Working to Win Hearts – Lee and Kim Perkins’ Story
Lee & Kim Perkins Story
We had to work backwards to help bring our friends to Jesus. Inviting them to church wasn't working.
We needed them to be a part of that joy alongside us.
My husband, Lee, and I have been friends with Didi and Dwayne literally forever. I knew Didi when we were girls and shared the tragedy of losing her brother to suicide. I’ve helped her through her bouts with depression and anxiety since. Our husbands get along well, and our children are the same ages. Dwayne and Didi are the kind of friends you’ve known so long that you don't have to ask if they need anything, you just know.
Lee and I were invited to NewSpring by several different friends and subsequently gave our lives to Jesus, were baptized, and joined a home group. We enjoyed the fellowship so much that we wanted to share our joy with Didi and Dwayne. They are good people, seem to be content in their lives, and neither one likes big crowds, so their refusal to come to church with us wasn't a big surprise. Still, we asked a number of times, but when they turned us down repeatedly, we decided to back off in fear of damaging the relationship.
God's Nudge was Hard to Ignore
We didn't pursue them again until God convicted us both during a NewSpring message about "Found People Find People." We were surrounding ourselves with fellow believers in our home group—not doing life alone—but someone was missing. Why weren't we experiencing the joy of Jesus, NewSpring, and our home group with our oldest friends? We needed them to be a part of that joy alongside us, so Lee and I began praying about inviting Didi and Dwayne to NewSpring again.
The more we prayed, the more God revealed how much they needed to encounter Jesus. He opened our eyes to realize that Didi was really struggling with anxiety and depression, more so than usual. Still, we’d have to get creative, or they'd keep declining our invitations.
A Different Approach
From our years of friendship, we know that Dwayne enjoys helping anyone in need, and Didi is most comfortable with other women in a small group setting. So instead of inviting them to church, we asked them to help us with a service project our home group was doing. Dwayne came a number of times to work on an elderly woman's home with the men, and at the same time we girls would love on Didi. At the time we didn't understand just how God was using those service days to work on their hearts.
In an evangelism class, we learned that we may be only a rung on their ladder to Jesus, and God would see it through. We prayed, asking God to “see it through,” and the next week Didi and Dwayne showed up for church. Invitations from multiple people were harder to decline!
Lee and I were out serving in KidSpring, but our “home groupies” were there, so Didi sat with the women, and Dwayne sat with the men. Jesus had revealed Himself through our group’s support so much, when the invitation was given, Didi and Dwayne each stood up without knowing the other had. In the presence of the comforting arms of our fellow group members and loving church, Didi and Dwayne both gave their lives to Christ!
Since then they have both been baptized and are now sharing the joy of volunteering and home groups. They’ve told us how desperately they needed the joy we now share. We will never keep the love of Jesus, home groups, and church to ourselves again.
Pictured from left to right are Lee & Kim Perkins and Didi & Dwayne Whitten