Answers In The Wild
by Kevin Miller
Thank you for checking out this sermon. If you are moved by what you hear and are in the Boston area, consider visiting in person!
All right. My name is Kevin Miller, and it really is a joy. It's been a while since I've seen you from this perspective, and I'm one of the preachers here and in the Boston Church, and it's just such a joy for me to be able to come before you and preach. My heart is here. This is such a wonderful region.
I think this region is one of the hopes of the Boston area and the Boston Church, and I feel so grateful for so many of you out in the audience. I think it's a room full of heroes. I love the Moes and the Owens and the Gitozees, and Stuart and Ashley are doing such a great job. Of course, I will have you know that not today, although I did cry in service today, but it wasn't because of the worship, but the last three previous to today, the last three times of worshiping in song, I have cried. Are Murphy and Andrew and Hector and the gang not doing an amazing job leading us in worship?
Last week, I felt so good that I even sort of got my hands into it a little bit, which is hard for a stiff like me, but amazing stuff. I heard we had a young Christian class before service today. I saw Abube, a young Christian at Northeastern. She said that young Christian class was so awesome. And I was like, that is so awesome.
So those are now happening. If you've been converted within the last six to twelve months, we're having those. There's food there, and that's a great thing. They didn't ask me to plug it. And there's also spiritual food, which is awesome as well.
We're going to be continuing our series in the Book of Matthew, and our series is about your kingdom come. That's what it's called. And for Jesus, and as we think about the answers that he believed in and the answer for the world's problems, your kingdom coming was Jesus's solution. Jesus says in Matthew chapter six and verse nine. Is a PowerPoint up there? It is. Matthew six, verse nine.
He says this then is how you should pray. Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name. Your kingdom come, your will be done on earth as it is in heaven. Jesus taught his disciples to pray and to praise God and hallowed be your name and to thank Him. But then after that, to pray that God's kingdom, God's reign, God's power would be unleashed in the world.
That's what Jesus thought the solution to the world's problems were. The kingdom coming. And you may not believe in Jesus the way that I do, and you may not be aspiring to follow Him and to understand His Word and to put that in your heart the way that a lot of us in here are trying to do, but God's kingdom coming was the ultimate answer for Jesus to the world's problems that we face. We've been talking our sub theme under the umbrella big theme of your kingdom come is into the Wild.
That's what we've been talking about. You with me here? Do you remember this? We've been preaching about into the wild. And into the wild, it's the idea that though we live in the world and Jesus came to the world not to just have some prayers. He didn't leave heaven just to have a quiet time down here on Earth. He was having good quiet times in Heaven, but he actually came down to the Earth to go out into the wild. He came here to get into humanity. He came here to love up on humanity. He came here to reach out to humanity.
And yet what a challenge it is to try to be a spiritual person in an unspiritual world. It's the problem that Christianity has faced for 2000 years, being in the world and being a light to the world, but not letting the world impurify. That's not the right word.
You know what I'm trying to say. Come on. Thank you. To not let the world dirty our pure hearts.
I don't know what's going on here.
And that's always been the way, and it's always going to be one of the great challenges for the Church. How do we get into the wild and actually bring God's answers to it? Lots of songs about wild. There's lots of songs. It's sort of a romanticized theme of it.
You guys know the song Born to Be Wild? Born to be wild. Who sings it? Steppenwolf sings it. That's from, like, 1923 right there.
There's a song called Wild Thing. Wild Thing, I think you move me. But I want to know. Who sings that? Yeah, that's a tough one.
That's like The Fogs or something like that. But then Ton Loke also sang it back in my day.
There's Wild World. Baby, baby, it's a wild world. Who sings that? That's Kat Steven sings that. That's right. I'm dating myself. I don't care. There's all kinds. Wild wildlife, wild Night by Van Morrison, also covered by John Cougar Melloncamp or John Melloncamp, if you're dropping the name. All these songs. There's Wild Wild West by Cool Modi.
That's an 80s throwback right there. Early Wrap. But there's all these romanticized notions about wild. But it is a wild world, and that's why that Jesus came to save it. I looked up a couple of stats over the last week on the website National Fatherhood Initiative.
