After mom was diagnosed with lung cancer and it was determined that she wasn’t a candidate for chemotherapy, she began her months’ long treatment of radiation therapy.
While undergoing treatment, she expressed to “her girls” the desire to have a Bible study in her home. So, we each got busy, contacted family and friends, and her request was soon brought to fruition. Jim Kielty and Robin Wilkinson, long-time Calvary Chapel members, were also contacted and readily agreed to conduct the study each Tuesday evening.
Mom served coffee (probably from her famous Gleason Street 20-cup aluminum percolator). We alternated providing a snack, and the Bible study began.
Jim and Robin selected the subject matter each week; we took turns reading Bible verses and had an in-depth discussion afterward.
This took place in late 1976 and went on for several months before one of the regulars suggested that we take up a weekly collection of $2 each to be given to a charitable cause. All agreed it was a great idea; we were all on board, and just had to decide on the charity. We ended up contacting World Vision International and sponsoring Reina Silvas Ramos, a young girl from Honduras. I volunteered to be in charge of collecting the monies and forwarding it to World Vision on a monthly basis.
Mom passed in November 1977, and the Bible study continued for a time. We still had the World Vision obligation; the monies were sent to me for awhile after the study discontinued.
However, when that completely stopped, I took on the sole responsibility of the commitment. It was very rewarding to receive a letter from them, years later in 1991, that Reina had progressed to the point that she was holding a job and making good progress toward making her own way in the world. Thank God, it sounded as though she had a bright future ahead, and that was confirmation that our Bible Study monies had been put to good use.
Another request Mom made during the Bible study months was that she wanted to be baptized. “Her girls” got on the ball again, spread word again, and voila, the extravaganza that glorious night was that mom and 11 of her children and grandchildren were baptized at the then-popular Melody Land in Anaheim.
And, as an added extravaganza, the dad who always told his kids when they were growing up that, “If I went to church the roof would fall in,” was baptized 10 days later, after mom’s passing.
“The Lord works in mysterious ways His wonders to perform.”
Sharon Benson Smith is a member of the writing class offered through the Cerritos College Adult Education Program. It is held off-campus at the Norwalk Senior Center.