Spiritual Stories

BY MEMBERS AND FRIENDS OF PERRY UNITED METHODIST CHURCH

PREPARED FOR EASTER 2005

Dear Friends,

I hope you will enjoy reading these spiritual stories from the lives of the members of our congregation as much as I have. It is wonderful how God is working in our lives.

I know that each one of has a spiritual story because God is always at work.

May we thank God for being with us in as we "wrote" past chapters in our lives and may we ask God to help us write the next chapters so we may discover blessing in our futures too.

I would like to thank Eric Kelly for having this idea of asking congregational members to have the opportunity to share our spiritual stories.

Through your lives, keep writing!

Continued Blessings,

Pastor Doug Wilson


Trust Him!
When Faith feels so small
And it's the hardest thing of all,
Trust Him!

I have been thinking about my faith journey and wondering how to write it, when I heard the above in the drama group play on Sunday. My faith has been tested, because I never dared to let God be in charge. Finally, some family problems overwhelmed me and I gave the worries completely over to Christ. Since that time only positive changes have happened with the concerns that were so much on my mind a I have been thinking about my faith journey and wondering how to write it, when I heard the above in the drama group play on Sunday. My faith has been tested, because I never dared to let God be in charge. Finally, some family problems overwhelmed me and I gave the worries completely over to Christ. Since that time only positive changes have happened with the concerns that were so much on my and heart.

Trust Him!
When Faith feels so small
And it's the hardest thing of all,
Trust Him!

- Anonymous



I thank God for always being there when I need him. Miracles happen everyday. He is my friend from day to day. My prayers are always asked "Thy will be done".

- Anonymous



A seed was planted when a childhood friend invited me to join a youth group at her church. From that experience it was much easier to return to Church later on. I at least had an idea of what to expect. After "going it alone" for years I felt like I was drowning in a sea of bad choices. A friend nudged me to return to Church and there I found that comforting feeling I had left behind so many years before. I have become a Methodist by choice after searching out where I felt at home. With God I know that I can get through anything in my life, and what a feeling of comfort that is.

- Anonymous


What is faith? It is something you can't see but it can be always there. My parents walked in faith and taught us kids to believe also. Thru thick and thin - in joy or sorrow - God is there to listen and guide. My spiritual message is "calling". To paraphrase the hymn "Open My Eyes". "Open my ears that I may hear voices of those who call to me. And while the wave notes fall on my ear, your guiding hands will be leading me.

*The first and last completely accurate weather forecast was when God told Noah that it was going to rain.

- Eleanor Kreutter


Engineering Miracles

As dawn replaced the moonless night,
This new day's promise appeared,
An arc of unending colors,
A design that You engineered;
With no defining beginning,
An end that could not be seen,
Simply a crescent of soft pastels,
An umbrella for spring's fresh green;
Pausing atop the lilacs,
Lingering over the rose,
Whispering softly to willows,
To wake them from their repose;
Lilies stood there proudly,
Lavender scented the air,
Sweet Williams bowed in wonder,
At this masterpiece You had put there;
A church bell off in the distance,
Welcomed this season just born,
Another springtime miracle,
On this beautiful Easter morn.

- Bonnie Church

His Valley

Majestic mountains standing guard,
Clouds gathering at their peaks,
Reflecting on the mirrored lake;
This must be a place where He speaks.
From the valley that passes through them,
Mist rises to meet the sky,
A rainbow of glistening, opaque rays,
Gone in the blink of an eye.
In the narrow opening,
With a mountain on each side,
Stands Our Lord Almighty,
Arms spread and opened wide.
Behind Him shimmering waterfalls,
Cascade gently down the hill,
Gracefully, doves are soaring,
As He is standing still.
The sleeves of His white robe billow,
As He shows this magnificent sight,
Embracing His beauty in nature,
As He shins His glorious light.
I stared in awesome wonder,
And gazed upon His face,
As Our Lord stood in this valley,
And blessed me with His grace.

