The Road to Redemption: The Story of Garland and Gretel


By Victoria Ostrosky

Swede, a character in one of my favorite books, Peace Like a River by Leif Enger, says this about miracles: No miracle happens without a witness. To me, that’s an intriguing statement. We experience God’s creation every day at sunrise and sunset. Some people like to call those miracles.

But, I think miracles occur when God does something completely out of the natural order of things. Like physical healing when doctors can’t explain why the tumor is gone. Or finding a lost sheep that didn’t want to be found, bringing it back to the fold, and giving it a new heart so that it never wants to wander away again. I’ve always said that God is in the heart changing business. He loves to restore relationships, remaking our brokenness and transforming us into something beautiful and useful for the Kingdom.

Garland and Gretel were high school sweethearts who got married, had children, worked hard and eventually grew apart. We’ve all experienced to some degree that slow erosion of a relationship. One day you wake up and realize, your love for them has dissipated like fog in the sunshine. Neither Garland nor Gretel knew Jesus at the time, but He certainly knew them. And He had plans.

Garland and Gretel had both reached the point where they’d contacted attorneys to start divorce proceedings, when God stepped in, and the miracle began to slowly unfurl as flower petals open to the new day.

Garland, one night when things were at their lowest, opened a Bible where it fell open to Matthew 3:8. “Produce fruit in keeping with repentance.” The verse, to his eyes, was highlighted, and the rest of the page was dark. At that moment, his heart responded. “Jesus you’re real. I’m never looking back.” He immediately went into the next room where his soon-to-be ex-wife was sleeping, shook her awake and said, “You can’t love me, but you can love Christ in me.” She thought he was crazy.

One day shortly after this, her daughter handed her a Gideon Bible, telling her that she felt compelled to give it to her mother. Gretel began reading the scriptures and saw supernatural things occur. She discovered that her mom had been praying for her for many years. Gretel cried out to God telling Him she couldn’t take it anymore. She says she distinctly heard Him say, “It’s time for healing.”

Once she had submitted to the Lord, she called her husband and told him. Garland said, “You are free, but I’m following Jesus Christ. Do you want to go with me?”

They both began praying, reading the Bible together and leading others to Christ. Gretel says that for them, “Praying for other people healed our hearts.”

Do you see the miracle? Witnesses watched two lives completely change, and with the change, God has used them to bring in more of His lost sheep.

How many times have we come to a place where we felt it was just too much to deal with? When we believed there was nothing else to do but walk away and start over again? Before you end that relationship for good, look to God and ask Him what He wants you to do. It’s amazing how our obedience puts heaven in motion, bringing about the miracles that are right there waiting to happen and to be testified to.

You can listen to Garland and Gretel’s complete story of restoration and many other incredible interviews on the weekly Road to Redemption radio show and podcast at

John Martin, the founder of Road to Redemption, encourages everyone to find a church, read the Word and get involved in a small group. Let Jesus take your impossible situation and turn it around so others can witness the miracles. He can do in and through you.