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Banana Pudding Cake Encounter With God By Rev. Amber Willeford

Banana Pudding Cake Encounter With God By Rev. Amber Willeford

Rev. Crystal April 20, 2016 0 comments
Amber Willeford

Banana Pudding and The Call By Rev. Amber Willeford

I found a recipe for Banana Pudding Cake on Pinterest and decided I wanted to make it.  This is weird for me.  I’m not a kitchen person, but I was inspired to try it by my love for all things banana.

As I pulled into Shop n’ Save the song “Alabaster Box” began to play on my Kirk Franklin XM station.  I love this song.  Most of the time when I hear it I just weep because of the message.  I felt something nudge me to pull into one of the parking spots near the back and just enjoy the song.  I thought as I did it “oh man!  God’s about to show up in this car and I’m gonna have one of ‘those moments.'”  Thinking I was about to have one of those cool-to-tell parking lot stories I put the car in park and closed my eyes.  I listened.  Eyes got teary, yet no sobbing or overwhelming presence of God.

The song ended and I just thanked God for His grace & mercy.  Like the song says “you don’t know the cost of the oil in my alabaster box.”  I felt a fresh thankfulness and boldness to praise Him.  But still nothing super spectacular.  Nothing like I expected.  So I put it in drive, found a spot near the door (WINNER!), parked and went in to get the ingredients I needed.

Got the wafers, pudding, and cake mix that I needed and headed down to the milk area where I figured there would be the Cool Whip I needed.  I helped a little girl return an item to the top shelf.  Then I saw him.  I recognized him.  But I couldn’t think how.

Where is the Cool Whip?  Shouldn’t it be with dairy?

I turned around and nearly bumped into him.  I smiled.  Then I remembered.  He stopped by the church one morning.  Is his name Tom?

Cool Whip isn’t with cream cheese either.  Where is it?!

He used to attend APC in the 80’s and early 90’s.  He’s got cancer.  That’s right…I remember him now.

Oh yeah, I need a FROZEN tub of Cool Whip…it’s with the ice cream.  Found it!  Time to check out.

Of course, if you have the choice definitely use the self-checkout.  You can live the childhood dream of running bar codes over the scanner without having to stay for an 8-hour shift.

All paid…ready to go.  Headed for the door.  There he is in lane 4.  His milk.  His Prairie Farms vanilla ice cream.  His case of Guinness.  And his cancer.

“Amber, you’re having a Miracle Sunday this weekend.  Slow down.  Invite him.”

“But I need to get home.  I’ve got Cool Whip in the bag.  Room-mate is waiting.”

I continue with steady steps to my car.  Got through the electronic sliding doors before the voice spoke again.  “He needs Miracle Sunday.”  Then the other voice “He probably won’t remember you.  Think how awkward that will be.”

Take left towards the car.  Unlock.  Ingredients in the backseat.  Start the car.  I reason that “if he walks out before I pull out, I’ll wait.  But only if he’s parked kinda near me.”

When he cleared the electronic sliding doors and headed left my comfort zone started to get nervous.  When he opened the back hatch of the car next to mine I had no excuse.

Is that a Miracle Sunday invite card in my back seat?!  Sure is.  I grabbed it and got out of the car.  And said, “Hello!”

“Hi” as he continues to unlock his car.

“I think I remember you.  You stopped by our church not long ago and spoke with my dad.  We prayed for your cancer situation.”

“Bro. Willeford’s church.”

“Yeah, that’s the one.  How are you doing?”

“Not good.  The cancer has progressed.  It won’t be long now.”

“I’m sorry to hear that.”

“I still remember Steve’s sermon ‘It Started With a Look’ about Abraham and Lot.  I think about it a lot.  Just a glance at sin will take you farther than you  intend.”

“That’s true.  But I think the opposite is also true.  Just one look towards God can start something good in your life.”

“Oh yeah, that’s definitely true.”

“Yes, sir.”

“Oh, it’s Gary, you don’t have to call me sir.”

Gary.  That’s right. Not Tom.

