The Mama Jenkins Story
For you to understand my life and where I am now, I have to tell you a story from my past. It’s a true story, and it will take a while to tell it.
Years ago I met the most amazing lady. She was about 100 when I met her but she lived to be 106, I think She was a black minister who had traveled the whole world and her name was Mama Jenkins. Chris when I was at Olivet I studied about an amazing man, named Smith Wigglesworth, who was a famous evangelist in England around 1900. The stories about his ministry are almost biblical. Well, anyway, Mama Jenkins mother took her and her whole family to England to work as a part of his ministry. Mama Jenkins was about 5 years old then, but Wigglesworth said he felt she was called to preach when he first met her. So he had her preach short sermons all over England at age five. Jenkins would speak for 5 minutes and hundreds would come forward to make a profession of faith..
Well, anyway, if you Google “Mama Jenkins”, you will find tons of information about her. I was asked to minister at a church in Canada once, and she was also called to minister in the same conference. They would help her up on stage with her cane and a huge bible, and sit her in a chair, where she would speak sitting down for an hour or more. Well, for some reason, she took a “shine” to me (poor woman…probably needed better eye glasses, I guess.) She brought me up in front of the whole conference and spoke many things about my life and ministry which have mostly come to pass, just like she said they would.
Anyway, the last night of the conference, she and I were having a late meal at the pastor’s home where we were staying, after we had spoken at our meeting. It got to be quite late (after midnight) and finally everyone else had gone to bed. I was feeling bad about keeping someone her age up that late. But her stories were amazing and she didn’t seem to be tired, so I kept listening as long as she would keep sharing. Then all at once, she stopped and looked me right in the eye, and said, “Steven, you are going to have to learn to listen and do what the Lord tells you to do – even when people don’t think you are right!” I was kind of shocked, because I had hoped I was doing that… But then she told me the most incredible story.
She said that not so long ago, she was at her home in the Northeast, and she felt like the Lord gave her a message for Bill and Hillary Clinton. She said, “I asked God why he would give me something to say. I ain’t nothing but a dried up old black woman!” But she said it kept her up all night and so the next day she decided to call the governor of her state. She said that she had met him once at a church where she was speaking, and he was the only person she could think of who might be able to help her get an appointment at the White House, if anyone could. When she called, she was transferred to an aide, and she told him who she was, that she had met the governor at church, and… That she had “a message from God for someone in politics” that the governor knew! The amazing thing, I thought when she told me this was her simple faith that this would work!
We’ll, right when she spoke to the aide, it happened that the Governor just to walk up to that same aide and asked who he was talking to on the phone. He told him what she had said and Mama Jenkins told me that she could hear the governor answer, “If that is Mama Jenkins,(!)… then I need to talk to her..” When the governor got on the phone he thanked her for calling and she told him that she felt she had a message from God for someone he knew in politics. The governor said, This wouldn’t be for Bill and Hillary Clinton, would it? ” and she said,” Yes”. He said, “I don’t suppose you would be able to tell me what the message was, would you?” She told him no, because God had told her to say it to them, only, face to face. The governor said, “I understand. This will take some time for me to make some contacts, but I will get back to you later today.” A few hours went by and the aide called her back and asked, “Mrs. Jenkins, are you available tomorrow?” She told him she would make herself available and cancel anything she had. And, he said, “Someone will be at your house early in the morning, and he will get you to the appointment you asked for.”
She was so cute as she told me about how nervous she was trying to decide what hat she should wear to meet a president. She said she prayed half the night just saying, “Lord, I ain’t ever met no President before. You are going to have to help me wear the right clothes! I don’t even know which hat to wear for somethin’ like this!” She said she stayed up all night just trying to calm herself down.
The next day rolled around and she saw a long military car with flags on the corners pull up and stop outside her house. A young man in military uniform came to the door and told her he was some colonel’s aide, and, if she was ready, the colonel was waiting in the car for her. She went out, met the colonel, and was whisked away in the car to the airport. When they arrived, she said they just drove through a gate at the airport and drove out to a large plane sitting on a runway. She said, “When we got to the plane, the whole back end of the plane started to open, they lowered a ramp out of it, and the car simply drove on board.
