As I worshipped this Sunday morning, I realized how much I had been blessed by a friendship that began in the fall of 1975. I had recently moved to Moncks Corner, SC to teach and truly knew no one in the area. I was blessed to meet a dear lady, Odelle Pipkin, who “adopted” me. She was an aide at the same school and for some reason she took me under her wing. Looking back, I know now that the Lord’s hand was at work. She loved to shop, and she and I spent many hours over the next few years doing just that. Odelle had a sense of humor as evidenced by the fact that she would at times introduce me as Mr. Silas’ daughter by his first marriage. Mr. Silas had not been married before, but Odelle felt I was too old to be her biological daughter and so the story was born! Truly she was my second mom and I loved her dearly. I also came to love Mr. Silas. He was always very pleasant and loved making people feel welcome. How blessed I was to become part of their family. They had two teenage boys, Ed and Tim. I was blessed to spend some time with both of them, see them mature, marry and begin families of their own.
What really struck me this morning was the gratitude I owed to them both for their Christian love. Odelle invited me to join them at the Baptist church for worship as well as to assist them with the preschool class they taught. She also encouraged me to join the church. Now I had been raised in a Lutheran church in New York and had stopped attending when I began college. Occasionally I felt the Lord calling me back, but Odelle was the one who really cared enough to see to it that I began coming to worship regularly. Little did I know when I said that I would join the church that I was agreeing to baptism and total immersion in the baptismal pool. Well, I did join and was baptized in the spring of 1976. Unfortunately, I fell away again for a year or two shortly after that, but the seed was planted.
Mr. Silas, my dad by Odelle’s proclamation, was also very special to me. When I married in 1978, my parents were unable to come for the wedding, but Mr. Silas gave me away! Although my marriage was a bit rocky in the beginning, I can remember him predicting that we would still be together after twenty-five years. Well, we made it to twenty-one years before cancer took my husband away. Mr. Silas was pretty close in his prediction. I will always remember his smile and gentle nature.
I wish I’d had an opportunity to share my appreciation for the role they both played in my salvation. They were loving Christian friends, a “mom and dad” who cared enough to see that I was saved. They are both gone now, but I know that they are in heaven together and one day I will be blessed to see them again. Thank you, Lord, for the people you put in our path to You!