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down fire from heaven in his sermons
one minute and then weep with sorrow
or happiness alongside his flock the next.
He loved being with his congregation,
but he never horned in on our teenage
youth group plans. From him I learned
about the passion of the Christian walk
and the wisdom of allowing the church
to grow God’s way.
A man who was appreciative of God’s
written Word influenced my high school
years. His diligence in knowing the Word
of God and then sharing that special
knowledge taught me that God loves a
learner. From him I learned to value edu-
cation and to seek knowledge of who God
is through His divinely inspired Word.
As a college student, I had access to
many chapel speakers, but two in particu-
lar stand out in my memory. One man
They Shaped My Life
was a gentle, grandfatherly campus pas-
tor. From him I saw that God honors the
walk of a man who is after His own heart.
■ BY DEE YODER left me with the notion that God uses all I recognized the blessings of long life, the
people in whatever condition He finds wisdom of years seen in his teachings,
S A CHILD, I often acted as them. From that pastor I learned to believe and the goodness inherent in a soft heart.
an observer in my church that God has a place and a plan for me. The second man was not a campus
family rather than as a par- I next remember a pastor who had a pastor, but a chapel speaker and profes-
ticipant. As such, I rarely had humble, gentle spirit. I was never afraid sor. His words had a profound influence
moments of one-on-one time with the of him, yet I felt a sense of wanting to on my relationship with God. He spoke
main leader in the church, the pastor. A live up to his idea of the kind of person of a Creator whose majesty and awe-
handshake at the door, usually at the end he thought me to be. He seemed to think some power were exemplified through
of the service, or an occasional moment I was a smart cookie in a quiet package. His creation, a God who harnessed His
of friendly banter was the extent of my From him I learned to think of myself as power in the gift to mankind of His only
face-to-face time with my pastors. valuable and important, in spite of my Son. This man taught me to see the
Recently I began to think about how sensitive and shy nature, or, perhaps, divine in even the tiniest cells of a living
much my life had been influenced by the because of it. thing and to see the Creator as the
various pastors I had known while I was The pastor of my middle school years craftsman who longs to bring His cre-
growing up in the church. As I thought was fun, happy, and full of the joy of liv- ation closer to His heart.
back, I had a revelation. Though I had not ing. He also showed his love for people, My memory walk through childhood,
experienced a great deal of individual time but most of all for the children. He often adolescence, and young adulthood
with them, each had conveyed a special put on puppet shows and, with his voice showed me that though I had only mea-
feeling and left a memory of his ministry recorded on tape, would play it on a fast sured moments with each pastor, they
on my spirit while serving as my pastor. speed so he would sound like Alvin the most definitely helped to mold me into
My first memory of a pastor is one Chipmunk, telling us fascinating Bible the Christian I am today.
from my preschool years. He was vigorous stories. From him I learned the thrill of To Pastors Wheeler, Black, Richardson,
and lively, but I can remember thinking having a childlike faith, but he also Searcy, Dobbens, Tull, and O’Bannon, I
about the limitations he must face each taught me to think outside the box and give my thanks.
day of his life with a disability he had. Yet, to love the people of God in my church.
I felt no sense of frailty or compromise in The pastor of my junior high years Dee Yoder shares with us her memories of
his position. His perseverance and strength was an excellent preacher who could call her pastors from Mansfield, Ohio.
EVANGEL • APR 2009 25
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