Sometimes you read a story that illustrates scriptures you have known for years. This is one of those stories. Acts 17 reminds us that God determines the times and places for us to live so that we “might” reach out and find him. Deuteronomy 6 reminds us of the power of sharing about God consistently with our children and the possible fruit that might produce. This story from the Saget family in Dallas contains all the elements that give God great glory. Parents who pass on their faith, children who decide to use their talents and build meaningful friendships along the way and a family working together to share God’s word with neighbors – even if they had to travel a long way to get seven minutes down the road.
“You are the light of the world….let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.” – Matthew 5:14-16
In the summer of 2017, our fifth grade daughter, who attends school in Texas, was chosen by her teacher to attend an out-of-state junior leadership conference in the Washington, DC area. We decided to make it a family trip. On the first day of the conference our daughter set a goal to make three new friends over the course of the conference. We encouraged her, prayed with her and dropped her off.
When we picked her up the first day, she was excited to tell us that she made a new friend from Arlington. Immediately we assumed Arlington, Virginia, but she insisted that her new friend was from Arlington, Texas, the very city we live in! My husband decided to stick around the next day when we picked up our daughter to meet the father of this new friend. The two met and exchanged numbers and we agreed for our families to get time together when we all got back to Texas.
We made it back to Texas and it turns out that the Akendungs live seven minutes away fromus! We invited the family out to a 4th of July event with our small group. This was followed by a game night at our place with our two families and other invitations to join us for things like our annual marriage retreat, service, etc. Over the next year they began to build friendships with brothers and sisters in our fellowship and even hosted many disciples in their home. They stopped attending their previous church and began attending with us regularly and started studying the Bible. At one point the wife stopped studying and the husband continued, but not consistently. However, they continued to come out to service and we continued to build our friendship.
In the summer of 2018, we all took a family trip together and drove to the Grand Canyon with our kids. At dinner one night, the Akendungs shared that they loved the relationships and coming to church, but they wanted to know what more they needed to do to become baptized disciples. We agreed that when we returned to Texas we would continue studying the Bible and help them reach this desire. Once we returned, we sat down regularly and studied the Bible and on September 24,2018, Ignatius and Smiles Akendung were baptized into Christ!