Keith Neill began his ministry in Portadown, Northern Ireland, playing in a Christian rock band and volunteering with the youth at his church. There he felt the call to youth ministry — first part time and then full time. All told, he guided the youth of Portadown and nearby Lisburn for 23 years.
In 2013, Keith and his wife, Jennifer, began to wonder if God was preparing them for a new challenge. He interviewed at other churches but did not sense that they were the answer to the restlessness he felt. Upon returning from one such interview in London, he read an online ad for a youth worker position in Hutchinson, Kansas.
It was uncanny, as Keith had been visiting Hutchinson for years, taking youth from Ireland to participate in a Christian peacemaking project there. In fact, on one such trip he took his daughter, who met and eventually married a man from Hutchinson. Could this be the answer to the restlessness he had been feeling?
Many calls, prayers and a successful immigration petition later, it became clear that Keith was being sent out again —this time across the world to serve God as the director of youth, Christian education and mission at First Presbyterian Church in Hutchinson.
In a Gospel reading from Mark, Jesus sends out his disciples to travel from village to village to teach and heal. How excited and anxious they must have felt to receive such a call. And how many lives were no doubt changed by their answering it.
Our church is blessed that people still answer this call today.
Theresa Waggener, Coordinator, Immigration Issues, Office of the General Assembly
Let us pray:
Loving God, thank you for continuing to move in our lives: for sending us and for sending others to us. Bless all whom you call to serve, whether down the street or across the world. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.