It references the US Census Bureau from 2021. 118.4 million children in the US. One in four live without a biological step or adoptive father in the home. One out of four kids. In a 2019 study, it was reported that people in the US spent over $150,000,000,000 annually on cocaine, heroin, or methamphetamine.
That was in 2016, was the report. We know the stats. There's billions of dollars spent on pornography every single year in the US.
According to the problem of alcohol abuse website, 19% of US college students fit the description of alcohol abuse disorder. That's no shock. And in many ways, our society and media celebrate this. I mean, how many films are about that idea that this is the world? It's a wild world out there, and Jesus came here to change it. Can I get an amen?
It's been a serious two weeks for Melissa and I. It's been a serious one, more serious one week for a few of us that are out there. On Monday, Melissa and I went out. Two Mondays ago, we went out to dinner with a dear friend whose funeral and memorial I led earlier this summer. Her ex husband passed away, and he passed away of some challenging things.
He was living a bit of a wild world life, and she was so broken up and hurting. We went out to dinner with her. And then I think on Friday we learned about one of my dear friends, one of my peers who was diagnosed with cancer. Then on Saturday, Ray Matthews passed away. Jesse and Jenna's father, Nancy's husband.
On Friday night we got a call. He was in the hospital. And on Saturday he passed, which was amazing. And then on Monday we got the call from Malvina and Ed and a number of us that Miss Rachel, Mile Rachel another dear disciple here was very sick and soon to pass. And so a number of us went down to her place and just sat with the family and were with the family for a number of hours.
I think Ms. Rachel ended up passing on Thursday, if I'm correct. But what's that? On Wednesday. She passed on Wednesday.
But it's been an incredible week. I've been a part of lots of funerals that are filled with regret. Melissa and I have gotten phone calls from people who are on their deathbed calling to say, I'm sorry, I'm sorry. And you can tell they're so unresolved, not necessarily with Melissa and I, but with life. Their spirit was scared.
They were unready to step into the great unknown. You know, yesterday I went to the memorial of Ray Matthews, and you could put his face up there. Ray was an amazing disciple. He was a disciple of Jesus since, I think, 1987. He was a product of the first Boston Church comms team, evangelism the Yellow Pages.
That was it right there. He was seeking God and looked up, where is there a church? And he went to the Yellow Pages and he called the church office of the Boston Church and Nick Petrie's mother, Dee Dee Petrie, answered the phone and kind of got him hooked up and he began studying the Bible. And of course, he was baptized over 35 years ago.
35 years of faithfulness. He worked at MIT in Lincoln Labs. And yesterday was one of the saddest and most inspiring days I've had in a long, long time. To sit there and listen to human being after human being, men that I know, and women, strong people with deep convictions, get up there and share about the impact that this man had on their eternity. It was nothing short of amazing.
I thought, Dear God, let that be what my memorial is like. That's what I thought. I just thought I pray that when I'm gone, that there will be people that get up and go, this man touched me. I mean, this man helped me. It was amazing.
What an impact. He was a servant and a leader. He led family group in the Boston Church for like three decades, along with his amazing wife Nancy, who is here and in the back along with all the kids. It was amazing. Ray was hilarious.
I mean, it's amazing to be at a memorial like yesterday. It might as well have been, on one level, a comedy routine. It was so funny, the stories that they're telling about this sort of off the wall spiritual hero in the way that he touched all these people, grown men, young men, and women wept and laughed yesterday. Yesterday there was incredible loss, but there was little regret.
There was, and I'm sure, as Ray faced the great unknown like my father in law did a couple years ago, Wyndham. I'm sure there's fear. There has to be fear, but it's not the kind of scared senseless kind of fear that most of the world faces when they face their deaths. Ray poured his entire life into a relationship with God. He knew what the scriptures taught and his hope was sure.
And he passed away that way. Because Jesus has answers that the world knows nothing about. The sermon today is called Answers in the Wild. Answers in the wild. Because as Jesus went into the wild of humanity, he didn't just go kind of thinking, maybe with a theory he can help.
