Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Dr. John Perkins and Dolphus Weary

We were so privileged on Monday to hear some wonderful men encourage us with their stories: Dr. John Perkins and Dolphus Weary. These two men have been very instrumental in the ministries that are happening in Jackson and in the rural towns around Jackson.

Dr. Perkins and Jo Caswell
Dr. Perkins had lunch with us today (and even asked me to get him a second piece of cake - my claim to fame) and then spoke about where is heart is after all his years of ministry. And he's at a season of blessing and fruit. He called the group from Northwest Iowa (lovingly referred to as "the Dutchies") his friends. And he couldn't have been successful in ministry without the help from friends. He's led an amazing life and it's great to see him enjoying this season of fruitfulness, which includes traveling and speaking. He has a wonderful story and you can read about it in his book, Let Justice Roll Down. "For the past 50 years, Dr. John Perkins has dedicated his life to empowering people and ministries to work alongside the poor and vulnerable." He has been a civil rights leader for many years and has been a part of the beginnings of many wonderful ministries: Voice of Calvary, Christian Community Development Association, Mendenhall Ministries, and many more. Dr. Perkins' life verse has been Galations 2:20 and he sums it up like this:  "Love is the final fight."

This evening Dolphus and Rosie Weary joined us for dinner and then he spoke about his ministry and how God led him back to Mississippi even after he said, I Ain't Coming Back (the title of his book). Dr. Perkins led Dolphus to Christ and encouraged him to find out where God was calling him. And his wife, Rosie, also wrote a book, Stepping Out from the Shadows, from her perspective as they journeyed through ministry together. We had some time for Q&A and I asked how she remained passionate about her husband's ministry when their children were small and she said, "'ll have to read my book." :) Made us all laugh. But she was honest and said that it was hard, and she needed to refocus on her part in ministry and that it's not just being an encourager or a prayer warrior. I bought the book and am anxious to read it. (The proceeds of their books go into an endowment fund to help rural Mississippi high school graduates attend a Christian college with the intention of returning back to Mississippi to serve in ministry (doctor, nurse, pastor, banker, etc).) Dolphus also works for Voice of Calvary Minitries in Mendenhall and the surrounding rural areas/towns.

It was such an honor to hear both of these men (and Rosie) share where God has led them and where He continues to lead them. A few things that stuck out for me were:

1. Rosie said that her ministry was more than being an encourager and prayer warrior for her husband's ministry. Although both of those things are very important, it causes me to pause and think about how my husband's ministry is our ministry. How moving to another part of town may help me to become more passionate in ministry with him and how God can use me in my daily walk to advance the Kingdom. Looking forward to get into her book. :)

2. Dr. Perkins is at a stage where he is enjoying seeing fruit, seeing how his many years of hard work has paid off. It's a great encouragement to know that someday there will be fruit - in my children's lives, in my husband's lives, in my life, in ministry. During those dark stormy hours where we are feeling heavy with the load of the Kingdom we know that it is only by God's grace we are able to play a part in building His Kingdom. That it's not by our power that there will be fruit but we are only the farmers planting the seed and it is Him who causes all things to grow. Even if we never see the fruit of our labor we know that God is faithful and we need to remain focused on that during the heavy times of ministry in our communities, churches and in our homes.

3.One thing that stuck out from Dolphus speaking was that in ministry, we need to measure success with the small victories. "We send 10 students to a Christian school (using their scholarship program) with the intention of all 10 returning to serve in rural Mississippi and only 3 come back. We can become downhearted about the 7 that didn't return or we can rejoice with God that 3 returned home to serve and share the love of Christ with their neighbors and friends. We must measure our successes in the small victories." And that's something that I wanted to pass on to my husband in the midst of his ministry year and all the changes the ministry has experienced over the last 18 months. I think that's important for anyone in ministry to hear, even a mommy. The reminder to measure success on the small things is a big encouragement for me.

Again, it was a blessing to hear from these godly people and I can't wait to get into Rosie's book (and then write a review). :)

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