Eugene Wilkerson’s Life Story
June 20, 1950—August 5, 2019
Often I have experienced thanksgiving welling up from deep inside of my heart, and I have been overwhelmed as I reflect on the calling God has put on my life that brought me into this ministry of healing and deliverance. He has walked me through many trials, and His refining fire of love and mercy has taught me essential lessons I needed to learn to serve Him faithfully. I’m nothing extraordinary, just a regular guy who continues to be amazed that He should put His hand on my life in such a powerful way. I’m so grateful to be able to serve Him with a passion in my heart to love and obey Him. This journey has not been easy as He taught me to depend on Him to supply ALL my needs and to submit to His will so He can accomplish His purpose for my life.
My roots are in Richmond, Virginia. My family moved from the city to the country where I spent most of my growing up on a farm. We attended a Southern Baptist church, and even though I was exposed to the gospel in my childhood, it did not penetrate my heart during those formative years. I joined the Air Force when I was 18 and spent a year and a half in Okinawa. It was there that the Holy Spirit began convicting me of my sin and my need for a Savior.
In September, I came home on leave and spent some time with friends on a hike through the mountains in Shenandoah Valley. While walking along, my close friend Eddie began to share with me his salvation experience. I had heard about Jesus in church but didn’t know that He died on the cross for me; I thought it was just religion. As we sat under an apple tree, eating lunch, and continuing our conversation, his words began to penetrate my heart. I realized I needed a Savior! Eddie led me in prayer, not just for Jesus to come into my heart and forgive me of my sins but that He would become the Lord of my life. I committed to follow Him always; I put my life into His hands on October 6, 1970. I went back to Okinawa as a new person in Christ, to finish out my last year of service, but I was plagued by sinful, bad habits and an ungodly stronghold in my soul which caused me lots of problems. In the midst of this, my heart’s cry was still to serve God, and I did that the best I knew how. I was raw material that the Lord began molding into the likeness of His Son, cleansing my soul from the attachments to the things of the world.
As a young Christian, I tried reading my Bible, but to be honest, I didn’t understand it very well. On January 1, 1972, I went to a small group bible study for young adults where I heard a teaching on the Holy Spirit. My church upbringing taught me that His gifts, such as healing and the gifts of the Holy Spirit, were not for today. But these young people were sharing the truth from the Bible, and they stressed that it was for today. When the study was over, three young men sat down around me and said, “You need to be filled with the Holy Spirit.” Everything within me wanted to say no, but out of my mouth, I said, “Okay.” They opened a Bible and showed me five places in Scripture where people were filled with the Spirit of God, spoke in tongues, and prophesied! They laid hands on me and prayed, “Fill Gene with Your Holy Spirit.” For a few minutes, they just kept quietly saying, “Holy Spirit, fill Gene with your promise.”
One of the men kneeling around me begins to say, “I thank You, Lord, for filling Gene with your Holy Spirit.” I remember thinking these guys were weird, but I did not have the insight into these spiritual realities as they did. I just sat there quietly, but I felt like someone was pouring a jar of warm oil over my head. As this begins to happen, some strange words came out of my mouth; the verse that popped into my head was 1 Corinthians 13:1, “Though I speak with tongues of men and angels…” I thought this was an angel speaking through me, and I sat there for three or four minutes speaking in a language that I did not understand. The three men around me were clapping and laughing as this was happening, so I stopped thinking something was wrong. I looked up and asked what this experience that I was having was. One of the young men, laughing, looked at me and said, ‘You’re speaking in tongues!” Then he said, “Let’s do it again,” and I said, “I couldn’t.” He said, “Just open your mouth, and it will come out.” So, I did; I opened my mouth, and that language begins to roll off my tongue again.
This experience was the beginning of my walk in the power of the Holy Spirit. I began to study and read about the gifts and found out that there were eight more. I became hungry for all of what the Bible taught on these gifts in I Corinthians chapters 12 and 14. The most significant change for me was an unquenchable yearning inside my heart for reading the Bible, and I began to experience a deeper understanding of the Word of God as I read it.
Six months after this experience, I married my wife, Sharon, and became an instant father to her two precious little girls, Annette and Lisa, from a previous marriage. She was a Spirit-filled believer, too, so we began our life walking together in a beautiful relationship with the Lord. In 1973 we moved to Kansas City, Missouri, so that I could attend Bible school. When I graduated from Bible school, I was offered a position as a youth pastor in Albuquerque, New Mexico.
