Last October we started another simple/organic church. Initially it was composed of a few family members and a young Indian couple, both from a Hindu background. The husband had already given his life to the Lord, and was being profoundly helped by working at our company. (Our company hires the "best person for the job," and we have had several people become believers through working there.) We normally start with unbelievers in the New Testament, but it seemed the Lord was leading us to the Old Testament this time. It only took a few weeks of studying the book of Ruth before his wife, who has always sought spiritual truth, decided to follow Jesus.
On New Years Eve, we received the tragic and unexpected news that Haley, a close friend of our daughter's, had died. This girl, in her mid 20s and with a 4 year old daughter of her own, has always been a person of peace, even if she has struggled in various areas of her life. Bright and vibrant, and with huge compassion and empathy, she has always been a gatherer of people. There were over 700 at her memorial service, and we were able to recontact a number of people we have worked with in the past. The following day, we held a "celebrate Haley's life" time at our home, and several of them came.
Last week there were 5 new people at our simple church. By now we had moved on to Jonah, a book about someone running away from God but forced to reconsider because God intervened in his life through a crisis. One guy commented, "The last time I talked to God was 5 years ago but this tragedy has caused me to try to put my life right with him." Another girl said, "I haven't prayed in 6 months, but I'm going to start again."
There was no way God wanted Haley to die so young, but will he use even such an event? Of course! "Except a grain of wheat…" God brings fruit even out of tragedy!