The Heeded Call
Before they wed, Dave and Marie Turner began pursuing the individual ministerial callings they sensed God gave them at a young age. Dave worked for Youth With a Mission throughout Asia, while Marie served in Mexico City and Honduras with Latin America Mission.
Fast-forward to the year 2000. The Turners, married and with two children, worked for U.S. Missions Teen Challenge in Columbus, Ohio, and also as inner-city church planters. All the while, they worked toward the goal of going to the foreign mission field, taking along their kids, Rachel and Jason.
However, something unexpected happened.
The couple’s 6-year-old daughter lost a significant amount of weight and energy. After almost every meal, she would get sick. Rachel recalls walking around bent over because her stomach hurt too bad to stand up straight.
After medical tests, a doctor diagnosed the girl with Crohn’s disease, a chronic, inflammatory bowel disease characterized by inflammation of the digestive tract. While there is no cure for Crohn’s, medications can help deal with the symptoms.
The heartbreaking diagnosis included a warning from the physician not to leave the U.S. Dave thought, How can this be? We are called to be missionaries!
Dave and Marie prayed, asking God if they should still go overseas even though it may be dangerous to their daughter. They sensed God reaffirming their call as missionaries.
“The doctor was totally against it, but we knew the Lord was sending us and He would take care of us,” Dave says.
And the Lord did.
When Rachel was 7, the Turners went to an evangelistic outreach. While they worshipped, Rachel told her mother that Jesus had healed her.
“He was standing next to me!” Rachel told Marie. “He touched me and I felt fire in my stomach.” Marie looked around, but there was no one next to Rachel in the row.
Since that day, Rachel has had only an extremely mild case of Crohn’s.
“God healed her.” Marie concurs. “You don’t just get healed from Crohn’s. It’s chronic, there’s no cure.”
While Rachel’s doctor still advised the Turners not to leave the U.S., the couple began preparing to move to Costa Rica with Assemblies of God World Missions. After learning the required medicine for Rachel, then 11, could be obtained in Costa Rica, the family moved.
After arriving, however, the Turners discovered the specific medication Rachel needed wasn’t available.
Desperate, Marie and Rachel flew back to the U.S. to try and get a year’s supply of the prescription. Discouraged that they couldn’t, they headed back to Costa Rica.
“The Lord is in control through it all, though,” Marie says. Back in Costa Rica, the Turners connected with a medical missionary doctor. The physician, licensed in Ohio, wrote the prescription they needed! Dave flew back to Ohio to have it filled.
The Turners later learned that Costa Rica had a limited amount of the medicine Rachel needed available. Once again, God proved faithful. Rachel’s doctor petitioned for it, and the Turners purchased the prescription for $50 instead of the suggested $900.
During a furlough, Dave and Marie took Rachel back to her doctor in the U.S. After the physician examined her, he told the Turners her stay in Central America had left her healthier.
“I give a lot of credit to my parents because they put my health in God’s hands,” Rachel says. “To be able to look back and see God taking care of me and honoring my parents’ faith is amazing. I was diagnosed with something that should have ended their careers.”
Today, the 23-year-old Rachel is living in Springfield, Missouri. She has a degree from Evangel University and is working at the Assemblies of God National Leadership and Resource Center. And she doesn’t need to take any medications.
Dave and Marie are currently AGWM missionaries in Panama.“When God tells you to do something, there are always going to be roadblocks, but if you are faithful to God, those roadblocks are not roadblocks,” Rachel says.