Now: living with my parents since my health failed in 1985. Am doing well on medication and under doctor's care.
Now: Here at CBS--Peter is getting his M-Div and we are planning to change our course to SPAIN.
Highlights: Married Peter Jones in 1975 after two years in Italy. Five children: Jonathan (20), Joanna (18), Luke (14), Sara (12) and Samuel (5). Almost 20 years in Costa Rica working with the Cabecar Indians and then in cross-cultural training.
August 25, 1998 update
It was good of the Lord to allow us to return to Costa Rica this summer when we thought we had "to die" to it (and may not return for a long time). Our Etno Missionary training camp went well even with a small amount of help this year. Our kids really had a good time swimming in the river and horseback riding. It was truly a vacation for them with no pressures of school like in other years (since we used to be on the Costa Rican school year). Peter had no vacation, but it was still a good break from seminary. Last week he finished the summer in Philadelphia, teaching in a missionary conference for Hispanic youth headed towards missions. Next week he begins his studies once again at CBS while our daughter Joanna starts her sophomore year at CIU. Two of our other kids are in school outside of home while I'm still homeschooling our 6 year old. Our oldest Jonathan is hoping to return Stateside from Costa Rica to work here once again. He just hasn't been able to make a living in Costa Rica like he hoped. Once we think we are downsizing, they come back home! Pray you and yours are fine, Love, Deb Jones
Hope you all have a wonderful Christmas this year. This is our last Christmas in Africa. We leave Cameroon for good on June 18. Paul has accepted the position of Pastor of Visitation at our home church, Hershey Evang. Free and will start there August 1, 2000. We're ready for this change as our 3rd child will enter college next year and we feel that pastoral work suits Paul better than administrative work.
Pastoring a Southern Baptist Church in the suburbs of Savannah. Three boys, two now in university. A number of overseas mission trips.
Now: John is pastor of a small (175-200) Evangelical Free Church. Has gone to the Czech Republic to minister for the last 5 years. Patty is working as a payroll processor. Just finishing a bout of breast cancer--caught early--doing fine!
Highlights-25 years of marriage, 2 boys: Robert, 17, and Joshua, 15 1/2.
Now: Paul has been pastor of Grace Bible Church for 5 years. I have been teaching ladies' Bible studies, directing children's ministries, involved in various church music ministries, leading a ladies team for redecorating our church facilities and LOVING being part of a close-knit pastors' wives fellowship.
Highlights: The church we attended during seminar called Paul as Sr. Pastor and for 18 years we served the Lord in Perkasie, PA. We praise God for the privilege of serving there with what became 'our family'. To leave after all those years was very difficult, but God has given us a second family at Grace Bible Church.
We have 2 girls, Kerri (18) and Megan (14 1/2) who are the delight of their parents. They excel in school [must be the Wenzel gene] and music [not the Wenzel gene! Ha!]. We praise the Lord for their love for Him & their servant hearts. May it always be for them, for us, for you.
Marlita, Deb Haken and I have been planning a girls' getaway for over a year. Marlita will fly (from Michigan) into Baltimore/Wash. then Deb & I will pick her up and drive down from there. We are really looking forward to a great time.
Now: I am teaching grade 6 at Black Forest Academy, Lois is a resource person with childcare for moms who teach part-time, hospitality in our home, and assisting me with special class activities.
Highlights: Lois & I served part-time at Believers Chapel in Columbia from 1976-79. From 1982-1993, we were on a church-planting team in northern Italy with Bible Christian Union. BCU merged with TEAM in 1994, I returned to CBC for an MAT degree in 1995, and we are now at Black Forest Academy in Germany. Our son Jeff married one of the Italian girls from the church in Pordenone, and she works at CIU!
After 23 years of teaching (half in Christian education half in public) I am no longer teaching. I have moved 100 miles north of center city Philadelphia. (That's 75 miles from what was home for soooo many years). I live in a one-bedroom eff. Apartment adjacent to a private home located on River Rd. (as in Delaware River). I am located just below the Delaware Water Gap. It is quiet, beautiful and much slower paced. Perhaps some have heard of Tuscarora Inn and Conference Center or Tuscarora Resource Center. Both are ministries affiliated with the Church of the Lutheran Brethren. Ron Erickson was at one time Headmaster of the CLB Hillcrest Academy in Fergus Falls, MN. I think is now located in Washington state.
Now: Pastor's wife (husband David is associate pastor at Edgewood Baptist Church in Columbus, GA); mother of 4 children (Miriam, 18, senior; Stephen 16, junior, Rebecca 14, freshman; Deborah, 12, 6th grader), high school English teacher (grading at the present time, no less).
Highlights: married 20 1/2 wonderful years to Mr. Right, mother of 4 kids, in constant motion and in love with Jesus!
August 18, 1999 update
We recently moved to Martinez, GA where David has become Associate Pastor in Education and Administration at Abilene Baptist Church. Our new address is 340 Saddletree Lane, Martinez, GA 30907. Our email address is email@example.com and phone number is 706-210-8743. We would love to have any folks coming by to give us a call or stop bye for a visit.
I had "retired" from teaching in June 1999 because of the all the after school work. I was teaching five levels of high school English and the grading was overwhelming. I began to realize that God was closing that door. I did not know what lay ahead but trusted His leading. He led me to work with Synovus Technologies in Columbus until we left to move to Martinez. At the present, I am getting settled in at home and getting the children ready for school, then I will begin to look for another job. Please pray that He will again, as He always has, open just the right door of opportunity.
