And I have been honored to have had thirty-seven people saved in my ladies’ ministries, and Vacation Bible School.
Our Ladies’ Christmas Banquet this year was outstanding: Pastor Omar Torres did an excellent job, as he preached to the seventy-five ladies in attendance. When he gave the invitation, five were saved…two of those were former First Ladies of our town. Thank you for the part you had in this ministry so dear to my heart. We are already making plans for next year’s Banquet, which will take place November 19, 2010.
ME WITH MERCEDES, the other First Lady who was saved the night of the banquet
At least for me, one of the most touching features on the program was the participation of twenty-one orphans from a nearby town. A pastor and his beautiful wife, and three precious children are in charge of the care of these delinquent little street irchens, and I watched the wives of mayors wipe tears from their eyes as the pastor told stories behind some of these children’s lives. Hearts were so stirred, that the Lord has moved my son, Philip, who is the pastor here, to present to our church the challenge of starting a children’s home. Will you pray for this very, very needy ministry?
For many people, like my children and me, who have lost loved ones to death, this time of the year holds a twinge of sadness. This year’s banquet theme was “Not of this World.” To you who have lost a loved one this year, or who hold dear precious memories of years gone by, I dedicate this little essay which I wrote and read at our Banquet. My prayer is that it will stir up in each of us an urgency, and a desire to do more for the Lord next year than we did in the past.
I wish you a Blessed Christmas, and a New Year filled with God’s richest blessings.
“If You Could Come Back”
Written and read at our 2009 Ladies’ Christmas Banquet
by Billie Sloan
In a few days my children and I will be commemorating the fifth anniversary of the day my husband went to Heaven. Not long ago, one of my daughters dreamed about her Dad. She dreamed that he came back to earth, and spent the day with us. I don’t put any importance on dreams, but when she told me about hers, tears came into my eyes, because I still miss him very much.
A few days later, I started thinking about her dream, and I asked myself: “What would my husband do if he could come back to earth for one day? What would he think of me, and of the changes that have taken place in my life? Would he be pleased with the activities I’ve added to my routine, with the way I spend my money?
If he could come back, I believe I knew my husband well enough, that I’m sure he’d take me by the hand and perhaps he would take me for a walk down the streets of our town, and he’d show me the little abandoned children, the little barefoot girls with tangled hair, and he’d say, “Look at the things that are not of this world. And may everything you do, every penny you spend, all your travels have an influence on the things that are not of this world. Those are the souls of these children, and their eternal destiny.”
Perhaps my husband would continue, “I have walked on streets of gold. I’ve seen the face of Jesus. And only when you can see things as I see them, are you going to be able to distinguish between the eternal, and the earthly. The things of this world will pass away, but the most precious thing in this world is the eternal destiny of those who surround you. Shop for dresses and for cars. Put your legal matters in order. Enjoy life, but if all those things you buy, all your legal transactions do not influence the eternal destiny of your friends, your grandchildren, and the street children, it’s all in vain…all of this world.
And I believe he’d look into my eyes when he said, “The only thing I could take with me to Heaven were the souls of the people I won to Christ. Every door I knocked, every Bible I gave away, every message I preached was time invested in eternity. That’s the only thing that matters.”
If God has taken from you the most precious treasure of your life, a son, a daughter, your father, your mother, your husband, I’m sure if they could come back to earth, they’d tell you, “Put your eyes on things that are not of this world. Spend more time with people than with your hobbies. Spend more hours with your children than on your job. And may all you do lead people to the feet of Jesus. Oh! And make sure you’re prepared to see your Creator face to face when you die, and that you’ll walk on streets of gold.”
That’s what our loved ones would tell us if they could come back.