He knew what the answers were, and he came boldly, preaching those answers as he went into the wild. I have two points for you today, and point number one is a power stronger than all others. A power stronger than all others. Let's take a look at Matthew, chapter eight. That's where we are here as we're going through the book of Matthew.
Are you with me here? I know you're in the dark right now. This is discombobulating for us right now, but are we good? Matthew, chapter eight in verse 28. It's the last story in chapter eight of Matthew, and that's where we left off last. It says, when he arrived at the other side in the region of the Gadarenes, two demon-possessed men came from the tombs, met him. They were so violent that no one could pass that way. What do you want with us, Son of God? They shouted.
Have you come here to torture us before the appointed time? Some distance from them, a large herd of pigs was feeding the demons begged Jesus, if you drive us out, send us into the herd of pigs. He said to them, Go. So they came out and went into the pigs, and the whole herd rushed down the steep bank into the lake and died in the water. Those tending to pigs ran off, went into the town and reported all this, including what had happened to the demon possessed men.
Then the whole town went out to meet Jesus. That's good. And when they saw him, they pleaded with him to leave their region. Not so good. You know, it doesn't really get wilder than this story as Jesus gets out there into the wild.
We've just gone through all of chapter eight, and I just for myself, I'm going through the book of Matthew. You might do the same thing for your quiet times. I'm not oh, we're preaching through this. I might as well do this for my quiet times. And so I'm through chapter nine.
I just got into chapter ten. I'm a little bit ahead of our pace, but when you get through chapter eight, there's a pattern. There's usually patterns, as the writers are trying to teach us something in particular. Chapter eight begins, and we see Jesus healing a leper.
The leper says, if you're willing, you can heal me. Jesus reaches out his hand and with his touch, he heals a leper. Then you get on in chapter eight to a centurion's servant who's paralyzed. We've already been through all this, and amazingly, here Jesus has the power to not just touch the servant, but from far away. He doesn't even see the servant.
He just says the word and the servant is healed because Jesus word has power over disease. Then we read that Jesus heals Peter's mother in law, and we see that Jesus has power even over mother's in law.
And then he heals people all night. He heals people there all night. Then we read about Jesus calming a storm. There's a bunch of fishermen in a boat and people like that. I like that I wrote it, and then I thought I erased it, and it's not in my notes, but then I remembered it, and then I said it, so I love my mother in law.
Okay. Then we read about Jesus calming a storm that the disciples think is going to swap the boat. We see that Jesus is more powerful than Mother Nature. He is actually the father over Mother Nature. That's Jesus right there.
And then we get to this point in the chapter. Jesus is more powerful than all other powers. What are you trusting? What is your confidence in your health? That's not going to last.
Your family? Not worth it. That's not going to give you what you need, your money? Some of you, that is what you put your trust in. Most Americans put their trust or are tempted to in money. Say, no, not me. Yes, you too. Your education. If I get an education, what? Your life is going to be set? That's not how that works. Pleasure, fun, sex, they're all traps. They're all traps.
The wild world says this is what it is. And in different moments of our life, we say, okay, and then that disappoints. We go onto the next thing. We do that for a while. We say, oh, that wasn't it. Let's go to the next thing. Jesus is the power over all other powers. The chapter concludes with two demon possessed men. In the other gospels, there's only one demon possessed man in this story. There's not a contradiction.
But clearly, to the other guys, I think probably one of the guys was worse than the two. That's what I probably think is going on here. But for Matthew, he saw two there were two guys dealing with something, and these were jacked up individuals. That's what it means in the Greek, jacked up. It says that they were living in the tombs and that they were so violent that nobody passed that way.
You ever know people like that? You ever know people in the fellowship? Like, I'm not going towards that aisle, okay? I'm just saying, they were so violent, and then they see Jesus and they charge him. And these men knew about Jesus, and that's where you start to see something weird going on here. Nobody really was saying that Jesus was the Son of God, yet Jesus doesn't totally reveal that to later.
But these guys knew because these guys were possessed by demons, and they had some sense of what was going on spiritually. Even though they weren't obedient to it, they were overcome by it. And then we see he cast them out. He had power over the storms, over disease, over all these things. He also had power over evil.
