How have my siblings affected my walk with Christ?
When I was 8, and Kelli was 13, I stayed awake one night, waiting for her to come to bed (we always shared a room and I always had to go to bed earlier than she did), and when she did, I asked her what it meant to be "saved?" She explained to me how Jesus died for my sin, and how we can ask Him to forgive us and how He will come and live in our hearts and stay in/with us. The following week I did ask His forgiveness and invited Him to live in me. So, she has had an impact on my walk with Christ from the beginning.
In 2003, she and I got to go to Honduras together on a mission trip. It was a medical/VBS mission trip. There were 7 of us that went, and Kelli was the only one of us who worked in the medical field, so she pretty much compiled the medical team. I volunteered to help one day, basically getting whatever supplies she asked for, etc. I loved seeing her completely in her element. She was so calm, listening to the interpreter, doing whatever she could for the child/adult who needed help. And then there were the people who came, who needed help far beyond what we had to offer. She showed such tenderness and compassion to each and every person who came through the "clinic." By the way, I didn't last much longer than an hour. I could not keep it together, seeing the needs coming through. She was so strong.
Fast forward...32 years, to the present. She amazes me. She works full time, has 3 kids, is a wife, and still makes time to open her home for Bible study (or goes to another's home if it's not her turn to host). She will call a friend who is down and struggling and say, "I'm off on Wednesday so I'll pick you up and we will go to breakfast." and then calls and coordinates others to join them, too. I am certain that the morning out for the friend who is down was such a pick-me-up. I see her heart for women who hurt, who go through tough times, and I see her reach out with compassion and friendship, so aware of needs around her. I so desire that same awareness.
About 8 or 9 years ago, Tommy's church was participating in a community wide choir thing, with lots of choirs all singing together. He told me it was so great to see lots of old friends, and he also thought how neat it was going to be that they would all be singing together again in Heaven one day. He said as they were singing, he got to thinking and this thought went through his mind: "when I die, will I be in Heaven?" He just wasn't sure. It seemed to be something he had wrestled with for some time. So that night, when it was over, he grabbed his pastor, talked with him, prayed, and got it settled. I am so so proud of him, so proud of the fact that even though he was a grown 40 something year old man, he did not let his pride keep him from getting this settled.
Tommy is currently the youth pastor at his church (along with working full time, parenting/coaching 3 kids (teams), and being a husband). Two summers ago, he took his youth on their first mission trip. They went to the Appalachian mountains and worked at a community center where families come to get food, clothing and school supplies. While they were there, they organized and worked in that center, while also working at various homes in the community (replacing steps, flooring, etc). He told me about the kids' responses after they went the first time. It seemed they were a bit leery, having never done anything like this before, but they had an amazing time. On the bus ride home, they were already talking about going back the next summer, and what more they could do while they were there. With tears in his eyes, Tommy told me stories about the students and also the families of the homes they worked in while there. Lives were changed. And he played a huge role in that.
I do not know the right words to describe how I feel about my sibs and how they have affected my walk with Christ, so I will sum it up by saying this - my sibs inspire me.