She said the inside was more like a living room than a cargo plane, and the colonel invited her to remain in the car or come sit with him in the cabin. She said, “I told him I ain’t never sat in a car sittin’ inside a plane before. So, if you don’t mind, I guess I’ll just stay here.” The detail she remembered was amazing. The color of the carpet in the cabin outside the car, the sound of the devices that locked on to the wheels of the car so it would stay stable during the flight – all these incredible details that were confirmation of the validity of her story… I was mesmerized for more than an hour.
She went on and told of arriving at Andrews Airforce Base, outside of Washington, D.C,.and drove to the White House. They drove right up to the gate and were waved on to the guest entrance. When they got out, Hillary Clinton met her very graciously, thanked her for coming, and took her into a special reception room to wait for Bill to join them. When Bill Clinton came in, he greeted her warmly and they sat down together. She simply told me, “So I gave him my message…” and then started to move on with her story. I was SO frustrated!. So I interrupted her and asked the obvious question as graciously as I could think to do. “Mama Jenkins, I don’t suppose you could share with me what you said to him, could you???” She looked me right in the eye and said, “Steven, you know I can’t share with you what God told me to say to a President of the United States.” I felt immediately, but graciously, put in my place. So I agreed with her. And, then she said, “I will tell you this, It was about something that is going to break into the headlines very soon, and you will know all about it. God showed me the trouble President Clinton was about to go through and what he would need to do to stay in his job as President.”
(By the way…as a side note… only a few weeks later, I was in a hotel room in England and, when I picked up the paper outside my door that morning, the headlines were about the whole Monica Lewinski scandal just breaking into the news.)
But back to the story, you have to understand where I was, mentally, in those days. As far as I could imagine, God would never try to keep Bill Clinton in the office of President! I’m sorry but that was where I was, back then. Everything seemed so black and white. So when she just dropped that fact in her story like it was a foregone conclusion, I interrupted again. “Mama Jenkins, can I just ask you why God would get you to try to help BILL CLINTON?”
That was the only time Mama Jenkins ever seem upset at me. She stopped me cold, and just stared me right in the eye all the way down to my soul, and said, “NOW, STEVEN, THAT IS EXACTLY WHAT I WAS TELLIN’ YOU THAT YOU HAVE TO LEARN IF YOU EVER WANT TO WALK WITH GOD’S PLAN INSTEAD OF YOUR OWN!!! I told you, Steven, you are going to have to learn to listen and do what the Lord tells you to do – even when people – or even you – don’t think you’re right!”
She then got quiet again and began speaking in the a quiet, almost motherly like tone, “Steven, you have to know this. God has a special plan for everyone. And, He has a special plan for the Clintons to do which is an important part of His plan for the times that we are about to head into. No one else can do whatever God wants any of us to do, except whoever He asks to do it. .So, God just showed me that His hand was on the Clintons for a certain purpose, and most Christians don’t even think to ask Him for His opinion on anything. They just assume that they know everything. Well, everyone will all see, soon enough. God’s hand is protecting both of them so they can do His plan. Ain’t nobody gonna stop that! And, when God gave me His message, I knew in my spirit, that Mr. Clinton had made some mistake, and I had to tell him what he needed to do to get past all of that.”
She then told me that when she spoke her message to Bill Clinton, she said Hillary gasped, and he started to well up with tears in his eyes. He reached out to hold Hillary in his arms, and started to cry as he talked with her, quietly. Both of them were crying by then so, Mama Jenkins said that she reached for a pack of Kleenex, she had tucked in her dress and at that moment, the door flew open as “people with drawn guns” came bursting into the room! Bill and Hillary both started to frantically wave them off. The Secret Service agents had seen the President start to cry and saw Mama Jenkins reach for something while she got up and put her hand on him! She said they had their guns pointed right at her until they were sure the Clintons were alright. Then they apologized and slowly left the room.
Mama Jenkins went on with her story, “I told Bill, Please don’t ever let that happen again!!! I was so scared, I thought I was dead!!!!” He laughed and patted her hand, said I’m sorry, and asked her to continue.
