Outside His Comfort Zone

The Lord has a way of stretching us, of taking us outside of our comfort zone. This is certainly the case with Don Bullock. Like the well-known verse Proverbs 3:5–6 states, “Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct your paths.” So when Don was asked to join the usher team at Harvest OC, he didn’t trust in his own understanding but the Lord’s.

Don's Story, "Out of His comfort Zone"

Born in Georgia during World War II to parents Ralph and Edith, Don was an only child. He was two years old when the family moved to Bedford-Stuyvesant (aka, Bed-Stuy or Stuyford), Brooklyn, New York. A devoted Baptist-Christian, Edith would take her young son to church every Sunday. But that didn’t stop Don from getting into trouble. Bedford-Stuyvesant is one of the rougher areas of Brooklyn, and after getting caught smoking at school his parents sent him away to Henderson, North Carolina to live with his grandmother, Adelaide (aka, “Big Momma” as Don called her). Don was still rebellious and not the most obedient grandson. Being a teacher for 50 years, everyone in Henderson knew Adelaide so Don couldn’t get away with much. He recalls, “One day I tried to play hooky and went to the town pool hall. Big Momma had eyes everywhere, everyone knew her, including the owner of the pool hall. I couldn’t get away with anything. Big Momma set me straight and I loved her for it.” Don was very close to his grandmother who was, like his mother, a devout Christian. Big Momma died in 1980. Don’s father passed away in 1983, and after his mother’s house was robbed, Don decided to move his mother Edith back to Williamsburg, Virginia, which is where she lived before they moved to New York.

Don met Nancy at a nightclub on Long Island where he was playing tenor sax in a band. Don and Nancy married in 1969 and they had three daughters together—Rene, Tracy, and Kelly. Once Don’s daughters were grown and out of the house he and his wife grew apart and without the solid foundation of Christ, in 2002 Don and Nancy divorced.

Don had always wanted to come to California, so following the divorce, in 2006 Don moved to San Jose, where he worked as an electrical engineer. Questioning the meaning of his life, Don started going to church every once in a while. In 2009, Don’s mother became very ill so he left California and went to Williamsburg, Virginia to stay and take care of her. Edith passed away in 2010 at 94 years old. Don knows without a shadow of a doubt that he will see his mother again in Heaven. “She was a strong Christian,” recalls Don. He returned to California later that year but this time to Orange County, where he worked as a consultant for a while before retiring. Don’s daughter Tracy lives in Huntington Beach, where she works as a mechanical engineer for Boeing.

A solid Christian, Tracy is married with two children (a son and daughter) and they attend Rock Harbor regularly. Don started going to Rock Harbor with his daughter and her family and, although he enjoyed it, felt a bit out of place as a retired, older adult. Don often listened to Pastor Greg’s sermons on the radio and one day heard him announce the service time for Harvest Orange County, Thursday nights at Free Chapel, so he started going. “After the divorce and death of my mother I had a lot more time to reflect on my life and really began to question the meaning of life. Coming to church became very important to me.” Hearing Pastor Greg’s sermons, the Lord began tugging at Don’s heartstrings and he decided to start living for Christ.

In 2011, Harvest OC moved into their own building on Campus Drive in Irvine so Don started attending weekly services on both Thursday nights and Sunday mornings. When Don noticed men in the church setting up chairs between services, he started helping. “Don’s a faithful servant who helped us set up chairs every week without ever being asked,” Alex Koptich (head usher) explains. “Since he was already there and helping every week, I thought he’d make a great usher so I asked him to join the usher team.”

“Who, me? Naw, no way. I’m the guy in the background. I’m not a front man kinda guy.” Don was never the type of guy who wanted attention, in school, in his job, etc. “I’m really a loner; I always have been,” says Don. But Alex was insistent and when Don realized it wasn’t about him but about the Lord, he agreed. After joining the usher team, he realized that serving at the church kept him focused on the Lord. It also gave Don a sense of belonging. Don started greeting people at the door and began building friendships. He saw people walking in the door, especially noticing people walking in who seemed to be sad, angry, or worried. Don’s goal became to make people laugh and smile; to give them a hug to help them feel loved and accepted.

When you see Don greeting people at the door, you see his heart; his heart is pure. He loves the Lord and the Lord has given him a love for others.

“I’m basically a loner. But here, the Lord has transformed me into a social, gregarious person. The Lord has changed me. The Lord seems to have given me the eyes to see people the way He does, to love people, and people seem to respond. They even remember my name and go out of their way to say hi to me. I’ve never experienced that before. It’s nice to know that people think that highly of me. I feel like I’m part of a family, God’s family,” says Don.

So the Lord has taken Don out of his comfort zone. Don has been stretched in ways he would never have imagined and we’re blessed because of it. Don is that smile, handshake, hug, and pat on the back as we walk in the door. Don’s favorite Bible verse is one he learned as a child, Psalm 23. Even though he heard it a lot he never really understood what God meant by “I shall not want.” Don says, “God has given me so much. I don’t need anything else; God will take care of me. The Lord is my Shepherd, I shall not want.”

So don’t be afraid if the Lord calls you out of your comfort zone. You never know how He might use you and, in return, bless you beyond what you could have ever thought or imagined.

If you would like to be a part of “Knowing God and Making Him Known,” visit volunteer.harvest.org and see the many ways for you to serve.