And there is evil. And then something interesting happens. The guys get chilled. They're like, boom, chilling. They're peaceful. They're at rest.
And all the towns people come out and they see this. And what happens to the townspeople? It freaks them out, because if these guys, if he is more powerful than they and they freaked us out. I mean, we weren't going anywhere near these evil dudes. And if this guy is stronger than those guys, then we'd really like this guy to leave the area because he scares us.
They kind of got it. They didn't like the power, but they understood that he had power. What's the final story about Jesus is more powerful than evil? There are things humans are not in control of, and we would say that. Health. We're not. I want to be healthy, but I'm not in control if something happens to me.
I don't know what's going on. I don't have control over that. I need to eat good. I need to take care of myself. But that doesn't guarantee anything. Nature, no. Jesus is but what we are not. We're not in charge of that. There are things we're not in control of. Sickness. You know, ultimately we're going to see in chapter nine, Jesus is more powerful than even death, but certainly evil.
He was the answer. He was. And the amazing thing about this week, I have mixed feelings about some of the grieving that I've had to go through. But for Ms. Rachel and for Ray, they made a decision that Jesus had answered over all these things.
They made that decision decades ago and they held to that decision. Jesus was the power overall, he is the answer. Is he your answer? Are you following a powerful Jesus?
It's an interesting thing. I've had a conversation with Darryl because through Covid, people's faith got beat up. I mean, people here, some of us had our faith beat up, but there's a number of people that are not here, that were here four years ago and you could say, wow, they didn't make it through COVID. Wow, COVID really beat up their faith. But I was having a conversation with Daryl, not to throw him out there, but we were both commenting if Covid got them to leave, then they weren't in a good place probably to begin with. And that's life.
I mean, if you read the Bible like you read the Book of Second Timothy, which I have memorized, but the whole book is basically Paul saying, Timothy, don't leave too. I just flexed right there. I got it memorized. But the reality, it's in my mind, but the reality of the whole letter is basically Paul saying, timothy, don't leave too. This person is left and that person is left and this person is left. And here are the reasons not to leave. But don't you leave too, because you're always going to have things that come up in the wild of this world that are going to tempt you to leave. And if you're hanging on with an ungrateful spirit. You come to church, I mean, there is so much ammunition here for you to feel inspired by. I mean, I cried singing the songs at the funeral, at the memorial.
If you're a disciple in this community, there's a lot of material for you to go, whoa, wow, God, wow, Ray, what a hero. There's a lot there. But some of us, we sit there and go, yeah, I know that, but what about this? And this and this and this and this?
And you might think you're getting away with something. The reality is then Covid comes, or a death or sickness or you know what it is? It's life. Then life happens to you and it shakes you right out. But you weren't there because you weren't grateful and you weren't exercising obedient faith.
Jesus calls us in a way that gets us out of those things, but you have to be pouring yourself into the Bible. There are people here in this room, most of us, most of you that I can just go, ding, ding, ding, ding, ding. There are so many inspiring examples in this room. There are just person after person after person in here living a great, inspiring life, but it's because they're pouring themselves into the word of God. As an Emmanuel student, you can go to the slide. As an Emmanuel student, Alex Lollinsac, who has since graduated, has now given a year of her life. I know. I knew it.
APL's wandering back in. Here we go. There's a picture coming. There we go. Oh, that's the first picture.
So that is a picture of that's a picture of my beautiful daughter, but that's also a picture of my other daughter, Hebron, who is also here. And Hebron was baptized last year, and Hebron was met by Alex Lauletech, who has graduated from Simmons, but was out sharing her faith at Harvard and met a Northeastern student named Hebron. Emma was also praying at that same moment that someone in her dorm she could meet that would be an Ethiopian eunuch. And if you read your Bible, an Ethiopian eunuch is sort of a Godseeking person. Well, Hebron actually is Ethiopian and was seeking God and eventually got baptized, which was awesome last year.
