In honor of Pastor Appreciation month, these blog posts for October center around the unique persons whom God brought across our pathway in ministry. Some stories are sad, others glad. All contain a lesson to be learned.
When young adults who are fresh from the world become believers, they energize the local church. New converts are excited, exuberant, and eager to learn all they can about the Bible and their newfound faith.
Seven of these unique young people provided us the privilege of pastoring them while we lived near a large university campus.
The first was a young man called Alan (not his real name). Alan was an agricultural major whose dad owned one of the largest Christmas tree farms in our state.
The most unique feature about Alan’s conversion to Christ was that it occurred while camping on the Appalachian trail.
A Christian witnessed to Alan, and he prayed to God right on the trail.
Shortly after Alan’s conversion, he wandered into a Christian bookstore and said to the manager, “Do you know any good churches I could attend?” The manager named our small town about thirteen miles distant. We didn’t even realize this dear man knew we existed.
Who could have known this new convert to Christ would be the first of six more eager university students?
Alan brought Mark (not his real name either), a pre-med major. They both influenced Teresa, an education major, to come.
There followed a wonderful core group that included Joe, a young man of Cuban descent. We loved watching Joe’s expression as he leaned forward in his pew, drinking in the truth from God’s Word. He stood out for another reason: he was the only one there wearing a ball cap turned backward—and thick hair that hung down the middle of his back.
Our church people knew these students required baby steps in the faith and received them with open arms.
Joe brought his girlfriend Lisa. Then came Kelly, another education major. All these young adults provided inspiration for our small congregation.
While each possessed unique traits, one of the more unusual was a young man we will call Nathan. He was a political science major and had more friends than we could count. This American-Jewish student had become a Messianic believer after reading the fifty-third chapter of Isaiah in his dorm room.
Nathan told us he wanted to live in Jerusalem when Jesus returned to earth—and he followed through with his plan. He moved to the Holy Land, became a citizen, and worked as a top-notch tour guide. Nathan’s winsome personality provided a unique balance. His familiarity with Jewish culture and customs blended with his love for his Messiah. Tourists saw historical sights through new eyes—those of a man with the New Testament living in his soul.
God orchestrated this unique group of believers as a wonderful influence for our teenagers. They spent many hours around our dining room table, talking, laughing, and playing games.
If ever our children were tempted to think the current culture had an attraction they wanted to pursue, they could observe these exuberant believers in action. Seven university students had tried the world’s concept of sinful pleasure and forsook it without looking back.
These dynamic students became like sons and daughters to us. We still love hearing from them.
God gave us a precious gift during those years. We learned that He likes to use ordinary people (like us) to accomplish His purposes. And a person never can anticipate the rewards of being in the center of God’s will.
What about you? Any stories of blessings as you followed God's will? Tell us about it below.