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In some ways, once we got to know him, Jack seemed very naive. If he felt the Lord saying something to him, he didn’t even think of questioning whether it was the Lord or not, he just did it. Even if what he heard from God seemed really wild and ‘out there,’ such as buying a property for millions of dollars. Even with no money to make a purchase like that, Jack would have gone to the real estate agent and signed the contract believing that God would provide for him. He had nothing in him that demonstrated any fear of something like that.
Some people talk a lot about having faith for finance but Jack wasn’t like that. He just quietly put his faith into action and did it. He would put himself into a place where he was relying completely on God to supernaturally provide huge amounts of money with no other possible alternative means of provision. He didn’t have a list of supporters to fall back on, or a fund-raising strategy.
Jack Winter made a couple of resolutions when he was a young Christian. Firstly, he said to the Lord that whenever an offering plate passed by him, he would always and without exception empty his wallet into it. This he did for the rest of his life. Sometimes he had just received an honorarium from his previous preaching and had thousands of dollars in his wallet and it went into the offering. The other resolution he made was when he said, “Lord, if you ever gave me a million dollars, I would give it right back to you.” Incredibly, this was to be fulfilled years later.
During that time, there was a lady who was coming along to the meetings which Jack was speaking at. This lady had incurred a hospital debt, which was 900 US dollars. This was a very large amount in the 1960s and the lady had no means to pay the debt. She was greatly burdened with this and could not get peace to hear the Lord about anything else in her life, so heavy was this debt that hung over her.
One night, Jack felt the Lord tell him to pay the hospital bill. He didn’t have the money to pay it. Jack used to say to us, “God will never give you the finance you are praying for until the responsibility of it is on your shoulders.” He went to the lady who owed the 900 dollars and told her to forget about her medical debt. He told her specifically that he, Dorothy and some Christian friends would pay it. He reassured her that she need not worry about it anymore. She was relieved to be free of the worry and the debt. At that stage Jack didn’t know who the ‘Christian friends’ would be who would help pay the debt, but he believed that God would bring them along.
Having lifted the burden of the 900 dollar debt from the lady who owed it, Jack then went to the hospital and instructed them to make him entirely accountable for what was owed to them. He told them to cross the lady’s name off the debt and put his name on it. He, Jack Winter, would now be in the hospital’s debt, to the tune of 900 dollars. When he walked out of the hospital, he felt the weight of the 900 dollar debt come upon him and Dorothy, and they had no income or any means to pay it. They were living by faith.
The bill had to be paid by a deadline, a certain Friday a few weeks later. Jack and Dorothy began to pray, along with their intercessors with whom they shared their situation. They had prayer meetings over the next number of days, and occasionally a name would pop into Jack’s mind. It was the name of a very wealthy lady, who he knew. Jack kept dismissing this thought. He shouldn’t be looking to a rich person to pay the debt; God was going to pay for it supernaturally. He even rebuked the thoughts about this wealthy woman, thinking the devil was putting it into his mind. But the deadline for repayment kept getting closer and closer.
Monday passed, Tuesday passed, then Wednesday, then Thursday. The prayer meetings were getting longer and more intense. Finally it was Friday morning and the payment was due by 5 o’clock that evening. They hadn’t received one cent! About 10 o’clock in the morning, as they were praying, the name of this wealthy woman pops into Jack’s mind again. He thought, “I don’t know what else to do so I will go and visit her.” So he drove to her home, parked in front of the house and knocked on the door but there was no answer. Thinking she may be in the garden, Jack walked around the side of the house. As he went towards the garden he passed the lounge and saw that the French doors of the lounge were wide open, and the woman was sitting in the lounge. As he looked at her, it was obvious that she was praying, her Bible was open in front of her and she had her eyes closed. Jack slipped into the lounge and stood in front of her, waiting.
After a short while, the lady opened her eyes, saw Jack standing in front of her and promptly burst into tears. Jack sat down and began talking to her about the blessing of giving to the Lord. He was encouraging her, telling stories and quoting Scripture but he was beating around the bush, avoiding mentioning the 900 dollar debt which was due within hours. She listened respectfully, knowing who Jack was. He was reluctant to come to the point of why he was actually there, but he finally realised that he needed to come out with it. He told her about the woman who had the hospital debt and how he had taken it on, and it was due that afternoon. For some reason, he said that the debt was 1000, not 900, dollars. He didn’t know why he said, ‘1000 dollars’ but that was what came out of his mouth, without thinking about it.