Next picture is this is a picture of Hebron and Amanda and Emma. And Hebron then reached out to a Northeastern student named Amanda, who is an amazing and wonderful sister in the campus ministry, and we love her so much. If you are feeling discouraged and you want to pick me up, then go talk to Amanda, because she is an inspiration. She's a great girl. And Amanda was baptized, and once Amanda was baptized, she began to bring all of her high school class to church from Worcester, where she's from, and today, one of her friends from her high school in Worcester, who is also a Northeastern student named Emma, who's in the top left hand corner there, is going to get baptized at 07:30 p.m in the Charles.
And this is all happening because these people believe that Jesus was the power over all other powers, and Jesus used these people for his kingdom to come into the world. Will you do the same? Point number two. With me here? An answer more divisive than all other answers. I'm totally going script on my long points right here.
I know I've preached long points, and these are long points, but if God came to humanity and told us the answer to life's questions and the answer was greater than all other answers, it was the solution, how would humanity respond? Well, we know the answer to it because it's exactly what happened. Would we like it? Would we take it? Would we hate it?
The Bible tells us that Jesus gave us the answer, and we didn't like it, love it, or even ignore it. Most of humanity actually hated his answer. Look at the very next verse. Matthew nine, verse one. We come in here. I only have two points, but I got to get going here. Jesus stepped into a boat, crossed over, and came to his own town.
Some men brought to him a paralyzed man lying on a mat. When Jesus saw their faith, he said to the man, take heart, son, your sins are forgiven. At this, some of the teachers of the law said to themselves, this fellow is blaspheming. Knowing their thoughts, Jesus said, Why do you entertain evil thoughts in your hearts? Which is easier to say? Your sins are forgiven or to say, Get up and walk?
But I want you to know that the Son of man has authority on earth to forgive sins. So he said to the paralyzed man, get up, take your mat and go home. Then the man got up and went home. When the crowds saw this, they were filled with awe, and they praised God, who had given such authority to man. Jesus answer is forgiveness.
Reconciliation was the reason that Jesus came to Earth, to reconcile human beings to God. He came to bring people to God because he knew that we were broken and so desperately in need of mercy. And a man comes who's paralyzed. And I'm sure probably the man at first was like, Jesus, he comes before the man. I'm sure Jesus says, your sins are forgiven. I'm sure at first he was like, oh, that's good, but I want to get healed. But you would never read any of that. He just stood watching and waiting and all that kind of stuff. But then ultimately, he actually does get healed and everybody's blown away.
But I love what Jesus says to him. Take heart, son, your sins are forgiven. That's a great phrase, and you can go to it. Take heart. Jesus gave heart to people. That phrase it's to take heart is to have one's confidence or courage bolstered by someone or something. Christians, do you need to take heart this morning? You probably do. Jesus said this phrase a lot. We'll get to chapter nine.
There's a bleeding woman and she touches them and gets healed, and she's scared because she thinks she did something wrong. And Jesus says the same phrase to her daughter, take heart, your faith is healed you. Jesus was in the business of giving heart. He was. He gives heart to us.
That's what God does. That's what God does. He values us. Your sins are forgiven. No shame.
I don't know what kind of year you had last year. The idea that those of us who come up out of that water are like, not going to struggle ever again.
Are you crazy? Do you know how hard it is to live a holy life in the wild? It's so hard. And the idea that you have blown it. Have you blown it? Right? Yesterday you blew it.
Maybe not maybe yesterday. No, I don't. Don't say I blew it. If I didn't blow it yesterday. Even thinking that you're blowing it right now.
Right now you're blowing it. But we blow it all the time. And you're going to. I want to be a dad. Lucas Saja said he's getting second one.
He's happy. He just had a baby. He's such a cry baby. Now that he had that kid, it's amazing. He has such heart.
But the idea that Lucas is going to risk being a father, you know how many mistakes you're going to make?
It's just life. And the idea that you're supposed to go through this with perfection. And because you blew it last year, maybe you blew it for months, maybe you were blown it for years, but you're still here. And maybe you got open. Of course you needed to. Get open, confess and repent. But even we repent. And how do we still walk around?
No. You are no shame. Take heart, forgiveness, mercy. There's lots to go around. A clear conscience. Is there anything better knowing who you are before God as a son or a daughter? That gift is yours to have. And if you're a disciple and have been baptized and repented, then you have that gift. Stop holding it off. Take it. You need it. You can't do this without that. And that's awesome.
