Welcome to the Rivers & Lakes Presbytery website. We are delighted to tell you about ourselves and to invite you to participate with us in Christ’s mission. – Paul Heidebrecht, Stated Clerk of Rivers & Lakes Presbytery – firstname.lastname@example.org
Over twenty years ago Dawn Pulgine reluctantly agreed to attend a women’s Bible study at First Presbyterian Church in Aurora, Illinois. Though she remembered her Bible-reading Catholic grandmother with fondness, she was leery of evangelical Christians. But she met Christ in that Bible study and became an active member of the church, as did her husband in later years.
That was only the beginning for Dawn. A neighbor asked her to start a Bible study in her home in 2005. The first day 23 women showed up. Today two women’s Bible studies meet in her home as well as a Bible study for 32 teenage girls. Dawn’s ministry is now called “Getting Real Ministries.”
Were you prepared for all this?
At the beginning, I had no experience at all. I couldn’t believe I was being asked to do these things. Eventually I realized I needed more Biblical training so I enrolled as a student at Moody Bible Institute in Chicago. I finished a degree in Biblical Studies & Communication.
I give these women and girls God’s Word. Most of these ladies do not attend church on a regular basis, and about half of them are Catholic. I’m very straight forward and teach what’s in the Bible. If you are patient and prayerful and “love one another” as Jesus told us, the Holy Spirit does what only He can do.
There are nearly 100 women and girls involved in Getting Real Ministries, and we are outgrowing my home. There’s a very old Congregational church near us that has a For Sale sign outside. About 14 people are left in that church and they want to sell it to someone who can pay the remaining debt of $269,000 and allow them to continue worshipping until they are gone. Four women, unrelated to the ministry, suggested that I buy it for Getting Real, and one even offered to obtain the funds to do it. We are hoping to partner with my church family, First Presbyterian of Aurora and create a community ministry center in that historic church to connect people to Christ. It was built in 1849 and its high steeple can be seen from far away.
What kind of outreach have you done in Aurora?
Our ladies have taken on some major projects. Every Christmas we identify women or families in Aurora that are in need and we raise the funds to meet those needs. Over the years we have managed to collect enough funds to do two “extreme home makeovers” for two family’s homes, paid rent and utilities for the entire winter to single moms in need, purchased a semi-truck full of food to distribute to area families and even paid for school books and supplies for a college student who defeated homelessness.
I’ve also been thinking about ways to reach Muslim women. My daughter, who is quite the evangelist, attends a high school where many Muslim and Hindu kids attend and she has reached out to them. I am praying for a way that Getting Real Ministries may come alongside Muslim women and point them to Christ.
How does your church fit into all this?
We are looking forward to working with First Pres of Aurora as ministry partners. While many of the women in my group are uneasy with attending a church denomination other than what they were raised in, Pastor Jeff Moore is someone they respect and trust. I know my church is fully behind me. I’m not trying to build a big organization. I’m just hoping to connect people to Christ. As Henry Blackaby says in Experiencing God, go where you see God at work. That’s what I want to do.