A Prodigal’s Breakhrough
In the empty apartment, filled with drugs I felt a strange homesick melancholy (sound familiar). A loving voice said, “If you continue this way you will soon die.”
Suddenly sober, scared and desperate, in anguish I said “God, please help me”.
“I call on you, my God, for you will answer me;
turn your ear to me and hear my prayer.”
A deep peace came over me. Even though you never sleep on speed, I went into our kitchen, laid down on our bed and fell sound asleep. A motorcycle was in our bedroom. Don’t ask!
When I woke, there was that homesick melancholy. That evening, Sunday, Pat flew home from Regina. My sad demeanor, which I couldn’t understand, was misconstrued by Pat. She thought I had met another woman.
For about two weeks without drugs, drinking, or listening to Rock n Roll, I just sat quietly. A series of events began to happen!
I phoned my parents, “ A friend of mine is having some struggles you should pray for him.”
Mom called everyone she knew, “Please pray! Dave and Pat are getting close.”
“Do not be anxious about anything,
but in every situation,
by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving,
present your requests to God.”
Out of the blue, a heroin addict (who claimed to be an atheist) dropped some Hal Lindsey books off. After two weeks, I came home from work for supper with Pat. I told her I knew what I had to do.
She expected me to leave her. Instead, I got down on my knees giving my life to Christ. She did the same days later. The rest is history! God has blessed our lives from March of 1973 until this very day.
Keep praying! Don’t give up! The prodigals will come home!
Pastor of Pastors
Pastor Dave Wicks not only became a pastor but is now a pastor of many pastors as the Regional Director of ACOP South Saskatchewan Region. Through his gentle, quiet, joyful nature and steadfastness, He is an inspiration to many people across denominational and generational lines.
Though I have know Pastor Dave and his beautiful wife Pat for only a short time, I come away from every meeting motivated by the great love and grace that lavishly flows from their lives.
They are champions in the faith!
Most of us have heard stories of redemption where someone is saved from something. The something could be a person, a destination or place, or a situation of their own or other people’s making. My name is Dawn; the story of my life is one of a daughter’s redemption.
I have been saved many times from situations, beliefs or ideas, and behaviours of my own and others. Sometimes my salvation has been quick or even instant. At other times, I have come to a slow awareness of salvation available before I could walk into it.
The Most Important Salvation
The most important salvation of my life was both instant and a slow realization: salvation from my own worst self, fears, sin, and ignorance of Jesus Christ.
“For the Son of Man came to seek
and save those who are lost.”
As a young girl, my little sister, Rhonda, and I lived with my addicted dad. He was one of the few single fathers in the 70’s. I already had experienced much fear, pain and loss.
When my parent’s marriage disintegrated, my mother was separated from Rhonda and I. My father loved us deeply; he also loved the drugs he used to pacify his wounded heart and mind.
In the midst of:
stints of foster care,
multiple moves and school placements
(6 schools by grade 4)
parties, strangers, threats of violence in our home,
weapons, secrets, jail visits
and lack of adult supervision and structure.
Jesus introduced Himself to me.
I was 8 years old and beginning to have an awareness of and feel frustration with my home life. My entire little-girl heart LOVED my father deeply: flaws, secrets, instability and all. I was beginning to see direct effects of his poor decision-making on Rhonda and I.
I was also beginning to be angry towards him. Questions filled my 8 year old heart and mind:
“Why can’t we see our mom?
Where is mom?
Has she forgotten us?
Why do we have to keep secrets about guns
drugs and drinking?
Why do we move all the time?
Will we have to go to another foster home?
Why are police always at our house?
Why can’t we be like my friend’s families?”
In the midst of the darkness, danger and fear in my home and heart, the strangest, most unexpected thing occurred!
A School Bus
A school bus started coming to our home to pick Rhonda and I up for Sunday School! Not only that, the same bus came and picked us up on Wednesdays for Pioneer Girls, a fun group for girls at church. Twice a week, the yellow bus brought us to a Holy Spirit-filled church where we learned about Jesus for the first time.
During one of these groups, my teacher took me aside and shared how Jesus knows and loves ME. She asked if I’d like to know Jesus and invite Him into my heart to be with me always. I did not have to think long! I did not know much about Jesus. What I had heard so far sounded wonderful!
