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Joining In God’s Mission

What defines fruit-filled ministry? I’ve learned it has nothing to do with age, location, or any other worldly marker. It’s pure obedience to joining in with God’s activity. There’s no other way to explain what’s happening at the church in Pahurmp, Nevada pastored by two retired women. 

Sunday, May 29th is a perfect example. Three people, ages 10, 18, and 40+, prayed to accept Jesus into their hearts—and all three have life stories that easily could have led them in another direction. 

Our 10-year-old had been abducted by her drug-addicted mother and was introduced to Jesus by her short-term foster family. Reunited with her dad, he said the first thing she wanted to do was to come to our church and be baptized. Father and daughter stood at the altar together—one to be baptized and one to join the fellowship of the church. 

The 18-year-old (a young man with high functioning autism) had grown up in the foster care system where apparently the foster family is restricted from making significant religious decisions on behalf of their foster child. He is still technically in foster care, but as soon as he turned 18 he came to us and said, “I want to be baptized!” He loves to run our sound booth and is volunteering as an assistant at our Pop-up Camp on June 1. 

Our third gentleman had led a very complicated and difficult life. He shared with me that he had been running for years, but felt certain circumstances, like getting stranded with his RV at our church where he was offered a cup of coffee and a temporary place to park,  were God’s way of telling him to “hang around awhile.” His eyes filled with tears as I told him the story of the Prodigal Son and said, “God is rejoicing that you have made the decision to be baptized.” I told him the importance of having a strong Christian to walk along side him as he grew in his faith, and at just that moment, my husband, Mark, walked up. He immediately turned to Mark and asked him to be his sponsor. The two of them are meeting on a regular basis discussing what it means to listen to the voice of the Holy Spirit versus the voice of the world. 

Three remarkable stories from three very different people–all impacted by the prevenience of God’s grace. Phyllis, my pastoral partner, and I often joke that all we have to do is leave the doors unlocked and say “Yes” to whatever and whoever Jesus leads our way. It’s one of those profound yet simple truths—joining in God’s mission is always a win.

Judy is an Inspire Missioner and UMC Pastor in Pahrump, Navada, USA. 

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