Because John Michael’s faith was the fabric of his life, I begin my “thank you” letters remembering the WMU ladies…….WMU is (or was) the name of the ladies group at Baptist churches. It was the WMU from First Baptist Church, Stillwater, Oklahoma, who gave me my baby shower……my dear friend Blanche Gilliland (who lost her life to breast cancer several years later, leaving her precious daughter Amy) spearheaded the shower. Skip and I taught a youth Sunday School class with Blanche – and, then Mrs. Mastin delivered his baby blue Bible to him when he was about two weeks old. It was at Stillwater FBC that John Michael first attended Vacation Bible School right before his first birthday. WMU (Women’s Missionary Union) is like Women’s Circle in other churches – a group of women who come together to pray for others around the world. When JM was two, we moved to Clayton and soon joined Clayton First Baptist Church. Asking how we could serve, two days later, JM and I were headed to youth church camp; I would push that stroller all around Kiamichi Youth Camp, keeping a watchful eye on our group, plus enjoying the great singing that’s always presence at youth camps. JM, even two, seemed to take in every moment. In August, I began teaching and JM would stay with Anna Poe…….so, Anna, this thank you is to you. My dear Anna, you taught John Michael so much. If he were here, he would be remembering picking peaches, gathering veggies from the garden, helping Lewis gather the cows, fishing at the pond – you shooting the snapping turtles, eating a big dinner every day at noon, and having you cut his corn off the cob to be like Lewis. But, most of all, he would remember attending the weekly WMU meetings with you. In a small town, everything gets written about in the newspaper and there it would be, listing those who attended WMU, would be John Michael Gore. I so remember the day you said, “I hope you don’t mind, but we attended _____’s funeral today, but JM and I sat at the back.” So, began JM’s lessons in death…and, the promise of what heaven has waiting. I think I’ve said this before, but I remember when he was four, playing in his room, with his toy chest open and his Bible in his hand. He shared with me that he was “preaching” a funeral and he couldn’t wait to see Heaven and all those who had gone before him. I can’t finish my WMU story without mentioning more WMU ladies who made a difference in his life……Mrs. James, who with her kind, sweet voice, would visit with JM at Anna’s and at Sunday School – JM was still sending her a Christmas card when he went to college. Mrs. James died a few years ago at the age of 100 – I am most assured that never an unkind word was uttered in her 100 years. Mrs. Robinson was John Michael’s Sunday school teacher for two years — he loved her peanut butter balls that she brought every Sunday morning. JM loved Sunday School; I’m not sure I can remember every teacher he had because although we lived in many places, the first thing we did was find a church …… so, in another blog, the thank you’s will continue.
Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it. Proverbs 22:6