My husband, Al, was climbing the ladder of success in the oil and gas industry in his new position with exploration and development. The company was drilling several new wells across southern Kansas, and Al was supervising each of them. One of the rigs was drilling a great prospect right outside of the small town of Coldwater, Kansas. As his success in the oil field grew, he also grew spiritually. His love for and faith in the Lord Jesus was remarkable. Al developed a strong sense of the presence and leading of the Holy Spirit to such an extent that he was constantly praying for his workers and the strangers he met, and they were all healed and blessed. But even though he was experiencing powerful miracles, nothing could have prepared us for the major supernatural experience that Al would have in Coldwater.
One Wednesday night after spending the entire day at the drilling rig, Al left for his room at the Comanche Motel, and as was his practice, he showered and put on fresh clothes and his church boots and walked across the street to the Assembly of God church to attend the Wednesday night service. Al enjoyed the service and even stood and gave a testimony of his love for the Lord Jesus and the great miracles he had been seeing. When the meeting finished, he met the young pastor and many of the people and thanked them for the wonderful service. He then returned to his room and laid across the bed, still fully clothed, to watch his favorite television show, Gunsmoke.
The next thing he knew, Al was in a strange place which seemed to be a very wet and very dark jungle.
He was literally encapsulated by thick impenetrable foliage, and as a result, could barely see his hand in front of his face. Every now and then, he would catch a glimpse of a small light flickering in the distance. Not knowing exactly what to do, he decided to fight his way through the leaves and vines and slowly make his way to the light. As he got closer, Al could see through the dense foliage several people moving around directly in front of him. Suddenly, he emerged from the jungle into a clearing filled with people. He had obviously stumbled into a small primitive village consisting of the “blackest” individuals he had ever seen.
Of course, Al had no idea where he was, but as he looked around the clearing, he saw an old man standing on the porch of a quaint looking, small house or hut, and when he did a young boy, maybe 13 or 14 years old, stood up next to him. When the old man stood, everyone turned and looked toward the old man as though they were awaiting instructions.
It was obvious that the old man was in charge of whatever was taking place with the people. So Al slowly walked through the crowd and up to the old man. The old man and the young boy looked at Al in utter disbelief! Not knowing what to do or say, Al began talking. He greeted them, told them who he was, and immediately gave them the same testimony about the miraculous power of Jesus to save and heal which he had just given in church that very night! Al told them he loved the Lord Jesus, had served the Lord for many years and had seen many great miracles. Al was not sure if they could understand him as he talked, but he continued sharing about Jesus.
As Al was speaking, the old man on the porch lifted his hand up and interrupted him. Then he proudly shouted at Al in English, “Our god is more powerful than your God! We can make people lame by sticking pins in a doll; we can make chickens talk, and we can even cause death!”
By this time, the crowd had gathered around the porch and completely encircled Al. The people grew more agitated by the minute. It was obvious they were not pleased by Al’s presence and were not excited about his God. Al shouted back loudly for all to hear, “The Lord Jesus can heal your sick bodies, bring good things to you and give you life forever!”
The people began to shout back and forth with Al and each other for a few minutes until the old man screamed in anger and threw his staff at Al. The staff became a horrible giant snake hissing and striking at Al. The people ran back at the sight of the snake, but Al stood his ground, pointed at the snake and said, “In Jesus’ Name, be still!”
Immediately, the snake shriveled and turned back into the wooden staff. The crowd gasped, started shouting curses at Al and began picking up stones and sticks to throw at him. When he saw what was happening, Al knew they were about to kill him, so he turned and ran back into the foliage the way he came.
As Al was running, he could hear people chasing him, and could tell they were closing in on him. Without knowing where he was going, he fought his way through the dense, dark foliage even harder. Soon, the sound of the crowd began to fade, and he could hear what sounded like only one person chasing him. When he slowed down and looked back, he saw it was the young boy he had seen on the porch with the old man. Al stopped to see why the boy was chasing him. Out of breath, the boy caught up with Al and acting like a typical teenager, asked, “Where is your car? Where is your car? I want to see your car! I want to see your car!”
“I don’t have a car,” Al responded with a shrug. Confused, the young boy asked, “How did you get here?” “I don’t know… I have no idea!” Al said.
The boy immediately changed the subject, and said to Al, “Tell me more about your Jesus! You said He could do all this good stuff? In my village, we just know how to do bad stuff !”