I chose to believe that God and Jesus were real and that they could and would help me. And He sure did help me! The change was instantaneous!
“Then you will call on me
and come and pray to me,
and I will listen to you.”
I was no longer alone as a small girl in a big world. I began to talk to Him and believed He heard my prayers. My father was not a believer. He made it very clear he would never set foot in church. Either he knew we needed it, or he was glad for the structured activity it gave us, so he let us attend.
Sometimes, the help Jesus offers is painful to receive, centering around earthly change and loss. This is also my story. Within a few months of being introduced to Jesus, our lives would be forever changed.
We moved that spring to a large house outside Calgary, Alberta. The indoor pool, 4 bedrooms and 100 acres of land were welcome.
As a little girl, I had no way of knowing my dad had become deeply involved in a drug ring. The property was owned by someone in that circle. We were allowed to live there with expectations of my dad.
We finished the school year at a new school and experienced another month in foster care, before returning home to dad and country life.
Our grandparents came to take us to Regina for the summer vacation. We were excited! We loved time with grandma and grandpa! Here there was Sunday school, lots of yummy food, love, attention and care.
Within 2 weeks of kissing and hugging our dad goodbye, we received the worst news any child can hear — our dad was no longer alive. He shot and killed himself!
“The LORD is close to the brokenhearted;
he rescues those whose spirits are crushed.”
Grief, loss, tears and sadness became our companions that summer. Adults decided the best care for us. Two little girls aged 9 and 7 were required to begin a new chapter in life.
Early in this experience of loss, I came to a realization: life was not easy nor always good with my dad. We LOVED our dad and wanted him back with us, but I also had to admit we were heading down a dangerous road in life. I began to see how Jesus was intervening to save Rhonda and me.
God was not responsible for or caused my dad to take his own life. God’s will is never death or sin. I am assured that God was grieving for the loss of his son, our dad, alongside Rhonda and I grieving for our father.
After my heart healed a little, I was able to look back at life before and after losing my father. I began to learn that God sometimes allows deep pain and loss because He knows it can lead to equally deep trust and life. Can and will we surrender and trust Him to allow His tender healing of the hurts?
Life began again in July, 1980 for me. It is not the end of my story, but it was the end of that chapter of my story. I thank Jesus, Father God and Holy Spirit for walking through that season with me.
I’m also thankful to the Pioneer Girls leader, loving praying grandparents, and for the prayers and actions of others who gently circled us. When we meet Jesus face to face, He will introduce us to the many people who influenced our young lives.
And today? These many years later, how has life unfolded? Twists and turns! Lumps and bumps! Jesus continues to surprise!
The latest is a call to the woods of Tracy, New Brunswick. Here my husband and I have committed a year of our lives to volunteer. We are learning a program model for a Christ-Centered residential addiction program for men called “Village of Hope”. Some days we feel we fall short of the call, but we press forward knowing He has led us here for this time and His purpose. There’s no other place I’d rather be!
Jesus continually called my name, even after a long season of running away and denying hearing His voice. I am blessed on earth to be called “mother” “grandmother” “wife” and “friend”. The core of my identity though is knowing my name as “Daughter”.
“And, “I will be a Father to you,
and you will be my sons and daughters,
says the Lord Almighty.”
2 Corinthians 6:18
I spent many years not knowing the experience of being addressed as someone’s daughter. Now my Heavenly Daddy gave me the mind and heart-jolting revelation, “You are MY daughter”. The sweet reward of redemption!
My response is to live as a child of the King – by spreading seeds of His joy, His peace, His love and light. To do so allows me to thrive.
Thrive Dawn does! Dawn loves and cares for others passionately and genuinely. It is fitting that Dawn is the first to share her testimony, as representative of her First Nations Indigenous heritage.
Dawn’s redemption continues to influence numerous lives nationally. She effectively “mothers” multitudes, inspiring them to break free from generational and personal places of pain and addiction.
I am proud to call Dawn a friend, a sister, and partner in the work of Christ. She is a humble “daughter” of her Father God in the fullest extent of the word.
