From the Director
Though she herself readily admitted that she couldn't sing, Gloria participated in the church choir every Sunday. When teased about it, she would laugh heartily and respond that if God wasn't pleased with the voice that He had given her, then He ought to do something to fix it!
Gloria worked the night shift at a family-owned convenience store. Generally, she worked six nights a week because she and her husband were determined to have the financial resources required to educate their four teenage daughters.
Over the course of several years, many of the store's customers came to know Gloria, not just as a courteous and efficient worker but also as a friend. At first, they were charmed by her warm greeting and bright smile. Later, they came to realize that she was not merely concerned about their transactions, but that she was genuinely interested in them as persons. Consequently, late into the night, Gloria could be found listening attentively to a young man who was having a conflict with his parents; offering encouragement to a mother whose financial problems were causing major stress for her family; or holding hands in prayer with a customer who had received bad news about recent health tests. She had turned her workplace into her ministry site.
By word of mouth news spread among night shift workers in the surrounding city district that Gloria could solve every problem!
Thanks to Gloria's ministry in that convenience store, each month a few newcomers arrived at the local church, eager to fi nd for themselves the source of her gentle strength.
When I teased her about this, her response was, "I just listen and try hard to understand. I don't distract them by sharing my own problems." Even though she had no training in counseling, Gloria had come by way of her own life experience and intuition to realize how a genuine listening ear could soothe an aching heart. Her non-Christian employer had little interest in what Gloria was doing on a nightly basis at the store, but he was impressed with how customer numbers grew and profits increased. Occasionally, toward the end of his weekly business discussion with Gloria, he too would confide in her about difficulties in his personal or family life. It was clear to Gloria that he longed to be able to communicate his deeper self with someone who could see beyond his designer-label suit and sleek car.
Thanks to Gloria's ministry in that convenience store, each month a few newcomers arrived at the local church, eager to find for themselves the source of her gentle strength. "When I see them from my place in the choir, my heart sings with delight", she mused, "but my voice remains out of tune!" Then she would laugh heartily.