Jesus does this. He says this and people took it different ways. The paralytic is presumably humble, and then most of the folks are awestruck. They're like, this is amazing that God gave this kind of authority to a man. But there was one group that wasn't so fired up. And you see it here.
This is the first moment we see it. Chapter nine. The religious people, they're offended. They are offended. Who is this guy that says that he can forgive?
And they're skeptical. Now in the story, this is the first time we're seeing that in the book of Matthew. The skepticism, unbelief, eventual opposition and hatred of the religious people. They're offended. They will be skeptical throughout chapter nine, there's all kinds of things. Jesus calls Matthew, and then Jesus having dinner at Matthew's house with all the sinners. And they show up and go, what's this? Jesus is eating with sinners. This was not connecting well with their stiff, legalistic hypocritical and judgmental religious mindset. This wasn't rolling with them. By chapter 12 at the end, he cast out a demon at the end of chapter nine, the last story, and it says that they say, you know how he did this? He's demon possessed. That's where chapter nine goes. Chapters ten and eleven are kind of about other things.
And chapter twelve is the first time we see Jesus heal another guy. And after he heals that guy. The last verse of that first story of chapter twelve is the religious people saying they bond and band together and say, let's kill him. What? What? Do you hear what he's saying and doing? He's healing people. He's telling people to take heart. He's forgiving sins. Kill him.
And we laugh and it is bizarre, but it's exactly what people do today. Forgiveness. Forgiveness is good, but not everyone feels that way. And the religious are often the most offended by such realities. Who needs forgiveness?
I already was forgiven. How long have you been a Christian? From birth. Really? That doesn't exactly light up in the Scriptures.
Yes, it does. I don't need forgiveness. I'm a good person. Really? And when did you become that good person?
Always been, really. It's not exactly what the Bible says. And I bet if we started talking to you about your life, it's not exactly what your life would say. Some of us are like the early contestants of American Idol.
We think we're great singers, but no one's really ever heard us sing before. And then we go in front of Simon Cowell and he destroys us and we go, but my mother said that I was a great singer. You can't trust your mother on things like that.
Are you like the religious? Quick to be critical, slow to trust, fast to have unsupportive opinions? Are you swayed by those who don't support what is clearly Biblical? It says it in the Internet that all you have to do to get saved is say a prayer. Well, if the internet says it must be true, I'd rather know what the Bible has to say about it.
You know, in Acts chapter two, and we're going to close out right here in verse 36, I told the campus ministers that I was going to preach Acts chapter two today. And here we go, acts two, verse 36. This is the first Gospel sermon. This is the first time after Jesus resurrection that you're hearing about the Gospel. Acts, chapter twelve, I'm a history major. Context matters. This is the first time salvation is being preached after Jesus raised from the dead. Acts chapter two, verse 36. Peter's preaching, he says, Therefore let all Israel be assured of this. God has made this Jesus whom you crucified, both Lord and Messiah.
When the people heard this, the good people, they were cut to the heart and said to Peter and the other apostles, brothers, what shall we do? We're going to keep reading, but it is a good point to make. These were the good ones. When you get cut to the heart, that's a sign that you're spiritual. And sometimes we spend the whole time going, no, I'm not getting cut.
Get out of here with that. I missed it. You missed me. We get good at that. No, to be spiritual means you go, oh, what's he trying to say?
Oh, it's right here, right in my heart. Now, we're not talking about living shame filled lives, just conviction. Oh, I got to do something about that. That's what we're talking about. Some of you, you run from it, say, no, not me. Yeah, you.
Verse 38, peter replies, repent and be baptized. Every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins, and you'll receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. The promise is for you and your children and all who are far off, for all whom the Lord our God will call. This was the Gospel message that was going to be passed down from generation to generation. Verse 40, with many other words. He warned him.
He pleaded with them, save yourselves. These people were not saved before this. He was asking them to get saved from this corrupt generation, from that wild world. Those who accept that his message were baptized, and about 3000 were added to their number that day.
