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Never Say Never

Marge Vande Hei is a retired nurse and 2015 graduate of the Lay Minister Certification program. She and her husband, Chris, have three grown children. To learn more about the Lay Minister Program, contact the Personal Ministries Department of the Wisconsin Conference office.


When I was nursing I always thought I was too busy and could never give Bible studies, but when I retired I had nothing but time. With the encouragement of my pastor, Bill Ochs, I started the Lay Minister program offered by our conference. I was terrified! I would never be able to do what these Godly people were doing! When I learned it was a requirement to hold a ShareHim evangelistic program I hit a brick wall. ShareHim is a wonderful tool but not for me. I thought it was all over and I would have to drop out. 


At my pastor’s suggestion, I looked through the Chuck Kohley Bible study DVD’s and immediately knew I could work with them. But how? How could I use this program and still meet my program requirements? So I prayed.


Then, like a tap on the shoulder, the idea came to me, “Put a sign in the yard.” I called a realtor friend and asked for a “For Sale” sign frame with a flyer compartment and he found one! I proceeded to make the sign and flyers. Studies would begin March 22, everyone would get a free King James Bible, and all lessons were free. 


Well the day arrived and two ladies came. We looked at the 30-minute video and then discussed it by way of a worksheet. I also made up more handouts of Bible verses, historical figures, and anything else I thought would enhance their experience. 


It was a hit! The one lady was almost speechless. She was so happy to have found a way to “open the Bible.” Later she said, “Since coming to these studies my husband and I have discussed the Bible more than all the other 40 years of our marriage.” She reads her Bible every day now.


Both ladies embraced the Sabbath, state of the dead, baptism, and are excited about the Second Coming. There wasn’t anything these ladies didn’t agree with, however, they did not want to be baptized into the Adventist church. My job was done. I planted the seeds and the Holy Spirit will do the rest.


This past summer while pruning my bushes a woman stopped while walking her dog and said, “Aren’t you the woman who had a Bible study going on last year? My heart skipped a beat, yes, I was the one, and I plan on doing it again. She smiled and said she does Bible studies as well and told me she thought it was so cool how I put a sign in my front yard.


This experience of Lay Ministry really gave me a voice and the encouragement I needed to follow through with a dream of being more involved in God’s work. I put it off for years thinking I couldn’t do it, but “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” Philippians 4:13.


That verse means more to me than ever before. I’ve always thought of myself as a good follower but never a leader. However, these past two years has proven that God can make me a leader. I feel so much more bold and willing to do His work. Never say never! God has a plan.

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