One of my most valued friends is Jaime Woodall. I met Jaime about four years ago when I started attending First Baptist Church in Hart. My family and I were new to the church, and Jaime was the youth pastor there at the time. Jaime and his wife Kris welcomed us into the church family, and Jaime and I really connected.
Over the first year or so, Jaime and I would meet for coffee, and talk about some seriously deep stuff. I'd never had a friend I felt so comfortable talking with. Jaime opened up new doors for me, and encouraged me to build my relationship with Jesus Christ.
Jaime is not your typical pastor, at least not the way I came to expect pastors to be. I grew up in Southern Kentucky, where I attended Southern Baptist churches, and never established a real relationship in any of those churches. Jaime is laid back, easy to talk to, and has a very approachable personality. He is a great listener, and doesn't push his opinions on you.
As we became friends, Jaime encouraged me to do some public speaking to other churches' youth groups. With my Marine Corps experiences, and the struggles I have had with my own faith, he helped me reach the conclusion that I had something to offer young adults. I have done a few of these speaking events since, and the rewards have been amazing.
In August of 2007, Jaime and I both announced that we would be leaving First Baptist. I had been given orders to deploy to Iraq, and would be gone for a year. Jaime felt called to do missionary work in Northern Michigan, planting churches. It was a tearful Sunday when we stood in front of the Congregation together and said our goodbyes. We didn't know if we would ever see each other again.
I stayed in touch with Jaime while I was in Fallujah, and we encouraged each other in our endeavors. Jaime was dealing with the upheaval of his family, and I was dealing with my family's sense of loss with me being deployed. Jaime guided me to seek strength in Christ, and I hope I helped him do the same.
I returned from Iraq last September, and returned to First Baptist Church. Jaime was having some success up in Petoskey, and I was happy for him. I missed him and his family, but I knew God was using them for His work.
Today was missionary Sunday, and Jaime came to town to speak to the Congregation. He shared with us how his ministry in Petoskey had grown, and the lives that he and his group had touched. It was amazing. Now Jaime is preparing to move to Boyne City, to plant a church there.
I love the way Jaime ministers. It is a message of love and salvation. He doesn't push, and allows you to come to Christ at your own pace. He fosters a desire for you to want you to learn more without you even being aware of it. Then when you have questions, he is there to answer them.
Jaime is affiliated with Genesis. Genesis has stripped away the dated religiousity that hinders so many from seeking out God's word. Genesis seeks to encourage building a relationship with Christ, fostering goodwill, and community service. Please visit their website by clicking the image below.
Please include Jaime and his family in your prayers, that he may continue to do God's work, and change peoples' lives like he changed mine.