Ministering to those with wounded spirits
Stephanie was born into a pastor’s home and was involved in ministry from a very young age. At five-years-old, she placed her faith and trust in Jesus Christ for salvation from sin and was baptized a few years later. Through her teen years, she strongly felt God’s call to serve Him in missions, and at the age of 17, she fully surrendered to the Lord’s will for her life.
Shortly after graduation, the Lord began leading Stephanie and Charles together, and they were married a year later. Charles served as an assistant pastor, and Stephanie was heavily involved in the music ministry, as well as various outreach opportunities from children’s ministries to church hospitality. In addition to these responsibilities, the Wesco’s were busy raising the eight children with whom God blessed them.
The year 2013 found the family on their faces before the Lord seeking His direction, and for almost two years, they waited, prayed and sought God’s next step in their lives. That step was Cameroon, West Africa, and after almost three years of deputation, they arrived on Cameroonian soil. Stephanie and Charles had planned to serve the Lord with their family for the rest of their lives on this foreign field, but the Lord had other plans. On October 30, 2018, just twelve days after arriving and beginning their new ministry, Charles was martyred, and Stephanie and the kids had to evacuate and return to the States.
After her husband’s martyrdom, Stephanie resolved to stay faithful to her Savior. In the months since their return home, she has sought to take steps forward with her children, serving the Lord as He opens doors. After prayerfully searching for her new normal and healing from the effects of trauma, the Lord directed Stephanie to reach out and minister to other ladies and children who have been through excruciatingly difficult circumstances and are now dealing with the effects of trauma and PTSD.
God brought the paths of the Wesco’s, Armed Forces Baptist Missions, and Wounded Spirits together when Stephanie and her children found hope through the ministries of AFBM’s director, Dr. Doug Carragher, and his dear wife, Debbie. Stephanie’s desire is that the Lord will continue to put the broken pieces of her life back together in a way that will allow her to help others who are also deeply wounded by life’s hardships. Her primary ministry goal, through speaking, helping ladies and young people at PTSD camps, writing, music, and any other doors God opens, is to see souls saved, ladies and children encouraged and discipled, and have the chance to love and help others who need the Balm of Gilead to heal their hurting hearts. She is excited to know and serve the Great Physician who is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all we can ask or think and confidently looks forward to seeing Him do amazing things in the wounded spirits of ladies and children for His glory!
To Die is Gain: Finding Abundant Life in Death
Before the beginning of time, God had a perfect plan for a very special man. He planned his parents, his time of birth, his childhood, his profession, his calling, his wife, his children, his ministry, his purpose for living. So much would transpire to bring about God’s ultimate purpose for that man’s life—to live and die for his Savior. That man was my husband, and this is his story—and mine.Author: Stephanie Wesco's journey led her through the shadow lands of death, as she witnessed the death of a Martyr of the Cross, her late husband, Charles. Stephanie chose to count the cost and take up the cross her Savior asked her to carry. As she has found healing, God has given her a ministry to others suffering from PTSD.
“Fear Not, My Child”
The Lord began laying the words of this song on Doug’s heart one day in August/2019, as he was driving down the road, thinking about the horrific realities faced by those suffering from PTSD and other trials of their faith! In God’s timing, the children and I were coming through to stay with Doug and Debbie, on our way to a missions conference. That evening, as we talked about the words Doug had already written down, the Lord brought the rest of the words together, as we talked through the reality of the verses in our own lives. Our precious Savior’s still, small voice so clearly spoke to our hearts, through the chorus! Later that week, on a little electric piano, run by D batteries, the Lord gave me the music for the song. We dedicated it to Marissa Maness, a precious sister in Christ battling serious illness. It is our prayer that this song will give hope and peace to those in the midst of valleys, as the God of all comfort uses the words to fill hurting hearts with the reminder that He loves them with an everlasting love!
Sometimes I wake, with pain and fear of dying
It hurts so bad, no answers here to find.
But then I hear my Savior softly speaking,
“Trust Me, My child! I’m right here by your side.”
Fear not, My child! I’ve walked the path you’re walking.
Fear not, My child! I’ll carry you along.
Fear not, My child, and trust in Me, Eternal!
Your faith’s reward, your comfort, and your song.
I daily search for answers to my problems.
My searches end with emptiness and pain.
But Jesus died and granted my full pardon,
So now I bow and call upon His name.
I’ve found my joy, my strength, my hope, my healing,
Sufficient grace, abundant in supply.
And now to Christ, my Savior, I am clinging.
I’ll live for Him, and serve Him till I die.
