Friday, May 8, 2009

Thanks Bessie

The church where I grew up in PA is honoring a very special lady this Sunday by the name of Bessie Ferrie. Bessie is the lady who led me to Jesus as a young boy. I was asked to write something for Bessie. Here is what I wrote:

I had a life changing experience at Happy Hour! I love to tell people that. Automatically there are responses like, “Did you have too many beers?” Well, that’s not quite the type of happy hour I’m referring too. You see, the happy hour that I am referring to took place at a church.

I was five years old. It was a Wednesday night. There is not much that I remember of my life from that time. I am sure that’s normal. Not many people have vivid memories of their life during that time except what is seen on home movies and pictures that are pulled out whenever it is time to be embarrassed by parents. But, I can honestly say that my most vivid memory from that time in my life occurred at the Uniontown Grace Brethren Church during Happy Hour.

I remember loving Happy Hour. We played games. We had snacks. What five-year-old boy wouldn’t love that?. Every night, though, before the kids went home, Bessie Ferrie, the Happy Hour teacher, would tell us that Jesus Christ loved us and that He wanted us to be in heaven with Him. She told us that, although none of us were bad children, we just were not good enough to get to heaven by ourselves. Nobody would ever be good enough, not even adults! She said that if we wanted to go to heaven we needed help. We needed Jesus Christ.

That one night it just made sense. I can remember the following events just like they happened yesterday. Bessie took me in to the church office. She got two chairs, one for me and one for her. She sat down directly across from me and asked me to repeat a prayer after her. Although I cannot remember the prayer verbatim, it went something like this: “Dear, Jesus. I know that I am a sinner. I know that I cannot get to heaven on my own. I ask You to forgive me of my sin so I can be in heaven with you. Amen.”

I didn’t understand much about Jesus back then … just enough to know that I needed Him to go to heaven. I’m 37 now. I still don’t understand much about Jesus … but what I do know is that I need Him to go to heaven AND I need Him to get through life. A lot has happened in my life since that time … marriage, children, cancer … to name a few … and I am so thankful that Bessie took the time to care enough about a 5 year old boy to tell him about Jesus. I don’t know how I could have gotten through any of those things without Him.

Thank you, Bessie, for sharing Jesus with me. Thank you for knowing that Jesus makes a difference in a person’s life and being willing to share that. May your heart for sharing Jesus be an inspiration to us all! As I work with teenagers, I hope that someday I can have the impact on them like you have had on so many children in Uniontown.

I will always be grateful,

Rich

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