Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Aunt Maxine, Mrs. Mabel, and Hank

In our 3 weeks in Missouri, we've been doing a lot of visiting.  Visiting church members, visiting neighbors who aren't church members, visiting whoever will let us talk to them basically.  We've met a lot of people and thankfully been able to share Jesus with lots as well - pray for open and receptive hearts.

Last week, we visited two of our church's oldest members - Aunt Maxine and Mrs. Mable.

Aunt Maxine is the Aunt of head deacon, Jim.  She is a spry 93 and is quick to tell you she's the church's oldest member.  Never married, she still lives by herself and drives herself wherever she wants to go.  The people are seriously hardy in this neck of the woods y'all!  And she is full of stories.
During our visit she told us about the history of the church (during her lifetime).  A favorite was how her Daddy volunteered to give up land from his farm for the parsonage way back in the 1960s.  She also told of her life.  The middle of 7 children, she started school early (only barely 5 in first grade) and loved school so much she became a school teacher herself.  She was a young 18, only a year out of high school and a year into college, when she was called to teach 4th grade at the local school.  She taught school until she retired in her 70s.  You can tell she must have been an amazing teacher, the way she talks of her love for the classroom and students.
Aunt Maxine also loves to play cards.  We played a rousing round of Skip-Bo, which amazingly James won.  We had heard that Aunt Maxine is quite the card shark so we feel she took it easy on us - haha.
Even though she's 93, James has encouraged her to help him minister by going with him to the local nursing homes.  She's been such a blessing to do that.  She's able to introduce him to her friends, church members and not, and basically be a person of peace for us in the community.
Visiting with her is so fun.  It's a little challenging because she doesn't hear well, which seems to be her only ailment.  Sweetly, she has given Hudson and me nicknames.  I am "Missy," typical nickname for Melissa.  Hudson is "Hank!"  I love it!

Later last week, we went to visit Mrs. Mabel.  Mrs. Mabel is a young 84.  Widowed in 1991, she still lives alone, drives herself, and mows her own grass.  Mows her own grass, people, at 84!  See what I mean? Hardy people!

Mrs. Mabel is famous in the community for her quilting and general talent in anything sewing-related.  When we came to visit her, she was watching the news and working on a cross-stitch lap quilt.  The church has a wall hanging of a cross-stitched "Last Supper" she did which is simply amazing.

Mrs. Mabel had one son, Leonard who had one son who now has one daughter.  Sadly she hasn't seen them in several years because they've moved far away.  That makes me sad for her.  Hudson and I had a conversation about how even if he moves away as an adult, he better keep in touch. 

Mrs. Mabel and Aunt Maxine are great friends.  They get together once a week to play cards, usually Skip-Bo but sometimes Rook.  And believe it or not, but Mrs. Mabel was once Aunt Maxine's student.  Remember how Aunt Maxine taught 4th when she herself was barely out of high school?  Well Mrs. Mabel was in that 4th grade class.  She also was Aunt Maxine's student in high school for English Lit.  It warms my heart to think how they've grown from a student-teacher relationship to a friendship.  It makes me look forward to hopefully having that kind of relationship with some of my former students.

So that's what James, Hank, and I have been up to primarily these past few weeks.  Getting to know and falling in love with the people here!

We loved you so much,
that we shared with you not only God's good news,
but our own lives, too.
1 Thessalonians 2:8 NLT

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