“Stephanie’s Song” (“I Found My Savior Worthy”)
For some time, Doug kept telling me that I needed to write a song that went through the story of my married life with Charles, his martyrdom and life now. I was quite opposed to the idea, and conveniently “forgot” about the email with a rough draft for the song Doug sent me August/2018. It hurt too much to even think of singing about everything that had happened. But the Lord (and Doug) kept working on my heart and one very early mid-September morning, while my children slept, I asked the Lord to help me complete the words to this song. There were a lot of tears and prayers offered during those hours, but when it was done, the words comforted my heart. A few days later, when we returned home, I sat down at the piano late one night, and the Lord gave me music for the lyrics.
We trusted Christ as Savior
We made a plan for life
We placed Him first in marriage
He made me a preacher’s wife
Through years of faithful service
We trusted in our God
His Word a lamp unto our feet,
To light each path we trod.
That horrible day came all too soon,
When we were torn apart.
One receiving his crown of glory
And me a broken heart.
But I know our God was present there
In the midst of grief and pain.
As Christ, my Life, reminded me,
To die for Him, is gain.
We found our Savior worthy
We proved our Savior true
Though our plans were changed and altered
We knew He would see us through.
Though His ways were not what we had planned,
We knew His way was best.
And our Savior said, Come unto Me,
And I will give you rest.
The joy of the Lord is now my strength
My focus on serving Him
He is my Great Physician,
Making the pain grow dim.
Watching Him work His perfect plan
In all I daily do,
I have found my Savior worthy
I‘ve found my Savior true.
I have found my Savior worthy
I’ve proven my Savior true!
Though my plans have been changed and altered
I know He will see me through.
Though His ways are not what I had planned,
I know His way is best.
And my Savior says, Come unto Me,
And I will give you rest.
“Steadfast in Trials”
In the midst of our conversations in 2019, when Doug was seeking to encourage me to stay steadfast and moving forward, the Lord began to lay the seed thoughts in his mind for this song. After looking up multiple verses that all contained the same theme, he began compiling them into the basis for this song. Nine Bible verses on remaining steadfast in the midst of trials are referenced. Doug shared with me what he had written, and together we edited and completed the final lyrics. The Lord gave the melody for the song in a very short time, and it quickly became one of our favorites!
Our trials of faith in this life are constant.
They hurt so bad, we often lose our way
In this world, we will face tribulation,
But take heart and trust in Christ today.
Steadfast in trials! Rejoice in hope—be patient.
Steadfast in trials! Be constant in prayer.
Steadfast in trials! Keep looking unto Jesus!
Steadfast in trials! Your burden He will bear.
When we are tired and feeling weak and frail,
Our days seem long and we feel all alone,
His strength shines bright, made perfect in our weakness
For through our trials, our faith in Him is grown.
Count it all joy when God sends trials to grow you.
Trust in His power and never turn away.
No greater joy or glory doth await you—
The crown of life for what you choose today.
“I Rest in Your Love”
In January/2019, the children, Liberty and I were at Southland Christian Camp in Louisiana for a Family Camp with the missionaries from Cameroon. As was true on every Tuesday morning, in those first months after Charles’ death, I woke up very early in the morning--cloudy, hurting, and dazed. But that Tuesday morning, as I lay there crying out to the Lord for help, suddenly, words started flowing through my mind. I got up quickly and started writing them down. They were coming fast, as the Lord spoke His words of comfort to my heart. For months, those words stayed on a piece of paper in my journal. That summer, during one of our conversations, I shared the words to that poem with Doug, and he immediately told me it needed turned into a song. I was not as sure as he was! Over the next week or so, I thought about the poem, and one evening, as I sat meditating on what the Lord had said to me through the words, I began giving my heart’s response to the Lord. As my heart cried out it’s surrender to the Lord, I suddenly realized the Lord was giving me the chorus for this song! Within less than 10 minutes, editing was done, and the words to this song were completed. Within 24 hours, the music was ready, and “I Rest in Your Love” was born!
My child, give Me your each expectation
Wait on Me-My plan is best.
Come to Me, give Me your burdens
Trust My love and I’ll give you rest.
My ways are higher than you can imagine
Watch Me fulfill your heart’s each desire.
Delight, My love-I never will leave you
Though it’s hot, I’m here in the fire.
I’m making you a vessel for service
My one wish is to make you like Me.
Be transformed into My image
A sacrifice I want you to be.
And one day, when you stand before Me
Clothed in My righteousness, glorified
Then you will know that your pain was worth it-
Forever rest, content by My side.
Lord, here I am, take all my plans
And conform then to Your own
This life’s not mine, I’m bought with a price.
Take my heart and break up the stone.
Knowing You is worth all the pain
Treasures laid up in Heaven is gain.
My life is Thine-I’m safe in Your hand
Surrendered before You I stand.
I am Your child, I rest in Your love.