We had anticipated the entire family making the move, but evidently God had other plans. Miriam was accepted to transfer from Auburn to Augusta State, but only as a nonresident, which tripled the price and made attendance prohibitive. So she remained in Phenix City where she continues to work with Synovus Technologies and will attend Chattahoochee Community College. Stephen who graduated in June wanted to remain behind and attend Columbus State and continue his job at a pharmacy in Columbus. So they are living together there. Only Rebecca, our almost 16 year old, and Deborah, 13, moved with us. It is going to be VERY different for us all. All these changes occurred in about a month and a half - sometimes, God moves VERY quickly!!! So we have been thrown very unexpectantly into a half empty nest. Even in this (what ever we find the "this" to be), He is faithful!
Thanks for providing this avenue of communication - I have been refreshed and encouraged as I read and scanned the news and the past. I must visit again and often.
Let us hear from folks, dear friends who walk along the same path of calling!
Glynis and David Miller
I've begun my 19th year pastoring Eastwood Presbyterian Church. My wife Chris and I are heavily involved in missions: our church recently sent us to encourage PCA missionaries in Portugal. We spent 10 days there. It's a joy to spend my time discipling and mentoring men; our church has a real vision to see the body of Christ equipped.
From prayer letter of 7/30/99:
Your faithfulness in prayer, gifts and encouragement is a humbling example and testimony to us. Thank you for continuing to be part of the Bible translation task. Continue to pray for several special needs:
Now: Ministering on Penn State campus with Disciple Makers during our one year home assignment from Ghana.
Highlights: Married May, 1975 to Amy Roth in Ethiopia; missionary with SIM in Ethiopia, '74-'77; missionary in Ghana '78-present. Children, Ben, 1976; Deeanne, 1977; Heidi, 1979; Kinza, born in 1992 and adopted in 1993; Colette, born in 1994 and adopted in 1996.
Now: Interim pastor & representing Helps International Missions; Kathy works part-time with Advantage Home Care and The Cover.
Highlights: marriage, Nov. 3, 1973; sons Timothy, 10/31;75; Brian 7/5/77; Richard 5/11/80. To the mission field-South Africa, July 9, 1975.
From Winter 1997/98 prayer letter:
Since I wrote last, I have been officially released from the Burkina Faso/Niger Branch of SIL and assigned to the International Administration of SIL at Dallas to serve as a text editing specialist.
I edit with a green pen; since my school days I've never liked to see red all over the page! When I'm done marking most manuscripts, they are covered with green marks. I return the ms. to the managing editor who assigns it to a compositor/typesetter. When all the corrections are entered into the computer I get a clean printout which I have to then proofread to be sure all my marks were corrected. Then I read through the ms. again to catch any further errors. Usually I have to do this at least 3 times per ms. sometimes more, occasionally less. As a detail person, I enjoy it. At least there is variety. Books I've been working on include: Sochiapan Chinantec Grammar, Symbolism and Ritual in Irian Jaya, Cheyenne Major Constituent Order, Cubeo Grammar, Aspects of Zaiwa Prosody, The Dong Language.
Of course, knowing me as you do, you know that my work doesn't keep me from doing the reading, gardening, involvement in church activities, puzzles, sewing, bird watching and crafts I enjoy. And I love having visitors. So any time you are coming through the Dallas/north Texas area let me know. I've got room to put you up in my little cabin or can meet with you as you pass through the airport on a connecting flight.
Now: Bruce has now finished his D. Min. atSouthwestern Bapt. Theo. Sem.
Minister to college students at Southcliff Bapt. Church. Toni is a secretary at SBTS.
Highlights: 2 daughters: Elizabeth, married with 2 kids; Jennifer, married.
June 24, 1999 update
Well, all is well!
We are still looking for a Ministry place of service. Please pray that the Lord will guide us in where He wants us to be. Bruce graduated May 15th with his Dr. of Ministry degree and now we are asking the DMin committee for permission to use the project in other areas. The committee is voting on a proposal for me to use my project principles on writing 2 books and starting a consulting company. They vote on July 1. Please pray.
We are going to Memphis Tenn. for July 4th to be with or two oldest grandkids. Let us hear from you soon.
Bruce & Toni Hickman
Previous Hickman letters here.
Sorry we won't be able to go to the Reunion. I'd love to be there and see the gang. Please greet them for Lenore and me, and let them know how much we wish we were with them.
During the last twenty five years....
Lenore and I were married in May of 1973... (obviously coming up on our 25th anniversary).
We moved to Pittsburgh area were I served in a college campus ministry for 1.5 years.
From there we went to Philadelphia where I attended seminary at Westminster Theological Seminary; grad. in 1977.
After seminary, I taught at the new evangelical Episcopal Seminary near Pittsburgh.
In 1978 our first child, John, was born. He is now a sophomore at James Madison Univ., studying Biotechnology...
After a few years of teaching I began parish work in Aliquippa, Pa, as an evangelist. I also entered the ordination process for the Episcopal Church.
During our time there, our daughter Sarah was born. Sarah is now a junior in H.S. and is quite the athlete.
After ordination, we moved to Johnstown, PA where I was an assistant for a couple of years at St. Mark's Episcopal Church.
While there our daughter, Anna was born. Anna is now an 8th grader and is a talented musician. She recently began playing the keyboard on Sunday with the praise team.
We were then called to serve a large parish in Richmond, VA, as an assistant.
Our son David, who is now eleven, filled our quiver! David is loves to assist in worship as an acolyte (altar boy) and loves the outdoors.
While in Richmond we began to be led towards church planting, and sought out opportunities to do so within the Episcopal Church. That led us to the resort of Ocean City, MD (a town of 5000 that swells to 300,000 every summer) to pastor a newly begun mission. We were there 8 years and took the mission from a couple dozen to better than a couple hundred people, and through two building projects. It was an exciting time in our lives.
We are still in the same, area, but at the end of 95 the Lord led us to leave the Episcopal Church due to the theological revisionism taking place at the national level. It was a very difficult thing to do after twenty years of full-time ministry and many wonderful relationships. But we had to take a stand.
