Thirsting for the story

Renee Ann Smith —  October 1, 2010 — 6 Comments

This blog exists because of a Storyteller.

One who entered our world and forever changed people’s perception of who God is. From the Sermon on the Mount to the Last Supper, Jesus’ ability to paint pictures with words transformed hearts and minds.

I share His love of communicating truth through stories as I tap my keys each day. Many share this love with me. And not just authors.

Do you know someone who can hold a crowd transfixed by the power of a well-told tale? We have one of the best I’ve ever heard at our church. Her name is Mary Davis.

Mary wasn’t always our chief children’s tale-teller. If you’d asked her several years ago, she would have said that she wasn’t really teacher material. Funny how God works, isn’t it?

But on one certain Sunday when our church was looking for a Head Teacher for the Children’s Church Program, Mary felt God prompting her to take the position. Still, she waited three weeks to volunteer in hopes that someone else would step up.

Mary prepares to tell the Wordless Book Story at the Columbia County Fair

Meanwhile, Mary bolstered her courage by remembering the story of Gideon. He was a fearful man, unaware of his own potential. However, he made himself available to the Lord, and God did the rest, using Gideon and his tiny band of men to win a great battle.

With this in mind, she volunteered.

Mary says of those first weeks of teaching, “I think I learned more than I taught. For the first time, I really started searching the Scriptures. If I had to teach it, I had better know what I was teaching.”

Not long after that, Mary’s husband Fred decided to check out the youth group for his son.

Fred and son Josh help with the Fair Ministry

That’s when he felt called to work with teens. Both Mary and Fred quickly became involved in the church’s ministry at the Columbia County Fair in Chatham, New York.

Mary and Fred also became supporters of other church ministries, working tirelessly in Vacation Bible School, Sunday School, the Kids for Christ Program, the Skit Ministry, and the summer ministry at Camp Good News, a Child Evangelism Camp in Maine.

Mary and Fred remind me of one of my favorite songs, which talks about why Godly storytellers do what they do.

I love to tell the story;
For those who know it best
Seem hungering and thirsting
To hear it like the rest.
And when in scenes of glory,
I sing the new, new song
Twill be the old, old story
That I have loved so long.

I don’t remember a time when Fred and Mary weren’t a vital part of our church family. I questioned them on their past, when they met, and what brought them to the church.

Mary was raised in a Christian home and saved when she was four. Fred was led to the Lord in his early twenties by his boss. They met while they were both working for Faye’s Drug Store.

Mary and Fred, the early years

Mary remembers that she didn’t like Fred at first: “It definitely wasn’t love at first sight. But once I got to know him, it didn’t take me long to figure out that he was the one.”

They were married on January 23, 1993, at Calvary Assembly of God in Sottville, New York. The births of their three boys remain the most significant memories of their life together.

They were drawn to our church because Fred knew one of the members, Jim Krott. Soon after they began attending, their children decided to follow the Lord in baptism. Mary and Fred held the baptism at Mary’s mother’s house on a Saturday.

She told her mom not to plan on a lot of people, since the Davises were new and the congregation was small. Mary figured on (then) Pastor Keith Gardner, his wife Deb, and a few Sunday school teachers attending. Surprisingly, everyone in the church showed up.

“That was when Fred and I knew we were home,” Mary says. “What a great testimony of Christian love!”

When they’re not busy with church, Fred works for Corrections as a guard, and Mary

Fred and Mary, the early years

clerks for the Planning, Zoning, and Building Departments of the town of Austerlitz. Mary has also owned a nail salon, worked in a bank, taught scrapbooking, and taken portraits professionally.

Fred’s an avid hunter, proficient with bow, rifle, and muzzle loader. Mary has taken the hunting safety course. But the one time she accompanied Fred on a hunt, she fell asleep.

This couple is special to many of us because their love is obvious–their love for the Lord, for their family, and for others.

Please comment! Mary and Fred would be so encouraged if you left a comment on this post. And comments to a blogger are like a warm fire on a cold day or a kind smile from a stranger or a pat on the back or . . . well, you get the point!

Fred models one of Mary's designs

A few photos of our Fair Ministry. Every year our church (led by Pastor Franc Richardson) rents a booth and uses the fair as an opportunity to reach the community for Christ. Mary leads the face painters. These folks paint kids cheeks, foreheads, arms, and hands with special designs.

Though the designs vary in shape and size, there’s no variation in color. Only the colors of the Wordless Book are used. So as the painters work on decorating each child, they’re also sharing the gospel story. Mary and Alease, pictured below, have led many children to the Lord through the Fair Ministry.

Mary and Alease, talented painters and enthusiastic soul winners

Mary's son Jake chooses a design

Renee Ann Smith

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I teach literature in a Christian high school by day and write inspirational fiction by night. I love to share heart-touching quotes and stories here on my blog. So glad you stopped by!

6 responses to Thirsting for the story

  1. What a beautifully written article on a husband and wife who truly do love the Lord and earnestly seek His face! The Davis family has often been an encouragement to me; I am very blessed to have had my day brightened by them many times. They are a very kind, friendly, warm, and godly couple!

  2. What a blessing it is to have been there to watch this family be baptized and see that they are ever growing closer to the King. His power is made perfect in our weakness.

  3. Renee, thank you for telling Fred and Mary’s story. The Lord has blessed their lives through their family and to the church with their love for the Lord Jesus Christ. Mary is an excellent teacher and Fred is a great preacher. Both will be used mightily of the Lord as they live out their commitment to the Savior that they love so dearly. As the parents of three boys, two of whom are teens, we need to remember to uplift them in prayer. I thank the Lord for this family and their walk with Christ.

  4. What a great testimony of their love for each other and the Lord; they are living out their faith (Matt 7:20; Gal 5:22). They’re great examples to us all. Not real sure how blogs work, but I do love them and lift them up before the Lord often…I hope they know that! They are special people and who I miss serving with. May God continue to bless their ministry in the Kinderhook area! Thanks Renee for sharing that!

  5. Laurie Heimroth October 1, 2010 at 2:02 pm

    Fred and Mary really are a testimony of a godly couple and goldy parents. They have shown their love of God to so many especially the youth in our church. I also look forward to seeing Fred as a greeter on Sunday mornings as he always has a smile on his face and you can tell that he is happy to be in the Lord’s house.

  6. Maureen Timerman October 2, 2010 at 5:48 pm

    What an amazing and beautiful family. They have found their God Gifts and are sharing.
    Thank you for introducing them to us.


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