He is Our Peace - How one sister saw five family members become disciples

After 16 years of being the only disciple in her family, Ruth Hewitt, a sister in the Johannesburg Church of Christ (South Africa) cried out to God and expressed her loneliness in her physical family. God answered her prayer and over the eight years that followed, she's seen her older sister, her brother-in-law, her niece, her own daughter and her 82-year-old mother become disciples.

Ruth, now a disciple for 24 years, shares how God encouraged her in her faith:

I'm the youngest of five children, my sister Wendy is the eldest and we have three brothers between us. The eldest brother died in 1986, three months after we lost our 51-year-old dad to a heart attack. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Because of the undisciplined environment, I was in, I became a rebellious teenager and then a hard and malicious adult who had lost trust and faith in humanity. Oddly, I was pursued by a very decent guy who I married in 1990. I have two stepchildren and two daughters of our own.

When my youngest was two years old, a friend of mine stayed over for a weekend and pointed out that she was naughty. My friend is German and I believed her discipline was extreme so I defended myself, saying it was 'just the age she's at' but soon after I realised it to be true. Having grown up without discipline made me clueless about being a parent, and God put it on my heart to seek him. I was met by a disciple, Michelle Harvey, soon afterwards and invited to study the bible. Through the studies, I remember feeling relieved that God had a secure plan and was trustworthy, and I was baptised in 1994. 

In the years that followed, I gave the women involved in my life a fair amount of challenges and struggled emotionally and spiritually before eventually being diagnosed with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder after seven years of being a disciple. 

The late Diane Ottenweller asked me to test-run a Women of Worth series and this brought a major turn in my life as I truly embraced forgiving myself and God's forgiveness of my sins. I was no longer the unmerciful servant of my own life.

After a very lonely 19-year journey, I desperately cried out to God that I couldn't do this (being a disciple) alone anymore and needed help. In my mind, I was thinking of my husband, yet God sent my sister Wendy. She was baptised in 2010, my niece Sheree in 2012, my daughter Kaylee in 2013, my brother-in-law Ronnie in November 2017 and my mom in December 2017. To see my mom at 82 having a heart change, being humble and grateful is so endearing, my heart could melt.

Seeing the change in my sister's family relationships has been inspiring and encouraging. My relationship with my daughter is fulfilling as we talk about God and his faithfulness, grace and love. 

Strangely, we were always a "close" family, we'd spend time together, celebrating birthdays and get away for a weekend annually. Although we seemed close, I could feel the tension and strain in our relationships.

I think of Ephesians 2:14 "For he himself is our peace, who has made the two groups one and has destroyed the barrier, the dividing wall of hostility."  and James 2:13 Mercy triumphs over judgment."

I'm not sure what they saw in me. I do know that what I've had to change the most in my walk with God is moving from hostility to mercy. I'm so grateful and constantly amazed at how God has brought about a change in our relationships, abolishing the hostility. Truly, to God be the glory!


This is what her family members shared:

Her sister Wendy: Ruth invited me to church for many years and I started studying the Bible in 2009 and was baptised a year later. I like being a disciple and going to church with my family. I know God's got a plan for me and I just want to be with him all the days of my life.

Her niece Sheree: The closeness, togetherness, love and non-judgemental friendships drew me to the church. I love having my granny in the church, it's amazing.

Her daughter Kaylee: My mom and I are as thick as thieves . . . people say they see our closeness. My heart's desire is for us to continue down this path come what may! The change in my gran has been amazing - she is so humble and it's such a gift to have her as part of the spiritual family (as an infant too!)

Her brother-in-law Ronnie: I studied the bible for three months and the family was shocked when I was baptised because I was an atheist, they couldn't believe it. I'm so glad I did it because it really changed my life. God is doing miraculous works in my life.

Her mom, Merle: I grew up in a very traditional church and in the Joburg COC, people are more open, caring and friendly. I enjoy worshipping with my family. My relationship with Ruth hasn't always been very close but we've become more of a unit now.