The Power of an Invitation, by Gloria Ashby

A former missions director, she embraced her new mission field. She entered last, rolling her walker behind the two residents she gathered along the journey from her apartment to the chapel where our class met. I welcomed my Andrew.

Her real name is Jean, but I call her Andrew, after the disciple who brought others to Christ.

Remember Andrew? The disciple who ran to find his brother, Simon, and said, “Come, I found the Messiah.” (John 1:40-41) The one who later brought the boy with five barley loaves and two fish to Jesus to feed the 5,000 (John 6:5-9).  And the same disciple who helped a group of inquiring Greeks meet Jesus at their request (John 12:20-22).

Well, that’s Jean. The one who, since I started teaching Bible study at the retirement community, invited people to hear the Word. Jean and six other residents greeted me that first Wednesday.

“This is everyone today, but others need to be here.” Jean said in her soft-spoken voice. Thus began her mission to gather people for Bible study the first and third Wednesday of each month.

Jean created and distributed flyers about class time and location. She table-hopped during lunch to remind the seniors when the day arrived. Jean knocked on doors of napping residents as Bible study time approached and asked office help to announce class over the loud speaker at the stroke of 4:30PM. If someone who should have been in class walked by after the lesson began, Jean called out to them. If they didn’t hear her, she walked after them to pull them from the hallway into our meeting.Bingo Morguefile macho

Class attendance grew. Yet, there was one last hurdle … BINGO. It conflicted with Bible study. And when you’re just an “N39″ away from a winning card, who looks at the clock?

“People need to be here. There’s no reason we can’t do both,” Jean declared. Like the persistent friend who knocked on his neighbor’s door at midnight (Luke 11:5-8), Jean lobbied residents and office staff to re-schedule BINGO. Three months later, 12-15 residents showed up for each class.

So, I smile and give thanks for Jean and all my Andrews. Those who invited me and others, “Come, we have found the Messiah.”

Perhaps we can take a lesson from Jean. We’re all missionaries. We just serve in different mission fields. Where can we be Andrew?

Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother, was one of the two who heard what John had said and who had followed Jesus. The first thing Andrew did was to find his brother Simon and tell him, “We have found the Messiah” … And he brought him to Jesus.” (John 1:40-41, NIV)


Bio: Gloria Ashby is a wife, mother, writer, speaker, teacher, and former social workerGloria Ashby headshot from site who loves gabbing about how God has loved her through stubborn-minded moments, messes, and mistakes.

Speaking to groups has been in Gloria’s blood since the age of five when her grandmother gifted her with a wall-sized, teacher’s chalk board. Since then, Gloria graduated from educator of siblings and stuffed animals to certified Lay Speaker.

Grateful that God uses her experiences in life and work, Gloria’s messages have inspired people attending retreats, study groups, faith-based audiences, business leaders, and professional organizations across the country.

Gloria has published devotions and stories in Chicken Soup for the Soul, The White’s Chapel Herald church newspaper, The Secret Place, and a host of anthologies. She also teaches Disciple Bible Studies and blogs Glimpses of God, at

She and her husband are blessed with one gorgeous daughter, a handsome son-in-law four grand-dogs, and one most beautiful granddaughter. In free time, Gloria loves to read, tend her butterfly garden, or relax with friends over a meal.


(Old woman image courtesy of octaviolopez/; Bingo image courtesy of macho/

Vonda Skelton

Vonda is a speaker, writer, and motivational humorist who is thankful God can take her messes and use them for His glory. She's the author of four books, owner of The Christian Writer's Den blog, and founder of Christian Communicators, an organization to help educate, validate, and launch women in their speaking ministries. Vonda and her husband have been married all their lives--and they're still happy about it!

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