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Pastor De"Rain F. Irvin

Pastor De’Rain F. Irvin

If God Can Use an Ass, He Can Use Anybody! 

In 1992, I believe that God made his first mistake! I sincerely felt within my spirit that God was calling me to be a Minister. I was 100% certain that He had made his first mistake. I had NO, did I say, NO, desire to be a Minister.  I didn’t even want to entertain a conversation about being a Minister.

First, I thought I was perfect just like I was. I liked the way that I dressed in clothes that were very fitting and complimented my beautiful body. I liked to tell people what was on my mind. No, I didn’t use profanity, but I basically put you in your place. As I would tell people, I will read you, write you, and do spellcheck. I didn’t want that mindset to change, and I knew that if I became a Minister, that would have to change dramatically. This back-and-forth tug-of-war with God went on for several months. I was really growing tired of this conversation. I had a lot of nerve!


One Sunday in 1992, as I was sitting in service, I told God that today was His last Sunday to confirm that He has called me to be a Minister. I guess I thought I was Gideon, and so I threw out my fleece.  I told the Lord that if He wanted me to be a Minister, He would have to tell Bishop Russell. I further stated that Bishop Russell would have to say from the pulpit that God told him that I have been called to the ministry.  I’m sitting in the choir stand talking to God, literally saying, OK this is your last chance.  After today, this conversation is over!

Pastor De’Rain F. Irvin

Bishop Russell comes to the pulpit and gives the title of his sermon. The title of my sermon is, drumroll please, …………………. “If God can use an ass, He can use anybody.”


Numbers 22:27-33 KJV - “And when the ass saw the angel of the LORD, she fell down under Balaam: and Balaam's anger was kindled, and he smote the ass with a staff. And the LORD opened the mouth of the ass, and she said unto Balaam, What have I done unto thee, that thou hast smitten me these three times? And Balaam said unto the ass, Because thou hast mocked me: I would there were a sword in mine hand, for now would I kill thee. And the ass said unto Balaam, Am not I thine ass, upon which thou hast ridden ever since I was thine unto this day? was I ever wont to do so unto thee? And he said, Nay. Then the LORD opened the eyes of Balaam, and he saw the angel of the LORD standing in the way, and his sword drawn in his hand: and he bowed down his head, and fell flat on his face.


At this point, I did not hear anything else Bishop Russell said.  From that point on my conversation, excuse me, my argument throughout the rest of the service was with God.  God, did you just call me an ass? Really, you called me an ass. What kind a God would call somebody an ass in church?  That was rude. RUDE!!  God, you just called me an ass.


After service, I went to Bishop Russell‘s office like the neighbor in the Wizard of Oz, storming down the driveway. I burst into his office and said, “God has called me into the ministry.” I turned around and walked out. I was hotter than July!  Then I said to God, I told him. Are you satisfied?


I was licensed at Mt. Carmel Baptist Church in Norfolk, VA in 1994.  I was ordained an Elder at Mt. Carmel Baptist Church in 1997.


In the last week of June 1999, I told God that I needed a change in my career. At that time, I was making $36,000 a year as a teacher in Norfolk Public Schools with 16 years experience. Pitiful!!  Lord, I need more money, please make it so!


Monday, June 28, 1999, was the first day of our revival at Mt. Carmel Baptist Church.  The Minister said he was having a prayer line. There have been many times when Ministers ask for a consecrated offering for the prayer line. Why do people have to pray to get in a prayer line?  Ridiculous!  Most of the time they start at some ridiculous amount, like $5,000. However, the Minister said he was having a $50 sacrificial offering. I said, “Lord, I can do that!”  The Minister was praying his little heart out.  God, please give those who gave a sacrificial offering a tenfold, twentyfold, thirtyfold blessing.  I interrupted his prayer, in my mind of course, and said, “God, that is not my prayer.”  Lord, for this lousy $50 offering, I want a thousandfold blessing according to Deuteronomy 1:11. For this lousy $50 offering, I want a job that pays me $50,000 a year and I don’t care where it is. I prayed that prayer Monday evening.


On Tuesday, June 29, 1999, I got a call from a friend that DC Public Schools was interviewing in Richmond. I called and got an interview.


On Wednesday, June 30, 1999, I interviewed with a recruiter for approximately 5 to 10 minutes. The recruiter said, “Okay, we need you in DC Public Schools.” I said, “How are you going to offer me a job and you haven’t even looked at my resume?” He took my resume, and he fanned the papers. He said, “Now, I’ve read it, are you satisfied?  We need you in DC Public Schools.”  He pointed to a salary on the salary chart. I said, “That is nice, but this looks a lot better.” I pointed to the salary that I asked God for.  He explained that he could only give me credit for 10 years of my experiences. I didn’t hear another word he said because the figure he showed me was $47,648 a year and not $50,000. I began having another conversation, rather another argument, with God. I said, “God, I asked for $50,000 a year, this is not $50,000 a year.  God, you are a little short!”  Then the recruiter interrupted my conversation and said, “Wait, you are a Special Education Teacher.” I said, “Yes, I am.” He said, “I can offer you a $3,000 signing bonus.”  God, you gave me a little extra $50,648. Glory to God!!


On Friday, July 2, 1999, I submitted my resignation to Norfolk Public Schools. My principal had the nerve to say, “I hope you don’t have to come back begging for your job.” My response, “That devil is a liar!”


On Saturday, July 3, 1999, I took the oath of office for DC Public Schools. Oh, my goodness!  That’s another conversation and a crazy experience. In July 1999, I moved to Woodbridge, Virginia.


Through a lot of preordained circumstances, that I did not understand, God lead me to Hope Aglow Christian Center in October.  I joined Hope Aglow Christian Center on December 31, 1999. I have been blessed beyond measure!  Under Apostle Levonzia and Pastor Saverna Stevens’ leadership, God moved in my life and I was elevated to the office of an Assistant Pastor.


God led Apostle Stevens to change the name of the church to Hope Aglow Empowerment Church. In 2009, we opened the Fredericksburg Campus. In 2011, we opened the third location of the Fredericksburg Campus, and I was appointed the Campus Pastor.


As they say, the rest is HERstory!


With love, respect and empowerment,


Pastor De’Rain F. Irvin

“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord,plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”   Jeremiah 29:11 NIV

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