Traveling through the Yunnan province of China, Carol Odenwald sat mesmerized by the verdant scenery and beautiful mountainsides. Suddenly transported back to 1997, Carol remembered dreaming on the night she was filled with the Spirit: “I dreamt I was soaring with God over lush, green hills and valleys,” she shares. “I felt giddy—like a little kid. Every time we’d come down, I’d ask to go up again. At the time, I compared my dream to the landscape of Kentucky or Tennessee, having never seen such exquisitely green hills.”
Even though she hadn’t thought of that dream in years, Carol realized that the Chinese landscape outside her window perfectly depicted what she’d seen in her dream. While listening to her iPod, she heard the Lord say, “This is where we were, Carol. This is your home. It’s time to begin to say goodbye to the United States.” With tears flowing freely, Carol raised her voice and hands in surrender to God and worshiped Him, singing, “I will rise, on eagle’s wings, before my God, fall on my knees and rise.”
After her experience, Carol felt a permanent connection with mainland China, but the Bible college she was helping Andrew Wommack Ministries plant was in Hong Kong. Knowing she was walking the path God had laid out for her, she didn’t understand how her two visions were going to connect. But she just kept walking and trusting Him to take her there.
While in Hong Kong, God began stirring Carol’s heart to write songs. “All my life, music was a part of me. When I returned to the Lord in ’97, I left a part of that life behind because of my history of drug and alcohol addiction. But in Hong Kong, God showed me that others who come into relationship with Him don’t have to give up their giftings and professions. I realized it was time for me to wholeheartedly return to mine and allow God to use me wherever and with whomever He determines.”
One day, while worshiping God with her guitar in front of a western-style restaurant and pub, Carol had the opportunity to minister to a self-professing atheist. After listening to his story, Carol began to share hers. Then, picking up her guitar, she sang “My Chains Are Gone” and marveled as tears began streaming down his face. “You make me want what you have,” he told her.
Carol’s willingness to abandon formulas and develop a dynamic relationship with God brought her into contact with a Buddhist radio host. After hearing part of her story, he asked Carol to be a guest on his broadcast to “bring hope” to others in Hong Kong. Thousands of people tuned in and heard about the unconditional love and grace of God!
After laying the groundwork for Charis Bible College Hong Kong, Carol turned leadership of the school over to Cindy Pearson and returned to her ministry headquarters in the United States. “I still believe that the vision and heart for China God gave me has yet to be realized, but I know there is more to the plan! I will return to China, likely to the Yunnan province of my dream, where I believe I will spend the latter years of my life.” In the meantime, Carol is continuing to minister wherever God opens the door and writing and fine-tuning original songs to record.
Her ministry—God Is Good—shares with the nations the message of God’s unconditional love and the finished work of Christ. By focusing on the positive ministry of the Holy Spirit, through music and teaching, Carol is showing the world that love is a person. His name is Jesus!