Faith Baptist Church

*This was a recent picture I took of our Mission Church, when Ty and I were in South Louisiana back in May. It used to be white, and had a nice church sign in the front, with other changes.

 

Faith Baptist Church

What is the church to you? What does church look like to you? When I was a teenager, age 15-18, I actually assisted my family in starting a mission church, Faith Baptist Church. It was located in south Louisiana. The following article is made up of happenings, memories and day to day activities of my life during these teenage years.

During this season of my life, I grew up in so many ways. I became part of a “team” with my mom and dad, simply because I was their child, and happened to live at home when my dad’s previous dream was about ready to become reality.

During these teenage years, I learned how to really “think out of the box”, when it came to friendships, dating, working, interacting with people. I got my first job and met my future husband during this portion of my life. I was pointed in a certain direction, because of this mission church experience. I learned many lessons, and had a “front row seat” in people watching. I was able to see what was important to people. I saw people’s good sides and their bad sides, played out right in front of me. For a teenager, that was quite an important visual, and stayed in my mind.

Living in a Pastor’s family, and starting a new church, was a time where being polite and not wanting to hurt feelings when it came to food, put me in the hospital for a week and a half! This was South Louisiana, and Cajun food was something I wasn’t used to, and the rich and hot seasonings just didn’t agree with me at all! When we first moved in, and families would have us over, I was told to be nice, polite, and try whatever was served. So, I had to learn the hard way to try things in moderation, or not at all. The doctor’s diagnosis of “Inflamed Intestines” helped drive that home! Ha!
I still have vivid memories of everyone at our mission church. Some are good, and some are bad, but all special and life changing. It was definitely fun to be able to talk with my parents as a collective unit about different situations and our church – the joys, sorrows, and just plain craziness (in my mind). I remember laughing and crying together, and that’s a great memory for me to have. I remember seeing my parents, who I’ve made no secret about having problems with through the years, play Jesus out in front of me in the way that they treated others. I saw them put others first, and spend their own personal money, and savings on other people without batting an eyelash. I saw them invite hippies and other folks into our church, in a very different way than other churches and organizations in our area did, at that time.

I learned a lot of life skills that I would later see little by little. I learned a lot about people and though some may not know this, I’m really an introvert, so this was really a school of learning for me, because this was a place where we dealt with people, visited people, in the hospital (I’d go with my dad a lot), nursing home, the sick at home, or newcomers in town, or who had visited the church for the first time. Back then, you could request a Newcomers list from the city,
and Mom, Dad and others in our church, were very good about jumping on that right away.
I also learned office skills that would change my working life in the future, such as typing up a weekly church bulletin, and assisting my father with that. I learned how to use a mimeograph machine, and each week we’d run the bulletins and other articles off using that machine. We also had a newsletter called, “The Solid Rock”, that we would send out once a month, and we sent that off to be printed, and my dad was really proud of that newsletter. It was sent out to church members, visitors, newcomers, family, friends, and to our “home church” that was sponsoring us. “The Solid Rock” was comprised of articles that my dad would write, and the name pretty much summed it up. It was straight out of the Bible, and he would ask other pastors, professors and missionaries to write articles too.

I had taken piano lessons for many years and had started playing once in a while for youth group or church growing up, but now I was going into the role of church pianist at our mission church, and dad was the song leader. Every Saturday morning became our time of practice. He had to be careful not to pick songs with too many sharps or flats. Ha! We would really crack up over that. He told me that because of our lack of experience, it made for a really hilarious practice time for us! Each week was stressful, frustrating, but it was also engaging, challenging and fun.

Have you ever been put in a situation, because of family, or something you were not able to make the choice one way or another to get involved with? If you look back on that experience, most of the time you will see that though it might have been uncomfortable, or even strange at times, hard to deal with, and even made you question God, it molded you into the person that you are. It even strengthened you and forced you to walk through things that, given a choice on your own, you might not have done. Sometimes we view things as “normal”, and so anything outside of the norm is hard for us to go through.
During this time of helping with and attending our mission church, there were times when I interacted with friends, neighbors, and others who would ask me where I attended church, and sometimes it was hard, because there were a lot of people who didn’t understand what a mission church was. We had property that our church was paying for that we were going to build a church on in the near future, but we were meeting in a big house that we were renting. We fixed it up beautifully, and it served our purpose for that season, but it was different, very different. I had seen new small churches at various places in my life, but I knew that a lot of people had not, and so to them, in my mind, they might think that I was strange, weird or just plain different.
Being different never bothered me, and in fact one of the first posters I remember getting as a very early teenager and putting up in my room said, “I act different because I am different”, so already God was preparing me to be different and feel different in this world.
It was also a time when I found out who my true friends were. One of my best friends was the First Baptist Church preacher’s daughter in our city. Even though we really had totally different situations, we were very close. It always interested her to see what was involved in starting a new church and found it fascinating. She had been in Eunice for several years, so she was able to show me the ropes. God definitely put us together as friends, because there were times when we were able to cry together, laugh together and understand each other in ways that other people might not get or know what was happening. We were also able to go out on double dates together, and she generally was a very good person to talk with about guys that she already knew had our standards and morals. So we definitely jived, and we were in a lot of the same classes at school too. She definitely helped my Junior and Senior years of high school to be full of joy and laughter.

