Start a clinic on the farm.
When Renee Marini hears a voice speaking to her spirit while in church, she has no doubt that almighty God has just given her an assignment. She and her husband, Sal, are to travel halfway around the world to establish a medical clinic at Sons of Thunder, a ministry in Zambia, Africa.
But what do they know about starting a clinic in Africa? What begins as a three-week mission trip to lay the groundwork for the clinic becomes a twenty-five-year (and counting) calling on their lives. By just taking the next step as God lights each stone, Renee and Sal witness God doing amazing things . . . over and above anything they can ever imagine.
Fighting against the expected hardships—chiefly, AIDS, malnutrition, and a high number of maternal deaths—they are also confronted with corruption, poverty, and indifference in the medical community. They face snakes, killer elephants, and perplexing local customs that involve witchcraft and body mutilations.
But for all the heartbreak, they witness even more miracles as it becomes clear that God’s purpose for them goes beyond healing bodies. He is using them to help Him heal souls. At every opportunity, they share the gospel of Jesus Christ, and their clinic is a light to the people they serve. In this engaging, thought-provoking memoir, they prove that God can use anybody—you just have to be willing.
Renee…..just an ordinary woman married to the same man (Sal) for 46 years, mother to three sons and grandmother to 6 grandchildren. Graduated from Duquesne University with a Bachelor of Science degree in Nursing and proceeded to work over 25 years as a Registered Nurse in two different states and in varied positions including leadership roles such as nurse manager, nursing instructor and clinical coordinator.
After receiving Jesus as her personal Savior at the age of 40, was called by God along with her paramedic husband to “start a clinic” on a farm in Zambia, Africa. After eight years of His preparation and eighteen years on the ground in Zambia, Renee and Sal have seen God do amazing things, over and above anything they could possibly have imagined and all without a plan of their own!
Her desire is to inspire and encourage others to step out in faith when they hear God’s voice and His direction for their life. When you can’t see the whole picture, it’s okay. Just take the next step!
As photos of the hospital were shown on the screen, something came over me. I had no idea what I was feeling. All I knew was that I would be going there. Tears filled my eyes. At that moment, Sal leaned over and spoke in my ear. “When are we going?”
That was exactly what I felt Sal and I were going through. God came to us that day at church to call us to Zambia to start a clinic. We were just ordinary people, a man and a woman, a husband and a wife, a mom and a dad, a paramedic and a nurse. We were nothing special. But that day, we said yes, we listened, we heard, we received, we believed, and we did not doubt.
Walking out the call on your life—the purpose for which you were born—will definitely lead you through times of difficulties, challenges, and obstacles. During those times, God wants you to be faith-filled and sure that He will be your all-in-all, to lead you and walk with you through those times. It’s during those times that faith grows.
I had to continually remind myself that it’s not what we know, but Who we know that’s the key. Jesus is the One with all the answers. He is the only source of Hope. He is the Hope of the nations. The problems here were much bigger than Sal and I could ever hope to solve. There was nothing in our strength that we could do . . . it was all up to God. No wonder He’d told us Don’t look up, for the need is too great. Just do what I put in front of you.
All glory to God. When we cried out, asking God what our purpose here was, He told us, You are giving the people hope.
The truth was, we had not come with a plan of our own. The only plan was God’s, and He had not revealed all the details yet. All we knew was that He wanted a medical clinic on the farm and transport to the bush. So, like Abraham, we had come, trusting God to show us each step of the journey.
While we were still in the vehicle driving back, God started working on me. These people—three men and five women, ranging in age from twenty-five to seventy-four, some married, some divorced or widowed—had all placed their hope in the little boxes of medications that they had hidden in their pockets or wrapped in their chitenges (a piece of cloth, two yards or meters in length, that Zambian women wrap around their body). I felt like God was saying, Their hope should be in Me.
Since we had come to Zambia to care for both physical and spiritual needs, it became apparent that we needed to minister to the whole person. So, we included God’s Word and the truth of the Gospel in our HIV care at Sons of Thunder, in order for individual repentance and God’s forgiveness to have their way in the healing process.
When I recognized the fact that I was not scared or even startled when I found and killed that oversized scorpion, I came to the realization that all my fear was gone. I couldn’t explain why. All I knew was that somewhere along the journey, God had removed all fear. I don’t know how . . . I don’t know when. I just know that was the defining moment for me. From that time on, I no longer walked in fear of anything. Little did I know how important that would be as I went through the years ahead.
"I personally have known Sal and Renee Marini. I met them just a few years after they came to know Jesus. They were both part of me and my husband's wedding and Godparents to our oldest son. I have not seen them in years but they are in my thoughts and prayers regularly. I was anxious to read this book to catch up on all that has transpired with SOT in Zambia. I do not think I was prepared.
After completing this book, I want to cry in gratitude. I wanted to stand and applaud with Thanksgiving over a Father who gives so freely and so completely to those who walk in faithfulness. He truly will not see his righteous forsaken. He is a faithful God who can not be outdone. In this story, Renee tells how we can not out love, out give or out plan the will of God.
If you are looking for a story to challenge or encourage your faith, then this book is for you. If you want to know what God can do with a humble "Yes!" this book is for you.
It is an easy storyline and straight forward portrayal of God's hand on SOT ministry in Zambia. It is more than an inspiring missionary story. It is a current and relevant God story."
- John Wiles
"A very well written true story of faithfulness and hope. Renee and Sal's belief in God and His goodness are reflected throughout the book allowing for so many awesome turns of events. Renee's writing style makes for easy reading and keeps your attention!! Mind boggling account of how two dedicated Christians can change the lives of countless Zambians through hard work and deep uncompromising faith in God!!"
- Meg Shaffer
"I could not put the book down. I haven't read a book in a long, long time. It was an easy read and kept me engaged anticipating what would happen next. I laughed, I cried, I was upset, and I was excited. The journey through this book will grab at your heart. Man, God's timing is perfect at every single turn! Pack my bags, I'm ready to jump in and be a part."