My name is Jim Lewis and I am one of the Wales Goebel Ministry/Grace Solutions International board members. In fact, I am one of the newest members having served almost two years. As Jay mentioned in last month’s newsletter, from this month forward a different board member will write each monthly newsletter. Our hope as a board is that you will be able to come to know us better, our vision for the ministry, and our burden and desire to carry out these ministries through the Lord’s perfect direction.
I started my life in the Lord in May 1975. At that time, I was in eighth grade at W. A. Berry High School (now Hoover High School). All year long, a friend had been inviting me to a Monday afternoon Bible study taught by some guy from a ministry here in Birmingham. I finally decided to go when I found out they played basketball after each Bible study. I figured I could endure the Bible time and maybe sit in the back and do some homework. After going a couple of weeks, the guy that was teaching asked if I could hang back and talk with him for a few minutes. I did not realize that God was about to reach into my life and completely change it. My parents were going through a divorce, which I realized afterward God was using to open up my heart to the Gospel. This guy shared the Gospel that day in May with me and for the first time I understood it in my heart and not just my head. I received Jesus Christ as my savior. That guy was Jay Jackson.
Immediately, Jay and I began to meet weekly for discipleship. Around that time, Mrs. Joyce Yancey began a Tuesday night Bible study in Vestavia. It was most amazing to me to be meeting weekly with Jay and to sit under Mrs. Yancey’s teaching for the next several years. I knew that God had put me with very special people that would have an impact on the rest of my life. Why did God reach down at the right time, save me, and connect me up with such Godly teaching? I was not from a special family and certainly, at 15 years old, had done nothing to deserve it. God’s love was the only reason He reached out to me. I realized later on that maybe God did it at an age where I was too young to rely on anything I could have done to make me feel I deserved His favor.
Many have asked about the For Sale sign that is in front of the ministry. The ministry is not shutting down or going away. To the contrary, the board voted on the sale of the building. As the years have progressed, the office environment has changed. Today, staffers have home offices or have no need for a formal office. Most office space in the ministry building is now vacant, with the exception of some space rented to another ministry. In keeping with good stewardship, the board believes that it is the right time to pursue downsizing the working space.
Please continue to pray for the various ministries and the many opportunities God is giving to work in individual’s lives. These include the PTSD (Veterans’) ministry, prison outreaches, ministry to the people of Fairfield and Ensley, outreach to Japanese students and Hispanic students and adults, weekly Bible studies, and counseling sessions. Be in prayer as we seek out a new Executive Director for WGM/GSI and sale of the building.
Also, seek the Lord on how you can give financially. As a board member, I see firsthand how your support is instrumental in the lives of others – even my own salvation. Behind the scenes in 1975 there were people supporting Wales Goebel’s High School outreaches that eventually enabled Jay to come to Berry High School and lead me to the Lord.