My love of music also played a part in my school years. I was always in choir, and that didn’t change in my high school years. I loved it so much. In fact, I was chosen to be in a small group (four boys and four girls) to sing our class song, “We May Never Pass This Way Again”, by Seals and Crofts. *(The lyrics of this song are printed at the end of this story.) Music was important at church too. Besides being the church pianist, I sang many solos, duets with my mom or dad, and as a trio with them.

I’ve always enjoyed doing things for people, but I think this ministry really changed my life in that regard. I’ve always loved crafts, and if you’ve been around me more than a few minutes, you know that about me, but I know that my love of crafts went into high gear during this season of my life.
I taught 3-5 year olds in Sunday School, and made crafts for them to go along with the lesson. Some of the crafts would be made for them ahead of time, that they could color, and some of the crafts were halfway made, and we would complete the process in class. I remember my parents coming into my room and seeing me sprawled out on the bed with papers, scissors and markers everywhere, scratching their heads, laughing and chuckling and then shutting the door, because I think they even wondered how in the world a 16/17 year old could enjoy doing this. But God was at work in my life and my heart.
I also loved baking cookies (and still do), and would bake them and take them to neighbors just out of the blue to brighten their day, and I learned to recognize people on their birthdays, and to cheer them up too, and had so much fun doing it! I really think this time in my life fed this deep desire of encouraging others, giving to them and serving them.

One memory that has been etched in my mind, was when my dad had been out visiting one day, and met an elderly widow woman who touched his heart. He noticed that she probably had 70 to 80 glasses, pots, pans, bowls, and plastic containers all over her house catching water that would drip through her roof whenever it rained. He noticed that she didn’t have much, but was so sweet and happy. She loved God, and was so positive, when she had every reason to be sad. She didn’t have any family living in the area, so he talked to the church about possibly helping her by putting a new roof on her house. I will never forget that experience as long as I live. At 17 years of age, I was up on top of a roof doing everything that you do when you put a new roof on someone’s house. My mom took a before and after picture, and I wish I still had that photo, because I didn’t even look like the same person at the end of the day. But we had enough people, and at the end of the day, she had a new roof, and could put her bowls, pots and pans back in the cabinet. She was so overwhelmed that a little mission church, who didn’t have much ourselves, would give so much from their hearts and bodies. She called it “Muscular Christianity”, and as the saying goes, “actions speak louder than words” a lot of times. That elderly woman had a spring in her step for quite a while after that. And it taught me a lot about serving, and going out of your comfort zone, trying something new that maybe you didn’t even think you could do, in order to bring happiness to someone else.

It was also during this time of life, that I purchased my first car and paid off a two-year note in one year. It was a real learning experience and taught me a lot about saving and reaching a goal that would help me in my life. When Ty and I got married, because of that, we did not have a car payment for quite awhile.

My life as a teenager in south Louisiana was much different than my earlier teenage years had been in Colorado, where we had lived before moving to Louisiana. In Colorado, we had malls, bowling alleys, skating rinks,(ice and roller),ski resorts, mountain activities, movie theaters, restaurants, and many other places to go to have clean fun, as a young person. But in south Louisiana, they didn’t have much in clean cut fun at that time. They might have had a few of those things, but you’d have to drive many miles to find them. It was hard when you would go out on a date, or out with friends, because there really wasn’t much to do there. Many times, we’d “stay in”, and make dinner together, play games, watch a movie, or take a walk. Most of the teenagers, at that time, (Ty included), drank alcohol from very early ages. The bars in our area would allow teenagers to come in and drink, and that was pretty much the choice that was available to me. I had to really think “outside of the box” when it came to dating activities. Ha!
One of the things that our mission church did for me, as a teenager, was to show me that there were so many things we could do for fun, even if we had to use our imaginations a little more than we might have wanted. *I’ll never forget trying a frito pie for the first time, at a “drive in restaurant”, where they brought the small bag of fritos out to you, the bag had been cut open, and the chili and cheese were added. Now, that was fun!!! I also began having regular visits with the sweet older lady, whose roof we fixed, and looked forward to it. She had the best stories, and awesome hugs. God was preparing me to really take in the simple things in life and find meaning and pleasure in them. He was also showing me how important it was to do things for others, and get the focus off of myself once in a while.

**Our 1974 Class Song…

“We May Never Pass This Away Again”, by Seals and Crofts…
Life, so they say, is but a game and we let it slip away.
Love, like the Autumn sun, should be dyin’ but it’s only just begun.
Like the twilight in the road up ahead, we don’t see just where we’re goin’.
And all the secrets in the Universe, whisper in our ears;
And all the years will come and go, take us up, always up.
We may never pass this way again. We may never pass this way again.
We may never pass this way again.

