Jei Wilson has been a member of Roseland Christian Ministries in Chicago, Ill., for nearly 30 years.
It all started when his mother, Irene Wilson, ordered the Today devotional after learning about it from the Back to God Hour radio program.
“When I was younger, we were always a believing family. My mom faithfully studied her Bible, but we didn’t feel the need to belong to a church,” Wilson recalled.
“But once she found the Today, she wanted to find a church associated with it. She liked the way it spoke plain English and was true to what the Bible said.”
Back to God Ministries staff directed the family to Roseland Christian Ministries, a church in their neighborhood. Wilson, who was 18 at the time, admitted his mom had to cajole him into going to church. “I was working nights, so it took a bit for me to want to go.”
Wilson was glad she did. Rev. Tony Van Zanten, pastor at that time, soon discovered Wilson’s love for music and pointed him to a set of drums “that was just collecting dust,” Wilson said.
“I played along with Mrs. Van, who liked traditional music, and Miss Williams, whose style had a more bluesy feel.”
Wilson has been committed to the church’s ministry since then, serving as a deacon and then an elder. Even when he married and moved to Arlington Heights, Ill., he and his family continued to travel to Roseland for worship.
At age 46, Wilson has recently been appointed director of ministries and development for Roseland Christian Ministries, leaving behind a successful career in information technology.
His responsibilities include overseeing the housing ministry, women's shelter, thrift store, and food pantry. He’s also been encouraged to look into studying in order to be licensed to preach.
“I’ve been asked several times to fill in for [Pastor] Joe Huizenga when he can’t be here to preach,” said Wilson.
Wilson is thankful his mother received that first Today devotional. He said he clearly sees God’s hand in leading him to this point.
“I’m where I’m supposed to be, doing what God prepared me to do.”
Wilson, along with the staff and volunteers who work with him at the neighborhood food pantry, distribute Today devotionals to those who come to the church for assistance and encouragement.