Long-Time Donor Reflects on Late Husband’s Shared Passion for Evangelism

Friends study the bible, talk at table
Friends study the bible, talk at table
Photo by Priscilla Du Preez on Unsplash

When Nancy Acker’s late husband, Darrel, signed up for a Lay Witness Training trip to Pennsylvania years ago, she wasn’t interested. The training would take up time they would normally have spent vacationing, and she wasn’t sure that she wanted to commit. But God began working on her heart and eventually she filled out the registration and put it in the mailbox. “I couldn’t take it back after that,” she says.

As they arrived near the lay training’s location, they stopped at a restaurant for lunch. When asked where they wanted to sit, they noticed a large group that included people they recognized from previous gatherings. The waitstaff were curious how the group managed to all find each other without arranging it beforehand. Nancy and Darrel just laughed and said, “it must be a God-thing!”

Later in the week at that Lay Witness Training, Nancy and Darrel heard about The Foundation for Evangelism’s efforts to establish Professors of Evangelism at Wesleyan-tradition seminaries. They both knew people at the time attending seminary that were disappointed in the lack of theological teaching based on the model and teaching of Jesus Christ. They decided
at that training event that they wanted to support Wesleyan evangelism training for pastors and laity.

Although Darrel passed away in 2019, Nancy continues supporting the charities and organizations dear to their hearts. Darrel was a Lay Speaker in The United Methodist Church, and they attended trainings and gatherings for the organization. They also supported family and friends who were part of church plant ministries in the U.S. and other countries. They were
involved with a food pantry at the church they attend part-time in Florida and have logged volunteer hours with Habitat for Humanity. Nancy shared that she once helped shingle a roof, toting her pink hammer with her on the job, much to the surprise of other members of the work group.

Nancy appreciates The Foundation for Evangelism’s focus on Wesleyan tradition evangelism training for pastors and laity. She mused that John Wesley didn’t have an easy time but he kept going and was persistent in sharing the Gospel. The Foundation, too, must be persistent in the Wesleyan model of evangelism and discipleship, inviting all people into life-transforming relationship with Jesus Christ.