“The Holy Hill”
Easter/2018 found Doug reading through the Gospel passages about the crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus. As he read, the Lord began giving him the words to a song. Though at the time, it seemed like it went no where, a little over a year later, during one of our early phone conversations, Doug told me about it. I was in the middle of reeling from just having learned about the liver tumors and gladly welcomed a godly, worthwhile distraction to thinking about them, and I asked Doug to send me the words. He did, and after some editing and sitting down at the piano for a short time, the rest of “The Holy Hill” fell into place--our first song! I taught it to my children that month, and we were singing it in meetings shortly thereafter.
There was darkness that day on that holy hill
Where our Savior was crucified.
A physical sign of a sin cursed world,
One without a clue of why.
Why would my Savior leave His throne,
Leave it for you and for me?
Why in the world would I stay and not serve
A Savior with that love for me.
There was pain that day on that holy hill
The pain was for you and for me.
He took God’s wrath and stood in our stead,
So that pain would be history.
There was thirst that day on that holy hill
A thirst none has ever known.
He drank of the cup and paid sin’s price
The depth of His love to show.
There was death that day on that holy hill
Young and old can have new destiny
For Christ crushed the serpent and conquered the grave
There is life in eternity.
There was victory on that holy hill
Greatest victory of eternity
None can fully fathom the work of the cross
Grace poured out at Calvary.
“Touch the Hem of His Garment”
In late March/2019, the doctor discovered that I had tumors in my liver. This news hit hard and drove me in even more ways to the feet of my Savior. Very early, the morning before the scan that would reveal whether or not the tumors were cancerous, as I lay in bed thinking through all the possible outcomes of that day, the Lord did a work in my heart. One of the primary pictures He brought to my mind was that of the woman, who had been sick for 12 years and had no where left to turn for healing but Jesus. In the dark silence that morning, I told the Lord that I was choosing to touch the hem of His garment and was going to keep touching it until He healed me, because I knew he was the only One who could! God answered my cries for healing, and I was declared cancer free! But this story and its significance never left my heart and mind. Over the coming months, Doug and I often discussed the power of this story-the faith of the sick woman, the healing power that flowed from the Savior to her body, because of her faith in His ability to heal her, and the fact that we know and serve that same Savior today. In the midst of meditating on the powerful message of this miracle from Christ’s earthly ministry, this song was written. The fact that we serve this same Great Physician is so amazing! He is still the same God and still wants to show Himself strong on our behalf today!
In a search for the healing, from my bleeding and pain,
In a crowd of full crying, from the hurting and lame,
My eyes searched for the Healer, Messiah, El-Shaddai,
I knew He could heal me, through His love and His might.
My shameful affliction had been known by all,
I went to the Savior, At His feet I did fall.
I reached out, believing, touched the hem of His robe.
Through His power and healing, was made perfectly whole.
My life is restored now, and I’m finally free!
Gladly serving my Savior, who poured love on me.
You can find your full healing, from your hurt and your pain,
Reach out, and touch Him! Be never the same.
Touch the hem of His garment, See the love in His eyes.
A heart full of contrition, He will never despise.
Look to Christ for restoring, Of your heart, soul, and mind.
Touch the hem of His garment, Where full healing you’ll find.
“A Light from Heaven”
My first counseling sessions with Doug Carragher involved me taking huge steps of opening up about the havoc that was going on inside my mind, due to the trauma and PTSD I was dealing with every day. As I talked, Doug wrote down what I was telling him, and took those phrases. Sometime around Thanksgiving/2019, he began turning them into a song. When he read me what he had written, it was a bit shocking. Hearing what my own thoughts had been in March, verbalized back to me, was extremely eye-opening. I knew there were others that were having those same thoughts and emotions flood them as well. That evening, Doug and I worked on editing the lyrics over the phone for just a short time, and before I went to bed that night, the music was ready to go. This song shows some of the inward struggles someone with PTSD faces, even if they try to put on a mask of “being fine.” It also shows the healing that comes from the Great Physician, as He puts those broken pieces of a traumatized individual back together, giving them hope in who He is and the abundant life He offers them.
When darkness clouds your very soul
And light is hard to find-
The valley deeper than ever before
The world is passing you by.
You feel alone in a room of friends
Your heart aches with questions of why
You feel you are spinning out of control
And know you are going to cry.
The road is hard, the day is long-
You sense there’s no end in sight.
Rest eludes you at every turn
You begin to question why.
The path now lit with Light divine,
Brings peace through His comfort and love
He guides through valleys where darkness thrives
To a view of Heaven above!
There’s a light from Heaven, that never dims
The Hope of Glory-our eyes turn to Him.
The Savior is waiting to guide you through
And share abundant life with you!!
