Pastor Brenda Kaplan was raised in Akron, Ohio and attended the E. Market Street Church of God affiliated with Cleveland, Tennessee. One of Brenda's fondest memories was the prayer-time around the altar when no one was in a hurry to leave but tarried just to be in His presence.
The legacy of intercession was passed down to her by her grandmother lovingly referred to as "Sister Minnie." Her grandmother, it was said, could be heard from down the street crying out in prayer for her family, the church and the nation. On her death-bed, her last words after praying for each of her four children were, "I love the Lord God with all of my heart."
Brenda rededicated her life to the Lord in 1976 while attending Charles McHatton's church, Gospel Echoes (currently Love International pastored by Juan Ramos). On the night she was baptized, the guest speaker was Arthur Blessett whose message deeply impacted her heart for missions.
For two years, Brenda was led to gather and pray with a group in Phoenix. During this time, she would see visions of a woman on a mission in other nations, and believed the vision was for someone in the prayer group. She hadn't considered that it was God calling her to the mission fields overseas.
Brenda, with children in Kingston, Jamaica Brenda with Nora Lam
A visitor, Nora Lam, came to the church in Scottsdale where Brenda attended. (Nora Lam is widely known for the movie "China Cry" that depicts her personal religious persecution in China). She was so moved by Nora's testimony that she told the Lord she wanted to give financially and also of herself to help Nora's ministry in any area HE chose. After this request to God, Nora called Brenda out and began walking toward her. Before Nora could touch her, Brenda was slain in the Spirit. Her missionary appointment was about to begin. Brenda spent time in Kingston, Jamaica with the Assemblies of God and then traveled with Nora Lam to the Philippines, Hong Kong and Mainland China. She also spent two years as a missionary in South Africa with Y.W.A.M.
Brenda's passion was for prayer during these mission trips and the Lord gave her many opportunities to bless others and assert her giftings. One blessing happened in Kingston, Jamaica, where Brenda began a nursing home ministry. The trials of missionary service are no respecter of persons; Brenda endured an entire summer when all of Kingston was on strike. There was no running water or mail delivery and electricity was only available for a couple of hours each day. Bathing was done with swimming pool water. She was even chased down the street by a Jamaican Rastafarian (cultist) throwing rocks at her until she stopped, turned around, rebuked the demon and the man turned and went his own way.
While in the Philippines she ministered to and prayed for women in prison; sharing God's faithfulness and hope. She delivered bibles to the underground church in China and ministered in prayer as she went. In South Africa she attended a Discipleship Training School and remained in the country as an intercessor, traveling to different YWAM bases to intercede for the needs of that base. She also assisted YWAM in the office at home-base and as a staff member for a different Discipleship Training School.