You just have to read to the end – Ray Windham is a true soldier for Christ!
She was tired… having worn out her welcome everywhere else, she fled with her friend to a small town in Missouri, Gainesville; The locals called it “Gods Country” and it wouldn’t be long until she discovered what that truly meant.
The scenery was beautiful – heavily wooded with winding creeks/roads that seemed to never end. They took her out to the most beautiful places; she couldn’t remember ever seeing such natural beauty anywhere.
After hurting anyone and everyone in her path and doing horrible and unthinkable things to many others she was now running from a warrant in Florida. Using a fake name she thought she would just try to blend into the surroundings in this tiny little town, no particular plan beyond the day at hand. Shacked up with the towns most well known meth cook, she thought she was pretty cool. At this point she was a drugged out meth head thief by trade…she was full of anger dating back to her childhood years. But now, for some reason, as hard as she tried, she couldn’t steal, not even one more thing. And although she was drinking and drugging and her life was a mess, it was a surreal time in In her life.
The man she was staying with (a meth cook) lived with his mother (a God fearing women) who explained to her that anyone living in that house was going to church on Sunday. She immediately told herself that she was going to find somewhere else to wake up at on Sundays; She wanted nothing to do with those “Jesus people”, So she kept her eyes open for another place to stay -She was confident that no one would ever get her in a church. She had had others try to trick her into this Jesus trap before and she was not about to fall into it now.
But, come Sunday she was being woke up for church; She couldn’t come up with a good argument as everyone was getting ready to go. She was crying before she even got to the church (she tried so hard to keep from crying), she cried the entire service – She was not sure why, but she was crying harder than she had ever cried at any time of her life.
After church let out she vowed to make double sure she was not at that house next Sunday – All of about eight people (including the pastor) stared at her sobbing at that church, she was embarrassed. Being in a drug induced stupor most of the time not knowing what day it was; Again she was being woke up by the old lady for church, she couldn’t believe she let this happen again. Once again she went and, as hard as she tried to keep from crying this time, the same thing happened, she cried all the way to the church and during the service. (The Brushy Knob Church)
A couple days after her second church visit, She was passenger in the ol’ boys truck. It was a sunny day but you couldn’t tell because of the dense trees that lined the winding road. When all of a sudden they rounded a corner and the suns rays shown through the trees directly on her face and she couldn’t explain it but somehow she just knew it was God. At that moment she spoke in her spirit to Him “I don’t know who you are but if you can help me like all those people say you can then please do it, I am tired” and She meant it with every fiber of her being, it was beautiful – The next morning she awoke to the sound of the sheriff knocking on the door looking for her. Instantly she remember the prayer from the day before and knew for sure it was an answer sent from God. She had never felt more peaceful in all her life. God did for her what she could not do for herself. She was certain she would of ended up dead soon if not for this incident in her life.
Next up… The ride of her life.. literally.
The state of Florida wasted no time coming to get her, she was arrested in the morning and sometime in the middle of that coming night the extradition van showed up to get her. They woke her up, booked her out, and escorted her to the van that had two small cages near the front. Her feet were shackled together by a chain, and her hands were handcuffed in front of her body with a chain attached to them wrapped around her waist, and one last chain connecting the hands to the feet. It was dark as it was the middle of the night. She was placed in the cage and they shut the door, she had no idea what to expect.
As she sat in that van waiting for the officers to finish the paperwork associated with her extradition she heard a voice immediately behind her head say to her ” How far ya goin?” To which she replied ” as far as the good Lord wants to take me” – The voice behind her was coming from a man named Ray Windham, he began to praise the Lord. Now he had no idea who she was or what the last couple days of her life was like, he just thought she loved the Lord and that was good enough for him. The good Lord above had strategically positioned Ray in that van with her for the next 5 days.
In those five days she learned a lot about him, Ray had explained to her that his mother and father reared him up in the church, they ran a church somewhere in Georgia; he knew the Scriptures like the back of his hand. She had a hard time believing, at this point in her life, that someone could memorize so many scriptures so she started memorizing them to so she could check a Bible as soon as she was able to get her hands on one. The first was 1 Thessalonians 4:14. He had also given her a phone number if she ever needed someone, the number belonged to his mother and father in Georgia and she memorize that as well. He sang songs he had written, or someone else had written – He had several siblings, but he was clearly the black sheep from what she could tell. He prayed for her and with her. At one point she was in terrible shape physically and (without going into details) needed to stop and use the restroom, it was sometime in the middle of the night. What happened next was epic!
She was crying so hard, completely broken in every way a person could be, and Ray said “let’s pray”! So he began praying (the others along for the ride, including officers, could hear his prayers) – As he was praying she could feel the van begin to shift and noticed some sort of light in the distance. The lights got closer and closer and when he was finished praying she realized they had gotten off the highway and was she thought get they were approaching a rest area. One of the officers exited the van, opened the door to her side and told her to get out. A voice from one of the men in the back said “I have clean cloths in my bag back here and a bar of soap, give them to her”! The officer grabbed the items and began the seemingly long journey up a couple landings of stairs to the ladies restroom.
They stopped just outside the ladies room entrance, there was quit an audience at this point. The officer removed ALL her shackles and told her to take as much time as she needed. She took the bag of items and went in, she took her time cleaning up and changing cloths, she tried to pull herself together. Of course she couldn’t help but notice the brick building had large holes for ventilation and how easy it would be to climb out of one, slip out back and hitch a ride with a truck driver. Instead she tossed her soiled cloths into the garbage and went back to the officer where the audience watched her get re-shackled and escorted back to the van. They hit the highway again, dropping off and picking up others in almost every state from Nebraska to Illinois to Ohio to Kentucky and so on. On the fifth day they arrived where Ray was to get off and face his warrant. They said goodbye and off she went for another day until arriving in south Florida – she felt like an animal set free from its cage. She got a nice hot shower and fell asleep for so long. As soon as she woke she asked for a Bible and there it was, word for word, that verse she memorized- Wow! She wrote his moms phone number down just in case somehow she forgot it.
A few years later she was released. She didn’t think to call Ray’s mother for a couple years but when she did, Ray’s mother got the message to him and Ray called her – she was able to thank him for his kind words during the trip and they linked up via social media which is where they stayed in contact for several years. But on Nov 17th 2017 while attending a seminar with her church in Dallas Texas she got to see him face to face again – what a blessing to see Ray’s face in person again 15 years later. Wow! Come to find out, that warrant Ray was being extradited for was bogus, they let him out the next day because it was an old warrant that no one ever closed out properly.
Jan 2, 2018 Ray was diagnosed with stage 4 stomach cancer, he passed away on Feb 24, 2018. One of the coolest things about Ray was how he laughed, especially at the devil! About three weeks before he died she talked to him by phone and happened to tell him about the days leading up to the van ride and that she was a brand new Christian when she got on that van. And at that moment Ray laughed so hard for at least five min straight! As he laughed she realized how it all came together in his head as to the great significance of his bogus warrant and the five day/night journey in that van – God sent Ray, the perfect vessel for the job! Anyone who knew Ray at all can hear him laughing now. We all miss you Ray!
To hear some of the songs and the way he sang on that van, just root through his profile on Facebook for a while – You could say he was a part time rapper for Christ, but check out his piano solo a few week after he was diagnosed. Amazing! Just click the pic below and it “should” take you right to it… God bless!