"I received a Stephen Minister at the lowest point of my life: [I] was angry with God, and felt completely hopeless about the future. I felt as though the most precious thing in the world had been taken from me and I didn't know how to keep living. God did not abandon me. Instead, he brought the most amazing and loving person into my life; my Stephen Minister. She truly "held" me throughout the next year and a half and utterly saved my life and saved me from myself. … with my Stephen Minister, there were no set expectations and I was able just to take - take her listening ear to talk and comforting shoulder to cry on. I could talk openly about my problems, my fears, and my angers and she not only constantly supported me, but she also always found a way to encourage me. I believe I would not be where I am today with[out] my Stephen Minister. She brought me from the darkest pit to the brightest of light. She is an example of Christ's loving kindness in this world. I felt God's grace and mercy through my time with my Stephen Minister and will be forever grateful..."
"After struggling with some difficult family issues, I was fortunate to receive a suggestion from our pastor that I consider having a Stephen Minister. Like many others, at first I resisted the idea because I thought I could "tough it out" and handle things on my own. Also I felt anxious about committing to meet with someone I didn't know. However, upon further reflection and continuing personal struggles, I decided that Stephen Ministry was worth a try. I was impressed by the significant training Stephen Ministers receive, the focus on confidentiality, and the faith-based underpinnings of the program.
My Stephen Minister and I met consistently for about 6 months every week or two for about an hour. His encouragement was caring, nonjudgmental, and relaxed. This helped me open up so that my issues could be put "out on the table" and examined in an objective fashion. It was surprising how the process of verbalizing my issues with him, instead of just having them swirl around in my head, helped me realize that many of my challenges were not as daunting as they first appeared. Although my Stephen Minister did not try to solve these challenges for me, he was helpful in lending perspective and encouraging me as I sought the path to work through them.
All in all, I'm so very grateful for the Stephen Ministry program and the wonderfully compassionate Christian care my caregiver provided to me during a dark period in my life. The care I received was a very tangible and powerful expression of how we can pass along Christ's unending love to others."