We joined a wonderful communion, known as the Charismatic Episcopal Church (yes, that name has something to offend everybody) and began a new mission in the Ocean City area. Trinity Church is now two years old and has given birth to a mission church in Easton, Md. We hope to break ground on our new facility this year.
The Lord has blessed us richly through these years. We are thankful for the foundation that God gave us at CBC/CIU (whatever it is now!!).
Blessings to y'all...
Larry & Lenore Hill
Now: Adjusting to a recent move; 13 years in PA back to MI where we began our life together 25 years ago! Adjusting to a 32 hr work week outside of the home [at a dental office], adjusting to not being a pastor's wife at present; adjusting to seeing Bill [only] on weekends [he works 3rd shift, I work days]. Highlights: 25 years in ministry--now taking a sabbatical for rest and refreshment; Mikkel (21) at Trinity in Deerfield, IL; Ben (19) at Taylor, Ft. Wayne; Melody (16) delighting in her new high school with a myriad of activities. Rejoicing in God's faithfulness, growing in dependence on Him. Pam Thum expressed it best: "Life is hard--but God is GOOD."
From prayer letter dated June 1999
Yes, we are completing our 2 year term and will be returning to the States starting furlough the end of July. "Completing" and "starting" are two words that characterize our lives right now. Armand has been busy completing his two classes on Muslim Evangelism and O.T Survey. He trusts these classes have been a help to train national workers in their ministries. Although Zidoo did not complete his typing course with Armand he has made a good start and Armand is pleased with the progress he sees in his spiritual life. Jean has been wrapping up her Bible studies with Mehmuda, Ajabu and Zenab since a co-worker has returned to continue this ministry. These ladies seem so close to the Kingdom but have not made decisions. PRAY! Jean still meets with Asya and Farida on a regular basis-- Pray for spiritual growth and fellowship in their lives.
IN THE LIVES OF OUR CHILDREN WE REJOICE that Pete completed his degree in nursing and graduated from UNC Chapel Hill on May 16th. He is starting a new job at John Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore on July 6th. Lori has recently completed her Junior year of college and has moved to a new apartment in Charlotte where she will work and go to school for the summer. Kelly and Amy recently turned 18 and will complete their high school years with a graduation service on July 17th at Rift Valley Academy here in Kenya. They will be starting college the end of August at UNC Charlotte and Liberty. As we have already mentioned, Armand will also be starting school in the fall to finish up his M.A. in Missions at Columbia International University. We both look forward to the time of refreshment.
Going to a beautiful Arab Wedding recently reminded me that this is as good as it gets for these people-we as Christians have only just begun. Colossians says, "When Christ, who is our life, shall appear, then ye also appear with him in glory." Praise God! Christ's work is complete and we are just "starting" with all he has in store for us for eternity.
After July 21st we can be reached at this address:
c/o Herman Midkiff
4708 Westwood Rd.
Greensboro, NC 27410
Phone 336 229-1116
e-mail: mkono47 at hotmail dot com
Previous Leblanc letters here.
I married to Vivian Chan on September 8, 1979. Presently, we have two sons, Gideon, who is seventeen and Philip John, who is seven years old. Gideon is a senior at Brooklyn Tech. He is expected to graduate in June of this year. Philip is in first grade.
Between the church, family and the staff work in the region, I have hardly any time for anything else, including soccer. I am also out of shape as well. Hope you are doing well. Until next time, take care!
From prayer letter dated January, 1998:
Now: Teaching pre-algebra at French Camp Academy, a home- school for children from troubled backgrounds. I am a work boss on the grounds crew, teach Sunday School, do bike repairs and bike rides.
Highlights: I married Margaret Funk, 8/16/75. She graduated from Winnipeg Bible College. Children Rick, 9/13/76 and Monika 11/22/78. Rick is studying mechanical engineering at Miss. State and Monika is studying interior design at Miss. College. Margaret is the Program & Music Director at WFCA--a 100,000 watt Christian radio station that plays Southern gospel music.
Single since '93, I'm raising Susan, age 12. We enjoy connecting often with her three grown brothers. I work with disabled students in the public schools. I also do respite care for foster and/or disabled children. We attend Kent's Christian & Missionary Alliance Church. I stand in awe of God's tenderness and continued provision for us.
Highlights: We resigned from our mission board WorldTeam, after 2 4-year terms in Spain and moved here to pastor. Andrew is presently at Toccoa Falls College in northern Georgia. Our other son, Jay, is working with Servicemaster in Columbia, SC and waiting on an ROTC scholarship with the Air Force. He would like to go into engineering at Worchester Polytechnic Institute in Mass. We are experiencing Empty Nest Syndrome.
August 5, 1998 update
Several weeks ago we met with the elders and members of North Woods Christian Church for a serious discussion. Though the majority of our monthly salary has been provided through the giving of church members and outside support, there has been a shortage each month. The church has made up this difference through funds in a savings account. That savings account covered the shortfall until the end of July. It was a sobering time that God used to help us evaluate our church and our future. Since both of us have looked for jobs, we wondered if our time here was coming to a close. Teaching and friendships within the church have been fruitful, and we believe that we have helped build good relations with other churches. But we have not seen our church grow in numbers. We do see how exhausted the elders of the church are with demanding jobs and extensive community involvement. Their gifting has them ministering to non-Christians and leaves them wondering how they can maintain those opportunities as well as serve the church. We have great appreciation for these men and their wives and have seen their struggles.
With the financial crunch pressuring us all, the church met a few more times recently. Chris proposed our leaving and their becoming a part of another church. The majority felt that should be pursued. They expressed appreciation for our ministry, especially for the Bible teaching that Chris has done. There are better church situations available to them now than there were a few years ago. So, we will visit churches together. Please pray for all of us as we end our time together and seek a new church home or homes. The changes have surprised us all. We are seeking God's confirmation of this new direction.
