Cyndy Gusler of "From the Vine Ministries" describes her visit with her recently-found sister, Denise. Separated by more than 30 years, they touch and hug for the first time in those years. Also, hear Cyndy tell of God’s early calling to her as one who would “love, feed and share Jesus with” hurting and needy women a true passion. Join Cyndy in her exciting journey. Pastor Dave Schultz hosts.
The following program is sponsored by evangelical life ministries.
Welcome to engaging truth, the manifestation of God's word and the lives of people around us. Join us each week. As we explore the impact of his message of spiritual renewal from the lesson of forgiveness forged and the crucible of divorce, to the message of salvation learned by an executioner from a condemned killer to the gift of freedom found in the rescue of victims of human trafficking. This is God's truth in action.
Welcome to engaging truth. This is Dave Schulz, your host for this particular evening's conversation. And the conversation we're gonna have again, is with Cindy Kuster. Cindy was with us, um, probably a month ago, and because of the excitement of the opportunity that was given, um, we asked her to come back cuz there's something really good that we're gonna talk about. Welcome Cindy. Hello.
Hello. I'm glad to be here. Thank you.
You've got a ministry and we're gonna talk about that in a little bit. Mm-hmm
So in other words, you knew about your siblings. Yes. You had just no idea where in the world they were, unless they would make some contact with you, correct?
Correct. Right. I was in the foster care system, we traveled through various homes and then we were all adopted at different times and I lost contact with everyone then. And that was when I was 5, 6, 7, 8 years old.
But, but you were adopted into a Christian home, weren't you? Yes mm-hmm.
Um, I last January, I decided to do the ancestry.com where you spit in the tube and send it off. And at first it came back and told me of my DNA in origin and I have, uh, my roots are in Jordan and, um, um, I'm just going with Jordan, um, Israel, um, Ukraine mm-hmm
Um, so I did that in January and then started finding first and second relatives, uh, and cousins and things like that, just names, but I was just really looking for my siblings because, um, I just was interested in where they are and what they were doing. And it wasn't until March that Denise's name popped up. And she is my little sister. I've always remembered her, even when I was three and we were taken from the home. Um, her name has always been with me and I have, I remember in the foster home, um, in fact we have a picture of me hugging her and sitting next to her on the couch and I've just always remembered Denise. And I think because I was older and we were outside of our home, away from our parents, I think it was just that maternal instinct to take care of her even at three years old.
And, um, so it was wonderful when her name popped up and we reconnected. And then I found out that she has been living in Dallas for 20 years, the Dallas area, we have both been in Texas for this long. Um, but I think it was God's timing and orchestration because if we would have discovered each other five years ago or 10 years ago, I think both of us, would've been so busy with motherhood and running from three different schools and doing all of these activities with our kids, that both of us now are at the point where our children are older. We have more time. And once we met up, we didn't call each other, we just emailed each other. And I knew a lot about my siblings when they were younger. She did not know any of that because she was right, you know, less than a year old baby. And, but she had contact with them in her twenties and thirties that I didn't know about. So we had a lot of information of filling in the cracks for all of these years. And that was really interesting.
What was the, what was the most surprising thing in that conversation that you had with her that you said, wow, do, am I glad I know that
I think the most surprising thing is we are so alike. Um, we, we both like the same hobbies and we have the same thinking and I mean, it's down to like details, like wrap around porches and porch swings and cooking, you know, certain items. And, um, when, when I met her, it, we had emailed back and forth for so many, um, for weeks there that we met each other through our words. And then when we finally met up for the first time, it was April 29th. I was, uh, in the Dallas area. The next day I was, was the speaker at a retreat area that was planned way back in January. So this is God's orchestration. And so I met her and when we met, it was like sitting down with an old friend that you already knew there was no awkwardness, even though she was a stranger to me, cuz I was meeting her for the first time type thing. It was so comforting and so wonderful. We talked for three hours straight.
If there was a, a group of 10 women, could you have picked her out in the crowd without knowing her?
