This picture was taken March 16, 2009.
One of Brother Drake's strongest passions was prayer. He spent many hours daily in prayer.
For over 20 years, he hosted "Family Altar", a daily call-in prayer request program.
Local ministers continue this ministry.
I was born at Zachariah, Kentucky...that's on the Wolfe and Lee County line, to Godly parents, Courtney and Vivian Drake. I was reared in the Church Of God at Zoe, Kentucky. I attended Wolfe County Schools, then Alvin Drew Christian Boarding School. I wanted to "see the world" so I joined the Army and walked around it...for 2 years.
After the Army, I settled in Middletown, Ohio with my Uncle Lester McKinney. Got a job at Aeronica, working nights and playing steel guitar every day, preparing to go to the "Grand Ole Opry". God had other plans ....My Sister, Lois came to Middletown for the summer to stay with my Aunt Jessie Ruth and Uncle Bill Martin. Lois went to church with my Aunt and Uncle. She was faithful to attend all services, Sunday School, Morning Worship, Sunday night , Prayer Meeting and Saturday night Youth Meetings. Lois began requesting prayer for her unsaved brother, Don. In the mean time she was praying and making friends with the many youth. One day she said to one of the youth, " I Think I could get my brother to come to Church if I could get him a date. Would you go out with him after Church"? Lois set up a "blind date". I went to Church, had a date after Church and continued coming to Church to see a "certain young lady".
The only time I could see her was at church and after church. I went to Church each weekend. One night I popped the BIG question "will you marry me?" The answer was "I can't". Who was the young lady and why was her answer 'I can't"? Mildred Wills was the young lady that Lois arranged the "Blind Date" with. She was a beautiful Christian young person and had promised God she would not marry an unsaved man. I was going to Church, but had not been saved. I remembered my childhood days when Mother would be so burdened down, she would slip away into the bedroom and begin to pray. When she came out singing and praising God, I knew her burden was lifted. I soon learned where her strength came from. My Father and Mother took all of us children to Sunday School and Church. They both taught Sunday School Classes and Mother worked with the youth. We attended revivals and prayer meetings. If company came on Sunday, they went to Church with us. WE just didn't miss Church.
My Mother took in washings and ironings to get enough money to order a radio. She would always listen to Cadle Tabernacle from Indianapolis, Indiana. Brother Cadle came to our community, I heard him preach when I was just a young boy. Later, Dr. B.R. Lakin began to preach...I was spellbound. I remembered how God dealt with my heart and I kept resisting.
Our Church had a Sunday School picnic at Natural Bridge State Park. My friend Gerald Childers and I decided we would go into the cave (which was off limits). We got lost! I prayed and told God if He would get us out, I would play the guitar or do anything He wanted me to do. All of a sudden the lights were turned on and we walked out. I did not keep my promise...I ran to Colorado to pick up potatoes...Thought the Army would get me away from the spiritual atmosphere at home. God was always there knocking on my heart. One day the Hawaiian steel guitar music teacher told me I was "ready to play country music". I had an offer to play music on the weekends. Now I had a BIG decision to make. Life long dream to play music on the Grand Old Opry or go to Church with Mildred.
In the Fall of 1951 a young preacher by the name of Cliff Hutchinson and an older minister, Bill Moore came to Middletown to preach in a tent meeting. I got so miserable, I couldn't sleep, eat or work. I took off work and went to an old fashion tent meeting, I knew Mildred would be there. God got a hold of my heart, old time conviction had taken hold. I didn't know so many people were praying for me, but God was answering their prayers. God showed me my whole life in a few moments time. How I had broken my parents hearts, broken promises to God and still running. God told me if I didn't surrender to Him now, He would never invite me again. That night I ran to the Altar and God forgave me and wrote my name in the Lamb's Book of Life. Life turned in a new direction. No longer was the "Grand 'Ole Opry" the goal. Country music stopped and I began to play in Church. On December 29, 1951 Mildred Kathryn Wills changed her name to Mrs. Donald Drake as we were united in marriage.
