My heart is broken today because I found out that my Pastor from my growing up years died last night. My heart is very sad but yet I know he is rejoicing in heaven.
It is hard to explain the difference he made in my life. When I was 13 yrs. old my dad sought out a different church. This new church was like night and day for me from our old church. The people were loving and accepting and made me feel special. The Bible was important and I began to learn a lot about it. My pastor and his wife were wonderful to me. My pastor's wife prayed with me to accept Christ. And they both helped me to grow in my faith. I could come to them with any problems or questions at any time and they would listen and care.
My pastor believed in me and challenged me and I was only a teenager. Most people treat teenagers like they aren't important and can't contribute much but my pastor made me feel important. Him and his wife invested a lot of time in my life and it made a difference. It was a small church and I know sometimes they might've wanted to be at a bigger church where they could reach more people. But there were many individuals like myself for whom they made a world of a difference.
Because of them I developed confidence and a strong faith in the Lord. They encouraged me to go to a good Bible College and so I went to Moody Bible Institute just like they did. I met my husband there who is a great Christian man. I teach kids at my church and my own children about the Lord because of their influence. They made a difference in my life for eternity.
I think in life we need to slow down and remember that it is the personal connections we make with people that make a difference. It takes time to invest in people's lives but it is worth it. I have invested a lot of time in my kids and I know it will make a difference. My husband is a Youth Pastor and his strength is the relationships he has with the teens. They know he cares about them and he has a huge influence on them.
So this is a tribute to my pastor and how much I love him and will miss him. But it is also an encouragement to others to take the time to invest in people's lives.
UPDATE: I will be out of town for a few days for the memorial service. I will be back to blogging when I get back.