Good-byes again--they don't get easier. We will leave thanking God for what He has done yet with regrets that we didn't do more. It has been a privilege to contribute to church unity in this area, yet we wish we had seen many more people saved and more impact for God's kingdom. May God accomplish that soon. As North Woods Christian Church disperses, it will continue to be salt and light here.
So what's ahead for the Matthies? We honestly don't know. We will return to Columbia, South Carolina to our church home and the house we own. Jay has been working there since last August. Andy will return this month to Toccoa Falls College in Georgia. As for a job for Chris, or jobs for us both, we don't know what we'll do. Will you ask God to lead us clearly?
What faithful friends you have been! Thank you for our part in our work. Many of you have continued to support us here since Chris became pastor of the church. You have prayed and encouraged us in many ways. We plan to leave August 16th. North Woods Christian Church will receive outside support for us through October to help with our move and transition expenses.
We will never forget the North Country of New England! Its spiritual needs are so much like those of Spain. And we will never forget God's family here. They are very much in the minority and do not have the resources that most of you do. We thank God for their commitment and know that God will continue to build His church and that the gates of hell will not prevail against it.
"May the favor of the Lord our God rest upon us (and you!); Establish the work of our hands for us; Yes, establish the work of our hands." Psalm 90:17
After I attended CBC for 2 1/2 years, Diane Holmes Merritt & I went to Peru as dorm parents for South America Mission. After the school term, we returned to the States. Largely due to lack of financial support, I felt that our door to missions was closed. After failure to find work in the Columbia area, we returned to my home in Rogers, AR. We worked with YWAM for a while. In 1975, I went to work for First Brands Corp. in a Glad bag/wrap/lock plant. I'm still there as an industrial repairman. In 1979, Diane left me. In 1980, I married Barbara, a retirement home manager and mother of a 14-year old daughter. We are active in First Baptist Church. I work with the volunteer fire/rescue dept. [five years as chief]. We spend a lot of time with our two wonderful grandchildren, who we are helping home school.
After having taken remedial English at CBC, I started writing fire department reports for the local paper. Later, I started writing other types of articles. It's been a personal challenge, to learn writing, photography, and word- processing in my middle age. Today, I get five weeks vacation, and I'm a travel/adventure contributing editor for 4 Wheel Drive & Sport Utility Magazine. I'm occasionally published in other magazines and letters to the editors. Inspirational publishers still reject my work, but I'm persistent.
We hope to retire in 5-10 years and travel, write and do missions support work with the Christian Association of Prime Timers. The Lord has truly blessed us.
Deborah is a bit tied up these days, but I wanted to take the time to pass on to you the joys of being married to a buzzard. She goes to Europe for two weeks and leaves me home with the wash, shopping, cleaning and two kids. I guess it just didn't pay to graduate in '72 :)
Actually, Deborah is a chaperone for our school's Senior trip. They'll be hitting France, Italy, Switzerland, Austria and Germany. Not too shabby. (I wonder if it will remind her of our days in Bolivia? No!)
So, keep me in your prayers!
<>< <>< <>< <>< <>< <>< <><
Douglas K. Stromberg
V.P. for Development & Alumni
The King's Academy
From prayer letter dated 12/8/97
God's time seems to have come for Miami-Dade after much prayer and supplication. For nearly 8 years, we have prayed for two major things needed before God will move on a city. The first: a significant degree of unity in His body--the church of Miami. We must come together racially, ethnically, culturally and denominationally. The second: a definite burden for the city demonstrated through "effective fervent prayer." The time seems to be here! These two ingredients of God's pre-revival are happening in Miami and growing.
The past six months I have seen God bring a significant number of Miami-Dade pastors and leaders together to consider praying and sharing Christ with every person in Miami-Dade by December 31, 2000. Last month, on November 20th, fourteen denominations, 5 ethnic groups and some independents, met and formed an ad-hoc committee to carry out the vision to "Celebrate Jesus 2000."
The pastors and leaders present asked Christ for Miami to facilitate the process. I was asked by CFM to take on the major responsibility of facilitator based on my church planting experience and 'partnership training' received from Mission America and Interdev ministries. I'm excited about being in the forefront of what God is about to do, but I'm also aware of my limitations.
If ever I have needed prayer, now is the time. I have no idea how God is going to bring this about, but I do know that He does want to reach every person in Miami-Dade. I also know that if we, the church of Christ in Miami-Dade, partner together to do what no person, church or denomination can do alone, that He will be pleased to bring it about.
I am seriously expecting the devil to attack with all his fury since this is definitely something he does not want to see happen in this City. So I am calling upon our friendship and relationship to ask you to pray for us. If you do, that will be the greatest Christmas gift we could get this year, to have an army of praying friends upholding us and the vision of "Celebrate Jesus 2000" for the next three years.
Let me add one more item for prayer not entirely unrelated since I am working with Cubans among the Hispanics in Miami. I'm going to Cuba Feb. 3-13, 1998 to teach the book of James hermeneutically, exegetically and homiletically to 30 pastor students at the Los Pinos Nuevos Bible Institute.
However, I have to raise the needed funds for this trip. The monies given last year were returned to the donors when the trip was cancelled. Will you pray that God will give me wisdom as to how to prepare for students who are ministering in churches but are very young in the Lord and need to learn to go beyond topical preaching? I can also bring in some basic medical necessities--we have a list that can be sent or faxed to those interested.
December 3, 1998 update
Dear praying friends:
The year is coming to an end pretty fast and I need to share with you what is on my heart now! I want to continue to reach the city of Miami. But in order to do so I need your help-in fervent prayer and finances.
