Dear Pastor Gary and Laura,
I am certain you guys will not remember me, but I was once a little girl who lived in your church's neighborhood. You guys pulled up in my yard one day while I was out front cleaning out a trash can. You asked me if I wanted to go to church. You asked my mom if we could come to your church. She sent us the next Sunday. That began a journey that led to my salvation. My name back then was Jessica Lewis. I was about eleven or twelve years old back then and Pastor Kuhn, Sr. was the pastor. Gary, your mom and dad were so good to me. They invited me to their home and spent time with me. Had you known the kind of home I was in and the suffering that happened behind the closed doors of my home, you would have called the police, but I kept things like that very well hidden.
Yet, your mom and dad showed me true love. Your mom taught me every Sunday morning in Sunday School and then later Laura was my Sunday School teacher when I graduated to her class room. Week after week, I heard the various aspects of the gospel being taught. I sang wonderful hymns from your hymnals. During VBS, I made a plaque where Jesus had children on his lap. I took that plaque home and wanted to have Jesus be my father. At home, at night, I prayed to a God I still knew little about and asked him to be my Father because your church taught me that Jesus was the Father to the fatherless. I was fatherless. I needed a father. Jesus graciously took me in.
I'd like to say I got saved and lived happily ever after, but my dad came back into the picture and moved us to Fort Lauderdale and would not let me go to church anymore. So, while I had inklings of who God was, I never got to keep growing and learning. Laura was even willing to pick me up in Fort Lauderdale to take me to church. When I told my dad this, that actually just made him more suspicious. Why would someone go so far out of their way? What do they really want? He had a hard time trusting people, so he would not let me go to church.
Eventually, my mom died and my dad left. I was on my own at age 17. I made a lot of mistakes and had a lot of growing and learning to do, but the foundation that you guys set by introducing me to the Lord early on was firmly in my mind. So at age 18, I started going to church again. I found a very legalistic church, but I still learned some more about the Lord. Then I went to Liberty University. There I really grew and understood so much more. But the point is, it started with a loving couple just driving through a neighborhood talking to parents of children and asking if you could pick them up for church. The sound of the church bus pulling up in front of my house every Sunday was the most beautiful sound of my childhood.
Fast Forward twenty seven years. I am a wife and mother. I home school my six year old daughter. I am a foster parent of two children ages 22 months and 3 years old. I attend Calvary Chapel of Fort Lauderdale and the only reason my life has any value at all was because Jesus got a hold of my heart when I was a child in your church. Your ministry probably saved my life. So many times we sow and we do not know what became of the seed we have sown. I want you guys to know, I never forgot you and the ministry your poured out to me. I also never forgot the lessons I learned in Sunday School, Church services and VBS. I never forgot Mr. and Mrs. Kuhn and I never forgot you guys, either.
I have an amazing testimony. You have no idea who you helped rescue by leading me to the Lord. Because you allowed yourself to be used by the Lord, the ripple effect has been that I grew up to want to be used by the Lord. I hope the children I reach out to through the foster care ministry will reap as much as you have reaped.
Even if you don't remember me, I want to say, thank you a million times over. I want you to know I love your family. I am so glad to see your church is still there and that you two are still the pastor and wife. I would love to come one Sunday and visit.
Formerly Jessica Lewis