David Henson- I could write for months about how he poured his life into mine. It's such a daunting task I can't even get started. But I can tell you that for over 20 years he brought God's word to a group of people in such a way that God's presence was tangible in those sanctuaries. That he gave his Christmas bonus to my family once for Christmas. He encouraged me at everything I did at that church. That he was so instrumental in my life that I cannot think of a word that adequately describes the depth of it. That I still cry every time I see him. Like once in a thrift store I was sobbing. It was overboard, but my gratefulness for his is overwhelming. I miss his loafers, jeans, and white-collared shirts on Sunday nights. I miss his sermons when he would grab someone's face and kiss all over it like the prodigal son's daddy did when he came home. Pastor's Pals on Sunday morning before we had children's church. I've never met another person that brings the Word like Pastor David. But the most important thing he taught me was that God wasn't just going to speak through him to me. That I needed to listen, hear, and understand God for myself. Knowing that has been one of the greatest pieces of wisdom I was ever taught.
Kathi Henson- oh my. I tear up at her name. She gave so much time and care to a group of girls that was bratty and rude and she never once raised her voice at us. And we needed it. Many, many times. She spent hours on Wednesday nights teaching us harmonies and preparing us to teach bible clubs and taking us to Pizza Hut and selling toilet paper as fundraisers. I've never heard one unkind word out of her mouth about another human being. Her impact on my life has no bounds. I think about her often as I sing Silas to sleep with the harmonies and songs she taught our girl's group. How she took us all the way to Kansas to sing for a church and sometimes I think it was just to make us feel special. That our group- just a bunch of poor country girls- was something special.
Jeff and Joyce Dover- I bawled ridiculously the night they told us they were leaving. Like, too much.
I was the kid that refused to play his dumb games before church. I was THAT kid. But what God did through Jeff was like catching lightning in a bottle. Those worship sessions in the (trailer house turned) youth room were open invitations to the Holy Ghost to set up residence in our hearts. And the Holy Spirit brought hoards of youth to the country and I vividly remember looking around and just being in awe of what was taking place in that room.
I remember the first time Jeff taught us to sing a new song to the Lord. I thought he was off his rocker. Now, it's who I am. Jeff taught me how to fully worship Jesus. I will never, ever forget that. I am FOREVER INDEBTED to the Dovers. Joyce walked me through hard times as a youth pastor's wife when our church was in turmoil. They are two of the most influential people in my life. Ever.
Troy and Renee Wright- Troy and Renee came into my life when I was starting to think about the future instead of the here and now. They immediately made me feel like I was someone of value to them. For whatever reason, they would ask my advice, give me responsibility, and made me feel like an adult. Even when I showed my immaturity with flying colors. Troy and Renee are my mentors. I look at their marriage as a Godly example of what marriage should be. Where Joyce showed me how to have fun, Renee shows me how to be meek and humble. Renee shows me how to work hard without grumbling or complaining, without anyone needing to see that I'm doing a thing. They are always there at the exact right time. Troy is my go-to firefighter when TJ makes a bad call and I don't know how to help. I know I can expect the truth from them, Godly counsel and not their opinions. I value them so much that I get giddy when we pass each other on the highway. When I see them, I see Jesus.
So thank you for pouring into me when I was a brat. God is using you mightily to shape me.