Breaking Down Walls and Building Relationships

A circle of friends surrounds Melissa* and lays hands on her shoulders as they pray for her healing from breast cancer. Deborah squeezes Melissa’s arm in encouragement and to remind Melissa that she’s not alone.

Melissa and her family attend Harvest Church at Anthem, which Deborah Bishop and her husband, Mike, planted in Florence, Arizona. She had not been attending the church for very long before she received the cancer diagnosis.

“Melissa has said more than once how thankful she and her family are that God brought them to our church because of the love and support they have received,” said Deborah, a North American Mission Board church planter. “They love hearing the Word of God preached each week and she says that it always speaks to her and her family.”

Recently Melissa’s cancer went into remission.

Deborah said her primary ministry is to support and encourage her husband as he leads Harvest Church. Each week, she assists in setting up the church’s chairs and equipment in the school where it currently meets. She also coordinates the prayer ministry and leads the women’s ministry. Until recently, she also led the children’s ministry.

“God has placed on my heart that I need to focus more on the women’s ministry and to release the role of the children’s ministry director,” she said.

Florence is located 60 miles southeast of Phoenix and is home to about 30,000 people. There are strong Mormon and Catholic influences in the area.

“Breaking down those walls and building new relationships so we can share the true gospel takes time and energy,” Deborah said.

Her desire is to see church attendees become burdened for their community and grow in their walk.

“It’s very challenging to get those attending the church to really become committed and engaged in ministering not only in the church but also to our community and to the lost,” she said.

Ask God to spiritually grow those in His church so that they reach out to family, friends, and community members with the gospel.

*Name changed.

Brittany Conner lives in Jacksonville, Florida, where she spends her free time chasing her 4 young children and writing.

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