Why did she do it?
About fifty years ago in Grand Rapids, Michigan on Clancy Street. My Dad was a seminary student, a student pastor, and he worked at a grocery store in the meat department. Mom had my sister Melony and I make invitations to what she calls a “Five-Day Club.” It was early in the summer. We finished the invitations and went go door-to-door handing out the invitations to our Five-Day Club. The next week for about an hour and a half a day in the morning our back yard was spread with blankets and twelve to fifteen of the neighbor children showed up to hear stories about Jesus and sing Christian songs. Mom used the Wordless Book to explain the gospel. It is one of my earliest memories.
Why did she do that?
Mom had a huge file of visualized Bible and Missionary stories and songs and memory verses. When she visited other churches it was common for people to see her there and ask her to sing. She had an old Avon kit bag she would keep in the car and when asked at the last minute to sing, she was always ready. She would send one of us out to the car for the Avon bag and she would sing with all her heart.
Why did she always do that?
Forty-four years ago, the bus came to a halt in front of Jew Knight’s Sinclair Station on State Route 47 in the tiny village of Logansville, in central Ohio. It was Tuesday evening so instead of crossing the road to our house, my sister Melony and I walked to the little white church. Tuesday night was Good News Club night. Mom and Mrs. Davis gathered the children of the village and we sang songs—eager to take turns holding the flash-cards. We memorized bible verses, and reviewed the books of the Bible. Mom taught a Bible lesson illustrated with flannel graph. Mrs. Davis taught an exciting serialized missionary story with a cliff-hanger at the end so you would want to come back next week to find out what happened to Rangu the Witch-Doctor’s Daughter. There are treats and prizes and friends. Over the years I memorized the stories an irritated my mother by whispering the punch-lines to the kids sitting around me.
Why did she always do these clubs? Why were they so important to her?
She did it because she knew it worked. She knew that that story told from a colorful book without words could completely transform a life and a family forever. It did the Shipley family… a family all broken up back in the late 1940’s. It was at a Vacation Bible School held at Bertrand Bible Church where she and her sister first heard the story of Jesus and believed the Gospel and were saved and forever changed.
But there was another reason. She did it so that we would do it. On Mother’s Day weekend I always talk with my Mom and I say, “What can I get you for Mother’s Day?” She always says something like this: “I just want you to serve the Lord. That’s all I want.”
When I think about it, I do every single day of my life just what Mom showed me how to do years ago. I go invite people to hear about Jesus. I sing songs and teach the Bible and tell exciting cliff-hanger stories to stir-up people’s hearts for Christ and make Him known. I just do all the time what I’ve seen my mother do hundreds and hundreds of times.
May 12, 2014