“Watch out! Debbie is a seed-planter!” warned Elaine Bush at a recent NBS2GO luncheon at Calvary Church in Grand Rapids, Michigan. Four years ago when she first heard Debbie McGoldrick speak, Elaine thought the format of these 2GO Bible studies was “an interesting and easy approach that brought new insights,” but she had no plans to begin a study of her own. “But I didn’t think about the seeds she was planting,” Elaine reflected. “They were lying dormant, waiting for the right season for the Holy Spirit to water them.”
Fast-forward to the summer of 2018. She thought of Debbie while walking in her neighborhood one day, and began praying. Then she ran into her friend Sue and couldn’t wait to tell her about NBS2GO. Maybe they could work together! Sue offered to pray for Elaine, but was too busy. “I should have warned her about the seeds. . .” Elaine said.
A few months later in the fall Elaine started a neighborhood Bible study group using LIGHT, from the 2GO Bible Study Series. Though only averaging six women, the group felt God’s hand on them. Elaine smiled as she remembered one of her mother’s favorite quotes, “Little is much when God is in it.” One of her neighbors proudly showed the Bible she had just bought – her first one! Although her church taught from the Bible all these years, they had not encouraged people to read it. As she immersed herself in the Scriptures, God opened her spirit to His own. Nature took on fresh meaning. She told how the breeze that brushed her face on walks now reminded her of God’s presence, described in the Bible as a rushing wind.
Besides this new neighborhood Bible study, another kind of seed began to grow in Elaine’s heart. She heard Debbie McGoldrick speak at her church in 2018 and she “started flinging around a slightly different kind of seed” this time. The idea of a Christmas coffee took root, along with Sue’s help this time. They looked on the nbs2go.com website and downloaded resources to help them plan the party and write invitations. Sue’s husband printed fifty of them, but they didn’t really need that many . . .
Until the first call came. Her neighbor left a message: “We’re looking forward to it!” Elaine replayed it twice. “We”? Then she reread the invitation. It just announced a Christmas coffee; the word “ladies” wasn’t there! Nine husbands joined their wives that day, and a lonely widower said he felt warmed as neighbors mingled and talked.
Unexpected blessings continued. A mother of four visited the Bible study only once. Soon afterwards she was hospitalized with gastroparesis and cancer. During her illness Elaine’s Bible study group loved her with prayer, cards and meals. When asked by the medical team about a support group, she credited the women in her Bible study.
As the Bible study leader, Elaine identifies with Joshua. She says that “he watched for a vision, walked in obedience, then waited on God to take down the walls.” God demolishes walls of loneliness, doubt and fear. He builds up His kingdom in our neighbors’ lives as well as our own. It all starts with faith as tiny as a mustard seed which becomes “wall-breaking, heart lifting, hope giving,” for it is no ordinary seed.
Watch Elaine share her story!