When January 1998 rolled around, little did we expect what a challenging year it would turn out to be. Three major undertakings filled our days. First was my trip to Cuba to teach the book of James to 30 pastors at the Los Pinos Nuevos Seminary. After my return from Cuba was the challenge of "re-starting" a church. And of course my most important challenge-facilitating the "Mission Miami-Celebrate Jesus 2000" vision of "praying for and sharing Christ with every person in Miami-Dade by year end 2000."
Needless to say I was overwhelmed for the better part of the year. But this past Thanksgiving weekend brought an end to the "re-start" effort and I have really enjoyed being back to a normal schedule again. Although the "re-start" is finished, I will continue to disciple two couples that have asked that I mentor them. Please pray for wisdom as we work with them in the coming months.
In the process of reaching Miami-Dade for Christ we have held five "Prayer and Evangelism" seminars with nine participating churches. Altogether we had 50 teams of three believers each praying for and sharing Christ in their respective neighborhoods. The result of this three-month effort was about one thousand homes visited. The idea was to begin building relationships with the neighbors by prayer for their needs and finding ways to share Christ either with a personal testimony or with a tool like the Jesus video. Of course follow up is needed to gather the fruit.
Now, can you imagine if one hundred churches would come together? At least 32,000 people would have been prayed for and given the opportunity to view the Jesus video. What if 50% of the churches in Miami (600) would come together next spring? We can visit 120,000 homes with the opportunity to pray for and share Christ with 384,000! The Great Commission is doable in our generation.
Why am I sharing this with you? Because we need your support in both prayer and finances. Prayer because I am convinced more than ever that we have not taken this gift of God seriously. We need gifts to cover the expenses of travel. Our 1986 Mercury will not last much longer.
We are looking forward to seeing God work in unique ways in 1999 and 2000 as we give ourselves wholeheartedly to this vision for the next two years. Daisy and I want to take this opportunity to thank you for your faithful support and to wish you a very special holiday season and coming new year.
Serving with Southern Baptist missions in the Phillippines.
Source: an e-mail from Donna Post Simmons.
Lavon's been in the United Methodist pastorate for almost 20 years. He has two daughters: Shelley, 21, and Amber, 18. He's still crazy as a bedbug but has mellowed slightly through the years. His congregation just loves him and his family so much.
Now: Pastor in camping resort
Highlights: minister at Lakewood Camping Resort 14 years; Beth has homeschooled our four [Julie, 18, Renee, 14, Katie, 12 and Johnny 11] for the last 7 years.
Now: Dean of Houston Graduate School of Theology/North Carolina
Highlights: 1973-77, pastored Friends Churches in NC; 1984, Married Virginia Ann Milles; 1986, Jonathan Preston Mills Scurry; 1988 earned D.Min. at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School; 1990-94, taught at CIU-Charlotte; 1993, David Andrew Mills Scurry; 1994, appointed Dean of HGST/NC
I married Michael Simmons almost 17 years ago. We had a precious son, Michael LaVon born to us in 1983 and he was our only child. We cherished him and loved him. Last April, the Lord wanted him to come home. Our son died in a tragic auto accident. We are leaning on the Lord for strength these days more than ever. If you think of us during this family holiday season, please pray we keep our eyes on Him and not on our loss. Please write.
March 1998 update
We have been hearing from people asking us to relate these facts so we thought if it was sent out or put on the homepage, it would be easier for us. We want to share with everyone but the individual letters are hard for us to respond [to].
Mike is coming to the reunion. We think it would be easier for him if the class knew the details of the accident.
******* A Small Country Road that Changed Our Lives by Donna Simmons
Yes, our son is with the Lord now. To give you a very brief synopsis of our 17 years together. We dated at CBC (CIU) while students but not with a future in mind. After graduation (mine in 1972 & his in 1973) we stayed in the Columbia area and dated off & on (mostly off) for the next 8 years. We dated others but always came back to each other. Mike grew up in a very dysfunctional home so he did not want to make a commitment for a long, long time - if ever! Our pastor, Don Burnett, helped him through his thought processes and the Lord gave him a love for me (I was not privy to this until much later). So in 1980, he asked me to marry him and we were married in February, 1981. We lived in the Columbia area for another 5 years. Our son was born in April, 1983 in West Columbia. Then AT&T moved us to Arlington, Texas which also was Mike's hometown.
We were thrilled to be able to go to grandparents' homes with our new baby and let the relatives see him grow. He was an extremely happy baby, toddler, and elementary student. It was when he went to junior high that we noticed that he was having a difficult time staying focused. We took him to doctors and both he & Mike were diagnosed with A.D.D. (attention deficit disorder). The school nurse here in Arlington was not cooperative in giving him the noon medication and he was being labeled by his other teachers as lazy, unmotivated, and trouble-maker. We were in a very real dilemma - what were we to do?
Mike's sister lives in a small community of 15,000 people about 2 hours away. She is a nurse that has really become an expert on ADD so they called us and asked if Michael could come and finish the eighth grade with them. We did not want to let him go but we did not want to keep him in this negative school environment. Mike took Michael to live with Carla & Phil for six weeks. Carla gently helped Michael understand how the medicine was an agent to help him concentrate. She just walked with him so sweetly and gently through those 3 weeks. Michael was making big strides at school, home and church. We were thrilled to see his progress.
His birthday was April 21, 1997 and he was 14. We went down and had a birthday party with him and Carla's family. It was a wonderful Saturday with him - we laughed and joked with him as we did before. We went back to Arlington and he stayed with Carla. The next weekend was a big city wide evangelistic youth retreat. Michael and Blair, Carla's son who was 16, planned to go. Blair was driving. They left around 6:00 pm to go to the church's gym where they were going to camp out for the weekend.
