From mothering to shepherding: For God’s gift and His call are irrevocable

Eva Kratz, Franconia

I get my excitement and zest for life from studying and sharing God’s word that brings life, from my husband, our children and grandchildren and friends.I will always remember the first time the Lord showed me that he had a special calling for me to fulfill. At the age of 24, soon after I gave my life to the Lord, I was sitting on the side benches up front in our old sanctuary. As I sat there I became annoyed at the disinterest I saw in the audience. Sunday after Sunday I felt like I wanted to get up on the pulpit and to tell the people about the God that I knew. I wanted to say that he is alive and gives me excitement in knowing him. It was so strong that one time I put my hands on the side of my chair to hold me down.As we were raising our family of eight children (seven still living) and now 27 grandchildren, the Lord gave me Romans 11:29, “For God’s gift and His call are irrevocable.” For years I did not know what he was trying to tell me. It did not make sense with my understanding of the scriptures. Every time I felt like I lost my way and life was not working out the way it was supposed to be, he would have someone read that verse and I would just sit there and cry, knowing it was just for me and he didn’t forget his promise to me. I needed to somehow trust him to bring it to pass.In January 2000 I saw a church bulletin insert asking for volunteers to train for prison ministry. It was an icy winter night and I made it over to where it was held; when I arrived, there was no one there. I didn’t know if I had a wrong location or time. One thing I did know was that if I didn’t get this training I felt like my Spirit would die. The next day I called and discovered the meeting was re-scheduled because of icy conditions.I know that the prison is my pulpit. The sheep in my flock are behind bars. God’s presence is strong in prison and I love to see people’s lives changing as we study the scriptures together and learn from each other. As they share their broken, wounded lives with me, I see how the Word of God empowers, heals and leads them into seeking life instead of death. The Lord has done so much for me I want to pass it on to others.The vision that propels me to do what I am called to do is Ezekiel 34:16 & 31:

“I will search for the lost, and bring back the strays. I will bind up the injured and strengthen the weak, I myself will tend my sheep and have them lie down,” says the Sovereign Lord…“You my sheep…are my people, and I am your God.”

picture-10.pngRecently my husband, Curtis, and I starting ministering in Graterford prison. It is a wonderful opportunity and an answer to prayer to minister together with Curtis. As we share our lives and the word of God with our sisters and brothers behind the prison doors the Lord amazes us each time with how he is moving and working with those that come out to the studies. It gives us great joy and we are thankful to be his vessels. One young man told us he was planning to take his life, but he just wanted to let us know that we gave him hope and he gave his heart to Jesus instead. What a wonderful God we serve!I am grateful for this opportunity to have the backing of my conference and my congregation in the ministry the Lord has called me for. I covet your prayer support and wisdom guidance as I go in the power of the Holy Spirit from our almighty heavenly Father. I know he is guiding my life into doing things I never would have dreamed of doing years ago. He is my praise!