One of the great joys of my life has been to serve the Lord, together with my husband. Fifteen years ago at a Philip course, the Lord transformed our lives and called us to trust Him and serve Him as a married couple in Koinonia John the Baptist. We knew that God had brought us together to be a reflection of his image so that people would come to know and believe in Christ.

Our experience with Jesus was so profound that we decided to fully trust Him and let Him guide our lives. We chose to surrender ourselves to Him and not the world and started living our life based on His will and not our own. We never in a million years thought that we were going to have a large family, but we decided to be open to life regardless of the criticism we faced by family and friends for having many children in a society that believes that less is better. God has blessed us with 6 wonderful children that have brought so much joy, fulfillment and purpose to our lives. They are being raised knowing the Lord and being witnesses of how the Lord has overwhelmingly provided for us in every way.

It is an honor to be able to serve the Lord, but I cannot say that it has been an easy road. When you decide to follow Jesus, you enter a battlefield. When we started serving him full time in Koinonia, gradually more and more people started coming and giving their lives to Jesus. The community started growing, but we soon faced opposition from the local church and even the city where our reality resides. We suffered criticism and were slandered. We felt at times as if we were doing something wrong because we had fierce opponents to the work we were doing in Koinonia. On one hand there were letters from the church and the city complaining of our activities, but on the other hand we were seeing the fruits of the Holy Spirit working in our community. Families and marriages were being restored; people were being rescued from the hands of the enemy and giving their lives to Jesus. Through this, we understood that we were doing His will regardless of the opposition. We were in a spiritual battle, but time after time the Grace and mercy of God sustained us through the storm and gave us victory. The joy we have experienced from doing the Lord’s work is much greater than the difficulties we have faced.

God is so merciful and loving that he has helped us protect our marriage and family time. There are great demands associated with leading a community of 170 members, so if we are not careful, it is easy to throw our marriage and family off balance. We know that part of our work is to make sure that our family is loved, served, and cared for. If we neglect our family for the ministry, we are doing more harm than good because our ministry will eventually crumble as our family life erodes. We are continually learning how to prioritize, set boundaries, and set time for our marriage and our family. The Lord has blessed us with amazing friends in our community that have helped us in numerous occasions with our children when we need time away to focus on each other and have helped us ease the load of everyday chores.

Following the Lord is not easy. Jesus warned us that we were going to have persecutions, trials and suffering, but the blessings outweigh the difficulties by far. The Lord has proven time after time that He is in control and will take care of us and our children. Whatever sacrifices we have made, they have been richly compensated. Following Christ and serving Him in Koinonia is certainly worth it.

Mayra and Chris Berry