A horrible rainstorm was occurring when they left but they were in a big pickup truck so no one was overly concerned. As they turned onto the small farm market road, the storm must have engulfed them because Blair lost control of the truck and drove into an concrete embankment. Michael was thrown through the windshield and into the embankment. His neck was broken at the brain stem so he never knew what happened. He died en route to the hospital around 8:00 pm.
These are the details. I have written some stories that give you more of the details in a more moving way. This is the only way that I can relate them to you now. Our world has definitely changed because of the events of April 25, 1997 on that small country road. We had him for fourteen years, four days and they were the most precious years that I have ever spent. We are still in suspension - the world is moving along but we are stationary.
Our joy is knowing that we gave him all our love for those years. We were able to lead him to the Lord when he was 5 years old. We saw his creative gifts, his loving protection for animals, his caring for hurting people and animals, his humorous antics, and his love for us and other family members. He wasn't perfect nor were we perfect parents but he was the joy of our lives, now we look forward to being with him in heaven.
Our perspective has changed now. We look forward not here on earth as we were while he was with us but to eternity with the Lord and Michael. Time on earth seems shorter and less important because even though it is nearing a year since Michael took his step into eternity, it has only a blink of eye when compared to eternity. We have felt each day without him but he has grown in eternal knowledge of our Lord - he knows Him better than we do!!!! We long to know Him face-to-face also.
Now: Wife & Mom, Speech Therapist in private practice. Working part-time at Mitchell Rd. Christian Academy.
Highlights: After CBC, completed BS & M.Ed. in Speech/Language Pathology at UNC-G. Married Gary Whitley 7/20/75. Children Linsey Ruth 9/2/83 and Garrett Nathan 12/11/88. Very busy at our church, Mitchell Rd. Pres. Highlights: short term mission trip to Sweden & France. One year in France at Camp of the Peaks. Great desire to do it again! Currently our children at in 8th & 3rd grades at Mitchell Rd. Chr. Academy and I have a private practice mainly there. Gary has a construction company with Bob Caldwell. He is an elder at MRPC & we are involved in music ministry. God has richly blessed our marriage.
Now: I'm currently home schooling the 3 youngest children. In addition, I prepare and serve dinner each Weds. to about 150 people followed by our small group which my husband Bob & I lead. The first Sun. of each month we have a missions brunch, which is also my responsibility. This fall I ended up coaching an under-16 league in soccer.
Highlights: I left CBC halfway through my sophomore year. In June, 1971 I joined YWAM and went to Europe. I worked with hippies in Denmark, went to French language school in Switzerland, three months of intensive training at a School of Evangelism in Lausanne, did outreach at the Munich Olympics and more. Bob and I were married Dec. 23, 1973 in a 16th century Bavarian castle. The Lord sent us back to America to work with YWAM and then directed us to move back into the corporate life--or at least let Honeywell & GE support our ministry. Our children are Debbie, 23 [who has Tyler 3 and is expecting in May], Amanda, 21, Rachel, 19, Sarah, 17, Joel, 16, Jeremy, 13 and Lydia, 5. As you can see, I'm far from idle. We also love to welcome people into our home.
Now: Living with mother, working as groundsman with an Employment Service business at a local electric cooperative.
Many never have known Christ, Do not walk with Christ, Do not love Him. In prayers, please Remember Roy
July 11 1998 update
A few things taking place here at the Thames' residence in Lexington. My mother-in-law is having a recurrance of her bone cancer. She had cancer five years ago when she lived in Greenville, but after treatments had gone into remission. It has now returned and is affecting her ribs. She has lived with her two daughters since 1970 when her husband died. Her younger daughter, Elaine, and I got married in May of 1997, and because of her health problems, we all live in the same house for the time being.
The other news is that the AT&T telephone operator office is slated to close at the end of this year or in 1999, probably by March. That means my mother-in-law and her oldest daughter (age 50) will be moving back to Greenville. They are only here in the Columbia area because of the oldest daughter's job at the AT&T office, and have planned to move back to Greenville ever since they came here four years ago.
My job at the Highway Dept isn't affected by all this, so I still develop computer programs to support the bridge and road systems of South Carolina. (Amazing how I can just write a computer program and a bridge appears out of nowhere...!)
So, life-style changes are in the making for this year and next.
Dear Friends and Family,
As we celebrate again the first coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, we think of you and send our warmest greetings. You are all very special to us and although this is a greeting that will go out to many places far and near, please know that as we address each envelope we think of the good times we have spent in your company and how good it has been over the years to enjoy your friendship.
Last Christmas Heather was in the Sudan. She was staying with a missionary friend and all through the night on Christmas Eve she listened to the drums sounding out the good news of the Birth of our Lord Jesus. On Christmas Day she woke at 5:00 and she and Maren walked several miles to church where they gathered with hundreds of African Christians to join the celebrations which had been going on all night. Those nine months in Africa were a wonderful time of fellowship with God--not easy, but so special.
At the moment, Heather is working at the Hall on the Domestic Staff and has applied to go to Bible College next year. Kyle is finishing his degree course and will graduate in June. He too may go to Bible College at one of the Torchbearer Bible Schools. Both are open to what the Lord may have for them and are content and happy in what they are doing at the moment. There is much scope for social interaction among the staff and students and Kyle still plays soccer with one of the local football clubs.
Mark and I celebrated our 25th anniversary this year and took a few days during our trip to the States to go to Northern Arizona--Sedona and the Grand Canyon. What a beautiful part of the country!!! Awesome is too small a word. The scenic beauty of those places inspires one to reflect on the greatness and majesty of our Creator God. We stayed a few days in Phoenix with Barry and Barb Barnes who helped to make the whole time in Arizona very special. It was, as always, good to see family and friends in North Carolina and Colorado, and we felt quite spoiled by all their hospitality. There is a Sunday School Class from my home church in N.C. who have "adopted" us and these wonderful folk show a practical and prayerful interest in our family on a regular basis which has been a real encouragement to us. We enjoyed having two couples from that class come and visit us this year as well as my Mother and Dad.
