Stephen Ministry is a unique ministry serving the needs of our church community. A Stephen Minister provides help when a member is in need of individual prayer or gives support in the face of life’s challenges.
Stephen Ministry.. Have you ever heard of it? I was in a church to attend a funeral for a friend. While waiting for the service to begin, a question that had been on my mind for over a year came to me again. What am I supposed to do with the rest of my life? I had recently retired after working over 40 years as a nurse. Many of those years were in the field of psychiatry. I had enjoyed the challenge of helping others who thought they were at the end of their rope and help them find their way out of those life challenges.
I noticed a brochure on the seat next to me. It was about Stephen Ministry. I took it with me and read it over a couple times. A few weeks later I was at my son’s wedding and the incredible minister touched my soul with her words and prayers during their marriage ceremony. I “checked out” her church and Pastor Alecia was everything I heard that day and more. A few months later I joined North Liberty United Methodist Church with my husband Mike Nicholls. We were struggling with his son’s diagnosis of cancer, trying to help our aging parents, and keeping up with our blended family of 6 children and 13 amazing grandchildren. The love and support of this congregation has helped me through the death of his son and illnesses of our parents.
How to you give back to those who kept you sane, prayed every day, and just gave you a hug when nothing else would do? I picked up that Stephen Ministry brochure and asked God if that was what he wanted me to do with all the skills and talents he had so generously given to me. “What are you waiting for?” was heard loud and clear!!! I completed Stephen Ministry training and had a care receiver assigned soon after. What a blessing to walk with her on a journey I will never forget. I look forward to the many special women that God will choose to send into my life. He will tell me how to use the special gifts He gave me long ago, knowing the mission He has for me today.
StephenMinisterio..¿Alguna vez hasoído hablar de él? Yo notenía hastahace 2 años.Yo estaba enuna iglesiapara asistir a unfuneral de unamigo.Mientras se espera elinicio de los servicios, una preguntaque había estado enmi mente desde hacemás de un añollegó a míde nuevo.¿Quése supone que debohacer con el restode mi vida?Yo habíaretirado recientementedespués de trabajarmás de 40años como enfermera. Muchos deesos años fueronen elcampo de la psiquiatría. Había disfrutadoel desafíode ayudar a otrosque pensaban queestabanal final desucuerday ayudarles a encontrarla manera de salirde esosdesafíos de la vida.
Me di cuenta deun folletoen elasiento de al lado. Se trataba deStephenMinisterio. Mellevé conmigoy lo leísobreun par de veces. Unas semanasmás tarde estabaen la boda demi hijo yel ministroincreíbletocadomi alma consus palabrasy oracionesdurante su ceremonia dematrimonio.I “check out” de su iglesiay el pastorAleciaeratodo lo que oíese díay más.Unos meses más tardeme incorporé aNorth LibertyIglesia Metodista Unidacon mi maridoMikeNicholls. Estábamos luchandocon el diagnósticode su hijode cáncer, tratando de ayudar a nuestrospadres ancianos, y mantenerse al díacon nuestrafamilia mezcladade 6 hijosy13 nietosincreíbles. Elamor y el apoyode esta congregaciónme haayudado a través dela muerte de suhijo ylas enfermedadesdenuestros padres.
¿Cómole dasla espaldaa los que osmantenía cuerdo, rezaba todos losdías, ysólo ledio un abrazocuando nadamás lo haría? Cogíese folletoStephenMinisterioyle pedí a Diossi eso eralo que élquería que yo hicieracon todas las habilidadesy talentosque habíatan generosamenteque me han dado. “¿Qué estás esperando?” se escuchófuerte y claro!!!Yocompletado la formaciónStephenMinisterioy teníaun receptor decuidadoasignadopoco después.¡Qué bendiciónpara caminarcon ellaen un viajeque nunca olvidaré. Espero con interéslas muchas mujeresespecialesque Dios va aelegirpara enviara mi vida. Élme dirácómo utilizarlos donesespecialesque me diohace mucho tiempo,conocer lamisiónque Él tiene paramí hoy.
Out of the clear blue sky in March of 2002, a strange woman came into the Physical Therapy gym where I worked. She told me that she had something for me to see. I asked her if she had an appointment in P.T. and she said “no”. I asked her if she was seeing a Physical Therapist here and was told to come and see me and she said “no”. I asked her what she wanted me to see and she took her purse off her shoulder and opened her purse revealing a little black puppy. I loved him at first sight and had the lady and her puppy over to my house the next weekend. We named him Maxwell.
Bev Gates loved dogs and when she saw our puppy she offered to watch him whenever we needed. When she watched him she would take him into her family and include him in family pictures. One day she herself had a dog like Max.
Bev told me about the Stephen Ministry group in 2005. She talked about the need to start a group of people that would be caregivers. Pastor Alecia expressed that there was a need within the congregation. The Stephen Minister’s group would be trained in confidentiality, trust, compassion, skilled instruction and most of all faith. We would then be able to provide that care. Guided by our Lord, God, I said “Yes, I would like to be a part of that group.”
The present Stephen Ministry group has helped, prayed and listened to me during my own struggles.
This service is a wonderful benefit offered by our church. Please consider joining and training to be a servant of God that can listen to and help another person or call if you are in need of a Stephen Minister to listen to and help you with your burden.