Story by Roger Thaxton
Christians are accustomed to hearing how God has answered the prayers of His children. In fact many can recount how God has personally answered their prayers of faith. It seems to be a part of the Christian walk.
I have witnessed the workings of God in my personal life, in my family, in my Williamson (W.Va.) church and in my place of business. I am the operations manager at Stowers Fire & Safety Equipment, Inc., a small, family-run fire protection and safety supply retailer and service provider in Williamson, W.Va. I married into the family business in 1993, and one of my job assignments was assisting the installation of dry chemical re suppression systems on mobile mining equipment.
In my 23 years with the company, I have seen God pour out His blessings upon the business and its employees. Because the owners honor His holy Sabbath and return a faithful tithe and offering, God has blessed this company in a mighty way.
God sustained our company through tough times in the coal market from 2002-03. By 2012 the business reached its apex (to date), employing 63 personnel and performing its services in many states, as well as some provinces in Canada. The latest downturn in the coal market, however, has all but devastated the business. Bankruptcies of seven of our largest customers and the closing of more than 75 percent of the mines in our area, along with other factors, have forced the Stowers to downsize. There are currently only 17 employees.
Being a Seventh-day Adventist is not a prerequisite for working at Stowers Fire & Safety, nor is being a Christian. We did, however, encourage our employees to seek and develop a relationship with God, if they chose to do so. We have shared our personal experiences and testimonies with our employees and how God had raised up this business to His glory.
Recently employee Tony Hicks came into the office and asked to speak with me and the company president, Allen Stowers. “I had a dream last night, and all three of us were in it,” Hicks shared. He admitted that he wasn’t very religious, but in his dream “the three of us knelt down in [my] office to pray for the company. Later that day, business picked up.”
Stowers and I shared with him that we pray for the business and our employees daily and that we had long recognized that God raised up the company and had manifested His blessings upon the business many times through the years, although this particular time had been the toughest experience we’d faced.
“Could we pray together right now?” Hicks asked. Stowers and I said “Absolutely!” The three of us knelt, praying for God to bless the business, its employees and the leadership. We prayed that our actions and direction would be within God’s will, and that we would accept God’s answer to our prayer, whatever the outcome.
Not long after we prayed, the phone rang for a system recharge. Later a company we thought had shut down, called and wanted to know if they were due for their semiannual maintenance. This job, alone, will keep a crew busy for about two months. We received another call requesting delivery for items that was a four-hour drive. The value of the order couldn’t justify the trip, so they added to their order substantially, nearly tenfold the value of their original order.
I couldn’t wait to tell Hicks the next day how much I appreciated that he listened to the Spirit’s whispering and that we prayed together for the company. Matthew 18:20 tells us, “For where two or three are gathered together in My name, there am I in the midst of them.”