More Good Reading:
Apparently one way to age a lion is by scarring on its face. Scars show the fearless characteristic of a lion. The bible calls the righteous “as bold as a lion”. The scars of those who survive and thrive are evidence enough of their bold faith and tenacious perseverance!
“The wicked flee though no one pursues,
but the righteous are as bold as a lion.”
Do you notice the difference between the “wicked” and the “righteous”? One runs from harmless shadows, the other faces real and impending threat squarely. We have to admit, there isn’t much a lion will back down from.
Brave of Heart
To be lionhearted describes someone who is unflinchingly brave and courageous in the face of danger.
In the months ahead, I will be sharing stories of personal heroism demonstrated in the lives of some incredible people I know and appreciate.
Though none would consider themselves either brave or “bold as a lion”, their journey reveals a different story. Each one has faced dangers of various kinds. They have the scars to prove it!
Those who thrive hold wisdom like gold dust loosely in their hands. They willingly and with liberality reach into their experiences and share the treasures they have found in Christ, allowing the winds of the Spirit to inspire others. Their stories igniting faith, hope and courage in the rest of us.
“In this world you will have trouble.
But take heart! I have overcome the world.”
As we examine their lives, we will clearly see the difference between surviving and thriving is rooted in their faith and the unshakable love of Christ.
Love of Christ
Paul prayed for the Ephesian church,
“I pray that you, being rooted and established in love,
may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people,
to grasp how wide and long and high
and deep is the love of Christ.”
“In this is love, not that we loved God
but that he loved us…
” 1 John 4:10
God’s love is unconditional! God loves, because He is love!
Courage and bravery are not necessary to somehow merit His love. He loves us as we are. He loves us completely, even in our weakness and frailty. God will never love us more; He has no capacity to love us less.
It is in the basis of this relationship of love that survivors thrive.
Thriving Against all Odds
What makes someone brave? What compels one person to face life’s toughness squarely while another turns and runs?
“Courage is not the absence of fear,
but the triumph over it”
David’s bravery was tested in the pastures with his flock:
“…When a lion or a bear came
and carried off a sheep from the flock,
I went after it, struck it and rescued
the sheep from its mouth.
When it turned on me,
I seized it by its hair, struck it and killed.”
I Samuel 17:34-35
Acts of bravery aren’t always physically!
It takes courage to not only see your own way through difficult, but to lead others into victory as well. “Thrivers” are mothers and fathers who
love with the love of Christ,
disciple younger ones to maturity,
foster godly character,
instill hope and impart vision.
Those Who Thrive Speak
My husband still teases me about my “farmer’s call”. Being the mother of five active sons who enjoyed roaming the acres beyond our farm yard, this “momma” learned to call her young in for supper or bedtime with a distinct “Yoohoo” that could be heard far and wide. It is a non-comparison to a lions roar, however!
I have read that the spine-tingling roar of a lion is as loud as a turbo fan of an aircraft on takeoff, reaching 114 decibels. It is one of the loudest voices in the animal kingdom heard up to 8 kilometers away.
Lions roar to tell other lions their location, to show how big they are and to warn lions from other prides to keep away from their home territory.
“They triumphed over him
by the blood of the Lamb and
by the word of their testimony
they did not love their lives so much
as to shrink from death.”
As these people share their stories, it may sound more like a whisper than a roar. Truthfully though, God has given them voices that echo through generations, powerfully declaring the faithfulness of Him who is greater, Jesus Christ!
Those who Thrive Rest
I have chosen people who have discovered the power of waiting! Waiting is the womb of courageous strength!
“Wait patiently for the LORD.
Be brave and courageous.
Yes, wait patiently for the LORD.”
In the natural, the most intense development and formation occurs within the concealed and protected womb. For these, waiting and trusting in the Lord has formed the foundation of their courage and strength.
Those who have studied lions say it is a boring of occupation. Lions sleep for over 20 hours every day! That is a lot of rest! In resting, a lion is able to conserve strength for when it is most needed. It is also a position of watching; the place where wisdom is gained.
I am excited to use this blogging platform to share their stories. It is my hope that we will all draw from their wisdom, be inspired by their strength, motivated to action, and invited into deeper faith.
“A final word:
Be strong in the Lord
and in his mighty power.”