- Bonnie Church




He's Always There

"Who am I, O Lord God, and what is my family, that you have brought me this far?.. You have looked on me as though I were the most exalted of men, O Lord God." 1 Chronicles 17: 16-17

When I was first asked to do this story, quite frankly, I was lost. How had God touched my life? I almost hit myself when I realized the answer. He's always there. The question really should be: When has God ever left me? That answer is even more obvious: never!

Which brings me back to the question King David posed: What makes me so special? I've often asked this question whenever I've looked back on my life and seen how blessed I am. What did I do to deserve all this?

Remember that God created each and everyone of us. Exodus 34:14 says that God is a jealous God. That means that God loves us so much that he only wants the best for us. Knowing that everyone has that kind of love with them can help you through anything you are facing. I know it has helped me.

"We love because He first loved us."
1 John 4:19

- Victoria Wolcott




My spiritual journey has been long and continues still. I have always felt God was present in my life. I guess the Holy Spirit was at work and I just didn't realize it.
My personal walk with Christ has come slowly and with much study and many talks with Rev. Wilson and others. I have been taught to trust my experience of God in Christ. This was hard to feel secure with at first. Many of my early experiences with well meaning Christians were very negative. Fear, end time threats and intimidation did little to bring me to a personal faith in Christ.
Our church has accepted me for who I am and has helped my personal experience of God in Christ grow and become special to me. As Dee read the Christmas story this past year the words "Fear Not" touched me and filled me with joy. My faith in Jesus is now one of acceptance, kindness, forgiveness and love. I no longer "fear" but love my faith as my journey continues.
- Eric Kelly


To me God lives in Heaven, everywhere and inside. God is good.
- Liam Kelly


I love God because when I am sad he talks to me.
- Elise Kelly


I'm working on it.
- Val Kelly




My journey of faith reminds me of the Parable of the Workers in the Vineyard found in Matthew 20:1-16. The owner of the vineyard hired workers at different times of the day to work. At the end of the day he paid the worker the same whether they went to work in the morning, at noon, afternoon or late afternoon. When I first read this passage in Bible Study I felt this was very unfair. I could not understand the fairness of paying everyone the same. Some had labored all day and others only a short period of time. It was not until I read a commentary on this passage that I understood it was very fair. The vineyard owner was God and the workers were those who have come to follow and worship him.

We who have come to worship God have come at different stages and times in our life. Some have worshiped and followed God all of their lives and other like myself have come later in life. What is the reward for coming early? You have had all that time with Christ. He has been there with you during the joys and sadness of life. Those who come later have enjoyed the love of Christ a shorter time. Which choice would you rather have? Yet we know that whenever we come to Christ we will receive his blessings.

The Lenten Season reminds me of the anguish that Christ experienced on the Cross. In Bible study we were reading of hi being nailed to the cross and I suddenly realized the pain he must have experienced. I have thought about that many times not just at Easter. I have participated in Lenten Services where you take a nail and drive it into the cross symbolizing your nailing Christ to the cross. The sound of the hammer striking the nail is a sound I have never forgotten.

- Roy Griswold


All Nature Sings and Round me Rings the Music of the Spheres

I come from a long line of music lovers, especially Christian music. Many years ago our Hymnals contained only the words of the Hymns. My Great Uncle was a "Liner", using a tuning fork to obtain the proper pitch, he sang a line of the Hymn tune and the congregation sang it back. Thus line after line, they learned the Hymn. Later the Hymnals contained both words and the tune.
My Grandmother played the 1st Pump Organ in our little country church. A few years later my mother, the late Rev. Bertha Moot, also played that organ, up until two weeks before I was born and two weeks after. Mother sang lullabies and Hymns to me when I was small. " Take the name of Jesus with You", "There were Ninety and Nine" and "Jesus Loves Me" to name a few. At an early age I learned to express love for God through music.
There were times on Winter evenings when we sang Hymns around the piano. My father often sang tenor, but sometimes he played the trumpet. He was talented in that he played and sang by ear as well as note. During this time we as a family drew near to God through the music.
Another meaningful time for me was in the early evening after weeding in the garden, Mom and I would sing "Day Is Dying In the West" as we watched the sunset. There was born my great love for music combined with the visual presence of God in Nature. To me, all nature sings and round me rings the music of the spheres - although I sang the Messiah and The Creation and many others later on, I am inspired by the Hymns in our newer Hymn book and our Choir numbers. I am very close to God during Dock Services at Silver Lake. I view the hills that surround the beautiful Silver Lake and realize that they are Alive With The Sound of Music and this truly touches my soul!......especially if we are singing "Day is Dying in the West".
- Betty Croop



