Solomon wrote: “you cannot understand the work of God” (Ecc. 11:5) and “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge him, and He will direct your path.” (Pro 3:5-6KJV). If we cannot understand God, how can we possibly understand in advance what the good works are that God has planned for us? (Ps. 139:14-16, Eph 2:10). The decision to move from Bakerville, CT to Murfreesboro, TN was difficult, in part, because we did not know what was ahead for us. Yes, we had a general job description, but that was it. We had no clue what the positive/people result of our move would be. Sally Jo and I agreed: we had to move to Murfreesboro.
Bob, Jane, Ann and Martha Sue were present at our first meeting with The Presbyterian Student Fellowship of Middle Tennessee State University. Ann and Martha Sue were from Murfreesboro. Bob was the son of a military family – they had lived in many different places. Jane was from North of Nashville.
Bob Todd was bright, capable, and personable – he planned to become a medical doctor. At some point while we were there Bob decided to go into the ministry. I remember questioning him about this decision. After Bob and Jane graduated from Middle Tennessee State, they married and moved to Illinois where Bob attended and graduated from Trinity Theological Seminary. He then pastored a Presbyterian Church, and Jane earned her RN degree. Three years after seminary Bob went to medical school. While in medical school I told him I was sorry we had somehow caused the detour. Bob laughed and assured me he was very glad he had gone to seminary. He medical school bills were paid by the U.S. government in exchange for his serving as a doctor in a rural area where there was little medical care available.
Bob and Jane moved to Abbeville, SC. They bought a small house and Bob set up a small medical practice and pulpit supplied in local churches. Their two children grew, and a third was born. The little house became exceedingly full. About this time a widow in town came to Bob and Jane and asked if she could trade houses with them. They wondered about this as her house was much larger, had a swimming pool, and a very large garage. The lady explained that she appreciated their work in the community, and she did not need her large home any more. The swap was made! Bob’s practice grew to serving over 10,000 different patients – with a staff of 4 medical doctors and a nurse practitioner. Bob also taught a course in medical ethics for a medical school. This past year Bob moved from the family practice into working with Hospice. When Bob and Jane moved to Abbeville, they had no clue as to the impact they would have on the community, and how God would provide for them. Bob and Jane seek to live In Partnership With God.
Martha Sue was 6’ tall and our young daughter, Carla, told us she wanted to become as tall as Martha Sue. We’d say “no way – you don’t have tall parents.” We were wrong. Martha Sue’s dad, Burns, was the church elder who worked tirelessly with me on the opening of the Morgue for my office, for use by the PSF, and many other people. I called her mom “Mother Martha” and I can still hear her laugh! She made plum jam – and insisted that leaving a pit in the jam increased the flavor. Martha Sue was an only child and her mother worked hard to raise a proper southern lady. Burns wanted to be sure Martha Sue knew how to do out door activities. He helped her become an excellent horseback rider. Burns bought a boat so Martha Sue could learn how to water ski – she also learned to rappel down rock cliffs. Mother Martha was mortified! and laughed about it all.
Martha Sue earned her Masters in Christian Education and went to work with students at Montreat Anderson College. She eventually married Randy Bowyer, the Director of Student Development, and they had a daughter and two sons. Their sons, Tom and Tim, became campers, Guides and staff at Deerfoot Lodge. Tim became a Guide Leader. Martha Sue just finished her R.N. degree and is now a nurse in Clemson, SC. She, Randy, Katherine, Tim and Tom seek to live In Partnership With God.
Ann Crenshaw was steady, and full of life. Her mom ran the Ceramics program at The Morgue. Ann earned her Master’s Degree in Christian Education and has served churches in the field of Christian Education for 32 years – while doing this she also has served as the Chaplain for a Police Department! Ann is presently in Georgia, and there is no indication she is about to stop. Ann seeks to live In Partnership With God.
These five people encourage others to live In Partnership With God. This ripple effect will continue.
Sally Jo and I are very thankful we obeyed God’s challenging directive: move to Murfreesboro.
None of us know the extent and impact of the good works God has planned in advance for us to do. (Eph 2:10)