During our interim ministry in Jamaica, we took over the ministry of Jim and Bonnie Storey. After the Storeys arrived in the states, it was found out that Bonnie had an inoperable tumor wrapped around her spine. Bonnie evidently was a blessing to many in Jamaica. So many constantly asked about her and Brother Storey. But it was Sister Murray that rocked my world one day - after the death of Bonnie.
(The following story is an excerpt from the author's second missionary memoir entitled, In Every Place, to be published in March 2012)
About a thirty minute drive from our
home was a small community called Bird Mountain. Perched on the top of this mountain was the Bird Mountain Baptist Church.
Once a month, following in Jim’s footsteps,
we would travel up this mountain and Jeff
would preach to these warm, hospitable folk.
Nestled in the crevices of this mountainside were dozens and dozens of houses and some of the nicest, happiest people we have ever had the opportunity to meet! One particular woman was Sister Murray. A pillar of the community and the church, spiritually delightful, refreshing, and strong in her Savior, she so inspired me. It was evident that she was a powerful prayer warrior and because of that, God was etched all over her face. Jamaica, as well as many areas in West Africa, was extremely oppressed by Satanic powers. But not on top of that mountain. God Himself seemed to reside there in a way I have seldom experienced anywhere else. I know this sounds dramatic, but I am serious. She was an incredible lady who chose to live her physical existence meekly and humbly on a rural Jamaican hillside. Her house was small, her decor far from metropolitan, but it was a home of peace and strength.
Each time we would visit, she always asked about Bonnie Storey, giving us messages of encouragement and affirmation to relay to both her and Brother Storey. On the Saturday night before we were to again travel up Bird Mountain for Jeff to preach, we received the call from Jim telling us of Bonnie’s death. It was with heavy hearts that we took this sad news the next morning to the church on top of the mountain.
Driving our little red van around the final turn, we were surprised to be met by a breathless and exuberant Sister Murray. Before we could even get out of the van, she surprised us with this, “My brother and sister Abernethy! I just know that you are bringing good news about Sister Bonnie Storey, aren’t you? Last night about 7:30 I was praying for her healing when the Holy Spirit told me that I did not need to pray anymore - that she was healed!!! This is true?” With our mouths opened, we looked at each other and gauged our words carefully. We told her of Jim’s phone call to us the night before and what he had told us of Bonnie’s death.
For a fleeting second there was pain and sadness in her eyes, she allowed the humanness to have its moment, but only that. Then she said with the same buoyant confidence, “Well, then, praise our Father for He has indeed healed her perfectly! I will sing praises to Him for His goodness! How is Brother Storey?”
What a delightful story of how a seemingly insignificant island woman living on the side of a mountain rocked my world with her faith and love for God. She lived so close to His heart that she could hear God whisper.
I truly aspired after that - to become more in tune with God’s leading and prompting in my life. Not too often in life are we blessed to meet that kind of person who definitely exudes an otherworldliness in everything she said or did. Inspiring. Even still, Sister Murray, you inspire me.