How does one separate a "spiritual journey" from one's total life experience? As I recall my childhood, I was in a community in which I never encountered an atheist nor and agnostic. Therefore, I always believed in a personal, all powerful, all knowing God. Granted through the years my understanding of this God has expanded, but I can not describe him/her/it. After all, God defines me, I do not define God. In any event, I attended Sunday School and release time class until the end of 8th grade. I have attended church regularly from age 13. During that time I resisted total surrender to the God I heard described by the conservative preachers of my youth.

Not until college was my belief in God strongly challenged. But even then I could not disbelieve. Probably the third year of college I made my first sincere attempt at full commitment to God. However I still have not fulfilled that commitment completely although it has led me into situations which I did not want to experience. At Cornell I met a pastor and a group of students whose commitment exhibited openness and joy instead of grudging obedience to a list of behaviors. It was in the group that I met Jo.

Graduation. Marriage. Military service. Private veterinary practice. Two boys to try to raise. All those years trying to live a Christian life and attain the standards to which I aspired. All those years of making mistakes and falling short. Then following a "Walk to Emmaus" in 1982 I discovered that I was no longer haunted by my failures. I still made mistakes and failed to meet my expectations of myself, but the failures no longer crushed me. God had somehow taken my need to succeed in whatever I tried to do. The amazing thing is that the sense of God's love does not depend on my achievements. I can mess up completely and still feel secure in God's forgiveness. It was a long time coming and I still can not point to a specific moment. I suspect that my experience is related to those who insist that one must be born again, but I doubt if my experience would meet their definition of salvation. Still I am grateful. I still fail. I still resist God's recognized will. But the assurance of God's forgiveness and caring has not left.

- George Vineyard



The Hands and Feet of Jesus

We all have bookmarks in our memory that help us to remember certain events in our lives. A major bookmark in my life was the first time I was truly touched by Jesus. It was 9 years ago at the funeral of my first husband. When I felt like my heart was about to actually break in two, I heard Jesus say to me, "Fear not, for I am with you". I had never felt His presence like that before and it gave me such a sense of comfort that I knew I had to investigate and find out more about Him.

Many people have come into my life in the past 9 years that have helped me along on my faith journey. To me, those people have all been "the hands and feet of Jesus" drawing me closer to Him through their actions.

When Jesus first called to me, I believe he offered me the loving grace of God. It was mine to accept or refuse. I chose to accept it. He comforted me himself and eventually I think He also turned me over to his helpers here on earth. Since that day of unbelievable heartbreak, I have been blessed more than I could ever have imagined. He put people in my life like Pastor Doug, who helped me to understand (and showed me the rest of) the "Fear not" sentence I had heard from Jesus. It was Isaiah 41:10, which I think will always be my favorite scripture verse.

Jesus brought George and Jo Vineyard into my life and they introduced me to the Walk to Emmaus program. It was there that I began to understand the true depth of the love that Jesus has for me. It was also there that I learned that I, too, would be called upon to be the hands and feet of Jesus for others.

He brought all of you here in this church into my life. 9 years ago this was not my church. I really didn't have one. But this is where he led me and the first time I came here, I knew this was where I needed to be.

