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Tiffany Quinton: I survived a death diagnoses after contracting HIV

 

In September 1995, Tiffany Quinton of Houston was diagnosed HIV positive and was told that she only had a few weeks to live, but more than 22 years later, Quinton is still here, living, breathing, and enjoying life. She says it was only her faith and trust in God that allowed her to overcome what at the time seemed like a battle she could not win.

“I was 26 years old when I received the news that I had HIV,” the 48-year-old Quinton recalled.

It hit me like a ton of bricks. The only way I got through the actual shocking fear of being HIV positive is that I had to turn to God….

“I asked God for two things: To let me live and to let my baby be ok,” Quinton recalled. “I trusted and believed that God would hear my prayer and He did.”

In fact, Quinton’s son, Kyle, was born free of the HIV virus. Today, Kyle is a college student living a normal, healthy life.

“Some people saw and believed death was in my future, but God has used my life as a living testimony as to what God can do when you put your total trust in Him,” Quinton stressed, before adding, “The hardest thing was to forgive. I had to forgive the guy that infected me because he didn’t tell me that he was HIV positive. That was not an easy thing or an easy task.”

But with God, everything is possible, so that’s how I made it…..

Quinton’s days today are filled with workshops and public speaking engagements to bring awareness and prevention of HIV.

“I try to live as God wants me to live now by educating others about it,” she said. “Life does not go the way you plan it. Life goes the way God plans it. HIV, cancer, anything is almost like a mind game. You have to have faith. Your faith has to live strong in Jesus. Through faith, you can get through anything. I did.”

The Day Faith & My 4th-Grade Track Meet Collided

The funny thing about faith is that as Christians, we never know when our faith will be tested.

One of the first times my faith was tested is more than 20 years ago. I call it my baby-faith test. In hindsight, it’s more of a cute, funny story, but at the time, it was a serious matter.

I was in the 4th grade. That year, I had tried out for the track team at CADET Junior High School. I made the cut. I was proud to be a CADET Comet. Coach Henry T. Hood was the track coach. A tall, heavy bearded, slender man, who sported one of the coolest walks I had ever seen. I often tried to mimic his walk at home. My mother would often tell me to “stop that.”

But it was just in me to want to act like coach Hood. Besides, after track practice, he would often drop my brother and I off at home. He drove a little white Nissan, standard shift, a truck that I often dreamed he would sell to me once I was old enough. I don’t know whatever happened to that truck, but if I see it somewhere today, I would still buy it. It was that clean!

Anyway, coach Hood had watched me run and decided that I was a distance runner, so he assigned the 400-meter dash as my race. He said a track meet was coming up in four weeks. He said if I placed in first or second, I would be able to advance to the regional meet in Grenada, Mississippi. But first, I had to get ready to race against some fast runners at Sam Coopwood Park in Holly Springs, Mississippi. We simply called Sam Coopwood Park, The Stadium.

But what coach Hood didn’t know at the time is that my father went to college on a track scholarship. He too ran distance, and I used to run with my father on the weekends and often during the summers I spent at my grandparent’s house in Hogansville, Georgia, near Atlanta. My father had told me that I was pretty good. He also showed me how to breathe whenever I got tired, so I could keep going when my body wanted to stop.

Having the track meet date in my head, I showed up to practice at CADET each day. Coach made me run my race three times each practice. My time improved each week, and my form was getting better as a result of the tips my father gave me during my extra practice with him for my upcoming race. Weeks went by and finally, the day came for my race.

But something weird happened that Saturday morning before my race. I stomach started to feel funny on the inside. I even started to tremble a bit as I drank my orange juice and ate the breakfast my mother prepared. Then it hit me: I was afraid.

As a minister, I know that one of the most frequently used commands in the Bible and through the voice of Jesus is, Don’t be afraid, fear not, or variations of it. But being in the 4th grade, I didn’t know that. I was so scared that I don’t think it would have mattered if I did. I had just gotten baptized a few months earlier, so I was still wet behind the ears as a Christian.

My dad saw that I was afraid and nervous. He reminded me of all the times that I had been practicing and preparing for my race. His words comforted me, but only for that moment. Once I arrived at Sam Coopwood Park, I was afraid all over again. I saw whom I had to race against. They were all tall, and muscular looking. I had no idea that 4th graders could have muscles that large. I was so skinny at the time that the string on my shorts would hardly keep my shorts up without me having to make adjustments.

