We Need More Kevin Tortorellas!

Neal Pollard

Let me preface this by saying I did not get to meet Kevin Tortorella. I know next to nothing about him. Here is what I do know. He reached out and brought Cy Stafford to Christ. Ultimately, as we heard from Cy’s funeral on Saturday, there are 500 churches that have been planted throughout a quarter century of service by Cy and Stephanie in east Africa. There may be literally thousands of people in heaven connected to the work God did through the Staffords in their time in Tanzania. It began in North Carolina, when Kevin taught Cy the gospel. He is not a full-time gospel preacher. All I know is that his courage and care has made a gigantic impact on the Kingdom, whoever else he ever tells the story of Jesus to.

That is the amazing thing about evangelism! God works through men, often even ordinary men, to do extraordinary things which change the world and grow the church. Whatever else we know about Andrew, he brought Peter to Christ and also left an indelible mark on church history. Paul tells us that all, in building on the foundation of Christ, who bring people to Jesus will bring those who will be tried with fire (1 Cor. 3:11-15). While there will be those who do not pass the test of fire, some are said to be gold, silver, and precious stones. It would seem that these are converts who not only pass the test but prove themselves of such great value. Who would question that Cy was a “gold conversion”?

You and I encounter various people throughout life who we have the power to influence. We may fear or hesitate to speak to them about Jesus. We may think it will do no good to speak to them. We may think they are not interested. We might even fail to realize how much they, through our influence and the influence of others, could amount to. But if we will look at the Peters and Cys that have come along in the history of the church, we will be encouraged to take that first step and have that conversation. Don’t worry about what comes next. Just step up. Be a soul-winner. Be a Kevin Tortorella!

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Kevin
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Cy

One thought on “We Need More Kevin Tortorellas!

  1. Neal, I am Kevin Tortorella. Thank you so much for your kind words. There is only one thing special about me. That is that Jesus Christ chose to redeem me by his blood and undeserved mercy. I had nothing to do with Cy Staffords redemption. I was a messenger that God had chosen and thankfully was obedient. I was a new Christian of a couple of years and had that new fervor and love that the Holy Spirit drives.

    To clarify, we actually were in the United States Coast Guard seeking to change our careers. Cy was an Aviation Survival-man and I was a diesel/gas engine mechanic. We arrived in Elizabeth City N.C. at AD School ( aircraft power-plant school) in 1981. We both were already rated and senior to our classmates so we were assigned to a two man room together while the balance of our class berthed and lived in squad bays. Like most Cy Staffords life was a complete wreck. We had very similar pasts, this allowed me to relate to him in ways others could not. He actually would sleep in his beat up Toyota pick up at night and told his family and friends,” I am not staying in that room with that Jesus Freak”. Something I still chuckle about to this day.

    God in his infinite wisdom drew Cy Stafford to him and I was the recipient of a lifelong unshakable relationship with an incredible man. His council,love,and concern for me are beyond words. You see what God brought back thru my obedience is priceless.

    I had the privilege of celebrating Cy’s life in Mississippi this past few days. The ironic thing is I live in Foxboro Massachusetts and the worldly celebration of the Patriots win is just starting here. There is no comparison in scope. My experience in Mississippi left me speechless.

    In closing, We choose to be light in a very dark world. People all around us are screaming out for the freedom that only Christ can bring. God wants to clean up the mess for his deserved glory. Paul was made the Commander in Chief of the apostles and he murdered Christians for a living. David was “a man after Gods own HEART” his past was pretty messy!

    I have always found it interesting when Christ summarized the Gospel he said LOVE twice..

    In Him…Kevin

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