So many people, like Barb Finch, who made me believe that I could stand up in front of all of you and words (that you would actually hear) would come out of my mouth. Barb taught me (through the Worship Drama Group) to step out of my comfort zone and depend on God to send the Holy Spirit to help me achieve my goals. By doing this I gained the self-confidence to become a Certified Layspeaker. Jesus truly worked through Barb to enrich my spiritual journey.

And many others: Roy Griswold (through his Ecumenical Bible Study Ministry), Dee (through her commitment to teaching Disciple I & II and her personal friendship) and Marion Finch(who has constantly encouraged me to do more), my husband Bill, my children and step-children, all of my friends in the Emmaus Community, my fellow Layspeakers and all of you. As my faith journey continues, I know I will be touched many more times by people here on earth doing the work of Jesus.

I'd like to share this beautiful prayer called "The Body of Christ" written by Theresa of Avilia (1515-1583) with you:

Christ has no body now but yours,
No hands, no feet, on earth but yours.
You are the only eyes through which his
compassion can shine forth upon a troubled world.
Yours are the feet in which He walks to do good.
Yours are the hands with which He blesses all the world.
Yours are the hands,
Yours are the feet,
Yours are the eyes, you are His body.
Christ has no body now on earth......but you.

Thank you all for being the "Hands and feet of Jesus" for me.

- Pam Wallum




What "MY FAITH" has meant to me

A few years ago, I was in a support group and we had a non-denominational pastor who was working with us. After the group topic for that day, we as a group began to speak about Faith. When it got to be my time to speak, I said very simply, "I used to have a strong Faith. I was brought up in a strong Irish Catholic family attending Catholic School and believed everything I was taught. But then life happened to me and I lost my Faith and I still have not regained it."
"OH really," said the Pastor.
"When you are driving your car and you step on your brakes, do you believe they will stop?"
"Yep", I replied.
"Faith", he replied.
This was one of my first reality thoughts about my reluctance to have Faith in my life........

Another time, not very long ago I was talking to a Pastors wife and explaining to her that I just wasn't sure where my beliefs and Faith were. I hadn't been to Church in awhile, I hadn't prayed but I was a true believer in Fate - much different to me than Faith. People were put in each others lives for a reason at a specific time by something (or someone) much higher than ourselves but I wasn't prepared to explore anymore than that. I was pleasantly surprised and more than left feeling comfortable when this gentle soul told me she too had struggled with those same issues at a time in her life when I would have thought she had it all together. This left me with the feeling that someday soon, I could find my Faith again, if I simply stayed open to the idea...

Faith and I have not yet found each other completely. We bump into each other on occasion but my reluctance more than keeps us at a distance. I know if only I could/would be more open to the possibilities of a tot Higher Being than what I can see, my life may be all the richer. I am learning, however. I am learning this through the eyes of my beautiful 12 year old daughter who is much wiser than her young years. She has a Faith strong enough to guide both of us at this point. She is my crutch in a world of broken Faith that is healing. Both she and her 10 years old brother have had to depend on something much Higher than themselves and their parents when I have struggled with my illness and apparently their Faith has guided them because they are strong, kind, helpful children who tell me constantly that I can get through whatever I have to get through and that I am the best Mommy - even though many time I feel like much less. I see Faith work through them. I am learning about Faith through the people in this Church:
Pam just brightens my Sundays when I see her. Sharon and Fred have been an important part of Cailyn's learning of Faith, Doug has been trying to help with a hands off approach (which I so appreciate) for the past 10 years. Nancy Wilson has been an uplifting woman to talk to...

Faith is happening to me, slowly but it is happening. I am in no rush because through each experience as outlined above and many others not mentioned, I am learning valuable lessons on how to help others!

- Colleen Bellezza





God helps me in times of need

"God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.

Therefore, we will not fear, though the earth should change, and though the mountains shake in the heart of the sea;… ." Psalms 46:1-2

These are favorite verses of mine. I have read them over and over before I have gone through many surgeries in the hospital. They have helped me be ready if it is my time to go but also to be glad for the many, many times God has protected me.