We lived in Middletown, Ohio and attended the Grand Avenue Church of God, where Clifford Hutchinson was now the pastor. God did not stop dealing with me after conversion. As I prayed, read the Bible, stayed in church and attended revivals, I was growing, but not grown. I did not know what God wanted me to do.
In July 1952 Mildred and I were visiting my Parents, who lived at Zachariah, Kentucky. My brother Forest was the pastor at the Church in Torrent, Kentucky. He took sick Saturday night and had to be rushed to Lexington...appendicitis. On the way to Lexington, Forest ask me to preach for him on Sunday. Me...Preach? God, what would YOU have Me to do? The only scripture I could think of was on a plaque Mother had on the wall. "All things work together for good to them that love the Lord". I asked Mildred to find that scripture in the Bible, Romans 8:28. The time came to preach...I was nervous...so was my Dad. He was a Bible teacher for over 50 years. As I read my text and began to talk, my Dad couldn't sit still. He squirmed and twisted. He was as nervous as I was. I talked about 5 minutes, I did what I could!. The precious saints of God came around, hugged me, and told me how happy they were to hear me preach my first sermon.
We returned to Middletown, back to work and church. I was still so restless. It was hard to stay out of Kentucky. One weekend out of the month we usually traveled from Middletown to Zachariah.
Forest taught school, but would preach nearly every Friday and Saturday night in a country school house. When we visited on weekends Mildred and I would play and sing.
A very special event happened on October 25, 1952. God blessed us with a very beautiful little girl, we named Donna Kay. you talk about joy, our hearts were full of JOY! The first grandchild on both sides of the family. Our Church family loved our precious baby too. I was cutting my "Spiritual" teeth on the altars at the Grand Avenue Church of God. Every time Brother Cliff gave an invitation, I was on the Altar. God continued to deal with me.
In 1953 we moved in with Mildred's Father. She worked on the farm while I attended Barber school in Cincinnati. My Father-in-law said he would set me up in the barber business, help us build a home and we would "have it made".....financially.
God had other plans. I graduated from Barber School in 1954, worked in a barber shop in Middletown. The spiritual warfare was getting "Fierce"...such a struggle. During this time Dr. B.R. Lakin held a tent meeting in Middletown. We packed a lunch so that after church on Sunday morning we could go to the park to eat and attend the tent meeting. You talk about a blessing! God's presence was so real. I had just made a decision to move to Kentucky and begin preaching in a old school house. Many of our friends encouraged us not to go. Mother said "Don, just be a good supporter for other ministers" she didn't want us to sacrifice! There was tough resistance from every direction. Dr. Lakin's message on Heaven was just what I needed to give me the courage to follow the Lord. God was so real all afternoon, that I actually thought Jesus was coming. I kept looking up into the clouds, the spirit of rejoicing and comfort stayed upon me for hours. God was giving me the assurance that my decision to preach was His will for my life.
One weekend, my Brother, Forest was in Revival at Vortex, Kentucky. Two sisters, Genora and Flora Harris, were so burdened for their lost family and neighbors. They would weep, pray and beg God to save their loved ones. They prayed God would send someone to help them win the lost. God put that burden upon me and I couldn't get away from it. I could see those two women crying for souls. It became difficult to work.
I began to get so restless and anxious, but afraid to quit my job barbering. If we moved to Kentucky, could I depend on God to take care of us? I soon had to go to the Dr, I was so nervous, couldn't sleep. A decision had to be made. One day I laid my clippers down, went into the barber shop bathroom and said "God, I'll go if You'll go with me". I heard an inner voice say, "Go and I will be with you even to the end of the world".
I quit my job, hired a truck to move us to Kentucky. This was March 1955 and when we got to my parents home in Zachariah, the snow was about five inches deep. We unloaded our furniture on my Dad's front porch.
