A New Ministry Calling

Note from Marie:

It was just three weeks ago that I first felt God’s tug on my heart to begin HopeKeepers® Indy, a ministry for chronic illness support.  I’ll tell you how it began. 

I was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis over 35 years ago, and live with the daily realities of this unpredictable, quirky disease.  2014 was a particularly difficult year.  I went through several extended MS relapses, then underwent total knee replacement in August.  It was a time of brutal pain and suffering.  2015 did not start well, either.  In January my mom was hospitalized for three weeks with pneumonia.  Our whole family was exhausted with caregiving by the time she came home. My exhaustion caused another MS relapse and lowered immunity, and I soon faced a greater health problem.  Due to MS, I live with incontinence, and I went to my doctor with a simple “diaper rash”, for which she prescribed Diflucan.  One Diflucan pill caused a violent allergic reaction that led to a two-month struggle with rampant Candida rashes covering much of my body and causing my face to repeatedly swell, burn. and peel.

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During those two months of isolation and pain, I continually asked God to show me His purpose. Through the years, God has taught me my most important lessons through physical suffering. I knew there had to be a purpose behind this new trial in my life.  I was a Christian school teacher for many years, until MS sapped my strength and stamina and I had to retire from teaching.  In recent years I have led twenty Bible studies in my home, and was searching for a topic for our Spring study. Normally I know our next Bible study topic before we finish the current one.  This time I could find nothing that resonated with me.  God had other plans.

It was on a Wednesday three weeks ago when God impressed on my heart that I am to begin a new ministry offering support for those who live with chronic illness.  The call is clear, the vision is big, and the passion is strong.  Within days I contacted our pastor at Hope Community Church in Brownsburg, IN, and he was very supportive.  I searched online and found restministries.com, a treasure trove of resources for chronic illness support.  The founder, Lisa Copen, has Rheumatoid Arthritis, and established Rest Ministries in 1996, when she could find no Christian support group for chronic illness. Rest Ministries now has over 300 small-groups called HopeKeepers®.

Now, just a few days later, I sit at my desk amazed at all that has happened so far:

  • I have eight resource books from Rest Ministries, and all of them are packed with practical and spiritual guidance for our own HopeKeepers® Indy group.
  • We have our own email address, hopekeepersindy@yahoo.com.
  • We have this fledgling blog site, hopekeepersindy.wordpress.com.
  • God has brought a group of supportive friends who are praying for our new ministry.
  • He has also brought a co-leader for our ministry.
  • We have visited another chronic conditions support group this weekend, so we can learn from them.
  • I have met with our pastor at Hope Community Church, and we have approval for the church to sponsor HopeKeepers® Indy.

WOULD YOU HELP US PRAY? 

Here are specific prayer requests as we await God’s guidance:

  1. For God to lead every baby step of this ministry outreach
  2. For me to be open and willing to follow His calling regardless of my limitations and fears
  3. For my MS fatigue, brain fog, and blurred vision to allow me to act/think/see clearly for preparation
  4. For God’s detailed direction in setting up the new ministry blog site
  5. For God to bring a co-leader for the ministry, since my MS is unpredictable
  6. For God to prepare the hearts of those who will need this ministry; for Him to call the ones He wants to be involved.
  7. For God to lead in the frequency and schedule of our small group meetings that will be easiest for those with chronic illness
  8. For God to direct the focus and format of our small group meetings
  9. For God to direct our vision of how to serve those with chronic illness, and how to encourage them to serve others.
  10. For God to bring together a powerful prayer team to faithfully pray for the ministry
  11. For HOPEKEEPERS® INDY to have outreach beyond our church doors into our community
  12. Most of all – for God to be glorified in all we do, and for others to come to know Christ as  Savior through the ministry

I’m excited and anticipating our launch date for HopeKeepers® Indy in the next few weeks.  

Be watching and praying.  

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