Here is the latest interview with Deacon Ray Kowalski. You can read the other interviews here: Gordon Oeschger, Alan Warren, John Carmichael.
1. How long have you and Diana attended Windsor Baptist Church?
We have been attending Windsor Baptist for nearly 25 years. One Sunday after we moved into the area, we piled Jeanine and Kim in the station wagon for Sunday service. As we got on the road we realized we were late for the other church we were planning to visit that Sunday, so we adjusted by going to the closest church, Windsor Baptist. Diana was familiar with the church. As a youth WBC had graciously allowed her youth praise band “The Action Singers” to practice at the church. On that first Sunday we were warmly welcomed, like many of you were, and have been coming ever since.
2. How did you first become involved?
God first called us to serve by leading the worship team for the 8:30 AM Sunday service. Some ministries I have been involved in are the Evangelism Explosion Ministry, the Usher Ministry and the Deacons. Diana has been involved in the BOCE and music ministries.
3. How did you and Diana meet; what is your story?
We met at Bethany Beach, DE. I lived and worked in the Wilmington area. Diana’s West Chester neighbors needed a house sitter just when I accepted a new job in Malvern. I moved to PA, we dated and were engaged on New Year’s Eve. We like to say, “Diana married the boy next door.”
4. How did you come to faith in Christ?
I was raised in the Catholic faith and family. As a youth, I remember being affected by the death of relative who had questions and doubts about eternal life. Soon after graduating from college, I experienced those same questions and doubts during a brief illness. I was led to a Bible preaching church and heard the gospel message Sunday after Sunday.
I resisted and I struggled with the gospel message with many sleepless nights, thinking of the religious culture that I was raised in. I feared my family would disown or shun me; would I be an outcast? After some months finally, God gave me the faith and strength to believe in Him and trust only in His work on the cross as atonement for my sin. I then was able confess Jesus Christ as my Lord and Savior to others and my family. Since then God has led another one of my brothers to Him. Praise God!
5. Why is membership at WBC important?
Membership at WBC is important because it represents a commitment one makes to the family of God. We grow up in a family developing an identity of whom we are. Likewise, in the church family we develop and learn of the identity of who we are in Christ and what Christ wants us to be. I remember in our family growing up as brothers and sister, we would come to each other’s aid in tough times. In a church family we come to each other’s aid and build each other up and encourage each other in the knowledge and love of Christ.
In a family this commitment is given by birthright. In a church this commitment is expressed in the act of membership. Membership is saying that you are serious about this commitment of building yourself and each other in the knowledge and love of Christ.
6. What is something God has taught you in recent years?
Recently I have come upon a serious illness. I was faced with something that on the surface could be viewed as a curse or unfortunate event, but certainly not a blessing. I was uncertain of how I would react. I prayed that God would cure me and unburden my family and me from this illness. I asked myself the question, how could I allow God to be glorified in the midst of this struggle?
First, I prayed to God that he would not let me abandon my faith; that He would give me the strength to not lose my faith in the midst of this struggle. God answered my prayer and gave me the wisdom to know that He is greater than my struggle; He is greater than my illness; He could defeat my illness despite whatever happens. I know that our God is greater. He has already defeated death and through faith in Jesus Christ has promised the hope of eternal life. It’s that hope and the Holy Spirit that sustains me today.
7. What do you love about serving as a deacon at WBC?
Serving communion is my favorite act of worship as a deacon. I like reading the Bible, preparing for and leading our small group, and keeping in touch with those on my shepherding list.
8. What do you like to do for fun?
That’s an easy one. It’s hard not to love God’s people or His creation. I like to hike and have recently acquired the liking to fly fish. You can sometimes see my wife and me on the East Brandywine or some other local stream throwing dry flies or woolly buggers to those stocked and holdover trout.
9. How can the Windsor church family encourage the deacons?
I covet your prayer support and praise the Lord for your generous contributions to the deacon’s fellowship fund. It helps many when they are in need.