When she heard that the money was due that very day, the lady said to Jack, “We had better hurry then,” so they jumped into Jack’s car and went immediately to the bank where she withdrew 1000 dollars. As she handed the money to Jack, they were both overwhelmed with laughter, rejoicing in this ‘hilarious giving’ (2 Corinthians 9:7). Then they went to the hospital and paid off the 900 dollar bill. I never found out what Jack did with the extra 100 dollars!
As Jack drove the lady home, she said to him, “Jack, now I need to tell you my side of this story.” She than began to tell him. As a very wealthy woman, she was aware that to give money did not require any great sacrifice for her. To give 1000 dollars did not make any dent in her resources. She had given to the Lord out of her abundance. For some time she had been seeking the Lord about how she could give to Him something that cost her, quoting what King David said in 2 Samuel 24:24, “How can I give to the Lord that which costs me nothing?” She had said, “Lord, I want to give you something that costs me. How can I do that?”
She felt that the Lord put an idea into her mind. Instead of paying a cleaner to do the housework in her large home, she would do it herself and use the money for whatever the Lord directed her to use it for. For a number of months before Jack’s visit she had been doing her own cleaning and putting the money normally used to pay someone into a jar. She told Jack that she had counted the money in the jar that morning and it had amounted to exactly 1000 dollars!
She continued, “I was sitting in the lounge asking the Lord who to give the 1000 dollars to and I felt the Lord saying, ‘Give it to Jack Winter.’ I said to Him, ‘Lord, You know that Jack Winter is a busy man. I don’t even know where to reach him, but you will have to send him to me. In fact, Lord, you can even bring him to my house, into this room!’” When she said this she had opened her eyes to see Jack standing right in front of her. This was why she had burst into tears.
As Jack returned to his family, after leaving her home, the Lord spoke to him and said, “In the same way that I have been working in that woman’s heart, I have been working in the hearts of many people to give hundreds, thousands, and millions of dollars into the kingdom of God.”
Some years later (around 1976/1977) Loren Cunningham, the founder of YWAM (Youth With A Mission), came to Martinsville, Indiana, to preach about his vision for buying a hotel in Hawaii to use as a mission base for the Pacific rim. Loren felt prophetically that the power base of global Christianity was shifting from the shores of the Atlantic to the shores of the Pacific. When Loren shared this in front of Jack and Dorothy their response was to look at each other and nod.
Before Loren Cunningham came to Martinsville, Dorothy Winter had received an inheritance from her parents’ estate. Instead of entering into the family discussions, Dorothy had left it to her brothers and sisters to decide how the inheritance should be shared out. She ended up receiving as her share a useless piece of swamp in Wisconsin. To all appearances it was a very poor deal for Dorothy.
However, not long before Loren’s visit to Martinsville, Dorothy had been approached by the State Highway network who wanted to purchase Dorothy’s useless piece of swamp to build a major intersection on. The land was worth 1 million dollars! As Loren shared his vision for buying a strategic site in Hawaii to build a base, Jack and Dorothy immediately knew what to do. They turned to each other and nodded. After Loren finished speaking, they went to him and handed over the deeds for the land. The money for that land became the equity base for the YWAM campus in Kona, Hawaii.
Not only did the money buy the property in Hawaii but it released the Fatherheart revelation into YWAM. Loren Cunningham opened the door for Jack to preach in YWAM and, from 1977 onwards, Jack Winter preached the love of the Father all over YWAM. The ‘Father heart of God’ has become one of the central messages of YWAM. Jack also prayed for Floyd McClung in Holland in 1978. Floyd had a tremendous experience of the love of the Father and subsequently wrote his book The Father Heart of God, which was the first book that really talked about the love of the Father as a healing experience.
When Jack and Dorothy gave that 1 million dollars to YWAM they went back to trusting in God for every cent. That was the only million dollars they ever had. It wasn’t as if they had a few million dollars and gave out of that. On many an occasion Jack preached at places without even having enough money for petrol for driving home. It is very good to give away a million dollars if you are already wealthy, but to give away the only million dollars you ever get is something else entirely. It then suddenly struck Jack that it was him and Dorothy who the Lord was working in the hearts of to give millions of dollars into the Kingdom. Jack and Dorothy themselves were who the Lord was talking about when He spoke to Jack in the car after he received the money to pay off the 900 dollar medical bill. Jack used to say that you could never buy anything from God but, when they gave the 1 million dollars to YWAM, he felt like God gave them a gift that was more precious than millions of dollars. That priceless gift was the ministry of the Father’s love.