In college, Jean Nickell was asked by her roommate if she was a Christian. She’d always thought she was, so she answered the question in the affirmative. But she began to evaluate her lack of a personal relationship with Jesus Christ and started to wonder. With prompting from her roommate, she reconsidered her salvation and ended up coming to the conclusion that she wasn’t saved after all. So she gave her life to Christ.
And He changed everything.
Now, years later, Jean charges forward—with a love for God and a passion for His Word—to do what she refers to as “kingdom work.” With roughly 25 years of experience in leading Bible studies, she volunteers at Miracle Hill Ministries Renewal Center to show other women the love of Christ that she found in college.
She had always admired the work of Miracle Hill so a year and a half ago Jean decided to go on a tour of Shepherd’s Gate and the Renewal Center. She says that relationships built through ministry are really important to her, so she decided on an available volunteer opportunity at Renewal. Because she wanted to minister to women on a weekly basis and get to know them on a deeper level, the six-month program that focuses on addiction recovery for women, was a perfect fit.
She started by doing a 7:20 a.m. devotional every other week and later agreed to add on a weekly Bible study. She only does the Bible study these days, but says she loves doing it.
Jean explains, “The best part is just hugging them every [week], loving them, praying for them, knowing what’s going on in their lives, and anticipating graduation. . . .”
The hard part comes when good-byes are said and the women have completed the program and leave the center. “I’m so thrilled for them and excited, but sad for me.”
Jean loves going to her Bible study every week, stating that if it’s your gift it doesn’t feel like work. A deep love for God’s Word: that’s her gift. Helping other women: that’s her passion.
They start off their time together with hugs and chatting before opening up God’s Word to study. Jean brings study sheets and they spend time looking up verses and searching for specific answers.
With excitement in her eyes, she says, “I come out of bible study every week—being with these ladies—and I’m just so full of joy and happiness because I love being with them.”
One of the verses that helps her is Philippians 1:6 which states, “Being confident of this very thing, that He which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ.”
Jean believes the verse relates to everyone, commenting, “We focus on the fact that we are becoming. We’re not quite there yet, but daily we are working toward that goal as we keep our focus on Christ, and daily He is continuing to perfect us through the power of the Holy Spirit. And if He is the one doing the good work in us, we have no doubt that it will happen.”
And so she follows Jesus and leads others to do the same, showing them just what God can do with a life that is in full submission to the will of God.
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