Global Impact Celebration is a week of connection, encouragement, learning, and renewal for all of us. But sometimes, there are God-ordained moments that make the week a memory for both missionary guests and church members. Below, you'll read recollections from Ed Traverse, pastor of Lifepoint Church in Westerville, Ohio and Greg Ott, a member here at Shades, about a unique connection between them.
I want to thank you so much for having me as your guest at the GIC event last week. It was the first time I have been to one of these events, and I really had no idea what to expect. Mostly, I thought it would be a conference with worship and preaching.
When I arrived at the church I was treated like a VIP! It was very encouraging how the people of Shades quickly made me feel like I was part of the family. I found out the couple who was hosting me for the week were adored, and I looked forward to meeting them. One of the things I was hoping to do was to research Habakkuk for a sermon series I will be doing soon. It turned out that I was staying with an Old Testament professor who was gracious enough to help me with my work. I realized at the event Wednesday evening that this was no ordinary conference. The people greeted all of the missionaries and church planters with a standing ovation. I was a little shocked and blessed by the whole thing.
One of the things I was asking from the Lord was to show me why I was there. During the pre-launch phase of our church plant, I was introduced to David and Mary Ellen Andrews. They moved all the way from Alabama to “live sent” in Columbus, Ohio. They live in the community where our plant would be launched, and they felt that the Lord had led them to us. They have been members at Shades for quite awhile, and they asked me if I would come to GIC. To be honest, I wasn’t thrilled that it would take place just nine weeks into our launch. I decided to go out of respect for David and Mary Ellen. So I continued to pray that the Lord would reveal to me whatever He wanted while I was there.
Wednesday evening a gentleman named Greg Ott approached my table in the lobby. He told me that He was born in Westerville, which is where our church is located. We made small talk and he mentioned that his grandmother had a farm in the area. We couldn’t figure out exactly where at the time of the conversation. The next day, Greg sat with me at lunch. He did a little research about our church and discovered that we meet in a school building that is on his grandmother's property not far from her house. She had sold the land to the school board. How in the world do I randomly run into a guy in Birmingham, Alabama that used to build snowmen on the very spot that I preach the Gospel?
I have no idea what the Lord is up to here, but I want to be a part of it! Maybe we can be a blessing to Shades somehow. Maybe we can partner in mission trips or send a team to help out in some outreach you do. I have no idea, but I know that I have already been blessed beyond any expectation! The Lord has encouraged me through GIC, my host family, Greg Ott, and the Sunday School class. I am so grateful that He let me see what He is doing through your church and that Lifepoint is blessed by your faithfulness to the vision He gave you.
Each year I look forward to Shades' Global Impact Celebration. I always peruse the GIC brochure that is published beforehand that shows the missionaries that will be coming to the celebration. One missionary that caught my attention this year was Ed Traverse who was coming from Westerville, Ohio, my birthplace. I made a point to stop by Ed's booth at GIC to introduce myself and learn about his church plant. After some conversation and a little research, I was able to determine that his new church plant meets in a school that is located on land that was once my grandparents' farm. After my grandfather passed and my grandmother reached an age where she could no longer maintain the farm with her children (my mother, aunts, and uncles), the 104 acre farm was sold to the Westerville City School system. Our family has many memories of this land from working the farm to returning to "grandma's house" for Christmas each year. That old farmhouse still exists today on the corner of the school property. It thrills me to know this new church plant has recently been launched on this land that means so much to me and my family, and that Shades is partnering with Ed Traverse and LifePoint Church in Westerville.