“You are Never too Late!”
Then he said, “Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom.”
Jesus answered him, “I tell you the truth, today you will be with me in paradise.”
There was an earnest prayer of a mother, who would love to know about God, however, never had any opportunity for it. When I invited her kids to the confirmation class, she asked me if she could join in the class along with her kids. The mother said, “I grew up in a non-Christian family. I never had a chance to take a confirmation class while my friends did. I wish I could study about God and be baptized together with my two kids. But I wonder if it is too late for me to take a confirmation class.” I said to her, “No, you’re never too late. It is the perfect time for you to start the confirmation class. If you want, please come and join the class with your kids.” They took the class for one year and received baptism together on August 21, 2022. The mother shed tears when she received baptism. What an amazing moment!
I met them when I first moved to Grantsburg, Wisconsin. It was ‘National Night Out, 2019.’ I didn’t know anyone in the community yet. I went out to see how people were doing and what the ‘National Night Out’ was. I was a stranger who didn’t know anyone around me or the community. There were many people at the Grantsburg Fire Department for that event. I was standing outside of the Fire Department, lining up for dinner, and I heard someone call me, “Hello, Pastor Jenny!” I was pleased to meet someone who knew me among the crowd. She was one of our parishioners. I walked into the building with her. After eating dinner, we had a chance to ride the Fire Truck with several children. I met them there, a girl and a boy. We rejoiced riding the Fire Truck, shouting, singing, and dancing on the truck as if I was a child like them, and I invited them to Sunday School. We didn’t have Sunday School at that time. But, I thought we can start Sunday School with them. We began Wednesday Church School, ‘Go Fish’ with them. They were in 5th grade and 6th grade at that time. They consistently attended the church school, ‘Go Fish program’ with other kids, but once the pandemic hit, we suspended the church school programs.
When we reopened our church school in 2020, they became youth. We began a youth program with them. They consistently attended youth programs with the other youth. Last year, I invited them to confirmation class, and I noticed they hadn’t received baptism yet. I invited their mother to consult about confirmation and baptism. Their mother wanted to take the time to consider their baptism and confirmation. I knew that the person I met at the National Night Out had a good relationship with the mother and their family, like a spiritual mentor. She and I consulted and prayed together for their family.
One day, the mother called me and said she would like to attend the confirmation class with her two kids because she would love to receive baptism with her two kids after finishing the class. I joyfully invited her and her two kids to the confirmation class. While they were taking the class, they struggled several times to follow up completing assignments, or community service. The mother felt bad and thought they weren’t going to successfully complete the class. But whenever they struggled, their mentors and I prayed together and encouraged them to continue. Finally, they completed the class and received Baptism and Confirmation together, as a family. What a wonderful moment! How amazing grace is!
Like the mother, you are never late. It is never too late to start something. If you hesitate to start anything, know it is the right time for you to begin a new journey. Remember the criminals who were crucified with Jesus, one on his right and the other on his left? The one caught his last chance while the other missed it. Don’t miss your chance to catch God’s grace. God is always near you, waiting for you.