Dreams, so they say, are for the fools and they let ’em drift away.
Peace, like the silent dove, should be flyin’ but it’s only just begun.
Like Columbus in the olden days, we must gather all our courage.
Sail our ships out on the open sea. Cast away our fears;
And all the years will come and go, and take us up, always up.

We may never pass this way again. We may never pass this way again.
We may never pass this way again.

So, I wanna laugh while the laughin’ is easy. I wanna cry if it makes it worthwhile.
We may never pass this way again, that’s why I want it with you.
‘Cause, you make me feel like I’m more than a friend. Like I’m the journey and you’re the journey’s end.

We may never pass this way again, that’s why I want it with you.
We may never pass this way again. We may never pass this way again.
We may never pass this way again. We may never pass this way again.

40 Years of Reflection!

ty and i

As Ty and I are in our 40 Years of Marriage Celebration time, (June 6, but hey, we are dragging it out), I have been doing some reflecting, and thought, I’d share. **For the very few who will actually read this all the way through, just know that my heart is heavy, and I really feel led to pour out my “self”, and for once, actually have the time to sit down and do it. I have a lot of friends and family who are going through changes, and struggles, and hardships, and thought this just might help someone.

I’m going to be real, because I want to help anyone reading this, who is going through changes, complete changes, different seasons, moving somewhere totally different, and if nothing else, you’ll know that I do understand. Life is NOT just a bowl of cherries, which sometimes is portrayed on Social Media, etc.

When I met Ty, I was a junior in High School. He was already out of High School and had served in the Marines, and had been in and out of trouble with drug use. He is right at 6 years older than me. He came with friends to our Mission Church, where my dad was the minister. He made a decision to follow Christ, and changed his life around. And…here we are…some 43 or so years later…

I married a man called into the ministry when I was 18 years old. We spent 12 1/2 years of our lives either preparing in Bible College, or in actual church ministry, in two churches, in Wichita Falls, TX and Pueblo, CO, with Ty as pastor. Then, our lives took a HUGE turn. Ty and I had prayed for about a year, and he felt that he could minister outside of his specific calling, and felt led to move on to another career choice. We moved back to Texas (from Colorado, where we were at that time), and Ty worked for a vending company owned by friends from church, and relatives of friends Ty had worked for during college – Harry Seif, (Regal Vending, with Rex, Liz, Mike and Darla Darla Trull at the helm, for many years (11 at least). They were amazing to work for, and he felt blessed. During that time, he worked all over Dallas/Ft. Worth, and ministered to so many people. I worked for Baylor Homecare as an Office Manager, with Kari Hickman at the helm, who I loved dearly, and still do, and is amazing at everything she does.

Ty had always felt that he would love to travel, and loved driving, and considered over the road truck driving. We went to a few meetings, and with both children graduated from high school and in college, he went to Truck Driving School. My company, Baylor HomeCare, was closing, due to Medicare guidelines, and so it seemed a perfect time to change directions. Our daughter, Jessica, had told me about a job opening at the university where she was attending.

We moved to Arkadelphia, AR, where Jessica was in college, and while Ty drove over the road, I worked in the Admissions Office at Ouachita Baptist University, where Rebecca Jones and David Goodman were at the helm, and I can’t say enough about how wonderful they were and are. Ty had a real ministry with truck drivers and still does. I loved working with the students, and counselors, and learned so much from them, not to mention being close to our daughter and future son in law.

We loved the Dallas area, and our kids lived there or close by, and Ty realized that he could transfer to a different truck lines, so we moved to the Dallas area, and have been here ever since.

Ty has continued in Trucking, and I worked for over 10 years as an Avon District Sales Manager, and Church Secretary at Ovilla Road Baptist Church for 3 1/2 years. We loved our church, and served there for many years.

I was in a horrible-life changing car accident a little over 2 years ago, and 5 surgeries later, am still healing, and facing more surgeries. My life has drastically changed, from being very, very busy, to actually being able to stop and smell the roses once in a while!

We have lived in Waxahachie for a long time, and love our home, new church, and our wonderful family and friends. Ty is a local truck driver now for Timco, here in Waxahachie.

There have been times in these 40 years that we have wanted to strangle each other, leave each other,  cried with each other, been furious with each other, had our hearts broken, been blessed beyond measure, sought comfort with each other, ran into each other’s arms, and prayed together.

We have ten grandchildren (notice I started with them- ha!), two children, who we can’t talk about enough, and love so much, Jessica and Aaron, and two amazing, wonderful and awesome children in law, Doug and Jill. Wow! So blessed.

One constant, and one never changing detail of our marriage was and is the Lord. Oh, how He has seen us through, sharpened us, taught us, restored us, used us, disciplined us, molded us, had patience with us, and I could go on and on, and there’s still more to come…

Lamentations 3:22-23

The steadfast love of the LORD never ceases; His mercies never come to an end;
they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.