Surrounded by the darkness of the foliage, Al told the young boy about some of the miracles God had done in his own life, and he shared with him how the Lord Jesus had died on the cross to save people from their sins. He told the young man that Jesus would forgive him and give him salvation so he could live forever in heaven.
About that time, Al heard the angry crowd again, and this time they were close. As he did, he turned around and saw an opening in the dense foliage and stepped into the opening. When he did, he was immediately in his motel room, lying across his bed.
It was daylight. Al was fully clothed and still had his church boots on. When he first sat up on the edge of the bed, he thought he had just awakened from a remarkable dream. However, when he looked down, he noticed some mud on his church boots. When Al worked in the fields, he always carried at least two pairs of boots, work boots and dress (cowboy) boots. These were his dress boots he had worn to church the night before. The mud was a puzzle. He had been to church in clean boots. There was no rain and he had certainly not stepped into some muddy puddle, yet now his church boots were extremely muddy.
He rose from the bed and got ready for work. When he was leaving the motel room, he glanced down and again saw his muddy church boots. For just a moment, he started to take time and clean the boots before he left, but then he changed his mind and took the church boots with him as he drove to the drilling rig.
On the drilling location was a mobile soils lab in which the geologists test the downhole formations through soil samples. Al entered the lab and set his mud-covered dress boots against the wall of the lab and told the technician, “When you get a chance, check the mud on those boots, and see what you can find out about it.”
Al told the tech nothing about the night before and went on up to the rig floor. Later that afternoon, one of the lab technicians came up and asked, “Al, where did you get that mud on your boots?”
“That’s what you are supposed to tell me,” Al responded.
“Umm, Mr. Wheeler? That type of soil on your boots is only found in East Africa.”
“East Africa? I’ve never been to East Africa,” Al insisted. “Well, those boots have!” the tech demanded.
When Al returned to our home in Bixby, Oklahoma, he told me his strange story. I didn’t know exactly what to do. I believed what he said, but I was afraid of what he said. What would people say? How would they respond? What would they think of him if he shared it? I told him, “Don’t tell anyone.”
Al could not let it go. He told a close friend and neighbor, Joe Reeder, who was a coach in the Tulsa schools, and some of the men in the church, as well as our pastor. None of them took it seriously, and some told Al that he had just a weird dream and to forget about it, as he was sounding a little scary. So taking their advice Al dropped it, except every once in a while, when he wondered about the mud on his church boots!”
Al translated again
“As Al continued to develop in the oil and gas business, he moved deeper and deeper into the supernatural ministry of the Holy Spirit. His faith and confidence in the Lord Jesus was amazing. We spoke of the African translation many times, and he was convinced it was a true experience. The muddy boots continued to be the proof he relied upon. While we were in Kingfisher, Oklahoma, the translations continued. He shared some with me, but not each of them. I think he was concerned he would frighten me. Other people told us of seeing him in some ministry situation in far-off places, but he never told us. He told me one night that he was often translated and confessed, “Sometimes I’m afraid I will get out there and not be able to get back!”
One translation occurred in 1981. I received a call from my brother Ronnie that my mother was seriously ill and was in the hospital awaiting emergency surgery. Gangrene had set up in her body, and we were told it was a life-threatening situation. I immediately called Al, who was in the far northern part of Oklahoma drilling an oil well over five hours from the hospital. He was at a place in the drilling where he could not leave the well because if anything went wrong, it could blow out the well and cause a huge fire or worse. He assured me he would be there as soon as possible.
Mother asked me right before her surgery, “Please tell Albert to come and have him pray for me.” Mother always had great faith in Al’s prayers and called him when she needed someone to pray. I knew she would be disappointed that Al could not be there, so I assured her Al would come.
I waited tearfully and prayerfully for the surgery to be completed along with my dad, brothers, and their wives. At long last, the doctor came and told us the surgery was successful and mother was in recovery. When I saw her in recovery, the first thing I said was, “Mom, I’m so sorry, but Al could not come during your surgery, but he will be here as soon as he can.”
She looked at me kind of puzzled and said, “Why, Albert was here. They let him come in the operating room. He prayed for me and told me, ‘Mom, don’t worry, you are going to get well and live another fifteen years.’”
I said, “No Mom, he wasn’t here.”
She disagreed, “Yes, he was! And he told me to look around the room at all the angels. I saw a dozen angels standing at my bed, all dressed in white.”
