In March, I had the awesome privilege of traveling with my pastor to the 12th European Prayer Conference in Nice, France. It was a powerful and anointed time of prayer and worship. There were people from 36 countries there; it was such a blessing to connect with believers from around the world!
It was a life-changing experience for me because I was totally immersed in the presence of God for five straight days. He reaffirmed what He has called me to do and has given me a fresh perspective regarding my purpose in the earth. I would have missed this awesome opportunity if I had not pushed past my inhibitions and fears to travel outside of the U.S. and left my husband and children home to seek more of God.
God knows exactly how to enlighten us to what He has for us, as France was the only country I ever said I would travel to. I studied French from the first grade through freshman year of college and could speak it fluently at that time. For many years, despite my fear of traveling outside the U.S., I longed to travel to France and God granted me that desire. To spend a week in prayer with people from all around the world was the best reason to go there. I was praying alongside my pastor, mentor and friend for the lives of those in Europe, the U.S. and the city of Milwaukee. As an added bonus, Nice, France sits on the French Riviera, and the great food and the multicultural people further enhanced my experience while I was there.
I am no longer fearful to travel outside of the United States and am awaiting the next opportunity God has for me on foreign soil. I know I am called to reach the nations whether it’s on my knees or face to face, and I am forever grateful for the impact Nice, France made on my life both culturally and spiritually.
“All the ends of the earth shall remember and turn to the Lord, and all the families of the nations shall worship before you.” Psalm 22:27
On May 15th, BASICS was privileged to sponsor a cookout for all three shifts of the Milwaukee Police District 2 officers with the help of His Banquet Ministries and their “One Way Out of the Pit BBQ”. Besides the delicious food, personalized thank you cards were given to each officer.
The event was well received by the officers. It was unique because we were able to serve all the shifts over a 24 hour period. This allowed them an opportunity to be served while on duty in a safe and friendly environment and to enjoy some fellowship with their fellow officers, something they rarely enjoy due to the nature of the job. This is especially important in light of the increasingly serious threats to their safety as they perform their duties.
Each officer was also presented with an envelope containing several thank you cards hand made by various youth and adult organizations. The officers were extremely thankful and appreciative because this came from the public. The Police Supervisors stated that this was a huge morale booster for the men and women who are under increasing scrutiny by the media and public.
John Stephan of His Banquet Ministries was there and was very blessed by the event. Many of the officers asked him about the name "One Way Out of the Pit" and why he does what he does with his ministry which allowed him to share about the importance of being a light in a dark world.
It was such a blessing to have the opportunity to encourage these faithful men and women who serve so sacrificially!
“Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing.”
1 Thessalonians 5:11
Some of the handmade cards given to the officers
At a conference a pastor saw my ministry business card and wanted to know what I do for Pastoral Care. I had to think about his question as my mind raced over all those acts of serving over the past 12 years that varied greatly. For me Pastoral Care is serving pastors or ministry leaders in whatever they require as God places them before me. God has given me a burden to serve this group of servants as part of ministry. As I walked into the office of the late Jack Brown at the Milwaukee Outreach, he turned away from his daily task on the computer, focused on what was on my mind and said, “Roger whatever you do, learn to serve.” Jack lived out ministry and serving. His physical act of putting me first above his ministry duties and giving me his undivided time, burns in my spirit as an example. With that always in the back of my mind I asked, “Lord, who and how do I serve?”
God just opens doors to those whom he wants me to serve. Giving of self over time schedules and commitment is key. Amazingly God carves out time when I am surrounded by ministry schedules and commitments. He just rearranges my calendar.
“A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another. By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another."
Pastoral Care is really showing the love of Christ. The love reflects in meeting a specific or general needs. It is always different. The key is listening to the Holy Spirit and just responding with no concern of the time, schedules or monetary cost. That willingness to respond has opened the door to profound experiences and friendships. The needs go from the very simple to a deep commitment. It may be 20 minutes to months or a year. From the act of listening to the physical service. Whatever the act of pastoral care looks like, it is always good knowing Christ gets the credit.