Eugene Wilkerson’s Life Story
June 20, 1950—August 5, 2019
As I reflect on God’s calling on my life, I experience thanksgiving welling up from deep inside my heart and feel overwhelmed by it. He called me to serve Him in a healing and deliverance ministry. His love and mercy brought me through many trials and difficulties. They 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 God should put His Hand on my life in such a powerful way. I’m so grateful to be able to serve Him with a deep passion in my heart to love and obey Him. This journey has not been easy, but He taught me to depend on Him to supply ALL my needs and submit to His will. He continues to accomplish His purposes for my life faithfully.
My roots are in Richmond, Virginia. My family moved from the city to a country farm, where I spent most of my growing up. We attended a Southern Baptist church, and even though I was exposed to the gospel, it didn’t penetrate my heart. 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 hiking in the Shenandoah Valley. As we walk, my close friend Eddie began to share with me his salvation experience. I had heard about Jesus in church but didn’t connect with the truth that He died on the cross for me; I thought it was just religion. While sitting 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 following Jesus always; I put my life into His Hand on October 6th, 1970. I went back to Okinawa a different man to finish my last year of service. But I was plagued with sinful habits and a demonic stronghold in my soul, which caused me many problems. In the midst of this, my heart’s cry was still to serve Jesus, and I did that the best I knew how. I was raw material, and the Lord patiently began to mold me to be more like Jesus. He was cleansing my life from attachments to the things of this world.
As a young Christian, I tried reading my Bible, but I didn’t understand it very well, to be honest. On January 1st, 1972, I went to a small bible study for young adults. They were teaching about the Holy Spirit. My church upbringing taught me that healing and the gifts of the Holy Spirit were not for today. But these young people were sharing the truth as it was written in the Bible and telling me it was for today. After our study time, three young men sat down around me and said, “You need to be filled with the Holy Spirit!” Everything in me wanted to say no, but out of my mouth, I said, “Okay.” They opened a Bible and showed me five places where people are filled with the Holy Spirit, 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 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 spiritual understanding they did. I sat there quietly, but I felt like someone was pouring a jar of warm oil over my head. As this happened, 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. I sat there for three or four minutes, talking in a language I did not understand. The men around me were clapping and laughing as this was happening, so I stopped thinking something was wrong. I looked up and asked, “What was this experience?” One of the men, laughing, looked at me and said, ‘You’re speaking in tongues!” Then he said, “Let’s do it again.” 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. Praying in tongues was the beginning of my walk in the power of the Holy Spirit. I began to study and read about His gifts and found out that there were eight more. I became hungry for all of what the Bible taught on them. And the most significant change in my heart was an unquenchable yearning to read the Bible. The more I read, the more I began to understand. Six months later, I married my wife, Sharon, and became an instant father to her two precious little girls, Annette and Lisa. She was a Spirit-filled believer too. So, we began our life 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 and was ordained a Pastor, I was offered a Youth Pastor position in Albuquerque, New Mexico.
In 1975 our beautiful daughter Jenny was born. In 1977 our son, Jeremy was born with a kidney deformity, cerebral palsy, and several other medical problems. The doctors 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 kidney problems. Also, with cerebral palsy, he had trouble eating. When he was born, Jeremy weighed 7 ½ pounds. But at nine months, he only weighed 9 pounds. Before Jeremy was 1-year-old, he had two reconstructive kidney surgeries, which failed.
The doctors prepared for 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 my 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. 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 failed kidney was. The defect had disappeared, and everything was functioning correctly. He said, “You can take your son home!” The doctor believed in miracles and knew we were Christians praying for a miracle. He said, “You got one!” I didn’t understand how Jeremy’s kidneys could be healed but not his cerebral palsy. Jesus 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, 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.” (NKJV)
I also sought counsel from my church on managing all this medical debt. They told me bankruptcy is the easiest way to go. But, I sought the Lord’s counsel again because I needed to know if this was how He wanted me to handle this problem. Jesus 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 this 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 says to stop stealing from God and “Bring all the tithes into the storehouse… and try Me now in is 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.” (NKJV) 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 winter morning, we were getting ready to take Jeremy for a doctor’s appointment and I went out to start the car. I came back into the house to get him, and when I went outside again, 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 so overwhelmed, but I was determined to continue to trust in God’s faithfulness. Eventually, life settled down; things leveled out for us. Our finances stabilized, and we were able to buy a home.
In July of 1983, while in prayer, Jesus 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. Instead, on the 1st of August, I 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 the bank was foreclosing on us February 1st. During those four months, all we had to live on was credit cards. We used them to buy groceries and other necessities. Our debt went up to $25,000. It was devastating to consider my family on the street. I realized that God had withdrawn His Hand of blessing. During Christmas, I got on my face before the Lord, trying to find out what went wrong. In my prayer time, all Jesus said was, “Remember what I told you to do in July.” Somehow I thought it was okay to be disobedient because I was afraid. He told me, “If you obey me, I will bless you.”
I knew what I needed to do and got the papers together. By the first week of January, I filed them with the state, purchased the necessary insurance, and opened my phone company. God gave me great favor, 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. I always did not do everything correctly as life went on, but I know my heart was in the right place. I believed in God’s love and provision for me as I remained faithful to His direction and not live in fear.
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. He recorded it 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 deep grief.
Over the next few years, the girls quickly grew up to be on their own. Jeremy qualified for assistance, and I found him a place to stay with a caregiver.
Even though my journey was difficult at times, the Jesus promised to walk me through the dark places. I can look back at those years and see He was working behind the scenes to fulfill His promises. His Hand never left me. The lessons I learned deepened my faith, strengthened me to fulfill His plan and purpose, and give continual testimony 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 greatest expectation.
Then things began to shift for me as my circumstances changed. God led me to a Foursquare church to start fulfilling His plans for my life. My past experiences had taught me many valuable lessons for this season. Don Shelby, an assistant Pastor, and a close friend at our church ask me to teach a New Believers class. I started showing these young Christians the truth about healing as taught in the Bible. Many requested prayer and began experiencing healings and deliverances. Throughout my 15 years of teaching, people came from all over the area to receive help through our services. 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 this Foursquare church and form a ministry called Flames of Fire (Hebrews 1:7) in 2004.
I retired from my business to be a full-time minister. 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 Jesus and trust Him for every part of my life regardless of circumstances. He always instructed me with these words, “Son, just walk with Me.” 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 eight months to write and edit a lot of material covering teachings, testimonies, and life experiences. In May of 2018, God made another shift in both our lives and brought us together in marriage. It was a relationship of being made one in the Lord, and what a great blessing it is to have Rosemary walk alongside me with her passion for Jesus and love for people.
Now, God is expanding our outreach and anointing for the final days ahead. I believe we are in the End Times before the return of Jesus.
Gene passed away on August 5th peacefully in his sleep. He went home to be with his beloved Jesus. The angels welcomed him with a “Halleluiah!” shout as he did his “happy dance.” The outstanding characteristics were his life of prayer and the Scriptures. A Bible was by every chair where he sat, and 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 preserving. 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 in the presence of Jesus. Flames of Fire continues under the Holy Spirit’s anointing as a website to share Gene’s teachings and heart for healing and deliverance, to preach the Word, teach the truth, and bring the message of healing for the world.
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