After warming up and several races later, the announcer called for the boys 400-meter dash. That was my race. Still afraid, I looked at Coach Hood and said, I don’t know, coach. I just don’t know if I can do it.”

Coach Hood looked at me and said, Cole, get out there and run your race!

So I went. It was eight of us…and guess where I was placed? In the 8th lane, the hardest lane to run. As I knelt down to get set to run, I had a flashback on all of the times I ran with my father, someone I knew that no one on the track field was faster than.

My father had won medals, a lot of them. In fact, I used to hold them in my hand as if I had won them. As I refocused. I could hear my father’s voice telling me that now is my time to win my own medals, that everything I needed to win, I already had it within me. I just had to believe and have faith that I could do it. My father once told me that I could beat anybody who lined up against me. Remembering those words, I looked over at the seven other runners, and I decided that they were going to lose and that day was my day to win my race.

The gun sounded. I jetted out of the blocks. The seven other tall, muscular-looking boys were in front of me. Somehow they were so strong and fast that they ran past me although the 8th lane has a bit of a head start in the beginning. About halfway through the race, I noticed the seven other boys starting to slow a bit. I too was tired from trying to catch up, but then I remembered what my father told me: to breathe!

I took two deep breaths, and I got a second wind. I was hightailing it around the last 200 meters around the track. I caught the eye of one of the boys I was racing against. He looked surprised that I had run him down. By this time I was on the straightaway, the final 100 meters. I could hear Coach Hood yelling, “keep kicking, bring it home, bring it on home!

Out of the corner of my eye, I saw my mom standing up cheering me on. That was like an extra bold of lightning. At that moment, I emptied the tank on them, running faster and faster, just like my father; knees high, my arms and hands, all in perfect stride with one another, just as I had practiced. I was all by myself. I had passed everyone. I crossed the finish line and won first place! I looked back, and every single one of those boys I was afraid of in the beginning was still trying to finish their race, one of them actually quit and never crossed the finish line.

I was so happy. I beat those boys. Coach Hood was happy. My mother was happy, and of course, my father was happy. I later came to learn that those boys I ran against were not 4th graders. They were 6th and 7th graders, who had not submitted a birth certificate to prove their age. That’s why they were so much taller and muscular than I was.

That year, I went on to win first place at the regional race in Grenada, Mississippi. I advanced to the state track meet in Jackson, Mississippi. I won there as well. I had run so well that year that Coach Hood even put me on the 4X100 relay team the next season. I was the third leg. I stayed on the 4X100 relay team until my 8th-grade year. My relay team broke a state record with our time during my 8th-grade year. I continued to win my own medals in the 400-meter dash too.

So what does all of this have to do with faith?

Well, just as it was with my track meet, we all have our individual times of testing, some big, some small. The voice of my father helped to encourage me during my track meet. In the same way, the voice of our Heavenly Father, is there to encourage us when our faith is being tested. It is only through faith in Him that we’re able to get through the trials and tribulations that come into our lives.

I challenge you today; whatever God’s purpose is for your life, run your race. God has already equipped you with everything you need to win!

Shot 5 times in Vietnam: James Liddell credits his faith in God for surviving

More than 58,220 U.S. military soldiers lost their lives during the Vietnam War, but for James Liddell, he says it’s only by the grace of God and his faith in God that he survived the war and is alive and well today.

Liddell, 70, served in Vietnam from July 21, 1966, to July 21, 1967.

“While serving in Vietnam, I was wounded nine months after being in the country, which was April 21, 1967, at 9:30 in the morning,” Liddell recalled. “We were on patrol going up a mountain, but we ran into an ambush. The Viet Cong had dug inside of the mountains, so we never saw them there.”

I was shot five times with an assault rifle….

“Myself and two others were wounded,” Liddell said. “My RTO (Radio Telephone Operator) was shot in the neck, and the bullet came out through his back. One of my flank men was shot in the arm. He lost that arm as a matter of fact.”

