For many, joy can be an elusive thing. But anyone, anywhere can experience the joy of Jesus. The only prerequisite is letting Him come into your heart.
A prisoner at the Charlotte Correctional Institution located in Punta Gorda, Florida, found joy in reading a recent story published in the Signs of the Times magazine. The June 2021 issue of Signs contained a story entitled “Home at Last.” Being blessed by reading the story, the prisoner wanted to tell the author.
The inmate wrote a letter to the Signs office, asking for it to be forwarded to the author. In his letter he explained, “I have read it two or three times and it just makes me smile! (I am smiling as I write this.) It gives me great joy as I await the time I will ever be with Jesus in heaven. While reading your article, I just giggled, even laughed, seeing the eternal joy I will have one day.… You put it in such a way that just brought joy and a big smile on a lonely prisoner’s face!”
There are so many ways to share the happiness that life with Jesus brings. We rarely know when what we’ve said or done has made a difference. Nancy Schafner, author of the Signs story, responded, “I feel amazingly blessed to know my writing has helped someone. I pray God will continue to use the talent He has given me to touch the hearts of those in need and bring honor and glory to Him.” The article, “Home at Last,” was taken from the last chapter of a book she wrote about her family’s missionary adventures during their 43 years of overseas service.
Living in the mission field was a great experience for Nancy Meyer Schafner, who is now a member at Wasatch Hills church. She and other family members remember vividly not only the heartbreaks of mission service and the desolation of war but also the unbelievable beauty of the land and people. As they surveyed the beauty surrounding them from the summit of the two highest peaks in Africa, Mt. Kenya and Mt. Kilimanjaro, the handiwork of God was so evident, they were awestruck. Also unforgettable were the blessings that came from experiencing the closeness of wild nature while on safaris. However, the ultimate joy came from seeing Jesus change the lives of the people they had come to serve.
In an effort to share her experiences and those of her family members—along with intriguing cultures, customs, cuisines, history, geography, ornithology, and zoology—Schafner has authored Cross the Waves and Climb the Steeps—The Meyer Family Missionary Adventures. Her hope is that, like the prisoner mentioned above, readers will be drawn closer to God by the biblical applications, and that a flame will be kindled in their hearts to serve others.
The book is available online at barnesandnoble.com, amazon.com, and liferichpublishing.com/en/bookstore. It can be ordered through any bookstore, including Adventist Book Centers. Just tell them it is on the Ingram book list.
By Michelle Ward