Photo by Nicole Tarpoff
I was born and grew up on a little island off the coast of Virginia. Chincoteague is seven miles long and three miles wide. My parents did not go to church when we lived on the island but I went with my aunt and was saved at Vacation Bible School when I was nine years old. When I was about 14 my mom and dad got saved and their lives were radically transformed. When I was 15 we moved to Norfolk and attended a Baptist church. There I met my husband, a sailor. We were married for 48 years and have three children.
I can remember as a young woman attending youth mission meetings. I felt a call to ministry when I attended these meetings, but knew a poor girl like me could never afford to go to school and get the training needed for ministry. Despite this, I have looked for ways to let God use me and feel that He has in many ways.
My husband wanted to move to his hometown in Indiana. I didn’t want to go but we went and God provided opportunities for me to serve as I had asked. I worked at a mission for eight or nine years. I went in as the secretary. I was good at working with the people so I became the head of the social work department. Others at the mission were working mainly with homeless men and I wasn’t really comfortable with men. I remember asking God to give me a ministry with a woman. Again, God was faithful and gave me a woman to minister to. Each time she came to the mission, she brought her bags, dragging things behind her. I told her she could leave her bags in my office while she spent the night in the mission. She had some mental health issues and was living on the streets. The more she trusted me, the more I could help her. I hired her to help with serving the donuts we served in the morning and to help clean up after. This provided a little income for her, about $10 per week. After this we were able to get her in an apartment in low income housing where her rent was $12 per month based on the $10 per week she was earning. I took her to the Social Security office to get her benefits. Her kids, who still lived in Israel, contacted Social Security asking for information about their mother. They wanted to find her and help her. The Social Security office gave them my contact information because they knew I was helping their mother. Her children contacted me and sent me things to give her. Eventually they were able to talk to her. God allowed me to be a part of this, to help her find a home and also to have a role in connecting her children to her. This was a blessing to me.
After this I became the secretary in our church. In this role, God has allowed me to be a facilitator for ministry and help it to run more smoothly.
My husband died in 2010. We had a good marriage and his death was so hard for me. After he died I remembered what he had told me when we experienced difficult circumstances, “Get up, get busy and do something!” I felt like after he died he was saying the same thing to me. So, I started a “Single Again” ministry for singles which is largely widows. The community God has provided in this group has been very healing, not only for me but for other women.
God is consistent and He has provided in so many ways. He answered my prayer to be used by Him in wonderful and diverse ways. He provided a wonderful husband and children and a church community of support and love. God provided financially. We had a farm and my husband had kept it so nice. I just couldn’t keep it up after he died. So, I had to sell it. God provided someone to buy our farm and they could pay cash. It was listed for $160,000 and they paid $182,500. This was more than what I paid for the house I was going to move to so I have no payments now. And my new house was big enough for my brother to move in with me which has been a blessing to both of us.
Life has not always been easy but God has been faithful and I am so thankful.
A Million God Stories is a Christ-centered ministry which offers a platform for Christians from all streams of Christian faith to give praise for how God has worked in their lives. Christ heals in infinitely creative ways and we acknowledge that His way of helping may differ from person to person.