Had it not been for the grace of God, we all could have gotten killed…

“That day we were supposed to have an air strike, which means our U.S. military was supposed to bomb that mountain before we started to patrol it, but for some reason they called it off, and to this day, I’ve never known why, and I’ve never understood why they didn’t have the air strike,” Liddell stressed. “Of course being shot five times was very, very painful. It was the most intense pain that I’ve ever experienced in my life.”

After sustaining the five gunshot wounds, Liddell, a Gary, Indiana native, said he laid there wounded for more than an hour while the Viet Cong continued shooting and attacking, “but they never hit me again.”

Reinforcements from the United States military eventually arrived…

“Our military helicopters came and shot into the mountains,” Liddell said. “I was carried down out of the mountains and put on a helicopter.”

Liddell noted that although he was on the helicopter, the nearest hospital was 75 miles away, and making it to that particular hospital with the Viet Cong still in the area, wasn’t a sure thing.

“I had no weapons, no nothing,” Liddell said. “I was in so much pain, and I was afraid of the helicopter being shot down. They flew me 75 miles to the hospital, and when I got there, they cut off all of my clothing. The only thing I had was a gauze and an IV, but thanks to God that I was able to make it until they were able to perform surgery.”

One of the doctors told me that if one of the bullets were a half inch higher, I would have lost my leg, or if it were a foot higher, I would have been killed…..

“As for my wounds, I was shot in the groin area, my leg, buttocks, and abdomen,” Liddell said, before adding, “Thanks be to God that I was able to survive that. This experience showed me that we all will go through things in life, but when you put your trust and faith in God into action, He will see you through it. I’m a living witness to it.”

Texans QB Deshaun Watson’s Faith in the Lord is a Testimony to Us All

As a devout Houston Texans fan, it just broke my heart when I heard the news that our rookie quarterback, Deshaun Watson fell to the ground during practice suffering a season-ending torn ACL.

But I was quickly encouraged by a Twitter post I saw that he posted on August 3, 2015. It said, “Faith in The Lord that he got me! #WishMeWell.” What a powerful statement. As a man of faith, I am definitely praying for him, and I know that the Lord has him in His hands.

You see, Watson tore his ACL in 2014 at Clemson, but in the words of Dabo Swinney, Watson’s coach at Clemson, “Watson knows what it takes to come back from an ACL tear. All he did after the injury in 2014 was come back and lead us to the National Championship game twice, and of course, we won it last year.”

Watson’s Twitter post caught my attention, so I decided to dig a little deeper and read more about this quarterback that I had come to enjoy watching play each Sunday. And guess what happened? I stumbled upon another article talking about Watson’s faith in the Lord.

The headline reads, “Faith led Watson to Clemson.”

Accepting Christ

I soon discovered that Watson found Christ when he was in the ninth grade. At the time Watson was a huge Florida Gators fan. He loved Tim Tebow and everything about Florida. Becoming a rising star in high school, the natural thought would be to play college football at Florida, the college team he loved.

However, for Watson, accepting Christ played a big role in his decision to attend Clemson. Watson began relying on his faith to help him decide amongst a long list of scholarship offers to make the right decision.

The Reward for Having Faith in Christ

“I found Christ when I was in ninth grade, and I just started praying on my decision,” Watson said at the time. Watson’s faith was rewarded.

“I stuck through it, and it was the best decision of my life,” Watson said.

Three years later, Watson headed to the NFL having compiled a 32-3 career record, a national championship, and two ACC Championships. The two-time Heisman finalist finished first in school history in completion percentage, second in passing yards, second in passing touchdowns and third in completions.

My favorite scripture in the Bible is Hebrews 11:6. It says, “But without faith, it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him.”

Like Watson, obstacles show up in our lives, often unexpectedly. Our faith is tested, however, as I’ve grown in Christ, I’ve discovered that the test that God allows us to go through sometimes is for us to be used as a testimony and encouragement to someone else.

According to statistics, there are between 250,000 and 300,000 ACL injuries nationwide per year. That’s a lot of people. But when you analyze that statistic and Watson’s injury through a spiritual lens, there’s encouragement for nearly 300,000 people across the nation in knowing that they are not alone, that Watson too, suffered the exact same injury, and went on to accomplish great things by winning a national championship and becoming a candidate for the Heisman, not once, but twice.

