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Do you ever wonder about the significance of being a member of your family?

I’ve been thinking a lot about that lately. Most of you know that I am a career missionary. My husband and I have served as church planting missionaries, first in Taiwan and now in New Zealand and also speaking in churches about our work, for almost 45 years. What you may not know is that my father, Pastor Ray Allen, also served as a pastor for 45 years. My dad went to glory in 1990 and my mom followed him in 2002. As I creep closer to retirement I ask myself, “What does it mean to be the daughter of Pastor Ray and Florence Allen?

Right now my husband and I are in the States, traveling to present our work to supporting churches. This has given me a chance to visit some of the churches my dad pastored so many years ago. One Sunday in February we visited a church connected to my dad’s first church in Worthing, South Dakota which he pastored in the 1940’s, before I was born. We met the current pastor, Jerry Miller, and sat down in the second row, a few chairs away from a man named Mick. When the pastor got up behind the pulpit, he revealed something that made tears stream down my face. Eighty years ago, my mom led Nick’s mom to the Lord! Lorraine (his mom) lives in a retirement home in town. She’s 94 and still remembers my parents!

Because Lorraine was saved in the 1940’s Mick grew up in a Christian family. He is one of six members from that church that held the church together until Jerry and Crystal, not knowing there was a church in town, came to start a church. Now the four remaining members of the original church are working with the Millers to revive the church which will be the only remaining church in town. With the Sioux Falls area close by and growing quickly, they know they have great potential for growth.

When my dad became the pastor in the 1940’s, the church had experienced some pastors who didn’t really present the gospel clearly. The pastor before him had preached about salvation, but never really challenged church people to make a salvation decision. Out of a hundred people who attended church when they came, only about four really felt sure they were saved. In that first year of his ministry, 45 people were saved during one set of meetings and 20 were saved in another. My dad saw more visible results for his ministry in that church than any of the churches he pastored. Of course, the credit goes to God who worked in such an amazing way in this town of three hundred. But He used my dad and mom make the path of salvation clear to them.

Does it matter that Ray Allen became the pastor of this church so long ago? To some it may not. Few people in Worthing remember his name. But it was a joy to hear of one lady who became a Christian eighty years ago as a product of my parents’ ministry. As I reflect on their 45 years of ministry, I realize that they influenced hundreds of people over their years of ministry. Not only that, their ministry had a trickle-down effect that outlasted that generation.

My dad wasn’t a well-known preacher but he was a faithful pastor who cared about people. God used him and my mom to make a difference in many lives. That’s such an encouragement to me because it shows me that we influence people a lot more than we know. God uses ordinary people for eternal purposes. 1 Corinthians 15:58 tells us our labor for the Lord is not in vain.

How about you?

What kind of spiritual or character legacy have you inherited from your family? How are you building into the lives of people around you today? Don’t forget to comment in the comment box below or send a comment to this email address:

Here’s the winner of my last giveaway:

In my December Book Blast Jan Hall won a copy of If the Creek Don’t Rise by Donna Poole.

You could be the winner of the ebook Breath of Heaven by Deborah Raney.

Remember, all you have to do is simply leave a comment in the comment box below or send a comment to this email address:

Here’s my review:

Natalie returns to a remote Columbian village as a married woman to continue the work her missionary father started. She and her husband, David, face marital issues connected to living life in the jungle and befriending native people. Natalie longs for a child and David thinks the jungle isn’t a good place to raise one. Suddenly they are responsible for Lele, a native girl whose parents are gone. Then Natalie falls pregnant and David tries to come to terms with her pregnancy. Soon Natalie’s life is in danger and their faith and their love is tested in ways they never dreamed.

I really enjoyed this book. It gave a realistic look at this kind of ministry and the deprivations and dangers that come with it. David and Natalie respond with maturity and trust in God, even under the circumstances.


8 thoughts on “

  1. Praise the Lord for using your parents the way he did. I am thrilled that you were blessed by hearing this testimony.

  2. I did not really have a family legacy of Christianity. I became Christian on my 16th birthday during a church retreat. A friend of mine and her family invited me to come to youth group. I came home from the retreat and my parents were horrified. They thought I was a fanatic. I needed to calm down. So I was sad that they didn’t understand. However at school I would talk to my friends about Jesus and I would tell him hem about salvation.

    • I feel blessed coming from a strong Christian family. It’s hard not having family support for your faith, but now you can support others in their faith and make a difference for them. You understand how helpful that is. We have a friend who was saved in her thirties. She was going through a very difficult time which made her think of her sister who had given her a Bible as a teenager. Our friend wasn’t interested in Christianity when her sister talked to her and the sister died soon after that. But about 20 years later, her sister’s faith drove her to look for answers. She came to our church, uninvited, knowing almost nothing about salvation. We loved her and helped her know about God, the Bible, and salvation. About 6 months later she got saved. So your testimony may speak to others, even if they seem uninterested, long after you plant a seed.

  3. Thanks, Deb, for the “Legacy” story! That is absolutely thrilling! So glad I read it! I too have learned some things about my parents’ ministry (in the 50s) and got to see some of the people they influenced for the Lord when we had Dad’s memorial service in Wausaukee, WI, at the first church my parents started. It is a HUGE blessing to be able to learn of these things. Now I’m wishing I could talk with my parents and ask more questions!
    Please enter my name in the book contest. Thanks SOOOO much! 🙂

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