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Mennonite Background

I was raised in a Mennonite Brethren family and church. We experienced lots of love, blessings, and good teaching, both at home and in our church. We also had strict boundaries–no dancing, smoking, or even movies when I was a child. In my protected environment I’d never even heard of such a thing as a Chippendale dancer!

After my late husband passed away, I returned from Florida to my home in California. Jerry and I had been gone nine months, so the house and yard needed attention. A dear church friend and my younger brother pulled together a group for a workday to help me.

I knew most of the people who came to help, but there were a few new faces. One man was a roofer. Later, when my balcony leaked, I hired him to do the repairs.

Then I panicked.

Could I trust this stranger?

I was alone now. Could I trust this man? I knew nothing about him except that he came with the church and helped me after Jerry’s death. Calling one of the pastors, I explained I’d just hired this man. I asked whether I could trust him, both for the repairs and personally. The pastor assured me I could.

As Greg (name changed) worked at the house, I learned more about him. He used to be a male dancer with Chippendale’s or a similar group. He told me he used women for his pleasure until he met Jesus Christ and started to respect women. In the time he worked on my balcony, he was always courteous and kind.

One morning I came downstairs, teary-eyed. Greg was working in the back yard. He took one look at me and asked if I was okay.

“No,” I said, “I’m just missing my husband so very much.”

“I’m sorry.” Greg took both my hands in his and prayed for peace and comfort for me. I felt so different after his kindness and prayer.

God’s Sense of Humor

Later I laughed. The incongruity of me, growing up in a strict Mennonite environment, being prayed for by a former Chippendale dancer! God must have a great sense of humor!

But isn’t that just what He does for each of us? God invites each of us to come to Him, just as we are, and then He changes us as we fall in love with Him.

Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new. I Corinthians 5:17

I learned that I can’t judge someone on their past. Once we commit our life to Christ we really do become new! New in character, new in behavior, new in thought. That doesn’t happen overnight, but God continues to make us new, to recreate in us the character of Jesus Christ.

Greg was a changed man from the one who used women and danced for their entertainment. A new creation, able to bless a lonely widow without taking advantage of her.,underrated%20agent%20of%20human%20change.%E2%80%9D

I was a changed woman from the young girl who accepted Christ, having grown in my faith over the years, becoming more free in Christ than I had been.

Sometimes we are the ones who pray for and encourage others. Sometimes we need to be humble enough to accept the prayer and support we need from others. This was one of my turns to receive, and to recognize God’s gift of kind, respectful care from another from a background opposite my own.

Isn’t God good!


  1. Oh my! You had me at the title! I love that the man with a past found Jesus and turned his life around. I love that he blessed you with prayer on a morning you missed Jerry!

    1. Carol Loewen says:

      Thank you Ruth. I love the story because of what it says about redemption, assumptions, and God’s grace.

  2. Laura Bennet says:

    Great post and very timely! I really believe God is calling us to move outside the “boxes” of religion, fear, and judgment that we’ve been confined to. Not that we compromise holiness, but that we love the way Jesus did – leading us and others into holiness. How wonderful that God used both of your situations, past and in that current time to bless each other with the freedom Jesus brings! Thanks for sharing that story!

    1. Carol Loewen says:

      Isn’t that true, Laura. I think we were both blessed by the encounter. God’s grace is so beautiful, regardless of background, experiences. Once we know Jesus we are in fact new creations! Blessings.

  3. Karen O'Connor says:

    Such an inspiring personal experience. Thanks for sharing.

    1. Carol Loewen says:

      Thank you Karen. Would love to chat again soon!

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