Looking back, I remember how it all started.
“Gone Fishing. Meet me at Jackson’s Pond,” stated the sign on the church door one Sunday morning. It was signed “Pastor Lee.” Several members snorted in disgust and said, “Pastor Lee hates fishing. Let’s just go out to breakfast.”
However, my parents and others were intrigued by this message, so we drove to Jackson’s Pond. Being a fifteen-year old girl at that time, I had little interest in fishing or church. I just wanted to go home and listen to my new CDs. The last place I wanted to be was Jackson’s Pond. Upon arriving, I was surprised at the number of people, and not all of them were churchgoers. Some were in their Sunday finest and looked out of place on the sand. Others had their fishing gear but stopped to see this odd event. Pastor Lee was dressed sort of like John the Baptist.
I noticed a man stride across the sandy beach. I had never seen him before, but there was something authoritative about him. He stood quietly near us as Pastor Lee began his sermon. Instead of being the usual boring talk, Pastor Lee seemed energized today. He spoke animatedly about the day that Jesus chose Peter and Andrew as His first two disciples. It was amazing to hear that these two fishermen dropped their nets and followed Jesus without question. I couldn’t help but listen.
Suddenly, the man near us said in a loud voice, “follow me and I will make you fishers of men. I am the way, the truth, and the life.” He walked around to speak to people individually. “Trust in me and your burdens will be lightened,” he said to the young mother. “Your treasures are stored up in heaven,” he said to a family I knew was very poor. He knelt in front of Timmy, the most unruly child I ever saw. “Obey your parents in the Lord.” As he walked, his words spoke of many people’s problems. It was almost as if he knew each of us intimately.
He approached me and said, “Be interested, seek God, for He cares about you. You are more important than the birds of the air. No problem is too big or too small. Listen and you will become mighty in His name.”
He walked to another person, yet I felt God’s presence stay with me as I never felt before. The Creator of the universe wanted to use me for His purpose? I was amazed, humbled, and a bit scared.
I heard the man’s voice from a distance, as if I was in a fog. “I am the bread of life and I want you to proclaim this message to everyone. Become fishers of mankind and feed them the manna of eternal life. My Father’s will is that everyone who believes in the Son shall have eternal life. Become doers, not just hearers, of the Word. Preach to all nations and the ends of the earth.”
It was suddenly so clear to me – I needed to give my life to Christ and seek His ways. On my knees in the sand, I cried out to Him in repentance and sorrow. The breath of God came upon me and I felt a burden lift from my shoulders. An indescribable joy consumed me. From this day forward, I would serve the Lord.
What seemed like hours later I stood up in the sand and joined the many voices singing praises to God. In the silence that followed, I looked around but could not find the man who had affected me.
For the next fifteen years, I saved every penny possible. I studied the Bible, learning all I could. I graduated at twenty-one with a master’s degree, which brought me a lucrative career offer and the ability to save even more money. I would need that money for the day when God called me to work solely for Him. One month ago, that day arrived. I handed in my notice as a high-level and well-paid executive. My coworkers said I was crazy, but I knew better.
Today, my husband, our four-year old twins, and I hung up the sign in a small office front:
GONE FISHING MINISTRIES
Seeking and Saving the Lost for Christ
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