June 29, 2016
This Week’s Storyteller is…
Diane Bohner, First Bradenton
God has been working on me for a long time and about five years ago, I finally listened.
He kept telling me to just be the person I always was, to be helpful to others, listen to them, never turn my back on someone in need and to share His love with others. I have had the opportunity to share the love of God. One incident I remember very clearly was a young man who had gone into a bar my husband and I were at. He sat down beside me and began to tell me his story, saying he had come to Florida with little money, got in with a bad crowd, drank heavily and was doing some drugs. He simply stated that he wanted to walk out onto the busy thoroughfare and let someone hit him; he wanted to die.
Being that I am bi-polar, my antennae went up, and I began gently telling him how much he had to live for, that I cared and explained some of my experiences with bi-polar disorder. We talked for a couple of hours, and when he said he needed to leave, I said to him: “You need to call your parents as soon as you walk out of here, be up front and honest with them about your situation and your feelings and ask them if you could come home and get some help, counseling, whatever it takes.”
I didn’t really expect him to, but deeply hoped and prayed that he would.
We crossed paths a few years later, and he asked if I remembered him. I said yes, but not your name. He looked me in the eyes, said he’d called his parents, gone home and got help. He looked into my eyes and said: “I want to thank you, because you are the reason that I’m still alive.” I couldn’t believe it and tears began to fill my eyes. I realized that God had helped me to help him, how amazing!
Although I have listened to many such stories and done the same thing, I have never had any one come back to say thank you or you really helped me out in a bad time. It’s not getting patted on the back that really matters to me, but rather looking back and seeing how God has and continues to work in my life and make a difference in the lives of others. I am spreading the love of God and sharing stories about Jesus and His teachings with others. I truly feel that I was put here on this earth to serve God through caring and helping others in whatever way I can. I am blessed to be a child of God and to share in His good works!
Bob Meeks, New Hope UMC, Brandon
The disciple tells his story about how losses of loved ones led him to turn away from God and how his wife, the pastor and the congregation of the church helped him turn back to God and feel a belonging in the church community.
The Florida Conference of The United Methodist Church
450 Martin Luther King, Jr. Avenue
Lakeland, FL 33815
(863) 688-5563 or toll free (800) 282-8011