By Roy Hayhurst
DALLAS — Twenty-five dollars each month. That’s what Bobby Walker received when he went to his first pastorate.
“He never made a decision for a pastorate on salary,” Tommie Walker said of her late husband. “He said ‘if God guides, He will provide.’ So we went on that.”
The Walkers’ testimony is not uncommon. A deep love for each other, and a commitment to the calling God has bestowed on them, characterized their marriage.
“We never did have much of a salary, but God blessed us in so many ways; we had each other,” Walker said. “I still miss him so badly.”
Tommie Walker’s story is told in new Mission:Dignity videos available free to churches. The videos also include the story of Virginia Pangle, another pastor’s widow, as well as Raymond and Odessa Crow, a retired pastor and his wife.
“Our videos help tell the story of Mission:Dignity,” said John Ambra, director of development for GuideStone Financial Resources. “Under the theme of ‘every love story deserves a happy ending,’ we are showing these stories of the enduring love and devotion of these retired pastors and their widows, and showing how Southern Baptists have helped to provide a true happy ending — that they may live out their later years with a sense of financial dignity.”
Raymond Crow served nine churches during his 34 ½ years of ministry; he and Odessa have been married 72 years.
“Mission:Dignity has been a life-saver,” Raymond Crow said. “She and I are both on medicines and that gets to be very expensive. We’ve been able to make ends meet because Mission:Dignity has been here to help us.
“It’s hard because my nature is to give, but Mission:Dignity is the thing that builds faith: faith in the Lord and faith in fellow man.”
Mission:Dignity Sunday is June 22, 2014. Churches, Sunday school classes and mission groups can participate in this special day. Free bulletin inserts and these videos (available in three-, two- and one-minute lengths) are available by request. Call 1-888-98-GUIDE (1-888-984-8433) or visit www.MissionDignitySBC.org. The materials are undated so they may be used when convenient for churches.
Roy Hayhurst is department head of denominational and public relations services for GuideStone Financial Resources.