Monday, August 18, 2014

The Ripple Effect, Pt. II

Today I want to talk about another 'stone' that was cast upon the 'waters' of my family in time past. Though it may seem like a small gesture to some, the impact of that little stone is still rippling on today.
If you have not read The Ripple Effect, Pt. 1, I suggest that you read it to give you a little more insight as to what I will be talking about in this post. You can read part one here!
Before I was ever on the scene, and before my dad was even married, he was a young United States Marine who was in desperate need of God.  Drugs and alcohol had a grip on his life -- he was in a downward spiral. He had attempted suicide at one point, but God stopped him. Later this same day the suicide was attempted he was on Huntington Beach in California where he got away from the party crowd he was with and poured his beer out in the sand, calling out to God. It's amazing how a sinner can repent without knowing the terminology for it or what they're really even doing. But that day, he had a repentance experience, and God delivered him from all his drugs and alcohol in just one day. He didn't know the truth yet, hadn't been baptized or received the Holy Ghost, but God delivered him when he called out for help. This is still happening with sinners all around us today -- we just don't always know about it. He once had a doctor tell him that he needed to write a book about it -- what an amazing thing God had done!
Dad was transferred and stationed in South Carolina where he was invited to a Pentecostal church. Dad was raised Greek Orthodox, and that was really all he knew as far as church. Dad made the trek to the Pentecostal church and when he got there, heard loud music and people praising God. He wasn't used to this. It scared him. He stood there in the foyer was about to walk and leave, when...
...enter, faithful usher! Yes, a good young man saw him and went to go shake his hand. He shook his hand all the way into the pew and sat him down. If not for this seemingly small gesture, my dad may have left scared and not come back! Dad stayed through the service, heard the preaching, and continued coming back. Months later, he ended up getting the Holy Ghost and getting baptized, and was called into the ministry. At one point (after he first felt the presence of God) he asked that same usher, "I know about the Greek Orthodox church, the Catholics, etc. -- But when did YOU guys start?!" The faithful usher replied, "Day one brother. Day one." While others who invited my dad or witnessed to him have backslid long ago, this usher stayed in the church, stayed faithful, and is still living for God. I saw him at a wedding in Fresno recently and he recalled some of the old days back when he was in the church in South Carolina when my dad first came. Many of you know him!

The usher's name? Bro. Avendano.

Bro. Avendano is not a pastor or an evangelist, and he is not in the ministry. He and his family are faithful saints in a good church in Oregon. Some people just want to rush to the pulpit and get in the ministry, but I say, thank God for faithful people who cast those seemingly small stones into the water, starting ripples that travel on for years. My dad did get called into the ministry, and as many know, he is a pastor today. Just last night a woman came to church and prayed through really good. If dad wouldn't have obeyed the call, there wouldn't even be a church here right now. Even further, if a small gesture hadn't been made years ago, my dad might not even be in church. Bro. Avendano has never met this lady, but he has a part in it - because he reached out to my father.

You might not be the one who gets called to preach, but what you do is so vital and important. You might be the one to reach that one lost soul who will get called to preach. Maybe you'll reach somebody who will turn and reach hundreds of souls. What each of us does for God is so important! Not because it's us, but because God can use those gestures and steps of faith as we reach out to ripple on throughout eternity.

I'm thankful for Bro. Avendano. He's another reason I'm here and serving God today!

I'll be writing The Ripple Effect, Pt. III, so check back sometime soon. This will be the last ripple effect post.


The Wakefields: Missionaries to Mexico said...

I read part one of the ripple effect to Austin and his eyes were HUGE. I asked him, "Do you want to hear part two?" He whispered back, in awe, "Yeahhhhh!" I just got done and he loved it! I said, "Austin, should we leave a comment?" He replied, "Oh yes!! Six pages of comments!" He wants you to know that he really liked them. He wants to know "who is the name of the part 3 guy". Lol! We are looking forward the next part!

Beth and Austin

Jennifer Connell said...

"Six pages of comments!" LOL!! He is hilarious! I love his commentary on things. One time when he was at our house he was being so funny that I pulled out my phone and did a voice recording.
I'm glad you enjoyed the posts! I'll post part 3 soon. (Hopefully)

jen lord said...

This is so encouraging to read, Twin! Thank you for posting!