Yes and no. We look very much alike. Um, we have the same smile and the same eyes. Um, I think as we talked in the group of 10, I think we would've had those connections and I would've picked her out. If my goal was to pick out one of these nine women, I think I would've said yes, that's my sister. Yeah.
What is the greatest joy in Cindy's life now that family members are becoming available to you? Again,
This sounds really silly, but I think it's because I grew up as an only child. And when you actually say now I have a sister, my sister, Denise, and I tell my kids, you have an aunt Denise. Yes. They have aunt another aunt from my husband's family, but not from mine. So just to say those words and to actually they're like real, I have a sister, like I know I have other siblings, but this is a true connection. This is a one-on-one meeting with her. This is we chat. You know, we text, we call, um, in fact we're going to meet her family. My family, my whole family is going to meet her whole family on June 4th, we're meeting. And um, she has, we both have daughters that are the oldest and then we both have two sons. So it it's like parallel. Our lives are parallel and her husband is, um, a fantastic man. His father, uh, is a minister and we have just been reflecting back and forth on our, on our faith and how it all started in our two separate homes and where we are together. And just having to say, I have a sister like a real live DNA sister is very, very exciting, very exciting. After all of these years of not having a real sister,
What indelible imprint has she left on your life? Just in those three hours of conversation? I mean there are 500 things that you talked about. Oh yes. But what, one thing, can you never forget?
Um, you know, I think more than it was our talking, it was, it was our hug. It was when I first met her and I just hugged her and she hugged me right back. And it was like those 50 years between us had just disappeared. And I just remember that hug. And then when we sat and we even looked at each other's hands and we have very similar wedding rings and it was just the similarities of our hands and our faces and our hugs and our just the way that we talked about life. Our perspective is very, very similar. Even though we had two different lives, two different, uh, families and husbands and children and lives. We have very similar perspectives.
We live in a time now, um, in the month of July mm-hmm
Yes. And I think that's, that's, what's, uh, deepening and growing our faith as we, as we even grow up, as we get older, is that we discuss this, that from where we were born, uh, we could have easily grown up in that trailer park. We could have easily stayed there for years and years and years. And by the age of 14, 15, both of us could have become just another statistic of a girl on the streets, um, getting drugs, you know, getting pregnant, um, maybe human trafficking, you don't know, but looking back, it was a horrible situation, but God saved us. Isn't that wonderful. He saved us. He plucked us out of that and took us to a new beginning and yes, we had, you know, issues and troubles in the new homes and all of that that's life. But to give a new foundation to meet him and to grow your faith is just amazing. And that is what I'm so thankful for is that we got that new start. If we would've stayed there, we wouldn't have met Jesus as soon or maybe not at all.
Well, that brings us to something special in that you're calling yes, at this time in life mm-hmm
I think a lot of us can look at our lives and see the, the mess up or the consequences that we created for ourselves or consequences that were giving to us by other people's choices. And we can, um, be very downhearted and we can suffer and we can feel very overwhelmed and we can feel very unworthy. Um, we can walk into a room and we all of a sudden start comparing ourselves to all these other people based on our path, our, our past, and those people don't know about our past, but we bring our baggage in because we know our past. And I think what I have learned is, um, yes, you're going to have your baggage with you, but instead of letting it tear you down, I think opening it up and sharing it and using it is going to help someone else. And I found that in my speaking, when I talk about the great women of the Bible, I will share their story, but I will also put my story in the tidbits about how I relate to her.
And lots of times when I'm teaching, God will whisper to me. You need to say this, you need to say this, even though it's not in my notes. And I'm thinking why in the world would I wanna say that it's not really going with what I'm saying? And I just feel him pressing my heart. You need to say this. And so I obey and I say, whatever it is that he wants me to say, whether it was about my childhood or whatever, somehow I put it into the message. And undoubtedly, after the workshop is over, a woman will come up to me and she will say, thank you so much for saying that. And she will explain, because that is something that I have been dealing with. And I haven't told anyone about, but you talking about it, you just gave me the freedom and the acceptance. And now I feel stronger.
