Among the Faithful

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Sherry with Aunt Cleo (97), Aunt Gay (95) and Aunt Fay (91)

Having a reputation for godliness and faithfulness seems to be more and more of a rarity in our day. Young people in our churches are leaving the faith of their parents in droves. Even those who are considered faithful Christians have abandoned the weekly assembling together of the brethren for sporting events, picnics, mowing the grass, or just plain laziness. Spending time this past week with these lovely ladies was so encouraging for our family.

After a two and a half year hiatus, we spent the past week visiting Sherry’s family in Ohio. We had a great visit and are looking forward to going back in the winter when there’s snow. It was great to see family and friends but there was one 2-hour visit that remains etched in my mind. It was a visit with the “girls” on Tuesday evening. The “girls” are three sisters who all live together and take care of each other. They are Sherry’s great-Aunts and were huge influences in her life and in the lives of so many others over the years.

The home the “girls” live in is about 900 square feet at the foot of a huge hill that everyone knows to be the best sleigh-riding hill in the area. The names of these lovely girls are Cleo (97), Gay (95), and Fay (91). It’s 91’s job to take care of 97 and 95. 97 is on oxygen and 95 fell recently so we encouraged her to stay seated rather than try to get up to greet us when we came in. While their movements are not as fast as they used to be, their minds are still sharp.

97 was Sherry’s Sunday school teacher for most of her childhood but hasn’t been able to teach formally for many years now. 95 is a WW2 veteran who contracted Tuberculosis during the war and had to stay in bed for over 2 years as her body fought this dreadful disease. 91 was saddened that she could not have her normal garden this year but realized her responsibilities to take care of 95 and 97 was a far more pressing need. The girls still get plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables because those who have been served by 91’s garden are now taking the produce from their gardens and bringing it to them.

In our brief time together, we shared the normal pleasantries about the family, the church, and our lives but the essence of our conversation was in the word of God and the state of the church. When I think of faithful people who have lived their lives for the glory of God, these girls immediately come to mind. As we were sitting there, 95 said, “I don’t understand how someone can read the bible and see all that’s going on in our world today and not clearly see the Bible being fulfilled. Jesus is coming back soon.” I reminded her that people were no longer reading their bibles. “Really? Oh my!” was her only response as she shook her head in disbelief. As we left, we encouraged all of them to stay seated, as it was obviously difficult for them to get up and down. We did not think we would have another time to see them since getting out and about can be tiresome for them.

Then, when we arrived to church this past Sunday, who do you think was there? There was Fay playing piano as she has for decades. Gay and Cleo were sitting there attentively listening and encouraging everyone who came over to them. They sat through church and Sunday school and had to be assisted out of the church. But, they were there without fail. Everyone would have understood if they could not make it to church, but there they were. They were faithfully encouraging and loving the body as they have for years!

Other than this picture above and the brief words I’ve spoken about them, most of you will never have the privilege of knowing these saints this side of heaven. They’ve never written any books or have any real claim to fame outside of their village of Roseville, Ohio. But, those in Roseville know them and especially those in their church and family. They are among the faithful who encourage, pray, give, teach, and love. They’ve faithfully done it for decades. They have modeled the faithfulness required of those who call themselves Christians and we are always privileged to spend time with them.

I have fought the good fight, I have finished the course, I have kept the faith; in the future there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day; and not only to me, but also to all who have loved His appearing. 2 Timothy 4:8-9