They talked back and forth for some time and they asked her to pray for them – which she did. She then told them what they would have to do to stay in the place God had for them. Then they prayed again and at that point some guy came in and told the President he needed to go soon to keep on schedule. She said, “He turned to me… just like this was nothing… and asked me if I wanted to come along. He said I could have lunch with them. So I said I didn’t know where they were going, but…sure…I’ll come along.“ They went through the White House and then outside onto the lawn, where a helicopter was sitting already warmed up to go.
Mama Jenkins looked like a little girl when she told me about her first helicopter ride – in, of all things – the President’s Helicopter! Again, she had all of these details about how loud it was and what the wind felt like, swirling down from the helicopter blades as it sat on the lawn. When she had gotten on board and was strapped in her seat, she said she remembered how it would swing around unexpectedly like a carnival ride. It was priceless to see this little, old woman’s face all lit up like a child remembering her favorite Christmas gift.
They went to Camp David (!!!), where the Clintons introduced her as their “special guest” that day to the foreign guest that were there. They had lunch and she said she would answer questions, sometimes through interpreters, to the non-English speaking guests that were there. Then Hillary took her into another room while Bill was involved in some meetings. And, when the meetings were over, they flew back to the White House. The Clintons thanked her profusely for her obedience to God and all of her help. then , Hillary went back into the White house with Bill, but as Mama Jenkins was getting into the colonel’s car again to go home, Hillary came running out to speak with her again.
Mama Jenkins said, “She thanked me again, and again, and told me she would NEVER FORGET WHAT GOD HAD DONE FOR HER through my obedience. She said, “ I told her I didn’t do nothing but what God asked me to do – which I told her was all any of us could do. Then, she asked me if she could maybe contact me again if she ever needed someone to talk to. Well, I said… my door is always open for you, Hillary. So, we parted as friends. And, soon, Steven, you’ll see it all play out and know that God knew what He was doin’ that day..”
I thought the story was over, and Mam Jenkins was obviously getting tired as it was almost 4:00AM by that time. But she said, “You know, Steven, the next day, I started thinking – just how did God set all that up?” So she again called the Governor’s office and when she finally got to speak with him, she asked him why he had trusted her enough to set all that in motion. “He told me that he knew of my ministry and had followed my success for years.”
She broke out of the story just long enough at that point to, once again look me straight in the eye and say, “Steven, now you remember this. Just when you think you ain’t doin’ nothin’, you find out that there may be Governors who are watchin’ you, and even Presidents willing to listen to you, sometimes!”
Then she returned to the story and told me that the Governor said He was a friend of the Clintons, and he knew they were about to go into a buzzsaw. He told her that he respected her and if she thought that she had a message from God for them, that they would need, if they were supposed to stay in politics. So he said, that he was willing to do anything if he could to see that they had a chance to hear what God had to say!
It’s been many years since this story happened, Chris. In all of those years, I have only told that story a couple of times. Every time I would start to tell someone, it seemed like God just stopped me. It all just fell flat.
Chris, you knew that I use to live in the Washington, D.C area, right? Yep, I had an office address at 2200 Pennsylvania Ave. at the time. I finished my PhD while I lived there, and Rachel and I were in contact with many people in government and other offices during that time of our life.).
Well, four times in my ministry, when I would mention to someone that I had met Mama Jenkins, I had people draw me aside, like I was about to hear something private. They then asked me if Mama Jenkins had ever told me her story about God having her meet the Clintons. Each time, I told them that she had, and they would tell me amazing stories…that they knew the Clintons… or they that they knew the Governor… or Mama Jenkins pastor…whom she had called to ask for prayer the night before she left for Washington…or whoever… And, those people had told them the story, and verified it was true.It has been, and always will be, one of the most important stories of my life, and one of the biggest lessons God ever taught me!
I apologize that this took so long to tell. I would never have taken the time to do it if I felt it wasn’t important, for some reason, for you to hear it. In fact, it was almost a monumental task to remember everything just how it went since it’s been almost 20 years ago when it happened. But our friendship has spanned the best part of fifty years now… so I know you will believe me when I tell you that this is a true story. It opened my eyes, Chris.
