This past weekend, I was with family I had never met before in Wichita Falls, Texas. Yep, it was Fresh Grounded Faith! Sister, it was like going home.
In Christ, we are brothers and sisters, and it was so obvious at this event. Let me just tell you two quick stories that proved this.
First, at the meet and greet, I told the volunteers about my Mere ChristianiTea. If you have no idea what I’m talking about, it’s my own tea blend named in honor of my favorite dead author, C.S. Lewis! We serve it at the conference.
Anyway, after the meet and greet was over, our National Conference Director, Terrie, came into the sanctuary where I was about to do a sound check. She brought with her a dear woman who was in tears and wanted to speak to me. Through her tears, she said her 40-year-old son had died this last November. She believed he was a Christian, but as far as she knew, he wasn’t walking with the Lord at the time.
Just two hours before she arrived at church for the volunteer meet and greet, her son’s widow had stopped by to tell her goodbye because the widow was moving to another state. As the mother and daughter-in-law said their goodbyes, the widow gave her a book that her son was reading when he died … yes, C.S. Lewis’ Mere Christianity. She described how when I mentioned that title, she felt such comfort and affirmation from our Father God that her son was home.
Then, as the conference began Friday night, it became obvious that something was going on in the auditorium that had nothing to do with what Meredith Andrews and I were doing on stage.
There was a group of women on cell phones and crying. Terrie went over, introduced herself, and asked what was wrong and if she could assist them in any way.
The women’s ministry leader was sobbing and said they had just gotten a phone call that their Senior Pastor Ron had been taken to the emergency room. His wife, Claudia, had just left with a couple of other ladies in a mad dash to get to the Emergency Room.
Their little country church of about 100ish people was in a community about an hour and a half away. It wasn’t long before the few ladies from their church that remained got the phone call they dreaded. They streamed out into the lobby sobbing. They were heartbroken that Claudia hadn’t had enough time to reach the hospital before her husband passed. My heart broke for all of them.
They were all trying to decide whether to stay or to leave. So, while I was on stage teaching, Terrie led them in a time of prayer in the lobby as they joined hands. Then all of the men who were volunteering with set up and security, came over and encircled and prayed for them. There was such comfort when the men prayed over all of them.
The Scripture that comes to mind is Romans 12:15, “Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn.” In a single moment, a group of strangers proved who the family of God is. We love each other. We celebrate together. We bear each others’ burdens and meet each others’ needs. Even those of us who did not know this dear pastor grieved for him, for his wife, Claudia, and for their church.
Then, on Saturday morning, the senior pastor of our host church, First Baptist Church (FBC) Wichita Falls came to the church early to minister to and pray over the ladies who had just lost their pastor. It was a beautiful display of family.
So, speaking of family, God added to His family this weekend! We are celebrating the 6 ladies who made decisions for Christ, the 37 women who chose to renew their commitment to Christ, and the 36 children sponsored through Compassion International.
Many thanks to our amazing Local Conference Coordinator, Anne Harrison, and our host church, FBC Wichita Falls. My team and I are so grateful for all the ways they made us feel like family.
And, it was wonderful to have Meredith Andrews and Karen Abercrombie with us again. As always, they were such a blessing! Also, our “Spill the Beans” with Meredith and Tyrus from Compassion International was such fun!
This weekend reminded us all that God is sovereign and He knew from the beginning why He was sending us to FGF Wichita Falls. Father God was showing each of His children that we were home because we are family. And that means we can be at home with each other. Accepting each other, loving each other, supporting each other, caring for each other, and strengthening each other. I am so grateful to be part of the family of God!
Next stop, FGF Buffalo!
Jennifer and the FGF Team!
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