Glenys Nellist arrived in the United States from Liverpool, England in 2000. She was accompanied by her husband, David who was to become the pastor at Schoolcraft United Methodist Church (SUMC) for the next eight years.
“We will never forget the day we left England and flew 4,000 miles to the little town of Schoolcraft,” Glenys remembered. “We thought we were coming to an empty parsonage but we opened the door to a home that was fully furnished, a fridge full of food, and a car in the garage. All this was given by SUMC and Milwood UMC, a church we had visited the year before our arrival in Schoolcraft. Those two churches had worked together to welcome us. It was just as if love had flown ahead of us and was waiting for our arrival.”
This move was the beginning of fulfilling a dream Glenys Nellist had while raising four children in England and serving in churches. It allowed her to finally become a writer.
Once at SUMC, Nellist became the education director and part of that responsibility was Christian education for children’s ministry. She spent time researching curriculums, children’s Bible studies, and Bibles for children. Nellist said, “One day God gave me the desire to write a children’s Bible story book. I knew it had to be something thing really good because there are so many wonderful books already available.” Thus began a long journey from 2008 to 2014 to bring her book from concept to publication by Zondervan in August of 2014, Nellist told her audience at SUMC.
Along the way she had shelved the book writing for a year. One day, her husband asked, “Did God call you write the book and do you think God wants you to finish it?” Her answer was yes. Then he asked, “What if Noah had only built half the ark?” That was the inspiration Nellist needed to finish what she felt God had called her to do.
The book is titled, Love Letters from God. “The book is written for children ages four to eight, but is already reaching and connecting with adults and younger children,” Nellist said. There are eighteen children’s Bible stories from the Old and New Testament. Following each story, children can open the lift-the-flap envelope and read their very own Love Letter from God.
In addition, Nellist has included with each story a memory verse that really is a very special promise called, God’s Wonderful Words to You. This verse shows God’s personal love, and encouragement and hope for every child. The book encourages interactivity with an invitation for the child to write back to God. “Who doesn’t like to get an RSVP to their letters? God loves to hear from us,” according to Nellist. Her heart’s desire for the book is that it connects children to God and Christ at a young age so they experience His presence throughout their life.
She recently had a book signing at SUMC and sold all of the books she brought and had to deliver more just recently. The book has been on the best seller list for the top 100 children’s story books. She personally has sold over eight hundred and Amazon is on the way to 2,000 copies sold in just a couple of months.
Recalling Nellist’s time in Schoolcraft, Shea Wetzler-Hinga, who worked with the couple, said, “They made a concerted effort to draw the Schoolcraft community churches together as a corporate body to be in unity and [good] relationships. There were various community events and ‘taking turns’ to facilitate events such as Thanksgiving programs, summer tent meeting, High School Baccalaureates, July 4th parades, barbecues, and prayers in the park.”
Nellist has moved from Schoolcraft and is now living in Grand Rapids where David pastors Trinity United Methodist Church. Nellist is now The Coordinator of Children’s Ministry for the West Michigan Conference of the United Methodist Church. She isn’t resting on her literary laurels either. There are already two more books planned for release in 2015 and 2016. One is for babies and toddlers, and the second is Christmas Love Letters from God.
Love Letters from God is available at all Christian bookstores, Barnes and Noble, and on line at Amazon. Nellist can be reached through her website if you have questions or would like to discuss hosting a book signing event. www.glenysnellist.com