When my husband, Jerome, was 21-years-old, God called him to help start a church in Columbia, MO. He left Mississippi after graduating from the University of Mississippi, with a few hundred dollars and his clothes. He never lived in the snow and didn’t own a coat. He had no job lined up in Columbia but was full of faith.
Jerome picked up a hitchhiker during the drive to Columbia and
preached to him until he led him to the Lord. He bought his bus
ticket in Columbia to his next destination in Kansas. Then went to the apartment to meet his new roommate.
The apartment had no furniture, just a bed. Since his roommate
brought the bed, Jerome slept in a lawn chair. He helped out with
worship during the first church service with 20 people which meant he hit stop and play on a cassette player. Jerome gave his roommate his portion of the rent which left him barely any money for food and gas.
Jerome’s first job was working at Wendy’s for a few hours a week. He took the job because he could eat for free. He still slept in a lawn chair in an unheated, unfurnished apartment. But he soon saw God’s provision in a bed, a coat and a job with more hours.
The guy he lived with said he was going home to visit family. He
never came back because of the hardship. Being called to start a
church is not glamorous. Jerome worked hard and sacrificed for a
When Jerome was off from work, he preached open-air on campus. He didn’t spend a bunch of hours going through concordances and study books. He opened the Bible, God gave him a message and he went out and preached it. Since he started leading people to the Lord and discipling them, the pastors gave him the title of Campus Evangelist.
The ministry grew to the point where they could buy a former fraternity house. Jerome was in charge of that house where 20 students lived. His job was to make sure the bills were paid and to counsel when it was needed.
While men his age were chasing women and good jobs, buying nice homes and diving into the American dream, Jerome laid his life down for the sake of the kingdom. He didn’t chase women or the American dream. He chased God.
Jerome spent his 20s preaching and leading people to the Lord. He was the consummate godly young man. He wasn’t and still isn’t perfect. But I’m so glad I said yes to this man 21 years ago at our wedding.
Our lives are so parallel to each other because I didn’t spend my 20s chasing the American dream either. I spent my 20s working at different ministries and putting God first. We both said no to the dating scene which is another story. But God led us to each other.
I want to encourage all of you 20 somethings to not chase the American dream. Don’t spend a lot of energy dreaming about the opposite sex, money or buying the McMansion. You have time on your side. Use your time for God. I’m so glad I did and that I married someone who did.
You see, Jerome is still doing this because this is his lifestyle. Thank you honey for giving all you had in your 20s for God! Thank you for being an example to young men and women. Thank you for asking me to marry you. Happy 21th anniversary!