Twice in one year to Africa might indicate something of Mark's attachment to that part of the world. He found the Chencha church and its projects in Southern Ethiopia an encouragement and the dependence upon and declaration of Christ central to its life. The desperate need in Southern Sudan is overwhelming but smiling faces and hungry hearts demonstrated God's grace very much at work. While lecturing to local church leaders, it was a special joy for Mark to be with Heather on her African site.
Capernwray life constantly revolves around people and it is a rare day that corridors and halls do not echo with the sound of voices and activity. There could be no greater privilege than seeing Christmas all the time as people discover the real meaning of the Saviour's coming. Demands, challenges and strains a-plenty but we continually have to be redirected to the sufficiency of the Lord Jesus. Your prayers, as no doubt many others may say to you, are vital in our daily experience and routine so thank you for being part of our family in that way. We praise the Lord for you and send this with our love and His grace for a very Happy Christmas and a year full of His blessing in 1999.
With love, Mark, Linda, Kyle & Heather
Most of you think of me first as a mechanic. It may surprise you to know that one of my most enjoyable experiences this last year was when I was invited to Nome, Alaska to help setup two 250-ft radio towers for KICY Radio. The towers will transmit the gospel into Russia; the Russian coast is about 150 miles from Nome It was nice to have a change from my daily routine.
At the SIL auto shop, change is in the air. We had scheduled to build a new auto shop this year, but county requirements proved too prohibitive. Instead, we hope to get some outdoor covered working space with a lift, and a couple of sheds to store parts and supplies.
Changes in Pam's health have us looking for answers once more. Steroid treatment through a neurologist friend is helping her with a severe shaking that grew progressively worse over 3 years, but it only addresses symptoms. After almost 25 years of seemingly endless consultations, tests, diets, therapies, medications, vitamin supplements and home remedies, we are again actively seeking relief for Pam's condition. We are working with a nutritionist in Seattle for the next few months. Our first visit resulted in an aggressive change in diet, an additional truckload of pills and vitamins and a hefty book of instructions for healthy living. This adjustment will require careful planning and enormous effort. It is not an easy solution by any means. Please pray with us that this will help if it is the Lord's will.
One thing that we have enjoyed is that we can see family in Oregon when we go to Seattle. Our son Terry and his wife Maija are living in Portland and are expecting a baby in July! Our grandsons also live in Oregon where our son-in- law Matthew and daughter Grace just bought a new house. Wendy and Peter, our oldest daughter and her husband, are living in Chicago where he works for Anderson Consulting, and she teaches high-school physics. They are now considering mission possibilities.
Our immediate plans include a trip to Columbia, SC for our nephew's wedding this month. After another short visit to the doctor in Seattle, we will return to Columbia to attend our home church's missionary conference. While there, I may also be able to help my brother Sam build a house.
Last week I had a chance to say thank you to the owner of the auto parts store that supplies my shop with car parts. Merles Automotive delivers parts to the SIL. auto shop every two hours, a 36 mile round trip. Many times in this computer age, they will send a car computer or expensive electrical part that may or may not be needed on the car so I call use it for test purposes, all at no charge. In short, they have provided a real service to us, making our job a lot easier, more efficient and less costly. So it was a joy to be able to express my appreciation to the owner for this excellent service.
God used this to remind me that I also need to thank for your wonderful, timely, persistent and loving prayers and financial support to us over these many years. Pam and I have been privileged to work with SIL since January 10, 1975. During these 25 years you have stood behind us, praying, encouraging, giving to our daily needs, being a friend, seeing our kids grow to be men and women who love God, and even raving over our grandkids' pictures. I know that without you we could not have been able to serve the Lord in this way. So thank you. And as they say in Spanish, "Que Dios te pague." "May God pay you."
In His service,
Previous Tuggy letters here.
Now: Electronic technician at Mobile Comm in Charleston, SC area. Also serving as deacon at Oakbrook Community Church (PCA). We are also homeschooling our children.
Highlights: Married Kathy Lawrence (CBC '74) in 1976. We have 6 children (ages 5 to 19). Our oldest, Sherry, is a student at CIU.
Now: teaching fifth grade in public school, umpiring baseball high school and rec. leagues, serving as elder at St. Andrews Evangelical Church (formerly World Gospel), hunting and fishing every chance I get.
Highlights: married Dec. 22, 1973 to Bonnie Goens (CBC '75); four children: Ben, 2/13/78 (now in US Navy), Nathan, 10/21/79 (College of Charleston), Joan, 6/7/81 (Lexington High junior), David, 4/30/98 (Lexington Middle-9th grade).
Now: I work as an electronic technician at Union Switch and Signal, Batesburg, SC. I attend St. Andrews Evangelical Church, which is also a large ministry involvement. Highlights: lived with Mike Simmons, Gary Minion, Keith Wigley and others until 1978. Married in 1979, which helped me see what I really am like. I am very detail oriented. In 1975 I started back in to electronics. Worked for NCR for 16 yrs. until downsized at the end of '95. God provided another job in the same field at Union Switch.
August 21, 1999 update
I've just started the fall session of graduate school. Don't know which I enjoy more, working part-time in the Career Center Library or going to school. Joel finished Administrative Specialist School [SC Army National Guard] with Honors Aug. 19 and is ready to start CIU. David is finally working steadily at UPS. It's hot dirty night work, but it gives some hope that he may make good on his desire to move out [I need a study room since Joel's not leaving town for college :-)]. Ben is back at Wingate U for another year serving on the sports medicine staff [including teaching a class fall semester] and slowly garnering requirements toward teacher certification in physical education.