How many times? That's amazing. How many times in ministry have not people walked up and said, have you been looking in my window? Exactly.
Uh, what things never leave my mind? Well, from a long time ago, when I started ministry, God told me to do three things. It was, uh, hug people, feed people and tell them about Jesus and, uh, and
You're good at all
Of them. And I'm good at all of them.
So I have been doing that in various ways. And then it's just something that really has been pounding on my head, that this is the format of the ministry that I'm supposed to do, uh, because people need, they need to be filling their soul and they need to be filling their tummys as well. And hugging them is showing that contact and that acceptance. We have had ladies that will come to the vineyard, like one, I will share one came last night and she came to Bible study and she said, hi, how are you? And she'd make small talk, but then I could see in her face. And then she started crying and she says, I just have to be brutally honest. I am angry. I am furious as what has happened here in Texas with that school shooting, that was just happened. She says, I'm angry at the family.
I'm angry at about just the whole thing, how it happened. And she knew that coming to our Bible study was a safe place for her to say that. And yes, there were tears and yes, there was discussion and yes, there was hugs. And yes, we, we looked at the Bible. We were studying Mary Martha actually at that time. And Marion, Martha knew that Jesus' days were coming to an end that the town was brewing, that people were fighting and people were angry and they could feel it. And so they knew that time was pressing. How much time do we have left with Jesus? And we talked about Mary anointed in his feet and crying at his feet, not understanding the situation at all, not understanding the world being angry, but yet being tearful. So it was amazing that this woman coming into our Bible study was, was going through the exact same thing that Mary was going through. And God orchestrated that beautifully last night. And again, hugging and feeding their Mies and their souls and loving them.
Tell me, the women of today are different in many ways than they were just a few years ago. Um, I've been in ministry for many, many, many years. Uh, I've seen a lot of transformation, but the worst transformation that I've seen recently is the drug world. Uh, it has hurt not only males it's affected females. Um, is that, is that what you see as causing a lot of the, of, of the concern of women today is the drug world and how it's affected their families and maybe their indirect families as well.
We do have women that come to the vineyard for special problems, and we have professional counselors that come in and talk to them, whether it's marriage or whether it's addictions or, um, financial worries and things like that. So I do see some of those things, but I will tell you that the main, the main issue that women come is basically they are so overwhelmed and stressed with the pressures of the world of trying to be what the world is telling them to be. They have expectations. The world has measurements. You need to do this. You and your children need to be involved in this. You know, if you and your husband aren't doing this, or if you're making out this month, this amount of money, and they feel that they're failing with all of these expectations of the world and they come in and they're like, I don't even know where to begin. I'm failing and I'm messing up. How do I get back? Now, a lot of times there will be women that will go to alcohol or drugs to help soothe the emotions while they're trying to do the practical things.
But the over overwhelming pressure that the world is placing upon them to perform or conform absolutely. Is the
Issue. Absolutely. Yeah. The world is telling people how to do things and how should be. And, um, my husband has always told me, stand firm on Jesus stand firm on the facts and as the smoke clears and all of the emotions of the world change, you are still standing firm and that's the foundation that you should be standing on and you'll be okay,
You've got a new organization that you'
Um, she's a fantastic person that, you know, her name is Lori Pace and she has the admin media company, uh, up here in, in Tomball wonderful, wonderful woman. And her team of ladies are fantastic. They put together new websites and design them and promote. And so Cindy guler.com will be up and available in just a couple of weeks. And it will list all of the topics that I talk about. It'll tell who I am and what I do and how to reach me. And it is just another way for me to reach out to women who are looking for, uh, looking for resources, looking for comfort, looking for help, and also for, uh, ministry directors for, uh, for me to come and to speak to their retreats or their Bible studies and things like that.
Give us a phone number, give-:
Cindy, as always, whenever you come in, it's kinda like, um, lighting a, when you sit down and begin to talk simply the joy of conversation and how God is using you. Mm-hmm,
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