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  • Neida Popkey

God chooses us

EASTPOINTE – I was raised on the lower eastside of Detroit. My family was large with eight kids plus my mom and dad. Every Sunday my mom would get us ready for church, and we would walk down the street two blocks to church. I don't know how she did it! I grew up knowing that God loved me and wanted me to be good. I learned my Bible verses and read my Bible every day. I loved to sing, and was part of the junior choir. I was a happy child.


It was during a revival service when I was nine years old that I realized I needed to pray and ask Jesus to come and live in my heart. I knew that Romans 3:23 said, "For all have sinned and come short of the glory of God." I prayed for God to forgive my sin, and take me to heaven when I died. It was such a simple thing to do when you are nine years old. Little did I know how much more I would learn to love Jesus and understand what it all meant. It meant that I was a child of God and He was preparing a place for me in heaven. It also meant that He had some special things for me to do for Him. 


When I was 16, I went through a time of doubting if I had truly accepted Jesus as my Savior. I searched the Scripture and Romans 10:9-10 kept coming to my heart and mind, "That if you shall confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus and shall believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shall be saved. For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation." Through more Bible study and prayer, I was assured that I had accepted Jesus as my personal Savior.


Several years later we spent time learning about our spiritual gifts. It was so amazing to realize that God had something special for ME to do. I discovered that one of my gifts was working with children. God led me to teach the Girls in Action (GA) mission group in my church and I loved it. I attended GAs from 9 years old to 16, and then went right into teaching young girls about missions and how the whole world needed to know our Jesus. It didn't stop there. I have been teaching kids in Sunday School, VBS (Vacation Bible School), and children's church ever since. The best opportunity came when I was 33 years old. I took my daughter to GA camp at Bambi Lake and was a leader. It was so awesome, and God affirmed He wasn't finished with me.


A couple of years later I was asked if I would be willing to be trained as the camp director. I was overwhelmed and was afraid of something that big. I felt so inadequate.  Of course I prayed, and God used a children's song to speak to me. It said, "So I'll give what I have to Jesus, even though what I have is small, and if He wants to bless me and use me as He will, I will gladly give Him my all." I had to give God my all.

I accepted His call and followed Him for 33 years (plus some) serving as the GA/Acteen (known as Girls Mission Camp today) Camp Director. God has called many young women to serve in His kingdom. They have gone on mission trips, they are leaders in their churches, and some are missionaries. God knows who we are and where He can use each of us. We need to respond to His call.


John 15:16 says, "Ye have not chosen me, but I have chosen you, and ordained you that you should go and bring forth fruit . . ." God's plans are so much bigger than we can imagine or think! Trusting in Jesus has been the best thing I have ever done. I'm praying that you are part of the Kingdom and that God is using you, too!



Nelda Popkey is married to Jim Popkey, mother to Jinelle and Kevin and has five beautiful grandchildren. She attends Eastside Community Church, Eastpointe, Michigan.  Nelda retired from Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan in 2020.


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