Have you ever wondered if a single conversation about God could change thousands of lives? If so, read on and may you remember this true story about someone who didn't hesitate.
Mary Supebedia's son Michael sat with his childhood friend George playing Monopoly in the living room of her plantation-style home in Hawaii. It was the early 1960's -- a simpler time for sure. Many knew Mary as a line supervisor at "the cannery" but most knew her first as a devout born-again Christian who would boldly share God's Good News while standing in line at the bank, walking along the street, at work or in her home. It was not surprising that Mary would find the right opportunity to impart powerful words concerning God's love for George and his eternal destination on the evening that the kids played Monopoly.
Mary's delivery of this message was surely as loving and compelling as the hundreds of other times that she had shared it. However, this time, the result would be extraordinary. On that night, the seed she planted in this young man named George Nagato would take root in the fertile soil of his heart and endure for decades. George would go on to become the pastor of Paradise Chapel in Waianae, a District Superintendent of the Hawaii Assemblies of God and a published author. He would come to touch the lives of thousands.
Mary's obedience to share the Word of God set in motion God's plans for George which continues to unfold today. As for Mary, she turned 90 this year and although her memory is less effective than it used to be, she enjoys great health (doesn't take any medication!) and a great sense of joy and peace that can only be found through God.
On October 26, 2008, Paradise Chapel hosted a Pastor's Appreciation Sunday in honor of George's 28 years of service as a Pastor. As a surprise for him, his congregation invited some very special guests to the brunch that followed service that morning. Among the special guests were friends and family from around the State, high school classmates and, yes, Mary Supebedia -- the woman he credits for planting "good seed" in him so many years before.
As Mary arrived at the function she asked where she was and what they were doing way out in Waianae. The questions kept coming but there seemed to be little comprehension about what was taking place; she simply shrugged off the explanations with a smile until she heard George Nagato's name.
"Oh, George Nagato -- will he be here today?" Mary asked. Then suddenly, with unusual clarity, she said, "George was such a nice boy! Did you know that I invited him to Christ in my living room when he was just a young boy?"
"Yes, we know about that," replied her daughters and grandchildren who had escorted her to Paradise Chapel on that beautiful October morning. "He even became a Pastor," proclaimed Mary with the biggest smile ever.
Mary was asked to wait outside while Pastor George completed service. When he emerged and saw all the people who had gathered for the celebration, George was touched. He made his way through the crowd until he came to the front where Mary was waiting. With a gasp and a few tears, George embraced Mary and told his congregation, "This is the lady I just told you all about -- this is Mary."
May this story encourage you to share God's word freely with those around you, trusting that the seeds you plant will land on fertile ground, as they did so long ago in George Nagato.
Sherrie is a believer in Jesus Christ, a freelance writer, a wife and a mother. She resides with her family on the island of Oahu in Hawaii, where she was born and raised. Mary Supebedia is her beloved grandmother.