I'm sure you've heard the words, LIFE TOUCHES LIFE. These words are so very true. Yesterday we celebrated the going home to Jesus of one of the greatest missionaries of the faith and for the United Methodist Church… Lorraine Enright. She was a remarkable woman of God. She was married to Kenneth Enright who has been with Jesus for ten years now. An interesting point, it was mentioned at the church service that as the news of Loraine's passing spread throughout Africa to all the mission stations her and Ken served (seven I believe), they were holding simultaneously a memorial celebration service there! We are so glad we could be here for this celeabration of life. A true Bitter Sweet day! The old hymn says it right....
"When we all get to Heaven, what a day of rejoicing that will be!"
Both of them played a very important and active role in mentoring Sandy and myself as we stepped into mission service 30 plus years ago. I'm sure, those of you that know us personally, have heard us speak of them often. Their lives showed us what mission services is all about. They taught us and they loved us! Without exaggerating, books could be written about their lives. Because of their lives there is an untold number of people in Africa that now have a personal saving relationship with Jesus Christ.
Kenneth Enright spent many years teaching me personally about mission service. I can't begin to tell you how thankful I am for that to this very day! Mission service can be a very difficult and a tricky way to live. It's very easy, with good intentions, to do the wrong thing; things that could end up many years later creating deep problems for the kingdom of God. The history books are full of missionaries in these situations. The Enright’s were very faithful in keeping us from going down the wrong path in mission service. Especially Kenneth. Ken was a great story teller and had a great sense of humor. He told me one day, “Delbert, if you ever get chased out of the village, just get out front and act like you're leading a parade.” He was right…
Kenneth’s personal testimony came to my mind last night. It is a great testimony talks about how life touches life. I love sharing it because it shows we never know what or who God is going to use to touch a life and lead them to Jesus! For those of the Enright family that will read this and know this story, please forgive me if I get a few things wrong. But this testimony is a very powerful one. It needs to be shared and I'm being told by God to write it down.
Kenneth Enright, in his early years of life, came from a prestigious family out of the Chicago area. He enjoyed taking chances from time to time. In fact he did his whole life. He told me his personal testimony of how he found Jesus one day. He went out on a boat, a gambling boat, out past the 7 mile mark on Lake Michigan. He would do this from time to time. On this day he was having a very bad day. He lost all of his money and he found himself leaning over the railing of the boat looking at the lake. He was feeling pretty bad with himself. And at that moment some guy came up to him and asked him, ‘How are you doing’. Ken replied, “I'm having a bad day”. This guy said, “I'm sorry to hear that.” He continued, “Would you mind if I asked you a question?” Ken said, “What?” He asked, “Are you a Christian?” And Ken replied, angrily, “NO”. And this guy replied, “Oh sorry”, and he walked away. As Ken told me the story he said, “I started thinking what in the world is he so sorry about?” Ken told me he couldn't even sleep that night thinking about that. It bothered him so much that after he got off the boat he went and found a church and spoke to the pastor and asked him, “What in the world is so special about being a Christian?” And that pastor, who happened to be a United Methodist, told Ken about the saving knowledge of Jesus Christ. And right then and there Kenneth Enright gave his life to Christ!
I was thinking last night, how life touches life, and about Ken’s testimony. Life does touch life. But then I started thinking what would've happened if on that gambling boat that guy didn't come up and talk to Ken Enright. If he neven spoke those words, “Are you a Christian… Oh sorry”. Thinking how God used, OH SORRY, to turn Ken’s life around. And then how Ken’s life has touched so many other lives, including mine, down through the years. How he married Lorraine and how her life has changed so many lives for the Kingdom of God. In fact the whole Enright family are Kingdom builders and continue to change lives today.
Then I started thinking about my personal life, Delbert, and how Ken’s life touched mine. All the different ministries and lives that my life has had the privilege of touching and changing for the kingdom of God. So many know Jesus now! And I still have life to live! One of my best friends and world evenagelists called me a “world changer” in a chapter of a book he just wrote about Africa. And how my life has touch his life and ministry. I feel so humbaled. And then again, would that have taken place if the words, “Oh sorry”, had never been spoken? It really makes me wonder. Life does touch life. Everything we say, the way we live, the places we go, the things we laugh at, the things we watch on television, even the way we show forgiveness, touches life. I thank God for Lorraine and Kenneth Enright. I thank God for whoever that guy was in the boat that said… Oh sorry.
Not everyone goes to Africa and becomes a missionary. But everyone that believes that Jesus is the Son of God and puts their faith and trust in Him, right where they are, are missionaries. If there was ever a time in the world where there needs to be an “Oh sorry” touch spoken, it needs to be right now. The world needs Jesus. They need to know what He's done for them. Salvation is for all. Forgiveness of sin and wrongdoing is free-for-all. Today is the day of salvation. When was the last time you told someone about Jesus, maybe not with words, but with your life. Life touches life. Your life touches life. Touch them for Jesus’ sake, because He first touched you.
Life touches life… Yes it does!
Delbert & Sandy Groves