Lee Vendon and Gene Glaze talk about Glaze’s story [Photo Credit: Eve Rusk]
United States | Cynthia Crawford

Gene Glaze grew up farming with his family. It was not an easy life and as a teenager, he joined the Navy where he met and became friends with DeVere Crawford. This began a friendship that would last a lifetime.

Crawford didn't have an easy life either. He joined the Navy out of desperation following the death of both of his parents. He was a Seventh-day Adventist and followed a vegetarian lifestyle which was difficult to practice in the military.

Glaze made poor choices over the years. One sent him to prison for 18 years; he was released from prison 20 years ago. Soon after his release, he gave his heart to the Lord. He began worshipping with a Pentecostal congregation. Then, about five years later, while working at the town dump, he found a large family Bible and took it home. On another day he found a devotional book that was in pretty bad shape, the cover barely recognizable. It was a book written by Morris Venden and was called Faith That Works. He took it home and has continued to read it over the years.

Several years ago, while visiting Crawford and his wife Cynthia, Glaze brought a book he had found at Goodwill. It was The Desire of Ages and he highly recommended it. They told him it was a book they loved too.

Time passed and the Crawfords attended a seminar at their home church, Hood View Seventh-day Adventist Church. The weather had been wintery and prevented the timely arrival of brochure mailings to the community. Consequently, only a few people attended. 

Hoping to build a lasting memory of the seminar’s Bible texts, Cynthia Crawford began creating a simple fill-in-the-blank worksheet listing each of the evening Bible verses. Jonny Moor, the Associate Pastor at the time, helped with corrections and formatting. She attached these worksheets to the handouts given at each meeting. 

When the seminar was finished, she gathered 30 lessons into separate packets, attached personal notes to each for friends and family, and then DeVere mailed them. One of those lesson packets went to Glaze.

Two months later DeVere got a call. Glaze told him that he had completed the lessons and that it was the best gift anyone had ever given him with the exception of his Bible. 

Glaze says that about a month afterward, he got a card notifying him that he had been signed up for Voice of Prophecy lessons. He thought the Crawfords had signed him up. They had not nor does Glaze know to this day who did. 

When Glaze had two lessons of the series left to complete, the woman who corrected each lesson wrote him a note at the bottom of the page inviting him to the local Seventh-day Adventist Church. He began attending and continued studying, completing a Daniel and Revelation set of lessons. 

Gene Glaze was baptized into California’s Woodland Seventh-day Adventist Church on May 20, 2015.

A few months later, he joined his friends at Gladstone Camp Meeting for his very first camp meeting as a new Seventh-day Adventist. Lee Venden, the son of the late Morris Venden, was the evening speaker.

At the 2021 Idaho Conference Camp Meeting, Glaze was honored to be able to present Lee Venden with his personal and very unique copy of Faith That Works, the devotional book that changed Glaze's life. 

Together, Cynthia, DeVere, and Glaze made a special trip to the Idaho Conference Camp Meeting to present the book to Venden, the featured speaker for the hybrid camp meeting. The conference had decided that they could hold a modified in-person camp meeting, rather than just live-streaming. Without knowing Gene's story, they provided the opportunity for Glaze to present the book to Venden.

From the beginning of Glaze and DeVere’s friendship, God was working. During Glaze’s many years in prison, God was working. When Glaze discovered a life-changing book and rescued it from the garbage dump, God was working. 

These moments are evidence of God working in the lives of those struggling and failing, while they cling with their whole heart to a friendship with Jesus Christ. God uses many ways to draw His children to Him.