Kelly-Jo Larson’s Story & Stephen Ministries Appreciation
My name is Kelly-Jo Larson and I’ve lived in Shanghai for 8 years and about a year and a half ago I had a mini stroke. When I went to the doctor for diagnostic he said “There are three things that cause TIA or Transitory Ischemia Attack in people your age. And that’s bad heart, bad health, and bad stress. But your heart’s great, and you’re great on the health side so you’ve got to do something about the stress.”
Well that was easy for him to say, but my husband was living and working in another country. And I was pouring into my two teenage daughters that were with me in Shanghai and the one that was alone in the US at university. I have a full time job where ministry opportunities are endless really. And I serve at church, and I lead a life group, and I just generally try to pour my life into others.
So when those around me said “Kelly-Jo you’ve got to go get some support somewhere” and someone mentioned Stephen Ministries. I thought: “I can’t do Stephen Ministries because that’s for really extreme things and I don’t want to take away from an important ministry that Stephen Ministries is doing for someone to just come do life with me.”
But after a couple other people came, I just decided maybe this was something I needed to pursue. And I met with Christina at church one Sunday and we talked and she kind of asked me some questions. And said “Is this something you surely want to do?”
And I said “Yes.” And that was a great decision. And that spring and through the fall I had a Stephen Minister walking with me. And I can’t tell you how powerful it is for someone to hold your hand, and sit across from you face to face, and walk a difficult patch in your journey with you.
So thank you Stephen Ministers for your sacrifice and your commitment. I still can’t join your ranks even though I believe in what you’re doing, there’s just too much on my plate. But I can be an advocate for the ministry. And for those of you in Shanghai who are walking a difficult patch of your journey alone, don’t wait for extreme. We’re a family and we care for one another.