"Make a joyful noise to the Lord, all the earth. Worship the Lord with gladness; come into his presence with singing." Psalm 100:1-2

These verses remind me of the many blessings I have. Whenever I need help, someone is always there to help me. I am thankful for the blessings of my family and many friends.

Doris Bennion



 

Spiritual Journey

One year ago I was asked to go out to five or six homes for pledges from people for our church.
It was a snowy day. I don't usually drive in bad weather, but this didn't seem to bother me, as I went to each home to receive the pledges I was welcomed in and even their children wanted to make a pledge. And driving along a hymn came to mind - Climbing Jacobs' Ladder. It's hard to explain how I felt. It was something I will never forget.
We were to report back to our church after I went to all my homes. They listened to what I had to say. Since then, I have a special friend named Jean Griswold who got me involved in the ministries that I do in my church. I'm glad she showed me the way and led me in the right direction. I want to thank all the people who are always there for me.
I feel God guides me in whatever I do.

Nellie Baker

 

GO NOW!
Have you ever felt you were at the right place at the right time to make a difference for someone or it affected you, you grew emotionally or spiritually? What do you call the moments when you just know something? Ever feel you must do something and find you are there at the right time? Or not? I have moments when a feeling or thought says GO NOW!!! I respond and find someone in need or it ends up my doing something I never would have done and I grew from it. These are what I call my God moments. I believe there are no coincidences in life. There are times if we listen, we can hear and respond and serve and grow. I call them GO NOW!! moments.
When I was younger someone told me to begin every day praying "Lord Your Will Be Done Through ME". Later I began to pray in the morning to be open to serving and responding to needs around me in whatever each new day brought. I find the GO NOW!!! moments have increased the more I do this.
I have missed a flight only to find a friend waiting at the gate for the next flight home. I had a friend say she was coming for lunch but not arrive. I felt I needed to go to the P.O. for the mail and there was my friend, just passing by lost… What is that all about??? Instinct? Trust…
I needed to take courses for seminary and I felt a sense of urgency to take a Theology class, but it was on the West coast. I had never been there and was going to stay a week after the course to sightsee and planned to sleep in my rental, due to lack of funds and not knowing anyone. My room mates for the class heard my story of impending adventure on the first night and between them I had a great week staying with both of them and saw the west coast with new friends, not alone. I had a sense of relief for the two week course not worrying about the future week. Trust…
But there is something more about the GO NOW!!! that I hear or sense. My favorite time to be open to prayer is when I take my short shower in the am. Often a thought or song comes to me and then during the day I find I use it. I would have been stuck or not prepared if it had not come to me…One morning I just got the water on when I heard "Go to the Church NOW!!! GO NOW!!! I just got the shampoo on! Doug was away and I thought this is inconvenient! But I knew I'd better go. I hurried and got to church. No one was there. Everything was quiet, then in a couple of minutes a man walked in from out of town explaining he needed a pastor for a grave side service later for his mother. Wow! What timing to be there. He wanted it to be United Methodist but he was just going to go church to church until he found someone. NOW!
What if I did not listen to the GO NOW!!!???

