This weekend I had the opportunity to perform a wedding in St. Louis, Missouri. Jay Yousef and Alex Brand were united in marriage on Saturday afternoon. The ceremony was beautiful and went off with- out a hitch. Graham Chapel was simply amazing. I have never performed a wedding in a venue like Graham. As I was looking around the chapel I discovered am inscription at the base of the stained glass window. It comes from I Kings 8:58 and reads: The Lord God be with us, as He was with our fathers, that He may incline our hearts unto him, to walk in all his ways and to keep His commandments. It is undeniable that many of our institutions of higher learning were centered in Biblical Christianity.
Last week was filled with things to be thankful for. I never cease to be amazed with how God uses people and what would appear to be insignificant things in the lives of others. Sometimes it happens in the strangest and most unlikely ways. In every phase of our lives we are impacting and influencing people. The last week was no exception in being reminded of this.
Monday evening was spent at Ed and Adjet Amante's home. They are members at Columbus Road and are transplants from the Philippines A group of friends gathered to say goodbye to Carlos Paredos Olivo who is from Mexico and came to the states to work. He attends our church and is going back home to be with his family. The evening was filled great food, fellowship and well wishes for Carlos.
Carlos, who does not speak a bit of English, closed our time together by telling us his story. I was brought to tears as he spoke about how God had brought Jason Wollbrink into his life. Ed and Jason had developed a simple invitation to a Spanish speaking Bible Study. Carlos responded to the invite card seen above. Carlos shared about his alcoholic, abusive past. He shared how he had tried everything to stop but nothing or no one could help. One day, he pulled out the invitation and decided to walk to the church, looking once again for help.
After a couple of attempts, he finally found our church. God used Jason over a period of several months to lead Carlos to the Lord. He faithfully has attended our church since that time period. He was discipled by Jason which resulted in his baptism and weekly tithing. Carlos would sit in the back of the church as Jason would translate the message to him. Our people were gracious, hearing a dull roar in the back of the auditorium each week. It was a bit different in a primarily caucasian, mid-west church.
Jason, Carlos and Ed
We learned many things about ourselves over the time Carlos was with us. He shared with us how much we meant to him even though none of us could speak Spanish We are blessed to have known him and look forward to hearing how God uses him in his home land.
The next time you are encouraged to invite someone to something, think twice before you say "No." You never know how God is working and what He will use.