In 1975 our daughter Jenny was born. In 1977 our son, Jeremy was born with a kidney deformity, cerebral palsy, and several other medical problems. They told us he would not live a year. I had seen God heal little things, but nothing major like this problem. Jeremy was in the hospital most of the time during his first-year with infections from the kidney problems. Also, with cerebral palsy, he had trouble eating. He was born, 7 ½ pounds at birth. But at nine months, he only weighed 9 pounds. Before Jeremy was 1-year-old, he had two reconstructive kidney surgeries, which failed, and doctors were preparing to perform a third surgery.
Sharon and I were in continual prayer, splitting our time to be with him along with juggling family needs at home, and with working two jobs. In January, the doctors put dye into his system and took pictures as it traveled through his kidneys. Our doctor came out with the x-rays in his hand and asked us to come into his office. He put the x-rays up to the light so we could see what was on the film. Next, he took out the x-rays from the previous surgery. From those films, he showed us where the failure happened when they were trying to reconstruct his kidneys. Then he pointed to the new x-rays and outlined the area where the failure was; it had disappeared, and everything was functioning correctly. He said, “We could take our son home!” The doctor, who was Jewish and believed in miracles, knew we were Christians praying for a miracle, and he said, “You got one!” I didn’t understand how his kidneys were healed but not his cerebral palsy. God spoke to me with the reassurance that this, too, would be to His glory in His time. We did everything we knew to do with persevering prayer, the doctors did what they knew to do medically, and the Lord walked us through it all.
All of these medical needs for my son brought us great financial stress. During this time, I tried to tithe, but being over one hundred thousand dollars in debt in medical bills, I was overwhelmed. I always made a point of giving back to God what I could, but there never seemed to be enough to meet our needs and reduce this debt. My prayer time kept increasing; it seems when you have problems, you either walk away or walk closer to the Lord. I pressed closer. Yes, financially, it was a struggle, but spiritually, things changed. As I learn to give to the Lord, He continually showed me His faithfulness and goodness. In Luke 6:38 (NKJV), the Bible says, “Give, and it will be given to you; good measure, pressed down, shaken together, and running over will be put into your bosom…”
I also sought counsel from my church on managing all this medical debt. They told me bankruptcy is the easiest way to go. So, I asked the Lord’s counsel again because I needed to know if this was how He wanted me to handle this problem. He told me, “If you walk with Me, I will pay this debt off.” It sounded like a command, so I obeyed. I didn’t have much extra during that time, but He proved Himself faithful to take care of us. Some people don’t believe in tithing; they say it’s not ‘New Testament,’ but my obedience to His commandment brought His provision. Malachi 3:8-11 (NKJV) says to stop stealing from God and “Bring all the tithes into the storehouse… and try Me now in this. If I will not open for you the windows of heaven and pour out for you such blessing that there will not be room enough to receive it. And I will rebuke the devourer for your sakes.” Over six years, the Lord kept providing the funds to pay it off!
In 1979, my job with the trucking company was ending. I had several years’ experience in telephone business systems and decided to look for a career in that field. I received a call from a company in Kirkland, Washington. After the interview, they offered me a job. In January, I moved my family to Washington state and found a house to rent in Tacoma. The landlord was very gracious and worked with us because we were behind in rent every month. One morning, during the winter, we were getting ready to take Jeremy for a doctor’s appointment, and I went out to start the car. I went back into the house to get him, and when I walked outside, the car engine was on fire. I pushed the car away from the house so it wouldn’t catch on fire and then watched the car burn to the ground. Sometimes our difficulties left me overwhelmed, but I was determined to continue to trust in God’s faithfulness. Eventually, life settled down. Things became ordinary and uneventful. Our finances stabilized, so we were able to buy a home.
In July of 1983, while in prayer, the Lord directed me to start my own company. So, with great trepidation, I quit my job and started filling out the necessary paperwork for business permits. But then I got cold feet and in August and went to work for a friend who had his own company. I worked hard, but the business was not doing well, and I received very little income. By the middle of December, I was four months behind in our mortgage payment and received notice that on February 1, the bank was foreclosing on my house. During those four months, all we had to live on were credit cards, so we used them to buy groceries and other necessities. Our debt went up to $25,000. It was devastating to consider my family being put out on the street. I realized that God had withdrawn His hand of blessing. So, during Christmas, I got on my face before the Lord trying to find out what went wrong. In my prayer time, all the Lord said was, “Remember what I told you to do in July.” Somehow I thought it was okay to be disobedient because I was afraid. The Lord told me, “If you obey Me, I will bless you.”
I knew what I needed to do and got the papers together and by the first week of January, filed them with the state, purchased the necessary insurance, and opened my little phone company. God gave me grace, and throughout January, my business multiplied. On the 25th, I called the mortgage company and made four house payments. By June, all our debt was paid off, and our only bill was a mortgage payment.
