Alumni Spotlight – Rev. Dr. Linda Adams
Alumni Spotlight: Linda Adams
By Kari Lutes, Alumni Office Intern
Linda Adams (M.Div 1991 & DM 2000) came to Christ during a children’s worship service when she was seven years old.
“I remember that when I was seven, I was in children’s worship at my church, and the lady up front had a flannel-graph story of Jesus and the lost sheep,” Linda said. “She used Isaiah 56, and I realized I had gone astray and I needed Jesus as my savior.”
Linda enrolled in Seminary but did not come to Asbury until after she had been invited to speak on campus for a ‘Women in Ministry’ Chapel.
“When I was on the campus for that, I felt the Lord speaking to me and inviting me,” Linda said. So, Linda accepted the call and, “We moved from mid-town Manhattan to mid-town Wilmore,” she said with a laugh.
Linda believes that Asbury helped to strengthen her faith and prepare her for what lay ahead.
“I have great appreciation for Asbury,” she said. “I believe that if I’m bearing some fruit now, it is all because of the Lord and His presence in my life, but that was strengthened and matured in very important ways both times that [I] came and studied at Asbury.”
Linda served in pastoral ministry for 17 years, taking one year off to complete the Beeson doctorate program. While serving at New Hope Free Methodist Church in Rochester, New York, Linda received the call to the next step of faith God had for her life.
In 2007, 33 refugees came to Linda’s church, opening her eyes to the global church.
“They had spiritual vitality blended with material poverty and a harrowing experience of war, refugee camps, and murder, and their lives had been very difficult, and yet when they came to our church we recognized that we are members of the same family,” Linda said. “We truly had met brothers and sisters that we just had never known before.”
The same year, Linda received a call to become the Director of International Child Care Ministries (ICCM), when the former director told her she believed that Linda had been set apart to lead ICCM. A call Linda hadn’t been expecting.
“I said, ‘No, I love what I’m doing.’” Linda said.
However, the Lord continued to call her.
“The Lord started speaking to me in unmistakable ways that made it clear the Lord was inviting me to step away from that church, even when it was going better than it had ever gone, and move to Indianapolis and become the director of ICCM,” Linda said. “When the Lord speaks, and He speaks clearly, firmly, redundantly, tenderly, you just can’t say no.”
Linda has worked at ICCM for 9 years and has visited 36 countries during her time as the director.
ICCM has taught her many things about the global church and God’s heart for children.
“I have a much, much bigger concept of the kingdom of God, and much deeper respect for and love of the peoples of the world, and appreciation for how the global church obeys the gospel and obeys the call for justice,” Linda said.
Linda’s own story of coming to Christ at a young age reflects what she has come to know as the 4-14 window, a window in life when children are most open to accepting Christ. ICCM focuses on this window within the 10-40 window to reach children at this time when, “God has created a window of openness in the human mind and heart,” Linda said.
One of the ways ICCM reaches children is through child sponsorship.
“There is a genius in connecting one caring donor on one side of the earth to one needy child on the other side of the earth,” Linda said.
Linda sees child sponsorship as a reflection of Moses’ story in the book of Exodus. She looks at the story of Pharaoh’s daughter and her choice to help Moses, rather than ignore or harm him, as a choice that sponsors can make for children across the world.
“I think of sponsors as having the opportunity to do what the pharaoh’s daughter did, to say, ‘I can’t help them all, but here is a way for one child to come floating up near me, and I can stand alongside this one desperate family, for this child, to invest in this child’s future, and let God take it from there,’” Linda said.
Another project Linda is working on with ICCM is building a high school in a small town in Ethiopia.
“We’ve been working on this plan at this place for a couple of years and we finally got to the place, the tipping point to say, ‘okay, let’s start,’” Linda said. She described the process as one where, “We work together [with the leaders in Ethiopia] and we trust God.”
Alumni can join ICCM in their ministry through donations or sponsorships, or come alongside Linda and the ministry in prayer, praying for children to find sponsors, blessings on those who sponsor, protection and wisdom for the leaders within the ministry, and, most importantly, that every child in the program comes to know Jesus as their savior.
Linda has seen the difference ICCM has made in the lives of children, and God’s faithfulness to the life-changing decisions made in their young lives.
“I’ve met many adults who are now pastors, superintendents, teachers, school directors, mayors, bishops, and others, who tell me that they were sponsored children when they were young,” She said. “The sky’s the limit for what God can do through them in all these different 32 countries.”
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