Rural Churches: Shaping & Molding Lives

Posted in: Bulletin Inserts
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Date: March 9, 2017

Rural Churches Made a Difference in the Life of a Young Girl

The Lord has used small, rural churches all of my life to help shape and mold me.

As a young girl, my aunt acted instrumentally in leading my family to our local church. I was further influenced by a ladies Bible study leader, friends and neighbors. They faithfully served the Lord by investing in me. The local rural pastor also reached out to my father, influencing his life and impacting our family’s spiritual formation for years to come. Finally, as a girl during Vacation Bible School, I was impressed upon to receive the Lord Jesus as my personal Savior.

Growing up in a small community, it also helped knowing that I had a spiritual family watching out for me and any wrong doings would beat me home. The Lord surely works in mysterious ways influencing and guiding us as we seek after Him!

We each have a personal story of how the Lord is working in our lives, whether we realize it at the time or not.

Rural Church Influence Continued Into Adulthood

I remember as a young lady voicing that I thought God was preparing me to be a pastor’s wife. Part of that was due to the positive influence of the pastor’s wife at my own church. I still remember one occasion where she drove me home from Bible camp after I’d broken out with chickenpox. Still, I had no confirmation of how becoming a pastor’s wife might come about.

I met my husband, Sean, in the music library at college, but it took years before we would enter the ministry. As life, marriage and babies happened, we kept busy putting food on the table and getting by. A number of years later, Sean was encouraged by Village Missionary Mike Close to be involved in our small church leadership and then to apprentice with him. Following that training, it became clear to us that the Lord was calling us into full-time ministry.

We have now enjoyed over 11 years of serving as Village Missionaries in two different fields; the first in South Dakota and now back in our native Washington state. The Lord has blessed our time and relationships serving Him, and we pray that we are able to serve Him faithfully for many years to come.

Looking back, I see that growing up in small rural churches helped mold us to be sensitive to the uniqueness of rural churches and people. Sean and I also grew up with families in agriculture, so it is helpful to know how to talk the talk and walk the walk as well!

Jani Carney is a Village Missionary wife serving in Four Lakes Washington. Jani and her husband Sean have been married for 27 years and have two grown daughters, two granddaughters, and expect their first grandson in April 2017. Their oldest daughter and son-in-law also serve as Village Missionaries, the second generation for their family. Jani enjoys singing with her husband and looking for ways to encourage their church family and community as the Lord leads.
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