Another amazing thing happened while Mother was hospitalized. When Al told friends and business partners what was happening with his mother-in-law and how he wished he could be there, they all began sending flowers to the hospital. When Mom was taken to her room, all around the head of her bed were 12 bouquets of flowers and each of the bouquets was white! It looked like twelve angels in white standing sentinel at her bed.
The flowers came from all over. What is the chance of 12 white bouquets? God has a plan and a purpose. He does all things well!
Over the succeeding years, Mom experienced many deaths around her. Al died in 1983, her son Ronnie in 1985, and her husband in 1989. But she lived until May 14, 1996. Just as Al told her that night in the operating room, she lived a full and healthy 15 more years.”
Al Meets Up with the Young Man from the Jungle
Our growing commitment to the Lord Jesus and our financial success opened a variety of opportunities for us to support various ministries in which we believed. One of those ministries was with Melodyland School of Theology in Anaheim, California. Al loved the school because it was training men and women for the ministry and sending them around the world to preach and minister in the name of the Lord Jesus. Al was asked to serve on the board of trustees.
The relationship with the school began a friendship with Pastor Ralph Wilkerson, who was the pastor of Melodyland Christian Center. Each summer, Melodyland conducted a Spirit Conference which brought leaders across the charismatic world to the church for a week. The conference was wonderful! It allowed us to meet and become friends with many of these
outstanding men and women who were leading the church and changing the world, but we were not prepared to meet one sin- gle, young man who changed our lives forever.
Between the two morning sessions, we were standing in the hallway that circled the major auditorium at Melodyland, trying to decide which session to attend next. As we were talking and deciding, a young African couple in beautiful African dress was walking toward us in the hallway. I noticed that Al kept staring at the young man and the young man was staring back at Al.
“Do you know him?” I said, seeking to get Al’s attention. “I don’t know,” Al replied, “but I think I do.”
By this time, the African couple had stopped. Al pointed toward the young man, and asked, “Do I know you?”
“I think I know you,” the young man replied. “Have I met you before?” Al asked again.
“Yes!’ the young man replied. “You are the man who came to my village in Uganda.”
Al shook his head, and insisted, “I’ve never been to Uganda.”
“Yes, yes you have!” the young man demanded. “You are the man who came to my village through the jungle. I’m the young boy who was standing with my uncle who was the witch doctor standing on the porch of our hut. You’re the man who rebuked the snake!”
“Yes,” Al said, erupting with excitement! “It’s you! It’s you!”
After a moment of shouting and rejoicing, Al asked, “What is your name?”
“Joel Walehwa,” the young man answered. “I’m Al, Al Wheeler.”
“Nice to know your name, Mr. Wheeler,” Joel responded.
Al turned and introduced me, and the young man introduced his wife. We all greeted one another and hugged and hugged! It seemed we all knew that we would forever be joined together. The Lord Jesus had orchestrated our meeting, and none of us knew in that moment where our relationship was going to take us, but we knew it was a supernatural moment.
I stood there not believing what was happening. After all these years and despite all the rebukes and unbelief he endured, Al had always maintained that he was indeed translated to Africa. The mud on his boots was his inescapable proof. But now, we were meeting face to face with the eyewitness who had been with him that night in Uganda. I started to weep with joy!
“We must get together,” Al insisted.
“Yes, yes, where can I meet you?” the young man asked. “Across the street at the hotel,” Al said. “Let me take you and your wife to lunch.”
“Yes, we will be there.”
We could not wait for the morning session to be over and our lunch to begin. Al was excited, but cautious. He had his strategy for the meeting.
“I’m not going to tell him what I experienced; I want him to tell me what I experienced. Let’s see if our stories match,” Al demanded.
When we arrived at the hotel for lunch after the morning session, Joel and his lovely wife were waiting. Al secured a large round booth for us. Our two daughters, Brynda and Sandi joined us, and the conversation began. Al spoke first, “Joel, how did you get here at Melodyland?”
Ironically, he was attending Melodyland School of Theology on scholarship and Al and I were providing scholarships for the school. So in a way, we were sponsoring the young African that Al had met in Uganda. Only God could have put all this together! Joel was born and reared in Uganda, had a degree, and had been a teacher to Idi Amin’s children. Now his passion was spreading the gospel of Jesus Christ.
“That’s wonderful,” Al said, “but Joel, I want you to tell me what happened that night. Tell me everything you remember. I don’t want to coach you in any way. You start.”
