Joyce T.

Joyce T.

from MO
Story #371
My story began with attending a small one-room country church with my mom and dad. I remember my Sunday School class taught by a lady who always ended every lesson with “If you don’t remember anything else today remember ……..” and she would share the basic bible truth from our lesson. As I grew older, I was the pianist for the church and appreciated the opportunity to serve in a small way using my talent.

When I was 13, I attended a church camp at Hollister Hills Baptist Camp and during a message from our camp missionary, I realized that I needed to surrender my life to Christ and to make this public. The camp staff made sure that I knew the importance of my decision and that I would follow up with my local church when I returned home. I could hardly wait for my mom to pick me up from camp to share the news with her.

In a few weeks, I was baptized by my pastor in a nearby church (because our church did not have a baptistry) and I knew that I had made a life changing decision. I prayed that I would be able to continue following Jesus’ example. Through my teenage years, this was sometimes difficult because of peer pressure but I was able to continue in His steps through prayer and guidance from my parents.

Leaving home to attend college was a big step for me – being an only child – and then having to share space with others, adjusting to college classes, being away from home, etc. I made sure I found a church home in my college town and attended regularly when I did not go home for the week-ends. I transferred at the end of my Sophomore year to a larger college where I was able again to find a church home and continue regular attendance on Sunday morning and sometimes on Sunday evening. I was privileged to meet several people in that church who set examples for me to follow. I did not have a desire to be in the church ministry field but I knew there were a lot of ways I could serve through my everyday life and contacts.

I also attended Baptist Student Union vespers services with some of my classmates and met a young man who later became my husband and father of our children. We were married in that same church, he was ordained a deacon, and I served as a part-time secretary during my last two years of college. The pastor and his wife were so supportive of us as a young couple giving us a lot of advice and encouragement. We were so surprised when they asked us to serve as guardians for their boys if something happened to them. We accepted with apprehension. We never did have to serve in that role but still were honored to know we were chosen.

As a young couple starting our family, Sunday was always a day for family worship from the time they were in the nursery as long as they were at home. I started teaching Children’s Sunday School classes when they were young and continue serving in this way. I am also thankful for the talent that God has given to me as I share Curriculum Conferences for Sunday School and Vacation Bible School for Missouri Baptist churches throughout Missouri. I love sharing with other teachers how they can continue to grow in their spiritual life and to meet the needs of their students and families.

Today as I see our grandchildren growing up, I pray that the example my husband and I have set for them and their parents will continue to influence their lives so that they too will want to be a part of God’s Kingdom in their own special ways.

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