It’s such a pleasure to be a pastor winning souls for the kingdom! I can’t think of a better place to be working than Parma Adventist Church in Idaho. It is a friendly, caring, mission-minded family that welcomes visitors into fellowship almost weekly.
Shelly, one of our newest members, has been more than just a visitor. Shelly was referred to us by Bob, her Adventist neighbor, when we were searching for someone to clean our church. She had recently retired from her work with the community schools and was highly recommended as a nice person and great candidate!
One day, while cleaning, Shelly and I struck up a conversation. She had questions about the world and wondered where it was headed. She had been raised in a non-denominational faith and was a sporadic attender throughout her life.
It was clear the Holy Spirit was at work in this fortuitous meeting and I felt compelled to ask, “Shelly, would you like to do Bible studies?” It was an immediate yes, and we began the following week.
In my experience, the most important thing a new Bible study can offer is the assurance of God’s love for every sinner, which is why I chose the It Is Written studies. Who better to teach them than the author, John Bradshaw, and the live-streamed “The Great Reset” meetings in Portland, Oregon, were on YouTube.
Week by week, Shelly, and on occasion others, came to hear God’s message. What an amazing experience to see a heart being transformed! Nothing will ever be more exciting than this. Wes Peppers and John Bradshaw’s Q & A session before every meeting were invaluable in answering tough questions.
As the pastor, I knew the answers but God’s spirit was moving through the videos. As the testing truths were presented, our conversations delved deeper and deeper into our beautiful message. Five months after beginning, Shelly made that life-changing decision to give her heart to Jesus. On her big day, Dave Gatton from Pacific Press was able to secure a signed copy of Bradshaw’s devotional to present to her; tears flowed for all.
But, the story has an even sweeter ending orchestrated by Jesus. You see, Shelly felt it would be an honor to meet Bradshaw someday. “Well, guess what Shelly?” I said. “He’s coming to town!”
Eph. 3:20 comes to mind: “Now to Him who is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think.”
What an amazing gift God gave her when we attended the Caldwell Church Rally and she was able to shake Bradshaw's hand! God cares for all the little and big things of our life and I can’t wait to see how He will continue to work in this Parma Church family.