How do you evaluate the impact of a person’s life? I have been struggling with that question for the past three months as we have approached Mary Ellen’s retirement date, May 31, 2023.
Mary Ellen came on staff and moved to Black Mountain in 2004. She had connected with PRMI through the Dunamis Project in Minnesota and, when a track was offered at her church, Hope Presbyterian Church, she joined the leadership team.
In this context, she grew as an effective intercessor and prayer minister. In the late 1990s, she joined mission teams leading intercession and traveled to Uganda, Haiti, Korea, Malaysia, Taiwan, and Korea. After joining the PRMI Staff she continued to lead intercession and mentor others on mission teams to Indonesia, Korea, Taiwan, and China. She also traveled across the United States, United Kingdom, and Canada teaching prayer and event intercession. It is impossible to know how many lives she touched during these past 20-plus years!
Mary Ellen brought to PRMI a range of other gifts that included doing tech support, office systems, writing, and producing publications. This was not part of her original call as Intercessory Prayer Coordinator for the Community of the Cross but it was critically important to the functioning and growth of the ministry at large.
Much to her amazement, one of her greatest joys was working with teenagers at Upward Challenge. She had a key role in mentoring the leaders and was the primary staff link to Upward Challenge from 2005 to 2020.
Mary Ellen’s Retirement
When Mary Ellen announced her plans to retire in the year 2023, I (Cindy) had been hoping she would change her mind. In fact, for much of the final six months of her time with us, I think I was in denial. But it does feel right that her role should shift at this time. So, reluctantly, we are releasing her from the International Executive Leadership Team (TIELT) and her responsibilities within PRMI’s ministry operations.
She plans to continue as a Dunamis Fellowship International member and provide teaching and mentoring in prayer. I expect we will see her at the Community of the Cross from time to time since she will be living in the area for a while. Thank you, Jesus!
It is impossible to replace Mary Ellen. The work that she did has expanded and will be shared by several people on the PRMI team. We call that ministry multiplication! And we are genuinely excited to see people step into, and grow in new roles. But she will be deeply missed by all of us, and I am grieving already.
Please join us in praying for Mary Ellen as she transitions to retirement. I am sure she would appreciate receiving notes from you who knew and worked with her and benefited from her ministry. Feel free to email or mail them to the office (email@example.com), and we will forward them to her.
Reflections from Mary Ellen
In a recent interview, Mary Ellen reflected on her time with PRMI:
“One of my fond memories is doing a prayer exercise with a group of 400 pastors and elders in Indonesia. They used the Lord’s Prayer as a pattern for praying for a specific individual, and afterward one of them said, “Today you have taught us a new way to pray for our people.” God let me see He was doing something, and it was so encouraging!
But I have also learned to appreciate that what God is doing goes far beyond our scheduled teaching times. There’s an important ministry of hanging around, paying attention, keeping an eye out, and following where God leads in conversations. People are desperate for others to notice and listen to them. They want a way to belong. So, remembering names, asking people to help, and giving them a specific role to step into makes them feel seen and valued.
What I will miss most about being on staff with PRMI is all the special people I’ve met and gotten to know; there’s a precious bond of unity with the people here. I’ll miss the variety and opportunities that come with working on staff, and those times of seeing God doing some really neat things.
During my retirement, I plan to downsize and relocate to Minnesota by the end of the year. I’m looking forward to enjoying the parts of my life that have been shut down. I want to spend time pursuing creative endeavors such as music and to devote more time to children. I have a great sense of anticipation for what is to come!
When I think back to when I first started here, I’m not sure why they invited me in. I am grateful to those who have invested in me, taught me, and welcomed me. I am grateful to have met and witnessed so many people who are devoted to the Lord, all with their different personalities and gifts; to have connected with the lives of people in various locations, a connection that comes with being common believers in Jesus Christ. Thank you to the hundreds of people who have allowed me to be a part of their prayer ministry and have trusted us to pray with and for them.”