I couldn’t have asked for a better friend and mentor than Cadence missionary, Melissa Rafferty. She knew who I was before I introduced myself, and we walked miles in the same shoes before we ever met. She had been where I was. And by the grace of God we are both on this side of salvation and able to love and encourage one another.
God knew I needed her to call me out with grace and pursue me with love when I was living in sin. She knew where I was, she knew where I wanted to be, and she knew how to point me in the right direction. There are more occasions than I am proud to admit where Melissa knew when I was trying to hide, and one occasion in particular where she literally chased me through the door.
On that night when she stopped me in the Wired Bean parking lot, I expected to be reprimanded and shamed, not because that’s something she does, but because that’s what I deserved. After all, it was about the umpteenth time I was in this particular sin-related situation. But she said, “I couldn’t let you walk out the door without telling me what’s going on.”
She went on to say that she knew my heart for the Lord and that I wanted to minister to many people but that what I was doing was going to keep me from that. She wasn’t angry and she wasn’t frustrated; she was just concerned, and it was so evident. I remember that was the night that I felt I truly understood grace.
It has been a great two years, and there are just too many stories and not enough words to express what Cadence and Melissa mean to me. Rest assured, God is being glorified through the people of this community because of the Word He has given to us and the Holy Spirit Who helps us all carry it out.
SrA Zion (Adkins) Cardenas, 18th Civil Engineer Squadron, Okinawa, Japan
Melissa Rafferty serves in Adult Ministry at the Wired Bean Coffee House on Kadena Air Base and at The Harbor.