My emotions went into hyper-drive the moment I sat down in church on Sunday . . . and it caught me by surprise. Intellectually I knew it was my last time to worship the Lord with the believers at Foothills Southern Baptist Church, Yuma. But suddenly the Lord was gracious to give me a crystal clear picture of how this church has blessed me.
Foothills became the “church home” for my wife and I when we temporarily relocated to Yuma on December 6. This House of God has been a needed place of refuge during this pause in my pastoral ministry. We were welcomed. We were encouraged. We were loved. We will be forever grateful.
But much more importantly, this church has ministered to my mother for the past 13 years. Mom never really stood out. She wasn’t a leader. She just sat in the same pew each week with her dear friends, Ginger and Beverly.
Nevertheless, the Foothills family of believers ministered to her through the years. Pastor Jim Doyle was there for her in her great times of need. He went to the hospital and prayed for my dad when he was beset by strokes four months ago. (That act of kindness especially meant the world to me, because I was still in Michigan and unable to come.) On Christmas Eve day, with his own home full of out-of-town family, Pastor Jim came to pray for my mom after my dad’s death. Every time this church ministered to my mom, they blessed me.
This is “moving” week. We are helping my mom move back to California, where she will be blessed by once again living near her siblings. Lynne and I are relocating to Sonoita, AZ, where God seems poised to bless us with a new place of ministry and a new church to love and lead.
I will never forget this brief time in Yuma, because the church here was blessing a stranger in their midst – me!
“I was a stranger, and you invited me in . . . . I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me.” – Matthew 25:35,40