“Well, Gary, we’re having a Miracle service this Sunday. [hands him an invite card] These are services that are focused on faith and God doing the impossible.  I believe God can heal you.”

“I believe God heals, too.”

“You should come.  We’d love to have you.  I know my dad would be so excited to see you again.”

“I take so much morphine for pain I can hardly get out much.  But I’ll see if my son can come with me.”

“I hope you can.  It was good to see you.”

“You, too.  See ya.”

Got in the car.  Eyes got teary.  “Thank you, Lord, for that opportunity.”  Reverse.  Pull out of parking spot.  Drive.  Exiting parking lot.  “Thank you for stopping me to listen to that song. Thank you for my front row spot…that had an empty spot next to it at the time.  Thank you for delaying me with ‘Alabaster Box’ so I could cross Gary’s path.”

I thought the cool-to-tell parking lot story was gonna be a lot different.  The God-moment wasn’t for me to receive, but to give.  I thought I’d have a serious prayer meeting moment where God’s presence is so thick you could cut it with a knife.  But it didn’t happen that way.

The moment wasn’t for me.  It was for Gary.  Instead of a chance to feel Jesus, I got a chance to touch like Jesus did.  Rather than hear Him, I got to speak for Him.

At Shop n’ Save no less.  I thought I was there for Banana Pudding Cake ingredients.  But I was there for Gary.  As if God was saying “You shop n’ I’ll save.”

By the way, the cake was delicious!  Here’s the recipe if you share my love for all things banana.


1 box yellow or banana cake mix

1 large box instant vanilla or banana pudding

3 banana’s sliced thin and dunked in lemon juice

1 tub whipped topping

1 cup vanilla wafers

Baking Instructions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350.
  2. Bake banana pudding cake in 9 x 13 pan, according to box directions.
  3. Let cake cool completely in pan.
  4. Prepare banana pudding following box directions.
  5. Poke lots of holes into the cake, I use a kabob skewer.
  6. Slowly pour banana pudding over cake, smearing pudding into holes.
  7. Layer banana’s over the pudding, adding more if needed.
  8. Cover with whipped topping
  9. Sprinkle crushed {kinda chunky} vanilla wafers over cake.
  10. Cover and pop in the fridge at least an hour, or overnight.

Amber WillefordBiography: Amber, a licensed UPCI minister for the past 4 years, currently attends UGST with the intention of gaining a Masters in Theological Studies.  She is the Office Administrator at APC, where she serves on the Youth Committee, teaches in the Ladies Sunday School class, preaches in main service on a quarterly basis, directs the youth choir, and leads worship.

She has had the privilege to teach at Harvest Bible College in Scotland and is anxiously anticipating her next visit in 2016.  When she is not reading a textbook or writing a paper, she enjoys spending time with her nephew Jude (aka Toodlehead) and dabbling in photography.  She especially likes combining the two, and perhaps in her travels to Scotland she may snag a pic of the fabled Loch Ness Monster.

Copyright 2015 Amber Willeford and Crystal Schmalz Ministries

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About The Author Rev. Crystal Rev. Crystal Schmalz is a licensed minister in the United Pentecostal Church International, holds a Master of Divinity degree from Urshan Graduate School of Theology, and a Bachelor of Arts in Interdisciplinary Humanities and History from Michigan State University. Crystal has served as a staff chaplain at Barnes Jewish Hospital, has completed five units of Clinical Pastoral Education, and is a member of ACPE. She served as a ministry staff leader for ACMNP in Yellowstone National Park and enjoys the beauty of God’s creation. She served on staff at Life Christian Church pastored by David Stephens doing outreach, guest coordination, youth leadership, Sunday school, and music ministry. She currently attends New Life Center pastored by Garry Tracy, and is involved in teaching Sunday school, preaching at nursing homes, teaching Bible Studies, and helping people connect to God and community. Crystal loves to spend time with her husband Luke, and her hobbies include writing, “thrifting,” eating ice cream, and playing Settlers of Catan and Scrabble with friends and family.

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