“Do not say, ‘Why were the old days better than these?’
For it is not wise to ask such a question” (Eccl. 7:10).
At the Let’s Start Talking Banquet where we celebrated their 25th anniversary (it was a fabulous evening), nostalgia hit me! I knew Mark & Sherrylee way back then. I interviewed them as part of my doctoral work. Tom and I trained a Let’s Start Talking group and went with them to Groningen, The Netherlands, in the late ‘80s. If it were not for LST, there would be no church in Eindhoven in The Netherlands today. What a great work this has been. The best part of the evening – and it was all good – was seeing the Woodward children rise up and call their parents “blessed.” To all LST people: “may the next 25 years be as blessed as the first 25.”
Nostalgia! I saw lots of people I have known over the years at the banquet. It was there that I heard it again. I have a new name. It is “Miss” Dottie. When I first moved back to Texas, parents called me "Miss Dottie" to their children, but lately I’ve noticed many adults are calling me "Miss Dottie," too. I remember the first time students called me “Ma’am.” I was teaching a summer missions course for women at ACU in 1985. I interpreted ‘ma’am’ to mean ‘these students think I’m old.’ Does Miss Dottie have the same connotation?
The Dutch have their children call their close adult friends, ‘oom’ and ‘tante’ or uncle and aunt. All the children of all the expatriate evangelists and all the children of church members called me ‘Tante Dottie’. And I didn’t mind this at all until last year when one of them, with now graying hair, came up to me and gave me a hug and called me “Tante Dottie.” Wow!
Yesterday I attended a morning class at Richland Hills for the first time and two women came and sat next to me with their husbands. I was flanked on both sides by former York College students. They didn’t know each other so I was able to introduce them to each other and listen to them talk about their time at YC. Both had taken my husband for Bible and both thought he was a hard teacher, but both loved him. It was a neat experience for me, getting to eavesdrop as they talked about their college days. Then last night I went to my regular Bible class and it happened to me again - one of our visitors was a former YC student, who also had not only taken my husband’s Bible class, but had taken one of my classes, as well. Nostalgia, again!
Yesterday afternoon, I got out the YC annuals and looked up the students from the morning class and then last night, I found the photograph of our visitor. I also re-discovered that the 81-82 annual had been dedicated to Tom and me. Do you know how many years ago that was? That was a big year for me. I had graduated with my Master’s in December and in January of 82 I began a part-time private counseling practice in addition to teaching part-time. In the fall of 1982 our son, Paul, got killed.
While thumbing through old annuals, I also found a photograph of Diana Knight, who died in the Ukraine early last Friday morning. She was a beautiful young woman. It has made me sad thinking about Diana – so young – she had just turned 51 on Tuesday before she died on Friday during surgery. These kind of things are un-understandable! I not only found Diana’s picture, but also the pictures of her husband’s brother and his wife. They had been Master’s Apprentice students, serving many years in foreign countries. We never know what the day may bring. That’s why I always try to make it a point to say ‘good-bye’ and leave people hopefully feeling affirmed. Life is incredibly short. It would be lovely if you would send a note to Dennis and his children, even if you don’t know him or know him well. Unless you have lost someone dear, you might not understand how important just a short note is at times like these. Diana’s husband, Dennis, and their children, Jedidiah and Rachel, who attend Harding University, can be reached at:
Zaporozshkoye Hwy. 4/291
So, this weekend was filled with memories. I rejoiced with LST as they celebrated 25 years of service, I met former students, who are now friends, and thought about life’s ups and downs, and thanked God for my blessings. Life is truly a paradox. Even though life may have a lot of downs in it, I can truly say that I feel wonderfully blessed. I have decided that “Miss Dottie” is really a lovely name and one that fits me perfectly. And ‘ma’am’ is just a southern way to show respect.
Remember to pray for our missionaries – especially Dennis. Don’t forget to continue to pray for Joyce Hardin, who lost her Dan just a couple of months ago and for Richard Chowning, who lost his Cindy about the same time. We know where Dan, Cindy and Diana are and that makes all the difference! The countries of Korea, Benin and Ukraine and the United States are better for having known these faithful servants!
“Blessed are the dead who die in the Lord from now on. “Yes,” says the Spirit, “they will rest from their labor, for their deeds will follow them” (Revelation 14; 13).
God bless you all!