It is not everyday that a church is able to celebrate someone involved in ministry at their church for 30 or 40 years. Recently, Gymea Baptist Church was able to celebrate one of their own serving in ministry at their church for an incredible 50 years.
Heather Mullins has been involved in the Children’s Ministry at Gymea Baptist in one form or another for the last 50 years. It is not always easy for Heather to get through each day, with many the health problems that she faces on a daily basis, yet, she is reliant on God and his purpose for her life. Her commitment to God’s word being shared among the children is inspiring to the adults at Gymea, as well as the children she teaches and has taught in the past. There are many within the Children’s Ministry who have been taught by Heather, and strive to be like her, serving the Lord in ministry when they are able. Heather believes that all glory is to go to God for his ministry, and that for her ministry 90% is pray-paration and 10% is preparation.
Roxane Lawler, the Children’s Ministry Coordinator at Gymea, cannot speak highly enough of Heather. When asked about Heather, this is what Roxane had to say. “Heather has very poor heath, but her commitment to ministry is incredible, despite the difficulty and pain she faces on a daily basis. Her ability to soldier on as a faithful servant of Christ is admirable, and God certainly uses Heather and has miraculously provided for her over the years, healing her and continuing to keep her alive. Heather is a woman who has always been passionate about including children as part of the church now, not just as part of the future church and she sees the incredible value in training young people to love and follow Jesus all their days. It is heart-warming to see kids run in to Kidzone to say hello to Heather, and to tell her of their achievements and sorrows. She pastors, supports, encourages and trains children to become righteous and Christ-like, providing a joy filled Godly example to them.
Heather also single-handedly keeps Australia Post in business, with numerous letters of encouragement and birthday cards sent out each week to children (and adults) in church. Over the years she would have written tens of thousands of individual letters to children!
We at Gymea Baptist are very blessed to have people like Heather in our congregation, as we all strive toward becoming more like Jesus and to share Him with those around us. Our mission statement is “Everywhere we go, and in everything we do, we will invite everyone to follow Jesus”, and Heather is a great example of that in both children’s ministry and everywhere else! Even when she is taken off to hospital away from her beloved children’s ministry, she still shares the gospel with doctors and nurses and fellow patients, with some giving their lives to Christ. It is often those who have walked with Christ the longest and through the darkest of nights that provide such encouragement to others. One person, upon being introduced to Heather remarked: ‘I feel like I’ve just met Jesus’. Wouldn’t that be wonderful if we were able to say that of every Christian person we met!”
What a wonderful testament to the work the Lord is doing through Heather. To find out a bit more about Heather and what keeps her going in ministry, Together’s Benita Clark asked her a few questions.
Heather, tell Together about how you became a Christian, and who are some people who helped you on your Christian journey?
“I have been a Christian for as long as I can remember and I was extremely fortunate to attend a Baptist Girls’ Grammar School, Strathcona, in Melbourne where we were rooted and grounded in the Scriptures. Although a girls’ school, the principal was a former Baptist minister, Rev John Morley, who set us an outstanding example and who was the greatest personal influence.”
How long have you been at Gymea Baptist Church? How did you come to join this church?
“My husband, Derek, and I have attended Gymea Baptist Church for 50 years. The Minister of North Balwyn Baptist knew the Minister at Gymea, Rev Keith Wilson, and suggested that we attend his church.”
Tell us about your family.
“I was born in Geelong, Victoria, and my parents moved to Melbourne when I was very young. I attended North Balwyn Baptist with my parents and older brother. He was a Dr and I a nurse and the Lord enabled me to combine two careers: music and nursing. When my brother was only 31, he died suddenly and unexpectedly. My parents moved to Sydney to be near Derek, our children, Susan and Bruce and myself.”
Heather, you’ve been serving in children’s ministry for 50 years, what inspired you to serve in this area?
“I was once told a child who has become a follower of the Lord Jesus Christ by the age of seven, will most probably remain a follower. While I was nursing, I was free very few weekends and therefore unable to be involved in children’s ministry. However, when I changed from nursing to music teaching, the Lord gave me the opportunity to be a part of this ministry.”
What has kept you passionate about ministry for all those years?
“There are very few more wonderful moments in one’s life than to see a child accept the Lord as Saviour. Every year, one or more (sometimes the entire department) place their faith and trust in Jesus.”
What are some successes/joys you have seen/experienced in your time serving in ministry?
“As mentioned in the previous answer, seeing children become followers of the Lord. One of my greatest thrills was to see a boy give his heart to Jesus. Later, I discovered he was Jewish and the children had told him that he was extra special, one of God’s chosen people.”
What do you feel are some of the struggles in ministry?
“My situation is somewhat different from others. For me, I struggle with ill health (Severe rheumatoid arthritis, Pseudomonas infection in the lungs, diabetes, artificial aortic valve in the heart, cancer in the left leg, frequent cellulitis, and susceptibility to infection because of 50 years of cortisone which has caused life-threatening situations every year since 1991). My mobility is further impacted having had eight toes amputated, including both big toes. Through all this I have missed many appointments because of illness, I have never missed an appointment for the Lord because of ill health. He has carried me through in a miraculous way.”
What is a favourite bible story to share with the kids and why?
“I love the story of Joseph and the way in which he forgave his brothers for their ill treatment of him. Despite experiencing difficulties in his life, he faithfully followed the Lord. I love this story because it wonderfully foreshadows the life of Jesus.”
What is your favourite bible passage and why?
“I hope I can have more than one! “All things work together for good to them that love God and who are called according to His purpose” and “We are not tempted above what we can bear.” No matter what difficulties or illnesses I encounter, the Lord will carry me through the situation. I have proved these words time and time again.”
Why do you keep serving in ministry?
“There are always plenty of children to teach! I pray that I will be given a sense of urgency to minister to young people and to be partly instrumental in bringing them to a saving knowledge of the Lord Jesus Christ.”
What would you say to encourage the readers of Together, who feel they are ill equipped for ministry of any sort?
“If your readers could see how weak I am, they would be amazed that the Lord is using me. All the honour, glory and praise go to Him, and Him alone. I arrive at the right time and the right place each Sunday purely because of His enabling and much prayer. I am partially disabled as well as being aged, unable to walk without a stick and walking frame, but each week He provides this decrepit geriatric with sufficient health and strength.”
What an encouragement it is, to celebrate the ministry of Heather Mullins. After 50 years and continued ill health Heather continues in her passion to see people come to know the saving work of Jesus.
Check out the below video put together by Gymea Baptist Church: