Joleene's small act of obedience to prayer walk her neighborhood led to a series of events that led to three baptisms and a daughter seeking Jesus.
Meeting a Neighbor By Prayer Walking
Two years ago, I went prayer walking with my friend Laura. As we talked our neighborhood, we asked God to help us meet our neighbors. Then we bumped into a woman named Irene who was walking with her husband and their dog. We discovered that Irene and her family were our new neighbors who had just moved in 2 weeks ago! It turned out they had a young daughter who was the same age as ours. We immediately said, "We should set up a play date with our daughters!" Irene was excited because she wanted to help her kids make friends.
Three Baptisms After Irene's First Discovery Study!
At the time, I was facilitating a Discovery Bible Study with Laura and some others. Unprompted by me, Laura invited Irene, who wasn't a believer, to our DBS, and she showed up! Ideally I would have had Laura start a new DBS with Irene and her friends so we could
see multiplication. But even though I rarely do things perfectly, God still uses it for good! We read the story of the Ethiopian eunuch who, after reading Isaiah with Phillip, asked if he could be baptized on the spot. After reading, I asked the group, "What could we do to obey this passage?"
"I need to give my life to Jesus," Irene said, "and I need to get baptized!"
Her bold obedience led two other women in the group, including Laura, to commit to be baptized as well! I had been asking them to obey the passages about baptism over and over, and this was the first time they made the decision! All three women were baptized within a few weeks.
Irene's Daughter Came with Questions About Jesus
Now that Irene was a baptized believer, I urged her to start a Discovery Group with her own husband and children. However, for about 6 months, she always got cold feet and came up with reasons it wouldn't work out. Even so, she did well with sharing the Bible stories with her daughters. One day, out of the blue, Irene's daughter, Chelsea, texted me from her mom's phone saying, "Hello, this is Chelsea. I just came back from a Christian summer camp, and I really enjoyed it." Her mother Irene had told me Chelsea was going to a summer camp put on by the church they started attending on their own after we starting doing DBS together. To my surprise, her husband—very much a non-believer—was attending with them! Chelsea's text continued: "I did not have many opportunities to ask the questions I wanted answered. So I was wondering if you had any time tomorrow to speak with me about my questions pertaining to Christianity. Thank you." Wow. I was so surprised. I always saw Chelsea as a shy girl. She would sometimes come along to the Discovery Group meetings with her mom. So, she was aware of how I've been discipling her mom, but she hadn't engaged much yet.
"Sure, Chelsea!" I replied, "Come on over and we can talk."
To be continued! Stay tuned for part two of the story.
Obedience is contagious. It all started with Joleene's obedience to go prayer walking with her friend which led to meeting Irene. Then Irene's obedience to trust Jesus and be baptized led the other women to follow suit. All along, Chelsea was able to observe her mother's newfound faith and hear the stories from Scripture from her as well. That led Chelsea to seek Jesus herself! You can't control how God works. And sometimes it looks different than you expect. Joleene was a little disappointed that Laura invited Irene to their existing DBS rather than starting a new one with Irene, because that could have helped multiplication happen. However, God had different plans in mind. He used Irene to spark obedience in the women at Joleene's DBS to be baptized! In addition, Joleene never told Irene that she and her family had to attend church. Irene chose to bring her family to church on her own volition as an expression of her faith in God. That decision helped bring Chelsea into an environment at summer camp that caused her to seek Jesus!
10 Families Join Joleene on the DMC Summer Missions Initiative!
Joleene, along with 10 other families in San Diego, California, have committed to engage the lost, pray together, make disciples, and celebrate stories this summer! They are excited to use their regular fun summer activities to build relationships with their neighbors. Discover what led them to this decision and why you should join the initiative with your community as well! Contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org by clicking below or watch our video if you want to learn more and start a team in your area!