Thursday, May 6, 2010

Thank you, Pastor Berkey

We are nearing the end of this college year. Everybody is ready!! Especially the third year students. They are in "school days are over, at least for now" mode! Finals are next week so this week ends the classroom lectures. On Monday it was surprise party day with brownies and a gift for each student.

Let me tell you about the giver of the gift for the students. Ed and Gladys Berkey came into Denny's life in the seventies when he was stationed at Westover Air Force Base and attended Bethany in Agawam, MA as an airman. He had re-dedicated his life to Christ shortly before arriving in Massachusetts. God was so gracious to allow him to attend a dynamic church and to sit under the ministry of Pastor Berkey. That was his first encounter with the Berkey's. Den ended up going to Zion, marrying me, assistant pastoring in Illinois, staff pastoring in Walpole, Mass, serving as missionaries in Madrid, Spain, coming back to Walpole as staff and then the call that would change our lives forever came! A huge surprise to us. Bro. Berkey was then the superintendent in SNED and was looking for a Youth/CE director for the district. We were thrilled to think that we would have the opportunity to directly work for this man that had so impressed Denny many years previous! Den served in the district role till the Berkey's retired in 1997.

Many times in ministry settings, once the position has ended, there is little to no contact with the people that you worked alongside with, shared vision with, collaborated with, and together saw God do incredible things. Not so with the Berkey's. Once we left the daily interactions and office hours, the phone and emails continued. And much to our delight continue to this day along with periodic personal visits. We are so blessed. Our children are blessed. It is one thing to listen to a man in a pulpit, it is another for my children to be around servants of God that are true to their calling and consistent in their daily walk with Christ.

A few years ago, Pastor Berkey wrote and compiled a book entitled, "Tools for the Pastor's Office." It has been translated in other languages. It comes from a man with rich experience, home missions to large church, district superintendent to camp and conference speaker. A pastor who knows what he is talking about! Because of his generosity, we have been able to give each graduating student, last year and now this year, this incredible tool.

Our students are able to read and learn from someone who has taught us so many things in life and ministry. The best thing would be to have Ed Berkey in our classroom speaking to the students directly, but this book is the next best thing! So Monday we gave the graduating students their treasure. Books are not abundant in Jamaica and if they are to be found, they are quite costly. The students recognize this and it would seem as though we handed them a million bucks, especially for those who are trying to build a ministerial library. We can't say thanks enough for the Berkey's generosity. We do know that God is going to bless them and bless our students! Here are some photos of a few of the students, since it was Monday morning, some were late, they didn't know it was party day!

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