Monday, July 14, 2014

The Ripple Effect, Part I

I have pondered writing this post for quite some time but never actually got around to it until now. A story my uncle told me late last year really got me thinking along this subject, and also a recent conversation I had with an old friend of my dad's when I saw him at a wedding last month. Let me explain!
Many years ago there was a young man in the Air Force named Mike Mester who attended an Apostolic church service while stationed in California. A young evangelist preached a message, and boy he preached the truth! Mike came from a Catholic background and did not have much understanding about the Bible, though he may have thought he did at the time. The things the young evangelist preached got Mike pretty upset, and after service he made a bee line for the evangelist. Mike rattled off some fiery questions (not with the greatest attitude), which didn't seem to phase the evangelist at all. He came right back at Mike, and opened up the Bible. This evangelist began to show Mike the truth in the Word of God, so that he could see it for himself. For the first time, Mike began to see that he had been taught wrong, and that there were things in the Bible that he had never heard before! There is no Trinity! Only One God! You must be born again of water and of Spirit! Mike realized he had been mis-led all of these years, and he then began to study the Bible for himself and see more and more truth! It was because of this young evangelist who preached a message and took time to show him the truth that Mike eventually ended up repenting of his sin, getting baptized in Jesus' Name and was filled with the Holy Ghost with the evidence of speaking in other tongues as the Spirit of God gave him the utterance, just like the Bible says in the book of Acts! This young evangelist's name was Bro. Eugene Rushing. Many of you know him as a pastor and a member of the steering committee for Pacific Coast Camp. Mike had a girlfriend back home in Illinois named Karen Contino. Mike would call Karen and witness to her and tell her the wonderful things God was doing in his life. At first, Karen was worried and thought Mike might be getting into some weird type of cult, so she decided to fly out to California to visit him and see what in the world was going on! While Karen was out in California, she ended up receiving the Holy Ghost!

Karen is my aunt - my mom's older sister. Mike and Karen got married in California, so my mom and her siblings and mother all came out for the wedding! After the wedding, somebody invited them to a singspiration, so they decided to go. A woman stood up towards the end of the service and said "These folks came all the way out here from Illinois, and I think it would be a shame for them to go home without receiving the Holy Ghost!" People in the church began to gather around my mom and her family and pray! Long story short - before they knew it, my mom, her mom, and all of her siblings ended up getting in church! God saved that family! My mom as a new convert went to Bible College in Minnesota, where she met my dad. My dad was called to the ministry, and obviously, they ended up getting married! After years of ministry and assisting, my parents moved our family with the blessing of our pastor to Oakley to start a church in 2003. There is now a One God, Apostolic, Jesus Name church in Oakley, Ca. So, ripple effect?
Well, think about it. You're at a lake and you pick up a rock and toss it into the water. The rock itself only lands in one spot  -  but the impact of the rock travels on and on. The ripples sometimes spread out so very far, from the impact of one little rock. Bro. Rushing preached one message. He answered some questions my uncle had, and had boldness enough to show him in the Word of God that he had been taught wrong. He simply showed him the truth. It might not seem like a big gesture to some of us, but think about the long lasting impact! He reached Mike, who reached my aunt. Because of the union of this couple in the truth, my mother was reached along with her family. My mom went to Bible college and met my dad. My mom and dad got married. I was born. They raised me in the truth. I was filled with the Holy Ghost and baptized at 7 years old. Now I am almost 23, and I am still in the church, doing my best to reach others. I can trace all of this back to Bro. Rushing. Did it start there? No! Somebody reached him! Then he reached out to my uncle.

So what am I saying? Don't under estimate the 'little things' we do in the kingdom of God. You don't have to feel small because you haven't won a hundred souls. You don't have to feel un important if you can't play an instrument or sing at church! What about just showing someone the truth in the Bible? What about inviting them to a service? You have no idea how far the impact of that one little 'stone' you throw in the kingdom of God will travel on. It may ripple on to reach family after family. The things that may seem small can turn out to be so big. It's the ripple effect. Do something for God today!

Part 2 coming soon about my dad's side! Stay tuned!


Kathy McElhaney said...

