Hello, again dear friends!
Today I’m writing from California, my birthplace. I was born in Bakersfield, California on Sept. 25, 1956..shhhhhh don’t tell anyone how old I am.
I planned this trip rather quickly because I needed to see my Aunt, my mother’s sister, as she has been dealing with dementia. The past several weeks things have been going a bit downward. She is really struggling. I realized that I wanted to see her before she could no longer recognize me. I contacted my cousin Gayle who lives here in, what is fondly called Bako by the residents. Gayle and her husband Dwight gladly offered their guest suite to me for my trip. So I booked my flight and started making plans to go.
I have had several visits while here, with my Aunt and Uncle and another cousin, and an old friend from church camp. It has been a very productive, eye-opening time.
Sunday morning came and we were all up and chatting, drinking coffee, and preparing for church. I love, love, love attending my cousins Gayle and Dwight’s church, Jesus Saves International Church, in Shafter California. The Spirit moves freely. They do not get in a hurry. They take their time ushering in the presence of the Lord.
The praise and worship led by Pastor Lori Seymour was off the charts! The presence of God came into that church strong. Soon the altar area filled up with folks crying out to God, worshipping the Lord, and getting what they needed from Him. The pastors recognized me from the pulpit and told the crowd that I was attending and surprised them by not letting them know that I was coming to town. You see, this church was the first place that I spoke alone, after Larry passed away. I had spoken before but I was with my son Matthew. It has been two years since I shared with their church.
Pastor Steve Seymour preached a powerful message about where we are as a church and where we are as a nation and how we can step up and make Godly changes to our country.
After church, I wanted to go up and chat with the pastors and hug Pastor Lori. While we were chatting and enjoying our short visit, a young man was standing at the side quietly waiting. I thought he was waiting so that he could speak to pastors about something and was being very respectful and waiting his turn. As we finished our conversation he stepped up to me and said he was not sure if I would remember him. The last time I was there speaking I had walked off the platform and walked up to him, touched his cheek, and said “You are called to preach, and you know it.”
I told him that I did indeed remember him and remember that moment and I had thought about it many times in the past two years. Because I was so nervous about speaking and doing it without Larry, I had not finished saying what my heart felt like I should’ve said.
He shared how he and his wife talk about that moment all the time and how they had just talked about me the day before. When Pastor Lori told the crowd that I was visiting them today, he immediately sent his wife a text message. He told her that she was not going to believe it, but Jana Hinson was in the church service!
His eyes filled with tears and I shared with him the rest of what I felt the Lord would have me share. He will preach but it will be to his own first. To those from where he came from and what he’s come out of.
How funny that I always had wished I had paused and told that young man all that was on my heart. That happened two years ago and he and his wife were replaying that day also!
There are no coincidences with God.
I had a trip planned that I thought I was for one reason, but God had another idea.
I was also privileged to pray with a fellow widow who was in the service and is in fresh grief, as she had lost her husband just a few short weeks ago. I just love the way God orders our steps.
I encourage you to follow your heart and make your plans but sit back and see where God leads you!