By Shannon Baker, BCM/D National Correspondent
GERMANTOWN, Md.—Vernon Ball enjoyed an idyllic “Huckleberry Finn” early childhood centered on barefoot farm living in South Missouri. It was then when he saw “the real thing” in his Christian parents.
Ball still remembers witnessing his father chopping and delivering wood to widows in their neighborhood.
When Ball was 10, they moved to Colorado, which was a “culture shock” to the young lad, who often was bullied in school.
He became so miserable—holding everything inside him—he eventually had to change schools. At his new school, he discovered athletics as a way to release the pent-up anger inside him.
Over time, Ball discovered a love for mathematics, which opened work in mining and other construction-oriented jobs.
One night, at a Bible study in the home of a pastor, Ball found himself in an argument and shouting his convictions to the pastor’s wife, who defended her own convictions. Ball asked what the rest of the group thought. One by one, they all—including his wife—agreed with the pastor’s wife.
Then Leonard, a member of the Bible study, responded to Ball. With tears running down his face, he said, “Oh, how you must hurt!”
Ball was broken. “I saw the real thing [in Leonard], and I wanted it!” he said, as he recalled his prayer that night to give his life to Christ.
That turning point in his life began a series of “one faith venture after another,” which eventually led to Ball’s call to ministry—and to biblical studies.
With no money—and no housing or work available at the school—Ball obeyed God’s call to uproot his family, now with three kids and one on the way, to go to Clear Creek Baptist Bible College in Pineville, Ky.
In story after story, God provided everything that was needed for Ball and his growing family, building his faith and “proving God true.”
Since graduating, he has served as pastor of five churches, interim pastor, home missionary, and in children’s ministry and jail ministry as a bi-vocational minister.
He now serves as education minister at Upper Seneca Baptist Church in Germantown, Md.
Ball’s greatest joy is preaching and testifying to God’s faithfulness.
In recent years, he has added writing to his ministry. His first book, “The Mystery of Faith,” is about Ball’s study and practice of walking by faith for over 44 years of ministry.
In his book, Ball examines the objective of faith, how it works, its basic steps, and why it will be tried. He even discusses how to fight the forces of evil with faith and the victory that belongs to Christians when they stand on faith.
“While it is true that faith is a mystery, it should not be a mystery to Christians,” Ball said.
In recent years, Ball’s faith was confronted when he was diagnosed with Stage 4 tongue and neck cancer. During his chemo and radiation treatments, he faced painful swallowing and radiation burns.
But his greatest fear was misrepresenting God’s image. Instead, he wanted other people to see in him what he saw in his dad and in Leonard: a real faith.
“Our crises should be our finest hour,” he said. “We need those so we can reveal God, who equips, shapes and molds us to expose Him.”
In facing the cancer, he shared with others through a regular email update: “… My prayer is that the Lord will find me faithful to stand strong and properly represent Him in this part of my journey through this world.”
At the end of his treatments, Ball learned he was cancer-free.
“I am a walking miracle, and I praise the Lord for his working,” he said. “The crises of life will either draw us to Him or drive us from Him, the choice is up to us.”
“The Mystery of Faith” is available at www.amazon.com/The-Mystery-Faith-Vernon-Ball/dp/1626976414, Barnes and Noble, and can be ordered in most Christian bookstores at any quantity.