John 3:16

For God so loved the world
that He gave His only Son
that whoever believes in Him
should not perish
but have everlasting life.

Koininia communities
gather God’s children beloved
together as He chooses, calling
His own for His eternal glory
and their day-to-day good
in the midst of their joys
and in all of their worries—
with complementary gifts
and compensatory strengths
his family emerges
for the telling and living
of His own merciful story.

Just like these beautiful springtime daffodils lining the pathway, God lines up Christian mentors and friends to encourage and strengthen us.

In my life it is all about Jesus. He owns me for He came from Heaven to seek all sinners. He lived out His life in a difficult time in the midst of Rome’s tyrannical rule. He walked many a mile on rugged roads and slept many a night on the hard, stony ground. He prayed through many a night, seeking the Father’s strength and direction for yet another tough day, living out God’s Will to provide salvation for anyone who chooses to believe in Jesus as their Savior.

I have been blessed from the very beginning of my life to be surrounded by God’s People in both my family and in my church. My parents and my grandparents daily lived out their own faith in Christ as they raised my brother, my sisters and myself in a home where we were taught to love God and each other. We were involved in Bible Study, worship, children’s and youth activities where Christian adults loved and nurtured us in the faith.

Since deciding to follow Jesus, I have constantly been shepherded by Christian mentors and leaders. I could name Sunday School teachers, Training Union leaders, R.A. leaders, and several of my school teachers. Then, there have been a long series of faithful Christian servants, who have exemplified for me the Christian way as they challenged me to discover how rich and adventuresome is life sold out completely to Jesus. They literally challenged me to recognize that life is more about God’s glory than my sense of self-satisfaction.

My college Pastor, my Summer Missions Director, Christian families in Ludowici and then in St. Marys, Georgia; all pushed me to go deeper, ever deeper as I trusted  more in God and less in me. In Ludowici God gave me a clear call into missions service. In my mind He reviewed for me how He had been working through Jesus, the Holy Spirit and His People to prepare me for His Purpose in missions. Then He continued to put me among people who nurtured me and blessed me—always with the love of Christ—as He prepared me for my thirty-seven years in Nigeria and Niger.

I have always loved being among a people united by the love of Christ, and excited about doing service for His Kingdom together. So, one of the biggest challenges of my life over time has been having to say good-byes. I got so attached to the wonderful faith family at First Baptist, St. Marys, God had to raise up a fellow youth minister and a deeply faithful Christian family to ask me His own question: “So, Mike, just what are you doing about God’s call on your life for missions?” So, before I knew it, events moved along quickly and I found myself living out God’s perfect plan for me at Baptist High School in Jos, Nigeria.

From beginning to end, God’s road which took me to the place He made and redeemed me for was crowded with wonderful family, friends, teachers, mentors, pastors—and most of all the loving Presence, Persistence and Patience of my Savior and Shepherd, Jesus. As I said, it is and has been all about Jesus, and praise be to God, His People.

In future posts I will be highlighting how beautifully God has used some of these people as His tools to mold and shape me, to make me all His, all for His glory.










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