Rev. Joey M. Harrell
My Pastor, My Friend
Joey Harrell, a head-strong, highly anointed man of God, sent by God. I am proud and honored to have you as my Pastor and friend! No he isn't a puppet on strings, for he came to do the Lord's work and for no man will he bow down, no, he will do no such thing.
I was headed down the wrong path, didn't care about anyone or anything, hated going to church, hated the people who went. Time to time I'd go and sit in the very back, looking around at all the "perfect" people and hating them, even the preacher. I felt they thought they were better than us "outsiders", which made me hate them even more. Heck, I'd go just on Sunday mornings, if that. But when I did go, Joey would always shake my hand or give me a hug, along with a smile that can brighten your day, and ask me to Sunday school. He would never let up on that Sunday School, for he just had to have me and my boyfriend there. When we actually started going, we enjoyed it, but we didn't go faithfully. His wife, Barbarann, would always come up to me and give me hugs and invite me to visit them. Which of course I said, ok, sure. But in the back of my mind I was saying, "No way in hell!"
But as the days turned into weeks, I started feeling guilty because I told her I would stop by but never did. (Now, I was saved, just turned from God, which made me a miserable human being. But did not want to give my wordly ways up, nor my boyfriend I was living with. So it was a battle with the devil and God.)
Anyway, I finally went to visit Joey and his wife. Which wasn't easy for me. Sat there talking with them, still trying to figure them out. Wasn't pleasant for me at all! Was very Godly there. The more I came to church, the more they smiled and hugged me, but was actually liking the love I felt from them. Short story short. They treated me like one of their own children. And I am proud to say we are all really good friends. Well, being the Godly people they are and accepting me as I was when no one else would, broke the hardness in my heart, and I gave my life back to Christ and am now a God fearing woman and no longer living with my boyfriend! I am so thankful for them. Thankful that the only time Joey and his wife looked down on me was when they were picking me up!
God's presence is with them and you can feel it. You can feel it in church, when he opens his mouth to preach, the Lord shouts His word and is so Powerful! They didn't preach to me in their home unless I brought something up, but they were a friend, being there for me, comforting me, loving me, eating and laughing together, being and doing what Jesus would have done. Now in church was different, for God gave a message every Sunday for me to hear and lay on my heart. They would let me know Jesus loves me and it wasn't too late for me. They really are the true meaning of Christians, how God wants his people to be. They have been such a blessing in my life. The work they do for others, seeing how they care for the lost, cry when another soul is saved,love for his congregation, is overwhelming and touching.
Joey, Barbarann, and your beautiful children, I thank you. You guys are wonderful people! Though you have your own battles to deal with, it doesn't stop you from bringing God's word to others or being a friend, or just smiling and saying God loves you and so do I.
May God bless you all! I Love You!