"Hero on a Guardrail,"

Excerpt of "A Dream Comes True in Appalachia,"

American Bible Society Record, Fall 2009

The Story of Debbie Midkiff

A woman sits alone on the guardrail of a small bridge. A muddy creek flows beneath her, as she waits quietly. A car slows to a halt--there's an inaudible exchange of words. Because prostitution is rampant in Logan county, to the unfamiliar eye it looks like just one more proposition made and accepted. But those native to these parts know better. This is Debbie Midkiff, extending to the men who stop, the living Word of God.

A single mother who was the product of a broken home, Debbie is thick-skinned and fearless, ministering in the most dangerous areas of the county: Cora and Logan Heights. There she witnesses to hundreds of prostitutes and drug addicts who are deeply hurting. As she sits on the guardrail, Bibles in hand, waiting for men to stop and make an offer for sex, she is prepared to offer them something [better], God's Word. When Debbie ministers to the prostitutes, she offers them food, water and shelter to build a relationship of trust before giving them a Bible. Her attempts to lead these women away from this sordid life do not go over well with everyone, and there is a price to pay. "We've sat on Cora Bridge and had beer bottles and pop bottles and everything thrown at us. We've even had guns shot at us, baseball bats taking the headlights, but that's my life."

That has not always been Debbie's life. Three years ago she came to the Dream Center like so many others in need. "Life had dealt her a lot of hard blows," says Pastor Hartwell, who has been counseling Midkiff since her arrival there. "When Debbie came to us (she) had a lot of issues of inward hurt, issues of brokenness--no self esteem, no confidence. But when we talk about Debbie, we talk about a woman now who has self-esteem, who has a smile...and it's nothing now to see Debbie with her Bible, reading." The power of God's Word has transformed Debbie, and she, in turn, is now transforming the spiritual landscape around her.

Describing the young woman's transformation, Pastor Hartwell says, "Debbie has learned what it is to accept the love of God and know God loves her and that she loves God. She has learned not to hold hurt in, but to give love out." Because of Debbie's commitment to giving Scripture to prostitutes, Logan County has witnessed major long-term change [talk about the power of one to change society around her!--Ed.] Hartwell says of the change, "A short time ago, prostitution and drug dealing, just two miles from this Center, was rampant. And now, there is far less activity, and Debbie...was key in getting that broken."

As a living example of a "new person" in Christ (2 Corinthians 5:17), Debbie Midkiff boldly leads others to find new life in Christ through her passion for the lost and her love of the Scriptures. She readily admits, "If it wasn't for the Bible, I'd have no other way. My life is totally dependent on the Bible, and I love it."

The Emmaus Walk Home Page

Format only: (c) 2009 Butterfly Productions