So all you faithful Wade in the Word readers may have noticed that my posts had been less frequent the past several months. Ministry work has been keeping me very busy. There is hardly a single time when I go into Walmart that I don’t end up connecting with someone, be it a friend or stranger I always seem to end up sharing the word of God with them. God must be in Walmart. I know this must sound strange coming from a pastor because God is everywhere; we just aren’t necessarily paying attention at times. God must know that Walmart gets my attention for ministry and sharing the gospel.
GOD’S IN WALMART
One day, about a year ago, I was in Walmart and I ran into the wife of a pastor whose congregation had been sharing space at the church my family was attending. They had gone on to purchase their own building and I hadn’t seen her or her husband for a couple of years. They’re predominately an all-Chinese congregation and her husband often took trips back to China. During one of his trips to China I was invited to preach at their church. So it was great to run into her and catch up.
As we exchanged hellos and how’s things, she began to share that their church was looking for a youth pastor. She asked if I knew of anyone who might be interested. I have no idea why, other than the Holy Spirit’s prompting, I began asking questions … Is there a language requirement – does the person have to speak Chinese? Nope. Is there an age requirement – are they looking for a young adult to fill this position? Nope. I didn’t realize it at the time but all my questions were more to disqualify me instead of qualifying me. Again, I don’t know why other than the prompting of the Holy Spirit, I said, “Well, I’d be interested.”
I gave her my Wade in the Word business card and didn’t give it much thought until I received a call from her husband. When I received the call I was actually driving with my family to Massachusetts where my wife was participating in a training. After I got off the phone, my wife said, “What was that all about?” I said, “This is going to sound kind of crazy but I have been offered the opportunity to apply for a part-time youth pastor position at an all Chinese church.” You should have seen my wife’s face. I, then, said, “GOD’S IN WALMART!”
We thought this was going to be a relaxing long weekend out of town. But, we spent a couple of late evenings putting together a cover letter and resume that would some how make a 62 year old black guy just the right person for the position of a youth pastor at an all Chinese church (LOL). But in all seriousness, we knew that if this were to be; it would be because that is what God willed and we put it in His hands.
After several weeks of talking and prayer, we were waiting for a decision from the church. I remember sitting outside on our patio having Sunday brunch and a devotional with my wife and girls. My wife took us to the book of Ruth and reminded us of the story of Ruth and her sister-in-law, Orpha. They were daughters-in law of Naomi. Naomi’s husband and two sons had died not long after they had married these Moabite women. Naomi was returning back to her hometown when she heard the famine had lifted. Naomi urged both sisters to return to their mother to fine peace and husbands for themselves. Oprah returned but Ruth refused.
Amy reminded our girls how I have been a cheerleader for them in all the things they do … gymnastics, school concerts, plays and more. Now, it was their time to be a cheerleader for me; she told them. “Where you go, we go.” Amy went on to explain that Ruth was going into a culture and land she did not know or understand but she went because God was there. It wasn’t long after that I was offered the opportunity to come and serve as their youth/English pastor. It’s been just over two years that my family and I have been at Victory Baptist Chinese Church of Rochester. It is kind of like being missionaries in our own backyard. It has been challenging but rewarding work – isn’t that often the case with serving. We’ve just started our English speaking service and those of you who are in the Rochester area, please come out and join us for service sometime!
Victory Baptist Chinese Church of Rochester
285 E. Henrietta Rd
Rochester, NY 14620
Sunday English Service