In March 2021 we had a season of 12 Days of Gospel Stories. We’re now reproducing these stories here for all to see and be inspired by!

I want to tell you about a guy called Sam. Sam comes from a background of drugs and drug dealing as being the only way he knew how to get through life. Sam witnessed two of his loved ones pass and started spiritually seeking. He came along to church one day, and what touched him most was that Gary—the pastor—took the time right then after church to listen and to let him pour out his story and his hurts. Sam started coming down to the church most days to keep himself out of trouble and to work through his understanding of theology with whoever he could find. He has served alongside pastoral staff on all manner of renovations and repairs. Sam is now a regular fixture. He keeps himself busy attending four life groups every week. He still comes down to the office most days to pray with us, bless us, or bash through any misunderstandings from our sermons. We’ve had many a laugh over things such as prophetic versus pathetic and bold versus bald. He journeys with us as we journey with him. He is increasingly in tune with the Spirit, and he prays blessings on people wherever he goes—at community events and on the street. Recently he went to visit someone and felt God’s whisper to walk around the back of the property. He ended up praying with a gang member with tears rolling down both faces. I love that there is a place here for Sam. He’s still loud, he still has rough edges, but he is transforming before our eyes and bringing transformation into places where he has unique access.

(*Sam is not his real name)

God—open our hearts to be on the journey with people as you are,
Amen.

Contributor: Adele Vannathy, Hosanna Baptist Porirua