Joel was not hesitant. Through his broken English, Joel told the story of that remarkable night. At age 13, Joel was studying to be a witch doctor under the tutorage of his uncle who was the head witch doctor in his village. On the evening that Al came to his village, people were preparing for the annual festival in which a child would be sacrificed to the giant snake that lived in and around a large tree at the heart of the village. As the celebration was beginning and the child was about to be killed, Al walked into the village from out of the jungle.
Joel told of Al simply appearing in his village and telling his uncle about Jesus. His uncle became hostile because he was the witch doctor and did not want anyone spoiling his territory. He threw his walking stick down on the ground and the stick became the giant snake. Remember, Joel insisted, the snake hissed and struck at you, and you stepped back and demanded, “In Jesus’ name, be still!”
“When you did,” Joel said with his eyes squarely on Al, “the snake became the stick again.”
Joel assured us that the giant snake was never seen again in the village and no other child was ever sacrificed. “We knew that the power of Jesus had come to our village, and we were never the same.”
Joel shared that his mother had constantly encouraged him to read the Bible a missionary had given her. He read some of it, but he was more interested in becoming a witch doctor. Already, even as a young teenager, he could make chickens speak and could put together active voodoo dolls.
Every detail of his story matched perfectly with what Al had said took place.
We were all thrilled. Joel had validated the supernatural translation event. We all visited for hours, stunned by the revelation.
Joel then shared with us that he was banned from returning to Uganda because of an incident involving the disappearance of one of his little students. Joel had been hired to teach Idi Amin’s children. One day, Amin’s little daughter suddenly quit coming to class. When Joel asked her brother about her absence, the brother said, “My dad sacrificed her to the crocodiles.”
When Joel launched an investigation, he received a visit from Amin’s people and was told to leave the country and never come back at risk of his life and the lives of others.
Al sat there very quietly, and then said something that shocked all of us to our core. “Joel,” he said with great certainty, “I hear the Holy Spirit saying, ‘Within seven days, you will be in Uganda standing in front of Idi Amin.’”
Then he continued, “When this happens, you and I both will know that the experience we had in Uganda that night was a reality and not a dream or vision. I don’t know why this translation happened, but I think it will be a tool that will be mightily used by the Lord Jesus through the church at some time. It happened to Jesus and to Philip with the Eunuch. Jesus said that we would do what He did and even greater things because He returned to the Father and sent the Holy Spirit ( John 14:12). I believe this supernatural manifestation will be seen more and more in the church!”
Joel almost passed out when Al made this statement about his being in front of Idi Amin.
“Mr. Wheeler, I can’t!” he insisted. “I have a wife and small children to care for. My family is still in Uganda; they will be killed. My uncle is an officer in Amin’s headquarters. It will cause him to be killed if I return. He is the one who helped me get away from Amin and out of the country. I can’t go back!”
Al softly replied, “All I am saying is what I heard in my spirit, and I know it was from the Holy Spirit.”
Al reached for his billfold and gave Joel a gift, and said, “I want you to have this.” Later, Joel would say it was the first time he had ever received a $100 bill. He was very thankful! Al invited him to come to Oklahoma and visit as soon as he returned from Uganda. We parted with Joel’s last words, “Mr. Wheeler, I’m sorry, but I won’t be going to Uganda.”
Al said, “Bless you! I’ll be praying for you.”
I wondered if we would ever see Joel again, but a few days later, he called us and said in his normally overexcited voice,“You won’t believe this, but I’m going back to Uganda tomorrow!”
He told us that the day after meeting with us, he was asked to go into Pastor Wilkerson’s office. When he entered the office the pastor asked him, “Joel, aren’t you from Uganda, and don’t you have a connection with Idi Amin?”
Joel replied, “Yes, but….”
Pastor Wilkerson broke in, “The Lord spoke to me and said I must go pray for this terrorist leader. I understand you have a relative working in his headquarters. Do you think you could get us in?”
Joel said, “Well, maybe I could make a call to my uncle.
When do you want to go?”
The pastor said, “Tomorrow!”
Joel almost fell over. He was thinking the trip might be planned for months ahead. Joel called his uncle, and made an appointment for Pastor Wilkerson to see Amin in two days. The pastor insisted that Joel go with them to assist with speech translation. So the next day, Pastor Wilkerson, Joel and a few other leaders left for Uganda. When Joel stood before Amin, it was on the seventh day after his visit with Al, just as Al had prophesied. This was just one of many of Al’s prophesies we saw fulfilled.”
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