“I met Val when we were both picking up our daughters from school and discovered we had common ground in a love for mountain biking. We struck up a friendship and shared rides together. A few months after meeting him, he told me he couldn’t ride with me anymore. A nurse practitioner at a local hospital, Val had a brain tumor. When he told me, I said; “Hey Val, do you mind if I pray with you. He said; “I’d rather you not.” He told me if he ever made a decision to follow Christ I would be the first to know.
I visited Val in the hospital while he was having a CT scan. During the scan, he had a brain seizure and never recovered. A couple of days after his death, his wife, Debra, asked me to officiate his funeral because I was the only minister they knew. She handed me a stack of journals he wrote in. The second to last entry disclosed his confession of faith in a metaphor of a ship coming back to harbor. I shared Val’s story at the funeral.
Debra invited everyone who came to the funeral to our church. 41 people excepted her invitation. 18 of those friends gave their lives to Jesus at our grand opening service on February 10, 2008. They had Val cremated and his wife gave me a vial of ashes in a necklace. Sometimes I wear it as a reminder to everyone in this community needs to know Christ and life is way too short. From the start, our church wanted to pursue people just like Jesus pursued us.”
God help us to build relationships with hundreds of people to are still far from God.