As for Watson’s current injury, spiritually speaking and based on the evidence of what God has already done through this young man’s life, I believe that God is up to something.

Romans 8:28 says, “And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose.”

I believe that God has so much more in store for Watson and that what he is going through right now, will, in the future prove to be a testimony to what God can do when faith in Him is the avenue we choose.

A Testimony of Faith Goes a Long Way

I remember when I was a young boy, around eight years old. I was riding in the truck with my father one Sunday afternoon. We were on our way to check on our cows on our family farm, located about 20 miles from our home. I asked my father how did he become an attorney. His response wasn’t at all what I was expecting. He told me that it was through faith in God.

He told me that the same farm that he was taking me to was the same farm in which he picked cotton every day as a boy. However, being inspired by watching television shows like Matlock, he had a dream of one day becoming an attorney. But in those days, he told me, being an attorney wasn’t very realistic for most African Americans growing up in the 60s. He went on to tell me that he went to college at a small school in Mississippi on a track scholarship. He later applied to law schools all over the country. However, the responses he received were not positive. After a while, my father said he pretty much figured that law school would not be an option for him.

But one day during the month of August, about the time when most schools are in session, he received a letter in the mail from Drake University in Iowa. The letter said that he had been accepted to their law school.

But still, there was a big problem. The letter stated that they didn’t have a place for him to stay. My father, a country boy from Mississippi, who had never been to the state of Iowa in his life had a decision to make. Would he settle for something he knew, which was farming or would he step out on faith and follow his dream of becoming an attorney by journeying to a place he knew absolutely nothing about?

My grandfather, who raised my father, only had $100 to give my dad, certainly not enough to find a place to stay in Iowa for three years of law school. But my father decided to step out on faith and go to Iowa despite his circumstances.

In fact, he had to spend part of the $100 on a bus ticket to get to Drake University. Once he arrived on campus, he went to the dean’s office to let them know that he was there. They thanked him for coming, but they also reiterated that there was no place on campus for him to stay. But then, just as Hebrews 11:6 says, God, rewarded my father for his faith.

It just so happened that someone overheard my father’s conversation about him needing a place to stay. To make a long story short, the Lord provided a place for my father to stay the three years he was in law school. As a result, my father has been an attorney for over 40 years through the Legal Service program, serving the underprivileged. But his dream would not have been realized had he simply accepted that fact that he didn’t have a place to stay. Instead, he went to Iowa, not knowing what would happen next.

My father’s story stuck with me on many occasions when I could not see what God was doing in my life. But through faith, the Lord didn’t always come when “I” wanted Him to, but the Lord has always been right on time.

And though it hurts me to see Watson endure a second ACL injury, I am anxious to see how God will use him this time to encourage others. Just as my father’s story was a testimony for me later in life, I’m sure that Watson’s story will also prove to be a testimony to someone else.

 

 

Why the Faith of Houston Astros’ Altuve Should Encourage All Christians

He was once told that he would never ever make it to MLB, that he was too small, not good enough – yet he, along with his teammates paraded through downtown Houston as heroes celebrating as champions.

Altuve, at 5’6, 165 pounds is the first to admit that on the outside:

  • He doesn’t look like your typical professional baseball player
  • He doesn’t look like a homerun hitter

However, he says it’s what’s on the inside of him that has propelled him to be one of the best in the game today: his faith in God.

Faith, according to Hebrews 11:1, is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen. You see, like Altuve, we all at some point in our lives will have to step out on faith and trust God to:

  • Accomplish a goal
  • Fulfill a dream
  • Dig ourselves out of a hole after hitting rock bottom

Hitting Rock Bottom

The Astros hit rock bottom, and then some, before beginning one of the best turnarounds in memory. As noted in the now famous Sports Illustrated cover of 2014, after Houston had lost more than 100 games for three straight years, proclaimed: “Your 2017 World Series Champs.”

And although the Houston Astros, along with major league baseball, could not see the championship at the time, Altuve says he believed it.

I’m a big believer that sometimes God allows his children to hit rock bottom or fall on hard times to test us before opening up the windows of heaven in our lives. I remember very clearly the first time my faith was really tested. It was more than 15 years ago. My life was going well, I had gained a reputation for being one of the best news reporters around. I had won journalism awards. I loved writing for newspapers, I loved seeing my name in print as the one covering local news stories, and I loved the fact that being a journalist is a profession that most people instantly respect.