It changed my life. I guess, my whole point is… when I do things that some people wish I was dead for doing them… I always try to remember the voice of a little old lady who once said to me, “NOW, STEVEN, THAT IS EXACTLY WHAT I WAS TELLIN’ YOU THAT YOU HAVE TO LEARN IF YOU EVER WANT TO WALK WITH GOD’S PLAN INSTEAD OF YOUR OWN!!! I told you, Steven, you are going to have to learn to listen and do what the Lord tells you to do – even when people don’t think you are right!”
Chris, she told me that night, that at her home, in the bottom of a drawer in her bedroom, she had two doctorate degrees that she had earned. She said, “There they sit, Steven, at the bottom of those drawers under my pajamas…because, Steven, those things don’t mean nothin’ unless you learn to listen to God.”
I hope you will forgive me, but I was almost to drop telling you this whole story right in the middle of writing it when that oxygen delivery guy came the other day and I had to stop writing you in the middle of telling you this. But God wouldn’t let me. In fact, I felt like I had to go back and copy my Facebook Messenger message that I started sending to you that day.
I felt I was to copy it and put it in a document form before, I finished the rest of it.
So after I did, that, I felt, that God wanted me to I send this to you, and then to put it in a message that I sent to everyone I know.
Let me tell you, I took a huge, big gulp when I fully understood what that would mean. That’s why it took me several days to get back to you. It would mean that everyone would know just how weird I am. I know if I share this with all my friends, I won’t have as many friends left. Some will wish they could ”tar and feather” me. They will want to write horrible stuff in their comments back to me. I have gone through enough of that already in my life, let me tell you. For months on end, after Rachel and I got married, I would open up my emails morning after morning, only to find to messages like, “Tell the whore of Babylon to go home!” (speaking of Rachel) or “Steven, I would love to pray for you, but since God probably doesn’t hear cursing prayers… I guess I won’t bother.” (Just two direct quotes out of literally hundreds of similar ones.) That’s how brutal some of my Christian friends can be, I guess. My email list (before the days of Facebook) use to include almost 100,000 email addresses. Maybe that’s why so many of them have been so vehemently brutal this year, again. It must be grand to think you know everything. But I know that God is a lot bigger than the little box they have put Him in. And, I know that always think that you are right, is the beginning of a downfall.
This is why Rachel and I are about to separate our online friends into “one’s that I only share only fluffy, light -hearted stuff with” and ones who will actually ever get to hear my heart.
I have a ministry that was given to me… one that is NOT what most people think is ministry. I’m called to love and care for people who would never darken a door of any church, synagogue, temple, or mosque. That’s what I did for so many years when I just met and cared for people out on the streets. It has taken me years to get to the place that I can finally let go of the past that came in between, when I started telling the stories from the streets in churches… They seemed to lap it up, but I got lost in the church. They were happy to listen to stories of how much God loves everyone… but that was it. They were all much too happy to have a little reminder of God’s love… but then run back to their churches and hide again as quick as Donald Trump runs up one of his Trump Towers. Prety soon, I got burnt out, and had to leave to find God again.
Anyway, Chris, I sincerely hope that you liked that story. It’s one of my favorites, but one that very few have ever heard, from me. As you can see, it’s pretty profound and hopefully you can understand why it had such a life changing effect on me. I am done with all of that past bondage…starting all over again, as of today… building from the ground up, like starting a factory at age 63 with nothing at all. But, at least I’ll be being authentic… And, I can live with that…
Now, Chris, go and do whatever you are certain of… but NEVER do something that you aren’t certain of. Sometimes, that little niggle of uncertainty… is the voice of God.
Love and Blessings,
(Permission granted to share this post by simply sending people to this blog.)
You are a true voice in the wilderness…and you listen and learn every day. Not everyone possesses all those gifts.
Thanks so much for sharing this story! And thank you so much more for caring enough to share it. We’ve been through a lot, you and I – and for some reason, God has kept us close through these past 50 years (give or take a couple). I am so thankful for that.
We were blessed to have Mama Jenkins in our church many times at White Horse Christian in Lafayette Indiana. She was good friends with my Pastor Johnnie Beard ( who went home to be with the Lord in 2012). She was an amazing woman of God.