A Spark of Faith
October 1, 2005 - I was surprised to discover that my new job in a warehouse was so much fun. The routine could have been boring, as we stood day after day putting tickets on merchandise, but that easy task allowed us a chance to talk with each other while we worked.
by Janice Long, as told to Joyce Williams
My background was ministry to children and their families through my home-based daycare center. In the spring of 2000, however, my husband, Miles, and I felt it was time for a change. On my first day at the warehouse, it became apparent that I had been sent to a mission field. My fellow workers' conversations were laced with profanity, and their lifestyles were far removed from my sheltered Christian home. Each morning I prayed that God would create opportunities for me to share my faith.
I lived my life as an example to others, but my personality did not allow me to speak strongly about the Lord. Something tugged at my heart, urging me to do more.
Over the next months several coworkers became my friends. Their cursing lessened, and some apologized for outbursts even though their comments were not directed at me. I began to talk more openly about the things God was doing in my life. A feeling of family began to grow as people started to open up and share their problems with me.
My supervisor, Julie, was one of those who used profanity when I arrived. I was thrilled when she became a Christian.
One of my new friends, Laurilu, went to Brazil to visit her family. When she returned, she hurried through the warehouse to find me. "Now I know what you have been talking about!" she said. "I accepted Christ as my Savior while I was in Brazil." Later, her husband and daughters also were saved.
And then there is Anthony, a young man we thought was lost to a worldly lifestyle. Julie had suggested we start a weekly Bible study, and after Anthony attended, his heart started to soften. All of us rejoiced when he gave his heart to the Lord.
We were soon averaging from four to 12 people for Bible study. When we learned that Billy Graham was coming to Kansas City, Mo., in October 2004, we decided to go to the Friday night service. Mary, an older woman who had attended some Bible studies, joined us. When the time came to go forward, Mary found her way to the aisle and walked down the steps onto the field, accompanied by our entire Bible study group. We circled around her and rejoiced when she prayed with a counselor.
Our group shares an ever-growing prayer list, and it is amazing to see how the Lord responds. An out-of-work spouse suddenly found a job. Financial needs have been met. Friends and family members have found the Lord.
The warehouse filed for bankruptcy and closed in late July, but our Bible study continues. A co-worker named Tammy told the group recently how she watched with tears as workers tore down the ticketing tables at the warehouse where so many began their search for the Lord.
That warehouse will forever be a holy place for me. I am humbled that God used a quiet, ordinary Christian to spark a flame of faith in the most unlikely places. Regardless of where God sends us, if we are faithful, He can use us to ignite a flicker of hope in the hearts of those around us.