One night in a bad winter storm I was driving on Rt 17, with people passing me driving too fast for conditions. I had hours to go and was tempted to speed up when I heard the words slow down- NOW!!! I heard slow down NOW!!! again and I let off the gas to discover that I was on sheer black ice and losing it as I was rounding a curve in the road. My mouth dropped when there in the median were the cars that had passed me along with dozens of others who had been there awhile. They were unaware of the curve and black ice. I felt so bad as I passed them by but the emergency crews were already there as 20 other cars had already landed there. What would have happened if I had not slowed down?
Last week with the Fish Fry at church I was driving around town doing errands. The voice said GO NOW!!! So I headed to church. There were men looking in the windows obviously wanting inside. They were the crew needing to setup. They were sure glad to see me! They were early and inpatient…
Last week I went up to HOSPICE. Two things to do - I knew I needed to visit a patient and stop for calling hours to support my boss whose mother died. I was headed to the man's house but realized I was not sure where he lived. The voice said go to the office- GO NOW!!! So I went. All the staff was gathering to go together for calling hours. They did not expect to see me and had not called me to tell me what they were doing. I would have been the only staff not there for the boss support. WOW!
I have had the feeling to call people to check in and didn't get around to it. I have ignored that feeling and the patient died…Too late… Regrets…
I have ignored the NOW!!! Feeling and gotten in deep trouble… Things would have been easier just to listen to it…
Yes, you may say I am crazy - because I am not sure how many of us live like this. I only know I have to - to be faithful to God. In my study of the Bible, I have discovered Ananias, Saul, and many others have lived by this GO NOW!!! to serve God.
We each have different gifts and graces given to us to be God's faithful people.  Mine is the GO NOW!!! to be where I need to be to serve.
What's yours???

Shalom, Dee Finch





"Heads Up"

I woke up on this particular gray Friday May morning with a sense of dread. Where was that coming from? Was I having a premonition? Should I stay home today? Certainly this was a gloomy looking day but it should be a good day. I would be reading favorite stories to children at Perry Elementary school all day in my role as the "Booktalker" for the Public Library. As soon as school was over, I would dash home, jump into my jeans and sweatshirt, load up my camera gear and head to the high school athletic fields. It was late in the softball/baseball season. Both the girls' and boys' teams would be playing decisive games and on top of that, playing at home and therefore no long drive. All this was great for a fanatic school sports photographer like me. There was nothing about this day to give me any reason to pause and yet the dread hung over me all day. I came home from school and took a 30 minute nap before the game to try and shake it.

I slept heavily, barely waking up in time for the games. I was rested but I still felt that heavy sense of dread. Once again, I thought seriously about staying home, but my husband, Doug and I made a dash for it, arriving at the girls' game just before the first ball had been pitched. I attached the camera to the monopod (a one legged tripod) and set myself up near third base so that I could get shots of players making a run from second toward third and if all went well, breaking for home. I took my place between the other spectators leaning along the fence that separated spectators from the field. It was windy and balls were pulling and fouling to the left of third a little too often, several a little too close for comfort so we all moved back a bit and watched the ball a little more carefully. I took some pictures and thought about moving over to the first baseline side of the field which seemed safer.

The exact timing for my move was influenced by a problem I saw developing near the area where I wanted to go. It involved several boys agitating another boy whom I knew to be especially sensitive to teasing. I felt sorry for the boy and wanted to protect him somehow. Hoping I would be able to diffuse the situation quickly, I scurried over to them with a gentle suggestion that they stop. To my relief, this worked and the boys dispersed. I took a few nice shots of the pitcher from my new view point and decided to go back to see if my husband wanted to go with me to the boys baseball game which was being played on the next field. As I retraced my steps, I needed to concentrate on walking and not tripping myself on the monopod. My focus, locked on the ground beneath my feet, I heard someone yell "heads up". In a moment that both changed my life forever and perhaps saved it, I raised my head and turned toward the commotion.

A fowl ball hit me square in the right eye. The force was so great that I felt like I had been hit by something shot from a cannon. Had I not turned, the hit would have been to my right temple and I have been told that I might not have survived this without brain damage, if I survived at all. But I was alive, though everything was black. I could see nothing. I consciously drew my focus into that blackness. My hands clutched the camera, the monopod now serving as my life support. I sternly told myself,
"Do not go down, do not pass out."

And then in quick response to my unspoken question, an inner voice spoke, saying,

"This is serious, but you will survive."

But that's not the real story.

