Wednesday, June 4, 2014
We moved to Virginia during the summer after I finished 1st grade. Daddy was a bakery engineer and he took a job in Harrisonburg. Harrisonburg was a small town in the Shenandoah Valley. It was a sleepy little town back then as most small towns were. I had 3 older sisters, and 2 younger sisters when we moved to Va. We spent most of our time outside during that first summer, playing with each other and getting to know the neighbor kids. We played tag, "Ain't No Bugger Bears Out Tonight", we put on shows on the front porch. (Our house was a huge victorian with a wrap around porch.) We were kind of like the Waltons you see on tv. We were a country family moved to the "city"!
I don't remember when we met Mrs. Evans. I just remember she was a big part of our lives while we lived there. My memories of Harrisonburg include Mrs. Evans as an integral part of the three years we spent there in Harrisonburg.
Mrs. Evans was married and had no children. She worked at a grocery store and she went to church. The best thing she did that I remember was, she held a weekly Bible class for the neighborhood kids. I think it was Thursday afternoons, but one day a week all the kids in the area would show up at her door and be ushered in and upstairs to the class room. I don't know exactly how many kids there were each time but I know it was at least a dozen. We would sit in the room and Mrs. Evans would tell us Bible stories. We had plays and activities together. I learned a lot of what I know about God and Jesus from Mrs. Evans. She, for whatever reason had taken it as her mission to teach us kids about God and why He was important in our lives.
Mrs. Evans and Mama became friends during these years we spent there. I am sure one of the reasons was that Mama had a break each week for a couple of hours from us 4 older girls. I know that they spent time together on other occasions also. I remember Mrs. Evans giving Mama a baby shower when she was pregnant with our little brother. Mrs. Evans mother, Mrs. Foltz, lived with her for a time during our years there. Mama bought Mrs. Foltz dining room suit after she passed away. I never sat in our kitchen after that for many years without remembering these two ladies, because that dining room set went everywhere with us in the next several moves we made, and was still there in my Mama's house when she passed away in 2009.
Mrs. Evans asked Mama if we older girls could go to church with her at some point after we moved there. I don't remember when we started, but I remember that it was a big part of our lives also during that time. We walked the block up the street every Sunday morning, Sunday evening, and Wednesday evening, to ride with Mr. and Mrs. Evans to church. We went to potlucks, VBS, gospel meetings and regular services for the 3 years we lived down the street from her.
I know that the foundation we learned started with our Mama, who read Bible stories to us when we were small, but the building blocks of our relationship with God came from Mrs. Evans and in his quiet way, Mr. Evans. I don't remember this part but my sisters tell me that Mr. Evans would take us to those church services and classes even on the days that Mrs. Evans had to work. Mrs. Evans husband was not a Christian during these years. I don't remember where he worked, I do remember he was a quiet man who would do anything for Mrs. Evans.
So the things Mrs. Evans did during our years in Harrisonburg were even more special because of Mr. Evans. Sometimes she would work on the weekends and at night. I just remember him driving us all those years and her quietly teaching us in our "Bible Club" and as she herded us around coming, going, and during all those activities.
I have told this story many times to people in the different places I have lived and where I have worshipped. Mrs. Evans has many jewels in her crown today as she visits with Mr. Evans and God and Jesus and many others who have gone on before her. Oh yes, Mr. Evans became a Christian in his very old age, I believe he was in his 80's. Such a great example of a Godly woman who lived her life in service to God and those around her and by doing so was the Christian wife and example for Mr. Evans, and at least 4 little girls from Georgia. Without her I am not sure where we would be today, but with her, I have the confidence that we will see her again one day as we finish our race. In the mean time I know that our Father greeted her with open arms and said to her as Paul states in
II Timothy 4:7
7 I have fought the good fight, I have finished the course, I have kept the faith; 8 in the future there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day; and not only to me, but also to all who have loved His appearing.
"Well done thy good and faithful servant!" is what God greeted Louise Evans with yesterday when she passed on from this life to that great and glorious, next adventure.
She is now with her loved ones and more importantly she is settling in to that room in the mansion that Jesus promised to prepare for her.
Even tho I had not seen her in years, my heart is sad that she had to go. Somehow we like to have the memory and the knowing that even if the person is not in our lives anymore he/she is still there in our past, just waiting for us to go back and visit and climb those stairs and settle in for another time of Bible story, or play or activities so that we can be grown and filled some more with the precious goodness of what Mrs. Evans shared with us and we share with others as we live each day of our lives.
One of my sisters and our families went back to visit Mrs. Evans years later and as we climbed those stairs and had all those memories come flooding back,(boy the room was sooo small) we told her how much it meant to us to have her share her God with us and how we were now passing it on to our children as she had once done with us.
I pray that I may leave a legacy half so special as the one Mrs. Louise Evans left when she came down our street and introduced herself to our family and began that three year journey of changing our lives forever.