Pastor Thelma J. Leftwich
In 1975, I received what I can only describe as a supernatural call into the ministry. The Spirit of the Lord came upon me so much so that it pinned me to the floor, and I was unable to move or speak for a period of time. When I did speak, the words that came out were, “God wants me to be in a teaching ministry and a healing ministry.” I was quite embarrassed when I said it because I really didn’t believe in those types of spiritual manifestations at that time in my life. Still shocked and a little self-conscious, I almost immediately ran and told my Pastor. When I told him, he informed me that he already knew the call on my life. I was extremely blessed to hear him say that, because I knew the Lord will often confirm His Word with two or three witnesses.
I began teaching on the ministry staff of Wheaton Christian Center in 1977, and I also set up many meetings on my own. I taught the Word as often as I could, but even more than teaching, I liked to go and listen to others teach. Like many Christians, every time a “big name” preacher came to town, I was there. The first prophecy I remember given to me was from Marilyn Hickey. She came to town in 1980, and the evening I attended was standing room only; all the seats were filled. I happened to be one of those who were standing in the back because I came in late. She called out to me specifically and said she wanted to read a scripture to me. It was Psalm 97:11 – Light is sown for the righteous, and gladness for the upright in heart. She said that God is going to illuminate my spirit with His Word. He’s going to open me up to understand the Word in such a way that I will be able to teach it to many people.
In 1982, I received many instructions from the Lord concerning the future of this ministry. The Spirit of the Lord came upon me while at my brother’s house in Saratoga Springs, New York, saying “You will have a ministry; call it ‘Vessels of His Love.’” That same year, I began to receive illumination regarding the Blood of Jesus. After a speaking engagement in Chicago’s South side, we were shouting and praising, and one of the intercessors said, “Look at the bottom of her shoes–I see blood,” and another person confirmed it. I knew then that wherever I walk, I am to take this message of the blood. From that occurrence came our mission and motto, “covering the earth with the blood of Jesus.” Later that year the Spirit of the Lord came upon me once more in the middle of church service saying, “You shall have a television ministry.”
I kept the vision of a television ministry in my heart for many years. In the spring of 1987, my husband Otis and I went to WCTV public access television in Wheaton with a TV program called His Touch. I didn’t think public access would accept a Christian teaching program, but they did. They still air our program twice a week; Tuesdays at 10:30 a.m. and Thursdays at 6 p.m. Praise God for His favor.
In September of 1987, remembering what the Lord said in 1982, Pastor Otis and I incorporated a ministry called Vessels of His Love. We learned from a Christian lawyer and former IRS agent how to set up our ministry, and he showed us that we should see the IRS as a friend to the church and not an enemy. In 1988, I was ordained at Christ Center Church in Chicago.
In 1993, Otis and I did not have a church home. We started having some meetings in our home with a few of our friends. Some of the people asked if we would start our own church, and in my heart, I really did not want to do so. In December, 1993, I was impressed in my spirit with instructions for Vessels of His Love Church. The Lord said, “You will be overseers for those preparing for ministry.” One month later, in January of 1994, Vessels of His Love Church was born.
Since the inception of our church, the Lord has spoken to me several more times concerning Vessels of His Love Ministries. In February, 1996, the Lord said that Vessels will have a powerful base. It may not be huge in numbers, but it will become well known for teaching and missions. The outreach will be to the hurting, the confused, the abused, and it will be a ministry of love. In September, 1996, he said, “Vessels of His Love Church shall be called ‘The House of Healing.’” Early in the year 2000, God spoke to me saying, “There is a door open regarding TV ministry. Go through it while it is still open.” God connected us with Michael Brown, Director and Executive Producer of Testimony Pictures, and together we began working on new TV shows. I immediately contacted TBN, sent tapes, and they wanted us on the air as soon as possible. The broadcasting station in our area shut down a few months later and our show was taken off the air, but we obeyed the voice of the Lord and went through the door while it was still open. Since then we’ve been on several stations, including Angel One of the Dominion Sky Angel network, KPAL in Los Angeles, WGCB Red Lion in Harrisburg, PA, and Family Media TV in Nairobi, Kenya in Africa.