When Kimberly Mullen tells her story, one sees bridges being built and hears of God’s persistence in a life. Eighteen years ago, God began revealing His plan for Kimberly and ultimately, the way she would serve His people within the walls of her beloved church.
It was in a hospital room, with her three year old suffering from asthma, that she first had a glimpse of what University United Methodist Church is all about. A small, brown paper bag with Easter goodies was delivered to each child in the hospital, and Kimberly recalls having such a deep appreciation for a church that cared for children spending Easter in a hospital room.
While it wasn’t immediate, three years later when Kimberly’s family was looking for a church home, the first place that came to mind was University. The little, brown paper bag had been a bridge to a family in search of a church. This small token, coupled with God’s persistence, made all the difference for them, and “Immediately, University was home.”
Kimberly plugged into and served through Emmaus for several years, but throughout this time, she felt God tugging at her to become a Stephen Minister – someone who is paired with people in need to confidentially offer a non-judgmental caring Christian relationship. Again, God’s persistence prevailed and after a few years of considering it, Kimberly was obedient to God’s call on her life to become a Stephen Minister.
God used Kimberly’s faithfulness in serving as a Stephen Minister. Through the training, Kimberly gained a deeper relationship with Him, which was “one of the greatest blessings!” She also gained a support group and strong foundation within the Stephen Ministry Team, that in turn led her through some dark days after her son’s surgery. She recalls a peace that surpassed her understanding during trying times and setbacks post-surgery, and she attributes it only to the prayers her family had poured over them. God’s persistence and perfect timing carried her through, and with these experiences and tools, she was ready to walk alongside others.
Kimberly says she now has a “front row seat to Jesus’s work.” Using the gifts God created in her as well as the experience and knowledge gained from the ways she was served by dear friends in ministry at University, she walks with others through difficult times. She is there to offer a listening ear, prayer and presence. God has surely taught her about persistence, and she uses that skill as she helps others navigate rough waters in their own lives. Becoming a Stephen Minister has continued to impact her faith journey and strengthen her own relationship with Christ. She is now a leader within the Stephen Ministry Team and continues to follow God’s call through the work of building bridges.
Kimberly’s journey to finding her family and place here at University has come full circle. Eighteen years ago people from this church built bridges by handing out brown bags in a hospital. Now Kimberly is building bridges to others who are wading through difficult times. Kimberly knows from personal experience that the “satisfaction people get from helping others is indescribable.” It is her hope that as we work to build bridges by sharing Christ’s love, everyone who walks in the doors of University will find the care and support that they need.