I love this post so much!! I had no idea Bro. Rushing was the one who started the ripple in your family - so neat!

Jennifer Connell said...

I didn't either until my uncle told me! God is good!

Kendra Thaler said...

This is such a neat story! We need to share more testimonies like this as the people of God. Its inspiring and makes you realize that ONLY what you do for Christ will last. If only we can see all the ripple effects we may have caused just by sowing a seed!! I guess we won't know until we get to heaven :)

Awesome post Jen :)

Jennifer Connell said...

Kendra, you are so right! We spend so much time on things that won't even count or matter in eternity. Makes me want to do more for God! Thank you! :)

The Wakefields: Missionaries to Mexico said...

Wow!! I absolutely love this post. Can't wait for part two!


Roulini Panggabean said...

Hi Jen. Wow! Thanks for this post! It was truly powerful and inspirational! It makes me realize just how impacting the Word of God can be! It also makes me want to go out there and help the light of Jesus shine!! :) I guess you just never know how far a simple invitation to church will go.

Carol Connell said...

Wonderful post, Jen! It reminded me of this poem that I posted a long time ago on my blog. Love ya!

Drop A Pebble In The Water

Drop a pebble in the water: just a splash, and it is gone;
But there's half-a-hundred ripples circling on and on and on,
Spreading, spreading from the center, flowing on out to the sea.
And there is no way of telling where the end is going to be.

Drop a pebble in the water: in a minute you forget,
But there's little waves a-flowing, and there's ripples circling yet,
And those little waves a-flowing to a great big wave have grown;
You've disturbed a mighty river just by dropping in a stone.

Drop an unkind word, or careless: in a minute it is gone;
But there's half-a-hundred ripples circling on and on and on.
They keep spreading, spreading, spreading from the center as they go,
And there is no way to stop them, once you've started them to flow.

Drop an unkind word, or careless: in a minute you forget;
But there's little waves a-flowing, and there's ripples circling yet,
And perhaps in some sad heart a mighty wave of tears you've stirred,
And disturbed a life was happy ere you dropped that unkind word.

Drop a word of cheer and kindness: just a flash and it is gone;
But there's half-a-hundred ripples circling on and on and on,
Bearing hope and joy and comfort on each splashing, dashing wave
Till you wouldn't believe the volume of the one kind word you gave.

Drop a word of cheer and kindness: in a minute you forget;
But there's gladness still a-swelling, and there's joy acirding yet,
And you've rolled a wave of comfort whose sweet music can be heard
Over miles and miles of water just by dropping one kind word.

James W. Foley

Jennifer Connell said...

Beth and Roulini - Thanks for reading!

Mom - Thanks for the poem! Love you too!

Frances Kendrick said...

Awesome story!!

Karen Mester said...

My dear sweet niece, Jen. What an awesome post and a sobering reminder that what we do has ripple effects on other lives, whether for good or bad. As I look back on Uncle Bub's (Mike) and my stories I see so many other little ripples that effected and have made us who we are today. There was Joe Hulbert, a fellow airman in the US Air Force, who invited Mike to his first apostolic service where he heard Bro. Eugene Rushing's message. There was Brother Thearthur Chubb, a master seargeant in the US Airforce, who opened up his home for a bible study and was a godly mentor to Mike and I. I think of Sis. Lydia Miraflor Thompson, who took me in after I came out to CA and was a spiritual mom to me. The ripples are never ending...making their way from past to present to future. I'm reminded of a scripture, "Cast thy bread upon the waters; for thou shalt find it after many days." Eccl. 11:1 Jen, I am humbled that you would use our story as an object lesson. May it produce a ripple effect that blesses many in the days, weeks, months and years to come. I love you forever, I like you for always, as long as I'm living, my niece you will be!

Jennifer Connell said...

Sis. Kendrick - Thanks for reading!

Auntie!! Thanks for reading as well! I love you both lots and am so thankful for all of the things that God has done for all of us!

Hanna said...

LOVE this. God is all seeing, all knowing and all powerful! What a mighty God we serve, all time is in His hands. What a testimony to the sovereignty of God and how he uses His time, place and vessels to bring souls into the kingdom. Amazing!
Thanks for sharing Jen!