God had other plans! The "Grand 'Ole Opry" was out...barber shop and home were out! Pastoring and soul winning were in! We soon found a small cabin behind a motel in Pine Ridge. I started barbering part time and preaching in an old school house at Vortex. It had a stove in the middle of the room. Cracks in the floor, you could see the chickens underneath the floor. The old school house at Vortex was where my training started. My prayer room was in the woods...even in the winter. I knelt at every old stump and log and begged God to make me a preacher, a soul winner. We saw the attendance of six or eight meet during that cold weather to pray for revival and for God to make me a preacher. Those few saints knew how to pray and God met with us. I was anxious for Spring and warm weather, for most people in that community walked to church. Some walked two miles every service.
When warm weather finally came, we announced a Revival. The building was packed, even all the standing room was taken. During the invitation I made my way to the rear of the building to a man who had been a bootlegger. A moonshine still had blown up and put out one of his eyes. When I got to him, his legs just buckled and he began to set down in the floor. He was under such conviction, he could no longer stand. I got him by the hand and asked him to follow me to the altar. I helped him up and started through the crowd. Mildred was talking to his wife and we met at the altar. When the crowd saw these going to the altar, people started coming from all over the building. I think every sinner in that old school house came to pray.
There's a story behind that revival. Many of us fasted for days before the revival. Flora and Genora Harris fasted most of that week and hoed corn every day. At the end of each row of corn, they knelt and prayed for revival. No wonder the bootlegger couldn't stand up under the conviction power of the Holy Spirit. We stayed at Vortex, Ky. a little over a year, constructed a nice block building. I'll never forget the experiences we had in the community.
While at Vortex our second baby was conceived...another answer to prayer. April 25, 1957, Donald Keith weighed in at 6 lb 14 oz. Born at Frenchburg, Kentucky. What a blessing! Donna Kay was 4 1/2 years old and a real good little helper. I had a barbershop, a radio program and held revivals. Keith was 5 months old when we took the Church of God at Mariba, Kentucky. While at Mariba, many souls were saved, some God called to preach. We continued to have revivals in old schoolhouses and tent meetings.
October 15, 1958 Temple Lorraine weighed in at 4 lbs 10 oz. She was premature, her lungs were not completely developed, she lost down to 4 lbs 1 oz. God is so good, He reached down and touched her, as we prayed. She was in the hospital several weeks and the nurses really got attached to her.
In the Fall of 1959 we moved to West Liberty, Ky. saw many souls saved. Alma Finch, now (Mrs. Stanley Hutchinson) was saved while we were there. After seven wonderful years, we moved to Jeffersonville, Ind. Much was accomplished in the 13 months we were at Jeffersonville. A broken Church was reunited, many souls saved, a nice addition to the parsonage, all set to really grow.
The call came from the Alum Springs First Church of God and after much prayer, I felt God was leading, so we moved to Alum Springs. August 20, 1967 was our first Sunday at the Alum Springs First Church of God. Mildred started to work at American Greetings in November 1967. Some of the ladies of the church told us "the last three pastors came with three children and left without any"...all grew up and left home! I thought that will never happen to us...it did!!. Our three children grew up here, graduated from the Boyle County school system, went to college, married and have children and homes of their own. Guess what? We are still in Alum Springs, I retired from pastoring in August of 1991, but still preach to a large congregation by way of WDFB.
I have been on the radio since 1952. We played and sang on Clifford Hutchinson's program on WPFB in Middletown, Ohio. When we moved to Kentucky I started a radio program everywhere we lived, sometimes on three or four stations at a time. We've seen many souls saved and many in the ministry today. Many others have gone home to Heaven. While pastoring at Alum Springs, God burdened my heart for what is now known as WDFB (We're Doing The Father's Business).
In August of 2008 Don was diagnosed with Langerhans Cell Sarcoma. This type of cancer is very rare; it occurs in less than three percent of the population. It has little research and no treatment. He truly lived 2 Timothy 4:7-8 "I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith: Henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteousness judge, shall give me at that day: and not to me only, but unto all them also that love His appearing." God called Don home to be with Him July 23, 2009. WDFB continues to do The Father's Business as Don requested.