Monday, October 8, 2012

Refresh: If I'd known that beforehand...

"Good news refreshes the bones." - Proverbs 15:30b

This is part of an ongoing series called "Refresh", named for the verse above. "Gospel" means "good news", and so it seems appropriate to highlight tales of God providing, especially in amazing, fun and unexpected ways. Names and other details are modified just enough so as not to incriminate the innocent... or guilty! May this tale help refresh your bones!

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About three months into my fundraising, I met with Jake and Emily at a local restaurant to share about the ministry. They were friends of friends, but seemed very friendly and eager. Unfortunately Jake had to leave early for a church meeting, but Emily stayed for quite a while and seemed very interested in helping. So, I asked who else she knew that I might be able to share with. Barely missing a beat, Emily pulled out a piece of paper from her purse and started writing down names!

She then handed me the paper and started telling me a little bit about each name. She listed three or four couples from her church (including phone numbers), and each one came with a short story about how she knew them. She also suggested Jake's employer and two coworkers. At the bottom of her list was "Pastor Vince" along with the name of a church about 30 minutes away. She told me that Vince was a great guy and that she was certain he'd love my ministry.

Over then next week I called down through that list and got a few more appointments. When I got to Pastor Vince, I called his church and asked for him. I was transferred over and he picked up. He seemed initially bothered by my call and I felt somewhat intimidated. But then I remembered how positively Emily had shared about him, and so I told him that I was friends with Emily and that she suggested we get together. His tone changed and he agreed to meet.

We met a couple days later at his church and we had a great time together! He was really excited about getting his church more involved in missions, and he resonated with a lot of the things I shared. Within forty minutes he'd arranged for me to meet with the missions committee, he'd suggested dates for me to come share with the congregation, and he was asking for blurbs to put in the bulletin. We finished the time by praying together.

As I was collecting my things to leave, I mentioned that I was so glad Emily connected us. He replied, "Oh, yeah. I meant to ask you about that. I have no idea who Emily is."

I later found out that Emily only knew Vince because Jake had seen him officiate a friend's wedding 10 years earlier. She'd never actually met or even seen him.

If I'd known that beforehand, I'd almost certainly never have asked for the appointment.

Vince's church ended up sending thousands of dollars in special gifts in the years that followed.