Standing in an oversized robe, I waited my turn to be baptized. That’s when it happened. That’s when I heard, in my head and heart, God’s voice calling me to be a pastor. The year was 1967 and the Adventist Church didn’t even have women local elders then. “Why did you say, ‘Yes’ to your call?” some have asked. Perhaps these stories can help answer that question.
A phone call from the hospital interrupted our Christmas Eve celebration. Elle, a 16-year-old girl, had tried to end her life. She asked to see a pastor. I sat next to her bed and placed my hands in hers. Looking at her bandaged wrists made me feel a little woozy.
I did my best to bring hope to this girl who had none. I told her that hope for her troubled world arrived 2,000 years ago in the form of a Baby who was her Wonderful Counselor, her Mighty God, her Everlasting Father and her Prince of Peace.
Jesus became real to Elle on that silent night. She made the decision to live! And I was so glad I’d said “Yes.”
I was a guest speaker at a church where I preached on surrender. Afterward, a man walked up and said, “I’ve been away from God for 17 years. This morning, something told me to go to church, and this church was the closest. Your sermon reached me. I’ve given my life back to God.”
By Monday, Jeff was a quadriplegic. He'd fallen out of a tree and damaged his spinal cord. He broke every bone in his upper back and sustained multiple other injuries.
For the next three months, all Jeff could do was move his eyeballs. He had a lot of time to pray — and pray he did! His revived friendship with Jesus gave him hope.
Every time I hear of something wonderful God has done through Jeff, I rejoice with him, and in my heart, I am glad I said “Yes.”
As one of Rick's pastors, I stood beside him at his wife's graveside service. While the casket was being lowered into the ground, I looked him in the eye and said with conviction, “She’s not staying in there, Rick,” reminding him that Jesus had won the ultimate battle against death. Leaving that graveside of sorrow mixed with hope, I was glad I’d said “Yes.”
I’ve officiated at many funerals during my ministry, never knowing that the texts used to comfort others would someday comfort me — the Pastor. In 2020, I helped officiate my own husband’s graveside service after his 15-month battle with glioblastoma. There were times during his illness, and especially after his death, that I wondered if I could go on pastoring. I was mentally and physically exhausted, and didn’t know if I had enough left to give.
But that same voice I heard when I was 10-years-old kept calling me back. And I listened. And I’m so glad I said “Yes,” once again.
I want to preach it because I’m not ashamed of the good news. It is God's power to save everyone who believes (Rom. 1:16, NIRV).
* All names are pseudonyms