“Serve Worthy Christian Soldier”
In early October/2019, I received an email from Doug that almost traumatized me--30 lines of lyrics!! It was the rough draft idea for a song about being a soldier, both from a US military perspective, as well as a spiritual one. I remember opening the email, looking it over, panicking a bit, and marking it as unread-hoping I could forget he had sent it. But no, Doug asked me shortly thereafter if I had received it. I couldn’t lie!!! And so began the roughest editing process to date for me! But in the end, Doug’s thoughts and words fell into place the way he had intended them to. When the lyrics and music were completed, I was completely in love with the song. My late husband had often stated throughout deputation for Cameroon, that we are soldiers in our King’s army, and it isn’t our job to question, but to simply obey His leadership and direction in our lives. This song reinforced this in my heart and mind. Doug had given me his vision for the direction of the music, and I was so thankful for the way the Lord helped it fall into place. This song constantly reminds me of the privilege it is to be a soldier in the army of the King of Kings!
A soldier serves his country with honor, dignity.
He prepares with great focus to defeat the enemy
He moves mountains, walks through valleys, to fulfill his duty’s call
His standard firmly planted- a soldier cannot fall.
One’s country is his castle, his pride and his home
He serves with obligation, to ensure she’s left alone
Duty is his watchword and freedom his prize
A soldier never runs--a soldier never hides.
A Christian soldier serves his Lord, with all of his might
He hides within his heart, Bible truths for the fight
He never asks for trouble- he never seeks out pain.
He marches for his Savior, Trusting Him alone for gain.
God will use him if he’s willing, to put aside his pride
The foe already conquered, for soldiers on God’s side.
Serve worthy Christian soldiers; be ready for the fight
Your Leader is all-powerful! His ways are always right!
Our Captain is our fortress, our Savior and might.
We serve because He’s worthy, because He is our Light
Be steadfast, my brethren, Giving all to His fight
Defeat is impossible, and losing crucified!!
Stand tall, my brethren, be ready for the fight!
You’re serving your Glory, and victory is in sight!
“In Christ We Will Trust”
In the Spring/2013, my late husband and I found ourselves at heart breaking crossroads, as God called on us to make the difficult choices necessary to be his disciples. Those choices were hard, crushing, and even devastating, as we realized in a whole new way, that following Jesus comes with a cost. In the midst of upheaval, tension, and tears one evening, I stood at my kitchen sink washing dishes and crying out to the Lord for help and light in the midst of the valley we were in. The words to this song began running through my heart. I quickly dried my hands and began writing them down. Before the evening was done, “In Christ We Will Trust” had become a precious gift from the Lord to my heart and soul. It was the first “song in the night” God gave me, and after Charles’ death and continued trials that God allowed in our family’s life, it became even more precious to me. Our family loves singing it together, and it truly reflects our heart cry to Him!
Trust in God with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding.
In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will direct your paths.
O Lord, we trust in You! We know You will see us through.
Though we can’t see Your Master plan, we’ll trust in Your Almighty hand.
O Lord, You’re our strength and song-You know the right from wrong.
And when our way looks bleak, Your Word we will trust and seek.
For Lord, You are our God! In You we will trust.
“For My ways are not your ways, and My thoughts are not your thoughts.”
We are clay in our Potter’s hand-His Master design He has planned.
For me to live is my Lord, and with His heart be in one accord.
This day we have chosen to serve our God-He our family deserves.
“Stay a Part of that Remnant”
One Sunday evening, as a 16-year-old girl, I sat listening, as my church’s assistant pastor preached on the life of Elijah. He spoke of Elijah’s fear and discouragement, as he thought he was the only one left who truly remained committed to Jehovah. Somewhere in the midst of his message, I got distracted, as words started coming to my mind. I started writing them down, and after we got home from church, I sat down at the piano and began humming the tune that would become the music to “Stay a Part of that Remnant.” Seventeen years later, the Lord would bring back many of the lyrics of this song to my heart and mind when I felt like quitting in the months following Charles’ martyrdom. “Don’t give up! Keep on going, for your race is not yet complete!”
When Elijah got discouraged by the threats of that wicked queen,
To the desert for protection Elijah did flee.
It was there at Mt. Horeb God a lesson to Elijah did teach,
That no matter how alone he felt, 7,000 had not bowed their knees!
Keep your eyes fixed on God, for you are not standing alone.
A remnant still has been faithful, a remnant to the Word of God.
Don’t give up! Keep on going, for your race is not yet complete.
Stay a part of that remnant, for a crown to cast at His feet.
No matter how alone we feel, God abides with us still.
A remnant He has retained, that still stands for His name.
When you feel like it’s time to quit, just remember that still, small voice, saying,
“Follow Me, just trust and obey. I will always make the right choice.”