I began to hear and feel if not actually see what was going on around me. Sounding like a choir of angels, I began to hear the voices of people who seemed close by. The first was my close friend Sandy telling me that if I would just loosen my hands from the monopod, she would take my camera and keep it safe. Someone helped me to the ground. I became aware that the game noise had stopped. Terry, the umpire, another very good friend had stopped the game. I could hear her giving orders to get ice. My husband Doug whose touch and breathing I recognized, silently removed my crumpled glasses. Dave, the coach told me that even though it hurt, I must keep the ice on my eye. I recognized the voice of Laura who must have helped me to the ground. She cradled my by now bloody head in her lap. I could taste blood in my mouth. I murmured this and she assured me that this wasn't coming from inside but had just run down my face into my mouth. Slowly, I began to feel as though nothing could hurt me now. I could 'see' as though for the first time. God is here. I could feel His touch and hear His voice in everyone around me. It was as though, if you will forgive me, I had died and gone to Heaven.

I was temporarily stitched up in the emergency room and admitted to the acute care unit of our local hospital. As I lay propped up in the bed and faced the blackness, my sense of God's prescience deserted me. The pain became very real physically, emotionally and spiritually. How could God have let this happen to me? Why was I not protected? Where was my guardian angel? What had I done to deserve this? I felt abandoned. I was terrified. I had survived, but for what? I couldn't see anything. My face felt like it was on fire. A complete orbital blowout and broken nose was the diagnosis. Probably I would not see out of my right eye again. It's swelling would go down and as it did, my left eye would slowly open. I would be able to see again as usual from at least that eye. But for now, I couldn't open either eye. I hated hospitals and here I was in this prison, a black, black prison. Why hadn't I just stayed home today?

In the aftermath of trauma, I've been told that it is natural to ask the 'why' questions. The answers came during my week long stay in the hospital though I didn't realize it for several more years. A parade of visitors began that very night in the blackness and continued throughout my stay. Many pastors came, some who I didn't know until then (this was seven years ago when pastors could roam free in hospitals, calling on perfect strangers). My husband is a pastor so I knew many of them, but I held them in too much awe or disdain to be comfortable. As each prayed, I actually listened. even to those with whom I had intense theological difference. I was grateful and very touched by their words.

Flowers, friends and cards also came in abundance. My eyes gradually opened. Black became gray. Gray became fuzzy blocks of bright spring color. I discovered that if I covered my right eye, I could actually see a little out of my left. Color blocks became images of things and people I could recognize. It became very difficult to remain miserable under these brightening circumstances.

On the seventh day, I went home, a new creation. There were struggles ahead, surgeries to face, driving restrictions, diminished optical vision. But what of it? God had given me something I badly needed. He didn't give me the accident to test me or punish me, but He sure did use it. He gave me a new kind of vision. I had been given a new sensitivity to His activity in my own life and in the lives of people like myself, hospitalized and feeling helpless. I began to accompany Doug on hospital visits. It was so gratifying to give to others something which had been so richly given to me. Doug and I began to pray with patients together.

It was several years before I tearfully acknowledged to myself that I felt a sense of calling to ministry. I asked God to help me discern what this might be, to give me a spiritual 'heads up'. At about this time, Sister Mary Anne appeared in Doug's office to introduce Sister Elizabeth as the interim Coordinator of Interfaith Volunteer Caregivers of Eastern Wyoming County. She asked Doug if he knew anyone who might be willing to serve in this position on a more permanent basis. He came home and mentioned it to me as a possibility. I prayed some more and applied within the week. I have been the Coordinator of this program for four years now.

Yesterday, our Wyoming County Interfaith Volunteer group met to honor Sister Mary Anne's wonderful ministry among us and to bid her farewell. We all reminisced and hugged and prayed. On the evening prior to this event, I had been struggling for several days with how to end this story. That inner voice had spoken once again and saying "Go to the party, you will get your ending." As I stood to conclude the program, I did not think I had 'gotten' the promised ending to this story. I looked into the faces of those in attendance. That's when it dawned on me. Five of our volunteers had either come to my aid at the time I was hit or had ministered to me in the hospital. They had become our core, several new to ministry like myself but all with us from the beginning. I'm so thankful that I didn't stay home that day. because it brought me so decidedly to this day.

Nancy Wilson