Our Sister Sojourner: Mary Beth

We love our sisters! So much so that we love to talk about them, think about them, pray for them, see their pretty pictures, and rejoice over their wonderfulness as God’s name is glorified in their lives. Here is our first “mini-interview” with our fellow sis, Mary Beth Grisanti. Isn’t she adorable? I could barely contain myself as I took her photo, she was so cute.

As we gear up for this weekend’s Missions focus, we want to give Mary Beth an extra special thanks. She works with International women, teaching them truth and God’s Word through an ESL class we host at the church. She is a faithful servant of the gospel! Thank you for sharing your heart with us, Mary Beth!

For those of us who do not know you: How long have you attended First Free?

I have attended First Free since 1992 when I moved from Topeka to take a 2nd shift position at Wesley as a medical technologist. I grew up in Newton and attended Berean Academy for high school. I remember some of my classmates from Wichita went to First E Free. I was invited by a friend to attend First E Free as a young adult and met my husband in the career class.

Tell us a little about your family (spouse, children, siblings, parents, etc), where you grew up, and what you “do” these days (work? ministry? hobbies? etc?).

My parents are in good health and still live in Newton. My two sisters and their families live in California, but my brother and family lives near Hillsboro. A defining character of the Kliewer family is the love of physical exertion. Our favorite family vacations included camping and hiking. In our first years of marriage, Ken knew he was really part of the family once he had done the 18 mile round trip to the top of Half Dome in Yosemite Nat’l Park. Now a days, my siblings and I like to do Bike Across Kansas together with our spouses.

Ken is from western New York but attended John Brown University in Arkansas. He found a job in the Wichita area and that is when we met. He worked as an engineer at a few companies before starting at Cessna in 1998. My daughter is a freshman at Berean and my son is a seventh grader at Allison Middle School.

What I “do” -I volunteer to fill a number of roles but am careful not to do too much. I don’t do well when things feel out of control. So my roles include Allison PTA Treasurer, Northbrook Homeowners Assoc. Board President, member of missions committee, choir member, Tuesday Morning English Class Teacher, boy scout mom, and keeper of the home. I like to walk in the neighborhood and ride bike around NE Wichita. I like to sew simple garments and make braided wool rugs.

Has there been a scripture reference/verse/passage that God has used to impact your life in a significant and lasting way? How and why did it speak to you so mightily? (this could include something recent, or one of those life-changing “ah-ha” moments)

This summer I found out from someone close to me that they do not believe in hell. This really got me to thinking that any explanation of the Gospel that I might give must include the awareness of personal sin and that a day of judgment is coming. It is interesting that even Islam teaches that Jesus will return to earth to judge it. (I just learned that in my LBI class on Sunday nights!) In Acts 17:30 Paul says that ..”God is now declaring to men that all people everywhere should repent, because He has fixed a day in which He will judge the world in righteousness.”  Jesus spoke of Himself in Matthew 16:27  as being this judge when He said, “For the Son of Man is going to come in the glory of His Father with His angels, and will then repay every man according to his deeds. ” Paul affirms this in Romans 2:16 when he talks about “the day when, according to my gospel, God will judge the secrets of men through Jesus Christ.”

The Tuesday Connection and other groups at church are studying Nancy Guthrie’s book on Wisdom. She starts us off by leading us through the book of Job and we learn about God’s Sovereignty and His good purposes for times of discipline, suffering, etc. Has there been a time of loss, disappointment or suffering (big or little) in your life that you have seen God use for His glory? How so?

God has granted me so many of my heart’s desires  that I don’t have an inspiring answer here. Just the fact that God uses hard times to make us grow in faith and character.

Are there any words of encouragement  or other thoughts you’d like to share with your sisters at First Free?

I just want to let working moms know how much I admire them. It is no easy task to spend time working outside the home and then do so much work in “keeping the home.”

I also want to say that no special skills recommend me to be involved with international women. It is rather a weakness to work within structure that allows me to organize the Tues morning English Class.  We use this structure to have a Bible Lesson as part of our class. Thus we are all exposed to the Word of God and its work in our lives. It seems that the people most receptive to God’s spirit are the ones who don’t have it all together. If you are looking for a way to reach out to others with the gospel, work within the structure already provided by volunteering  to serve the homeless, those in prison, those in a crisis pregnancy. These are the people that may be ready to receive God’s promises.

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