A prayer warrior finds family with internationals and IFI.
“I feel like IFI is family,” says Connie Pridemoore, a recently retired nurse, smiling warmly.
Connie serves IFI in multiple capacities as a volunteer, including as an English Conversation Partner and a member of the IFI Prayer team. But this feeling of family that she has developed with both IFI and the students she serves makes the work worthwhile.
“It is a ministry, but it’s just being friends. It’s about actually being a part of the students’ lives, so they can have someone to call.”
Perhaps this love of the family oriented aspects of IFI’s ministry can be traced back to ways God has moved in Connie’s life, and her family’s.
Growing up in South Charleston, WV, where you could walk everywhere and you knew your neighbor, Connie would enjoy plenty of time with her family. From fishing and bowling, to vacation Bible school, she did everything with her sister, and most things with her parents. Upon graduating high school, though, it was time to move into the next step of her life. Connie’s dream was to become a nurse, but God put the call to missions on her heart.
“God put Korea on my heart, as well as Vietnam and the war. I even cut out pictures of our service men from the newspapers to pray over. I prayed to God that if He wanted me to be a nurse, let me get accepted to my first choice. If He wanted me to be a missionary, send me to Asbury [a missions-oriented Christian college].”
God answered her when she was accepted to Asbury, where she graduated with a degree in Christian Education. During her time at Asbury, she experienced many life-changing moments. She put her faith fully in Christ during a revival among the students that lasted months. She was baptized during a missions trip to Colombia, where she was also hosted as an international for the first time. And as she was building relationships, God was changing her perception of what love, friendship, and family was all about.
“God got a hold of me. He showed me that to have a friend, you have to be a friend. That means you have to actually accept love from others.”
Connie’s desire to be a nurse didn’t leave her, though. So she graduated from St. Mary’s Hospital School of Nursing, starting her career as an ER nurse and then moving to the Infant Intensive Care Unit. This transition was just another example of God’s careful planning. She and her husband had a son, TJ, who was born with health complications. Her position allowed her to care for him directly. While she was anxious, Connie remembers finding peace after seeing a rainbow.
TJ grew up to be a healthy encourager, a talented musician, and a volunteer firefighter. Tragically, at 18, TJ died in a car accident. Connie was nearly broken as she processed the loss. But during the fireman’s funeral, which welcomed hundreds of people from around town, two of her co-workers mentioned that they had seen a rainbow that day.
“In the Bible, the rainbow is a symbol of God’s promise and a reflection of His glory [Ezekiel 1:28]. I realized that was God saying to me, ‘I’m here Connie.’ He said he would never leave us. But we don’t realize that, He doesn’t!”
With this peace, Connie was able to see the ways God had blessed so many people through her son’s life, not the least of which was that about 50 people received Christ at the funeral. “The Gospel was preached, and Jesus was raised up that day.”
Soon after, Connie moved to Columbus to work. Then she heard about IFI and thought, “how exciting! It’s missions. God called me to missions, but I wasn’t leaving the country.” Through the combination of IFI’s English Conversation Club, the IFI Prayer team, and the missions initiatives at her church, Connie has grown in appreciation for internationals and has developed relationships that enrich her heart everyday.
“I love being able to pray, to see and hear what God is doing. I love watching my international friends grow, especially as they come closer to Christ. I feel like I have lots of children now. He brought me sons and daughters from around the world.”
With her family growing, and the peace of God still clear in each day’s sky, Connie is grateful and excited for more opportunities to fulfill her call to missions with IFI!