By Chris Meehan
“Jesus wants us to walk around this neighborhood and talk to Christians about getting to know one another.”
That’s what Evansville missionary Mary Timler told Denise, a home-schooling mother of three on the last stop of the afternoon on Wednesday, April 7.
“The Lord has been speaking to me about unity for five weeks,” Denise replied. “People need to pray and eat together just like in the book of Acts.”
“About five weeks ago, the Lord began telling us the same thing,” Mary said, astonished.
She realized that she and the other missionaries had been praying and thinking hard about John 17:21 (“that they may all be one . . . so that the world will believe that you have sent me”) at the same time that Denise had been studying Ephesians, with its long sections devoted to unity.
Denise invited Mary into her living room along with her missionary teammates, Joe Bulger and Peter Putzier. Kids’ artwork decorated the walls. Denise said that she’d rededicated her life to God several years earlier and had started attending a Pentecostal church. “The kingdom of God is here, and we need to act like it,” Denise said. “Healings should be normal.” Then she told a story about praying that her own asthma would be healed. The Lord healed her, leaving her doctor perplexed.
At the end of a 45-minute conversation Denise offered to have all the missionaries over for dinner or to let them gather for prayer in her house.
Her offer solved a problem for the missionaries. They’d been talking about having a prayer meeting, but several missionaries were feeling sick, so they needed to find a neighbor willing to host the meeting.
Mary called Denise later that day to see if the missionaries could host their meeting at Denise’s house the next evening. “Oh yeah,” Denise responded. “I meant what I said when I said you all could come over.”
The next evening some of the missionaries, Denise and another neighbor prayed with a woman for baptism in the Spirit in one of Denise’s bedrooms. Denise told Mary later that she hoped they could meet for prayer at her house again.
“Living life together should be normal for Christians,” Denise said.