Through this, I learned a valuable lesson; my disobedience and fear had consequences. This doesn’t mean I did everything correct as life went on, but I know my heart was in the right place, and I believed in God’s love and provision for me as I remained faithful to His direction.
Then in April 1988, another trauma hit us. As my wife was sitting in the living room, she closed her eyes, quit breathing, and died. The coroner did a complete autopsy and found no cause of death. It is written up as heart failure. I was overwhelmed with instantly becoming a single parent and grieving the loss of my wife. In time, the grieving and anger I had diminished, and I began healing from the death of Sharon. The children quickly grew up to be on their own, and Jeremy received assistance and a place to stay with a caregiver.
Even though the journey was tough at times, the Lord promised to walk with me through the valley, and I can look back at those years and see the many times He was right there, working behind the scenes to fulfill His promise. His Hand never left me. The lessons I learned deepened my faith, strengthened me for His calling, and I continually testify to His faithfulness.
Eventually, I remarried and transitioned my small business into a large telephone systems company with several employees. God blessed it beyond my highest expectations.
Then things began to shift for me as my circumstances changed. God led me to a Foursquare church to start fulfilling His calling on my life. My past experiences had taught me so many valuable lessons for this next season of my life. I began teaching a new believers class and started showing these new Christians the truth about healing as it is taught in the Bible. Many requested prayer and began experiencing healings and deliverances. Throughout my 15 years of teaching these classes, people came from all over the area to receive prayer. Testimonies of the miracles and hand of God to heal were remarkable—blind eyes, MS, crushed bones, cancers, and countless others. Eventually, God directed me to leave the Foursquare church and form a ministry called Flames of Fire (Hebrews 1:7). Flames of Fire continues to be blessed with believers coming alongside me to serve in this ministry.
I retired from my business to do this ministry full time. Unfortunately, my wife didn’t want to be a part of this new season in my life and asked for a divorce. Sometimes it’s hard to understand these life problems, but I had learned to wait on God and trust Him for every part of my life regardless of circumstances. He always instructed me with these words, “Son, just walk with Me.”
For over 11 years, Flames of Fire has been in place. In 2017 I decided it would be good to write a book on what I have learned about healing and deliverance over 30 years. A woman in our ministry came forward and offered to be my editor. We meet weekly for 8 months to write and edit a lot of material covering teachings, testimonies, and my life experiences. In May of 2018, God made another shift in both our lives and brought us together in marriage. How gracious God is to make us one in Him. What a great blessing Rosemary and I have in this ministry with sharing hearts of passion and love serving Jesus.
God is preparing us for greater outreach and anointing for the times that we are in. I believe we are in the Last Days before the return of Jesus.
Gene passed away on August 5, peacefully, in his sleep. He went home to be with his beloved Jesus, Flames of Fire continues under the anointing of the Holy Spirit and Pastor John Houser, who Gene was mentoring for several years. John and a group of deeply committed brothers and sisters are going forward with Gene’s legacy to follow Jesus’ command to teach, preach, heal, and set the captive free. This ministry belongs to Jesus and will remain under His Holy Spirit anointing to preach the Word, teach the Truth, and heal the oppressed and afflicted.
Gene’s outstanding characteristics were his life of prayer and the Word. A bible was by every chair where he sat. He would not move forward with any decision until he heard from the Holy Spirit. He was a man of integrity, a “straight arrow,” and presevering. He had a deep heart of compassion and love and was a true shepherd over the flock God gave him. His friendships lasted a lifetime, and he reached out to everyone he met. We will feel his absence in our lives with sadness but know he is happy and fulfilled with the presence of Jesus.
My Beloved Husband,
I will always deeply love you. We’ll be together in eternity.
Mercy and lovingkindness will follow us all the days of our life. Psalm 23
And He said to them, go into all the world and preach and publish the good news (the Gospel) openly to every creature [of the whole human race]. Mark 16:15 AMPC
So, He replied to them, ‘Go and tell John what you have seen and heard: the blind receive their sight, the lame walk, the lepers are cleansed, the deaf hear, the dead are raised, and the poor have the good news (the Gospel preached to them.’) Luke 7:22 AMPC
And they went out and preached everywhere, while the Lord kept working with them and confirming the message by the attesting signs and miracles that closely accompanied [it]. Amen (so be it). Mark 16:20 AMPC
The Spirit of the Lord is upon Me, because He has anointed Me to preach the gospel to the poor; He has sent Me to heal the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives and recovery of sight to the blind, to set at liberty those who are oppressed; to proclaim the acceptable year of the LORD. Luke 4:18-19