Heroines of the faith

I love the fact that I find inspiration on a daily basis thanks to the countless examples of lives well lived amongst our Interserve family, past and present.  

As a competitive runner, I have always loved the picture in Hebrews 12 of the “great cloud of witnesses” and find it impossible to think of anything but a noisy crowd of supporters cheering from the stands of an athletics stadium with all their hearts. If anybody recalls Jessica Ennis’s final lap of the 800m at the 2012 Olympics, I imagine something like that; only much, much louder. But those cheers willed Jess to cross the line first not only whilst carrying immense physical fatigue but also mental exhaustion and the huge weight of expectation as the face of London 2012. Those cheers enabled Jess to “throw off” these things that might have hindered her and enabled her to finish the race in spectacular style. 

In the last two months, we have lost three precious members of our Interserve family: Joan Millson, Beryl Hepworth and Phyllis Tring. Their absence leaves a big hole in the lives of those that knew and loved them most; and yet in the midst of grief, we rejoice that they are alive and well in the presence of Jesus, knowing that death does not have the final word.  

The “great cloud of witnesses” from Hebrews feels closer than ever when I consider the lives of my sisters in Christ, Joan, Beryl and Phyllis. They are now part of this noisy crowd of supporters, heroines of the faith that are cheering and willing us to keep our eyes, minds and hearts on the prize: that is, Christ Himself. In their own lives, they will have felt tired, discouraged and frustrated at times – just like any athlete in a race – and they will have received encouragement from others. I am struck by how they continued to pour out their lives in service so passionately and faithfully over so many years. This says to me that their own eyes, minds and hearts were firmly fixed on their Lord and Saviour, meaning that when difficulties came, they did not lose sight of the bigger picture of who Jesus is and who they were in Him. 

As we continue our meeting today, let’s give thanks in our hearts for the lives of Joan, Beryl and Phyllis, for the legacy and example that they leave to us as Christ-followers and children of God. Let’s be encouraged to keep returning and looking to the source of our hope, as they did, as we continue to run our races with their full support and encouragement. 

Laura Kyte, Supporter Relations Coordinator