This is good news. This is the gospel message. We can have mercy. This is one of the answers that Jesus gives us. Mercy, forgiveness, a conscience that's been cleared, peace, salvation, ultimately. Actually saved when we die. This is the answer.
But why do we need to get baptized? Because that's what it says. No, I just said a prayer. Jesus just forgave me, and you say he just forgave the paralyzed guy. Okay, well, if Jesus appears to you in the flesh and tells you to take heart and says your sins are forgiven, then you're good.
But that didn't happen to you. Yes, it did. It did in the spiritual realms. No, it didn't. That's not what the Bible says. The Bible says that after he died, he left the message of reconciliation to us and that if we repent of our life, repent of our sins to change, that's what repent me change. Be different. And that's hard. No one just decides to do that.
You need to sit down with another spiritual mentor who knows what they're doing and who comes from a simple life, and they can kind of help you make those changes. And then you get baptized, like Emma's getting baptized.
I have 30 seconds left. Can I tell you about Ms. Rachel Cooper? Here's Ms. Rachel from a few years ago.
Ms. Rachel has been a disciple for three plus decades. And when I took over the region now Stewart took over the region. And he also knows this fact that when you start to lead this region, if you don't get in good with Ms. Rachel, you're putting your entire leadership and influence on the line.
She is the Godmother of this particular region. If you want to have a relationship with the Elders, with Barbara and Jennifer, with Larry Reid, with Adam, Laura, you better get connected to Miss Rachel Cooper. And I'm so grateful that I got the chance to be her son. You know, I don't know that this is all exactly right. Katrina gave me the Cliff Notes version of this.
Katrina is an actual niece or something. Granddaughter to Miss Rachel. There's a lot of family going in there. I'm sure some of the family she has is not blood related, but it's just how that rolls. But I think that Lydia Cooper, Katrina's auntie, was the first to become a Christian as a grad student at BU over 30, 35 years ago.
Malvina's sister, Gertie became a disciple, I think. And then they reached out to Malvena, ms. Rachel's daughter, and to know Malvena is one of the great blessings and Ed if you get to be part of this downtown region, they are salt of the earth. They are amazing people. And they reached out to Malvena.
And then those three, Lydia, Mal and Gerdy, started to reach out. They reached out to Katrina's dad, Ken Cooper. He rejected them. And the whole family was kind of persecuting them at that moment because Katrina keeps laughing. I think this is katrina told me this and I asked, and then he wasn't open.
But then Fred Fowler's sister and Sam Lake reached out separately on separate occasions. We had a lot of evangelism going back then. We need to get back to that. Ken got three or four or five or twelve different opportunities. He became a Christian.
And then the whole team of them eventually reached out to Miss Rachel, the matriarch of the family, who was born in Africa and moved to the United States a long time ago. She's an amazing woman. We all have memories of sitting around her living room while she was kind of bedridden watching World Wrestling. It was her favorite, one of her favorite things that she loved. Had heard Adam Laura, who's no longer here, but he was also a wrestling fanatic.
And we would all gather and Adam was like, It's funny, there's all these pictures of all her family and all these people. As I could see, there was one white family member, adam Larr and his wife. They were right up there with all the other family members, and it was awesome. And when we went over on Monday, and it was so sad, and it always is. There's so many tears, but there was so much laughter. When I was there, the few hours that I was there in her room as she was still passing, and we were crying and hugging and laughing. There were stories being told, stories that I've been commanded to not repeat here. They were stories about Jim and Jennifer's romantic growth in life. And I was sworn to secrecy in that room, and I will abide by that. But it was stories that had Malvina saying, this is what happened, and Ms. Jennifer saying, that is not what happened. And Malvina saying, oh, yes, it is what happened. And it was a lot of laughing going on while all this is going on. Anton, of course, the grandson, walked in, wept, hugged. I mean, it was just one of those moments that I won't forget in my life.
But again, in death, there was no fear, there was no regret, there was no unresolved issues. There was only the surrounding family, the joy of love and the hope of something better. Will that be what you have when you pass from this earth?
Answers in the wild. It's a wild world out there. But Jesus has the answers. Will you take his answers? I sure hope you'll.