Mark and Debbie Littlestar Destiny Story
It Just Takes One
Long before The Sanctuary existed in Woodland Park, Colorado, there was the Red Hawk Ranch. Mark and Debbie Littlestar built what they called their “forever home” on that property. However, in their hearts, they knew that the house and land would not be theirs forever. It was a special piece of land that had to be shared.
Debbie describes the beginning of their journey:
“We realized what a beautiful spot [it] was, and a perfect location. So, we chose to build a house there. We almost knew as we were building it that it wasn’t going to be for us forever, even though we called it our forever home. We almost felt like it was for a greater purpose.”
The Red Hawk Ranch property was originally owned by Debbie’s father, Gilbert S. Jackson, and his family. Although Gilbert considered himself a Christian, it was more of an intellectual acknowledgment than a heart change. Mark and Debbie wanted to honor God by using this beautiful property for God’s glory, but Gilbert did not see it that way until later in life.
Debbie’s husband, Mark, describes meeting his father-in-law: “When I met Gilbert Jackson, he was everything I thought he would be. He was very intellectual. He was extremely smart, highly educated, [and] successful.”
“Dad was a visionary,” Debbie mentions. “His ideas for properties in general were different from your average developer or property owner. He owned a lot of property in Houston, Texas, and also in Colorado.”
“He intellectualized it from an early age,” Mark adds in regard to his father-in-law’s view on God. “And up to the very end, I couldn’t ever imagine actually having a conversation about the person of Jesus in his life and even our lives. So, he accepted us with our beliefs and our—what he would probably describe maybe as a—crutch. He didn’t need Jesus. We did.”
In 1992, Gilbert contracted colon cancer and underwent chemotherapy and radiation. During that dark time, one of the nurses who came to help was Merline Harrison. Not only was she a “fabulous cook” and “angel,” but she was also a believer. Mark never imagined that Merline would develop a close relationship with Gilbert, one that would open the door for her to share Jesus with him. Merline was with Gilbert the night of his seventy-fourth birthday, and that was the night she led him to the Lord.
Once Gilbert got saved, he dedicated his properties to the Lord. He had always been a strong advocate for education, but after his conversion, his only desire was that people come to know Jesus. He wanted to see his properties used for Christian endeavors. Around that same time, halfway around the world, while Andrew was in England, God spoke to him about starting Charis Bible College. In Gilbert’s final hours, he envisioned a Christian education building on the property, a structure with glass walls to show off the beauty of Pikes Peak for the students.
Mark and Debbie received the property after Gilbert died and, in 1996, followed through with plans to build a house. During the process of building their home, some friends of theirs had missionaries come to visit. These missionaries requested to see the Littlestars and their property. They wanted to pray over them and their property in a particular way: “The four of us stood back-to-back, facing in all four directions, and we prayed out loud for the property to be used by God to glorify Himself and further His kingdom.” Debbie remembers it being a powerful moment.
In 1999, the Littlestars decided that they needed to move back to Texas to be closer to their families. Mark and Debbie sold their house to the Sturmans and shared with the new owners their heart for the property to be shared with others. God had not forgotten Gilbert’s dream for that property, because the Sturmans eventually sold it to Andrew Wommack Ministries. When the Littlestars found out, it felt like a win-win situation for everyone.
As the plans for Charis became public, it became evident that God put Gilbert’s vision for the property—the fact that it was a Bible school with large glass walls—in Andrew’s heart. Throughout the process of building Charis, Andrew knew nothing about Gilbert or his vision. But once he was made aware, he called Mark Littlestar, who shared the history of the property with him.
Today the Red Hawk Ranch, now called The Sanctuary, is being used for the purposes Gilbert desired. The support of the friends and partners of AWM and Charis are making Gilbert’s dream a reality through the construction of Charis in Woodland Park.
Mark reflects on Merline’s courage in witnessing to Gilbert: “It only takes one person with a little faith and some courage to go out and change the world. So, that’s our prayer not only for our own lives but for the ministry of Andrew Wommack and Charis Bible College—that everyone who walks and rides and drives through those gates and sits in those sessions will know that it just takes one person to change the world.”