April 1999 update
I am very excited to be starting librarian school on May 31 with a 20-hour-a-week graduate assistantship in the USC Career Library. This will of necessity slow my classwork pace to part-time but gives me the opportunity for hands-on experience as well as a monthly stipend and the sizeable reduction in tuition. God's plan was SO evident in that it was only four days from the time I noticed the 'ad' on a USC job opportunities webpage to the offering of the position. An additional blessing is permission to park at Columbia Evangelical Church, which is a half-block from the office building. Locating parking is the bane of attending a large, downtown university.
Special things have been happening for Joel as well. He has chosen to attend CIU. During Spring Break, he was in Weymouth, England with the Ben Lippen missions team. He stayed with the lay youth leaders in the local church, and his experiences further confirmed his call to youth ministry. God's wisdom of not allowing him to enter the Army National Guard as a military policeman has also been evident. Joel enlisted under the split-training option that allows for Basic Training while still in high school with Advanced Individual Training the following summer. The MP slots were filled last spring; during the year the split training option for MP was eliminated, which meant he would have had to take his entire training over beginning in August. His original MOS requires seven weeks of AIT at nearby Ft. Jackson, beginning June 8. SC has its own Military Police School, also at Ft. Jackson, where he will be able to cross-train on six consecutive Drill weekends beginning in the fall. Right now Joel is undergoing physical therapy for an old football shoulder injury that was aggravated during wrestling season. Orthoscopic surgery remains a possibility but not until after AIT.
Ben will be staying on as a graduate assistant in the sports medicine department at Wingate Univ. His classwork for teacher certification is progressing slowly but he may have the opportunity to coach in the fall. David is in the process of changing jobs and is hoping to work in the computer division at Best Buy.
Now: Grady has been a night dispatcher with Mid-Carolina Electric Cooperative for 16 1/2 years, retired in August after 22 years in the SC Air National Guard [weekend warrior], is an independent Excel representative and local Republican party precinct president. Vicki is volunteer administrative assistant for Resources for the Family [area Christian seminars], and has been involved with the church library ministry for 24 years.
Highlights: Never got more than 15 miles away from the CBC campus; 8 years of homeschooling [1986-93]; for Vicki, 4 1/2 years as at-home office and conference coordinator for South Carolina Home Educators Assoc., and 11 years editing a homeschool newsletter. Growing computer skills are now being invested in workbook design/development and promotional materials for RFF. Have learned to absolutely love e-mail. The Guard took Grady to Turkey twice and Desert Storm for 5 1/2 mos. Ben (23) is a certified athletic trainer, working as a coach at Ben Lippen School in Columbia and preparing for grad school; David (20) is working, studying auto mechanics and living at home; Joel (17) is junior at Ben Lippen and very involved with football/wrestling, Explorers [Highway Patrol division], and the church drama team.
Merritt Memories for 1998
During the winter, Ben left landscaping and took over David's early morning job at the fitness center. He continued to coach junior varsity girls' basketball and then jv girls' soccer at Ben Lippen. David has learned a variety of jobs at the General Cinemas theatre that opened in mid-December and has since trained as a projectionist. Joel continued with high school and wrestling including winning a 2nd place in a tournament and being voted the team's MVP [Most Valuable Player].
March brought two special events for the 'older' folks. Grady spent over a week in Florida helping his mother celebrate her 80th birthday. The end of the month brought our college 25th reunion [which I helped coordinate]. It was a great time of sharing joys & sorrows & lessons learned about the grace and greatness of our God. That weekend I was also elected a member-at-large to the CIU Alumni Association Executive Committee. For the last couple months I've been volunteering one day a week in the office and will be helping as needed for Homecoming, 1999.
In May Ben's roommate bought a house so our place became his home base until he settled into a graduate assistantship at Wingate University on August 1. He is helping supervise student trainers and taking classes toward being certified to teach physical education. He spent much of June & July there serving as a certified instructor for a variety of sports camps. June 8 we saw Joel off to Ft. Benning, Georgia for Army basic training. He enlisted in the SC Army National Guard in April and will take his specialized training as a military policeman this coming summer. He drills with an MP unit based in Florence but which will be move to Columbia in January.
Joel's military graduation was on August 6 and on the 11th I took a flight to Iowa to visit my 92-year old grandfather who was diagnosed with lymphoma and placed in a nursing home in mid-July. It came as a bit of surprise to us when he died in his sleep on August 19, but not to him. The day I left he told his nurses and my aunt & uncle that Jesus was coming for him in three days and so He did.
Fall for us means football. Joel's military conditioning had him in great shape for playing defensive line. The team surprised even themselves by garnering a wild card slot in the playoffs and went all the way to play for the state independent school championship.
Three of our five anticipate being in college next year. Ben has already been asked to serve at Wingate another year [and potentially stay on full-time, which he would not do unless there was an opportunity to coach [his first love]. Joel's vocational interest has recently shifted from law enforcement to youth ministry and away from participating in ROTC. His top two college choices seem to be Charleston Southern University and Columbia International University. And just today I received my acceptance into the Master of Library and Information Science program at USC. After starting the year with high hopes for my projects with Resources for the Family, by May all plans and future seminars were put on hiatus. This left me confused and frustrated as I had poured all my savings into a new computer in January. Such a machine is a requirement for the librarian course, so the Lord was indeed preparing the way before I even knew it.
Grady continues his interest in things political [serves as president for our voting precinct and works at the polling place each opportunity] and as an independent Excel representative. Pandora the cat continues to have us all under her command and Pharoah the dog rules the yard. Best wishes for a blessed and peaceful holiday season from us all.
Vicki, Grady, Ben, David & Joel
My bio, such as it is, is here. I have a personal web page on this server also.
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