However, after several years of being a news reporter, I knew that it wasn’t a lifestyle that I wanted for the rest of my life. As a news reporter, I usually worked every weekend and late nights. I knew that one day I would have a wife and children and I wanted to be able to make my own schedule. I wanted to work for myself.

And like Altuve, I was told that I couldn’t do it.

I wanted to leave that job as a news reporter and work for myself, but I was too afraid to step out and do it. Day after day, I felt the urge to do something different.

Then the day came that God put me to the test

It was in the early 2000s when the Internet started to boom and news became widely available and people read less news. I had just written one of the best stories of my life. I was sitting in my apartment. It was a Saturday. I received a phone call from my editor to come to the main office on Monday. I was so excited. In my mind, I was thinking my editor must have been in agreement that my latest article was the best one I had ever written and he wanted to personally congratulate me and possibly even give me a raise.

Monday came. I walked in with a big smile on my face. And after a few minutes, I heard words that I had never heard before, “I’m sorry, but we’re going to have to let you go.” I was in disbelief. I didn’t understand what had happened and I didn’t know what I was going to do. To top it all off, I was planning to marry the woman of my dreams and all of a sudden I found myself without a job and the life I had planned for myself and future wife was in jeopardy.

I remember calling my father for advice. My mother gave me advice. All of my aunts, uncles, and people I had met in the small town in which I was reporting news all told me what “they” thought I should do next. Of course, the natural thought was to find a new job as a news reporter. It was something that I knew. It was something I had done well, but it was also something that deep down in my heart, I really didn’t want to do fulltime anymore.

For a while, I felt embarrassed

I avoided people. In fact, I barely came out of the house to ensure that no one I knew would stop and talk to me. It had gotten to the point to where I actually timed all of my trips from home – when I would leave the house. There were times when I knew that most people would be at work and it was a good chance that I would not bump into anyone or have to answer the question of when would my next article come out.

In my mind, God was punishing me for something I had done in my past. However, it was quite the opposite. After about eight months of avoiding people and feeling embarrassed, I decided to just let go and let God do whatever He was going to do. That’s when I felt the peace of God that surpasses all understanding. I had sent out literally hundreds of resumes in the news industry. No one called back.

Being down on my luck, I applied to FedEx as a package handler. They called back and I was eventually hired. I was so excited. The pay wasn’t what I used to making, but I thanked God for blessing me. I was no longer embarrassed. I didn’t care where I was and I simply accepted where God had me. A week later, I received a call from a marketing company in Memphis, Tennessee. I interviewed and was hired on the spot as a business marketing writer. This was something I had never ever done before. I had a new adventure, something different.

I soon came to love that job. I was able to work side-by-side with the owner of the business from 9 am to 5 pm. and also work my shift from 11 pm to 4 am at FedEx. God had given me double for my trouble.

I didn’t know it at the time, but while working alongside the business owner, I was being trained to soon open my own business. He took me under his wing and showed me the ins and outs of business. You see, as the Internet grew, newspaper advertising revenue and readership was on a sharp decline, causing virtually every newspaper in the nation to struggle financially in one way or another. I realized that God had taken me from a dying industry and had elevated me to a place I really wanted to be. At the time I could not see it. Looking back, I know how things unfolded in my life was the only way I would have been able to gain the skills I needed in order to learn the art of selling, obtaining clients, placing my faith and accepting the life God wanted me to live.

Altuve, in a recent Houston Chronicle article, said it best:

“The best success is to live your life the way God wants you to. If you can do that, if you can be good with God, then I think you will have success in your life. To achieve success wasn’t to get into the major leagues or have the best season in the world. We need to not just ask God but thank Him for everything like our health, our family. And ask Him to bless our homes and to always be present in our daily lives. And to keep us safe is most important.”

Like Altuve, we all have odds stacked against us at some point in our lives, just as it was in my individual case, but through faith, God is able to do exceedingly abundantly above we can ask or think.

By the way, I did marry that same woman of my dreams. Today, we have two daughters. Look at God.