Going home …. where my Faith began …

First Baptist Church Jacinto City is where I attended church as I grew up, leaving only when I married and moved away. There were such nerves and fear when the day arrived, I did not know how I would handle the memories and possibly suffer from an episode of emotional incontinence, and that is one thing I dread, loosing control of my emotions. Things had changed a lot, but it was where I learned about God, Jesus Christ, the Bible and my salvation experience. That church was where I practiced my social skills, formed friendships and grew my personal relationship with God. It was a joyous experience to find the friends of my youth. The first to greet me was Cheryl Ferguson-Dupuy, who has this spirit about her that radiates love, acceptance and heart felt warmth. Then I was able to see her mother, Ruth Endsley, who was one of my Girls Auxiliary leaders. She is is an example of faithfulness to God and the church, and it remains today. Then Amelia Matheny who had become somewhat of a substitute mother in the years when I spent so much time in the church, in her home and with her daughter, Jeannine Matheny-Riggs, who also was there. Jeannine and I sang duets together, mostly In The Garden, but we were friends through so much of our teenage years, I cannot imagine having grown up without her constant friendship for those teenage years. Time, distance and life have changed all my childhood relationships; it is the way life is processed. Mrs. Matheny was the person I called when I knew my dad had something going on in his cognition and mom had been hospitalized; she reassured me and immediately started calling the deacon body to be there for my dad until I could make the drive. The hand prints of my dad are gone, the sanctuary has been redesigned, so I was somewhat relieved that those things had changed and the memories were safe. The educational building that was part of the building up of the church (and one of my TBT pictures of my dad helping to break the ground for) is the safe memory, and it was good to see. Then the albums of the church’s history were out for all to use as conversation, and all the young women of my past were there, most of us grayer, more mature and certainly wiser were able to get a collective picture. No, you really can’t go home again, but you can return to the place and people who played such vital roles in who one becomes. The smiles and words are in my heart and the time was good. It was a brief glimpse into my past, the past my husband, Joe, had only read about in my book or heard about in my version of my life. What I have from that day in Jacinto City are memories that are safe, comforting and life affirming. Until August 17, I had felt dread about going home because the home of my childhood belongs to another family now; the homes of my deceased brother and sister are there, sorrow is there. Now these memories that loomed over my being are replaced with the knowledge that I was given the best from my parents, a requirement to be in God’s presence “regularly” (the Southern Baptist Church Covenant way I talk about in my book) and that led to my accepting God’s gift of salvation and the joy in His presence I have today. Thank you to the church and people of my youth!

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