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  • July 11, 2014 - Reflections

    By Jean S. Horner
    The other day while walking down a corridor in a public building, I saw what appeared to be someone walking toward me. On coming closer, I found it was my own reflection in a huge mirror. For a moment it frightened me. Somehow a full-length reflection of one’s self is a startling thing. ...




My Journey: The Missing Diamonds

By Gail Torres
Aug. 25, 2013

Opening my cherry wood musical jewelry box, I searched for the right ring to wear. Among the two rows of rings, I momentarily selected the ring Luis had given me for our 36th anniversary. Nineteen small diamonds sparkled as I held the gold ring for a moment.

Too bad I couldn’t wear it. Two diamonds were missing, leaving a gaping space as noticeable as a missing front tooth. I hadn’t worn the ring in two years; I just kept it tucked away in my jewelry box. Being pastors, our focus was on the church and our money was spent on community and church projects. Carefully, I put the ring back in the jewelry box and closed the lid.

But the ring brought back memories.

I grew up on a small farm in rural Oklahoma and had strong Christian roots. Even though I was not a part of the drug scene, I watched as my generation dealt with the hippy movement, free love, racial integration, Led Zeppelin, marijuana, and psychotropic drugs. People were searching for love in all the wrong things.

One night I watched a Billy Graham crusade on our small black-and-white TV and heard Graham say, “Jesus loves you and wants to forgive all your sins. Ask Him into your heart.” As I began to cry, my mother prayed with me and God’s love entered the room, changing my life forever.

At 16, I read Run Baby Run, the story of Nicky Cruz. He was a vicious Puerto Rican knife fighter and the chief warlord for a brutal Brooklyn gang called the Mau Maus. David Wilkerson, a country preacher from Pennsylvania, presented Nicky with a message of hope and love. Nicky came to Christ. His life was changed, and Teen Challenge was born with thousands being delivered from the evil power of drug addiction.

In 1970, a movie was made about Wilkerson and Cruz, The Cross and the Switchblade. When I saw the movie, it deeply impacted my life and I knew God was calling me to help hurting people.

Standing at my jewelry box, my thoughts were interrupted when Luis surprised me with a playful hug from behind and laughed as I jumped and screamed. He’s a bold man with a commanding presence and a Puerto Rican accent. I never know what he is going to do next to make me laugh.

“One more week,” he said, “and you’ll be a year older.”

“Don’t remind me.”

“Give me a hint,” he said with a smile. “What would you really like for your birthday?”

I opened the jewelry box and picked up the ring. “I’d love to have these missing diamonds replaced,” I said.

With a mischievous look in his dark brown eyes, Luis put the ring in his pocket without a word and walked out of the bedroom.


More memories.

Luis was a walking miracle. His love for God and his family were a constant reminder of God’s unconditional love. In 1970 he was trapped in a world of drugs, street violence, crime and rebellion. A Teen Challenge minister visited him in a Philadelphia prison and told him about Jesus Christ. Luis accepted Christ, and God set him free. Three months later God called Luis to preach the gospel.

In 1972 Luis came to the small church I attended in Fairfax, Okla., and shared his testimony. Eleven months later we were married and started our ministry together. It still amazes me how God put us together. God gave me a treasure out of darkness and a priceless gem.

A jeweler once showed me a normal round-cut diamond with 58 facets.

“The fire and brilliance of white light that rebounds out of the top of the diamond and makes it sparkle depends on the correct cut and the correct alignment of each facet,” he said.

I thought about 1 Corinthians 13 and the many facets of God’s love. It is patient and kind. It is not jealous or proud, not rude or self-seeking. It is the highest level of love. It believes the best of everyone and does not rejoice at injustice and unrighteousness.

Agape love drove Jesus to lay down His life for the human race to save mankind from sin and self-destruction. His love knows no limits or boundaries in how far, wide, high and deep it will go to rescue us. It isn’t looking for what it can get, but for what it can give. This kind of love gave Luis and me purpose and meaning. It made life worth living.

I heard my husband’s car pull up in the driveway. Luis had something hidden behind his back as he greeted me with a kiss.

“Close your eyes and hold out your hand. I have a surprise for you.”

Luis slipped the restored ring on my finger.

“Happy birthday, honey.”

I opened my eyes. Instead of 19 diamonds, 21 diamonds sparkled. I threw my arms around my husband and squealed with joy. I knew this was a sacrifice, but I couldn’t resist asking the question.

“How much did it cost?”

“Guess.”

“Don’t tease me, how much?”

“Nothing.”

“What? Come on, don’t tease me.”

“I’m not teasing. The jeweler examined the ring and found the two diamonds weren’t missing after all. They had dropped low in the setting and were hidden from view. They only appeared to be missing.”

He continued, “The jeweler pulled the diamonds to the surface, tightened the prongs and cleaned the ring ... all at no charge.”

I couldn’t believe it. It looked like a new ring. Joy flooded my heart as I thought about the favor and the blessings of God. We are His gems. He searches for hidden diamonds, pulls us to the surface, and cleanses us by the blood of Jesus ... all at no charge.

Many times trials and pressures of life hide God’s love from us. I wondered how many missing diamonds needed to sparkle again.


GAIL TORRES is a freelance writer and teacher. She is the wife of Luis Torres, lead pastor of First Assembly of God in Sand Springs, Okla. The Torreses also travel and speak at churches and conferences specializing in ministry to hurting, wounded people.

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