“Meet me under the Portuguese flag! We’ll pray for Portugal!”
The energy and enthusiasm in Earl Goodman’s voice belies his 89 years of age as he invites people to join him. It’s the one Sunday night a month the members of the New Beginnings Grace Brethren Church, Myerstown, Pa., gather to pray for their missionaries following the evening service. He leads a group of Brethren who pray for the country of Portugal, and more specifically, for Nancy Zellers, a member of the church who has served there with the Greater Europe Mission since 1985.
Goodman, a member of the Myerstown congregation since 1976, can’t remember how long he’s been praying for Nancy, who is involved in leadership training for women.
“My daughter and Nancy went to the King’s College together,” he says, recalling how he used to drive them both to school. “I graduated (high) school with her father.”
Nancy, 55, knows that Earl’s support has been vital in her ministry over the years.
“I can count on Earl, his passion for prayer, his love for the Lord’s work, his efficiency and the seriousness of his call as my partner in the Great Commission, as he passes my requests on to the body of Christ in Myerstown,” she says. Initially he would call her each month for an update. Now she sends her requests to him via e-mail.
Goodman has been involved in a variety of ministries at the church – from the choir to teaching Sunday school.
“I like the church because it preaches the Bible, the whole Bible, and nothing but the Bible,” he says, his eyes sparkling.
But prayer is his passion.
Pastor Keith Shearer tells how Earl is involved in a weekly seniors Bible study at the church, but comes an hour early to lead prayer time.
“It’s important to pray for our missionaries,” says Goodman, a retired office manager and accountant for a poultry processing business.
“Prayer has made the difference for me staying here for the long haul,” Nancy concludes.
“How can I repay him for the years he has invested in communication and prayer?”