Among the mighty warriors I have had the privilege of knowing, I count Delores Bonner, an African-American woman who lives alone in Bedford-Stuyvesant, one of Brooklyn’s toughest neighborhoods. She has been a medical technician at Maimonides Hospital for more than thirty years. Carol and I met her one year at Christmastime while we were bringing gifts to some poor children in our congregation.
Delores had a full apartment that day—but these children were not
hers. She had brought them from a nearby shelter to meet us. Their
natural mother was too consumed with her own problems to be present even
for an occasion such as this.
“How did you come to meet these children?” I asked.
She modestly mumbled something that didn’t really answer my question.
Only from others did I learn that right after her conversion in a
prayer meeting at the church in 1982, she became concerned for children
in the streets and in the crack houses. God touched her heart, and she
started bringing the children to Sunday school. At first she packed them
into taxis; later on someone heard what she was doing and bought her a
car. Today she has a van so she can transport more children and
teenagers to hear the gospel.
This is only part of Delores’ story. On Sundays between services, she
oversees the crew that cleans the sanctuary so it will be ready for the
next crowd. On Saturdays she goes out with the evangelism teams,
knocking on doors in the housing projects to share God’s love. On
weekdays I find her on her knees upstairs with the Prayer Band, taking a
shift to intercede for people’s needs. She did the same thing on a
ministry trip to Peru, where she joined others in calling out to God on
my behalf as I preached in an outdoor meeting.
Delores is a woman of quiet determination, the kind shown in 1 Chronicles 12:18,
where it says, “The Spirit came upon Amasai, chief of the Thirty, and
he said: ‘We are yours, O David! We are with you, O son of Jesse!
Success, success [peace and prosperity] to you, and success to those who
help you, for your God will help you.’” Once again, the merging of
divine and human effort is clearly shown.
Jim Cymbala began Brooklyn
Tabernacle with less than twenty members in a small, rundown building in
a difficult part of the city. A native of Brooklyn and longtime friend
of both David and Gary Wilkerson, Cymbala is a frequent speaker at the
Expect Church Leadership Conferences sponsored by World Challenge
throughout the world.