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'On The Street Where We Live....'
by Travis Wiginton
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We have always lived in parsonages (houses owned by the churches we served)...
until we came to Bethel Baptist Church here in Norman. They did not own a parsonage,
but with help from the church, we bought a house in 1975 on Cherry Laurel Drive.
We were welcomed by a backyard neighborhood party at Joe and Glenda Ray's home.

Our children LOVED living on this street as at one time there were over 50 children living on Cherry Laurel Dr. (We lovingly referred to them as 'The Cherry Laurel Gang')

When Kona Baptist Church on the Big Island of Hawaii called us to come as their Pastor in 1986, we leased our house here to people who wanted to buy it.
We were disappointed when that deal fell through, but God knew we were going to need a home after I was diagnosed with vocal chord cancer in 1991, so He shut that door!

That diagnosis cut short my last full-time pastorate (First Baptist Church, Quanah, Tx)
and after 32 radiation treatments, we moved back into our house on Cherry Laurel Dr.

After serving 5 different Interims in Hawaii, we were welcomed home by a dinner at the Whites....neighbors who themselves were new to Cherry Laurel Dr. We are SO blessed~

While pastoring in Quanah, I wrote an article for their weekly newspaper entitled....
'To Whom It May Concern'.
I see now that it was God preparing us for our present writing ministry.

I officiated a funeral earlier this week for a dear neighbor/friend, Gladys Dodson.
As best I can recall, it was the first time that I conducted a funeral for a neighbor.

Cherry Laurel Dr. is only about 3 blocks long, but there were people from 6 homes in our neighborhood who attended Gladys' Memorial service, in spite of bitterly cold weather.
Others who had to work sent their regards.
I was thrilled at that show of love for Gladys and concern/respect for her husband, Ken.

Ken and Gladys have lived in Norman since 1971 and would have celebrated their 65th wedding anniversary in June.

Ken served as a Lt. Col. in the military, so we enjoy talking about their life. They lived in Hawaii where their daughter, Cheri, graduated from Waipahu High School on Oahu.

Several months ago when we rec'd some flowers from Hawaii, we shared a couple of leis with Gladys. Ken said that those brought back warm memories of their time in Hawaii and Gladys was reluctant to throw them away, keeping them in the refrigerator for several weeks.

The last visit I had with Gladys was when I took our little dog Cosmo down to see the Dodsons. Gladys loved Cosmo, but the best thing about that visit was Gladys' smile....
in spite of all that she was going through.

I could tell that she was drawing on 'inner strength' for her outward countenance/joy!
II Corinthians 11:9: "God's strength is made perfect in our weakness"

I'd like to share the funeral message with you.... "The Sufficient Shepherd" (Psalms 23):

1) Perfect Salvation - "The Lord is my Shepherd....
2) Perfect Satisfaction - "I shall not want....
3) Perfect Rest - "He makes me to lie down in green pastures....
4) Perfect Refreshment - "He leads me beside still waters....
5) Perfect Restoration - "He restores my soul....
6) Perfect Guidance - "He leads me in the paths of righteousness....
7) Perfect Protection - "I will fear no evil....
8) Perfect Company - "For thou art with me....
9) Perfect Comfort - "Thy rod and thy staff comfort me....
10) Perfect Consecration - "He annoints my head with oil....
11) Perfect Care - "Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me always....
12) Perfect Dwelling Place - "I shall dwell in the house of the Lord forever".

Proverbs 18:24:
"There is a friend who sticks closer than a brother" and Gladys knew this Friend.

For quite some time Gladys had been a 'Living Miracle' in spite of limitations.
Her character and smile were contagious!

Someone said:
"The real test of character is when you are 'tested' by difficulties, sickness and limitations". We can be 'walking miracles' and we can win if we 'faint not'.

A song that La Moyne and I have sung as a duet for years is entitled...
"It Took A Miracle" by John W. Peterson.

When we recorded our music album several years ago, we contacted Mr. Peterson via his son-in-law, Tom Catzere, to get permission.
Mr. Peterson not only gave us permission to use his song as the title for our album...
but he also gave us his 'blessing' which was very special to us!
Mr. Peterson died a few yrs. later at 85 yrs. of age.

"It Took A Miracle"

"My Father is omnipotent
And that you canít deny;
A God of might and miracles;
'Tis written in the sky.

It took a miracle to put the stars in place;
It took a miracle to hang the world in space.
But when He saved my soul,
Cleansed and made me whole,
It took a miracle of love and grace!

Though here His glory has been shown,
We still canít fully see
The wonders of His might, His throne;
'Till eternity.

The Bible tells us of His power
And wisdom all way through;
And every little bird and flower
Are testimonies too.

It took a miracle to put the stars in place;
It took a miracle to hang the world in space.
But when He saved my soul,
Cleansed and made me whole,
It took a miracle of love and grace!"
(by John W. Peterson 1921-2006)

In John 14:1-6, Jesus promises:
"Let not your heart be troubled. You believe in God, believe also in me.
In my Father's House are many mansions. If it were not so, I would have told you.
I go to prepare a place for you and if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you unto myself, that where I am, there you may be also."

I've mentioned this poem before and I shared it at Glady's Memorial service on Monday.

"When God sends forth a spotless soul to learn the ways of earth.
A Mother's love is waiting here....this miracle is called 'birth'.
When God calls home a tired soul and stills a fitful breath...
Love Divine is waiting there...this too, is BIRTH, not DEATH!"
(Author unknown)

We thank God that we have had the privilege to live on Cherry Laurel Dr. these 30 years and have such wonderful neighbors!!!
They have been SUCH a blessing to us and their friendship means even more to us as we age! They have given us their cell phone numbers (in case we ever need them when they're not home) and this has been a comfort not only to us, but to our children as well.

During the recent ice storm (when neither man nor beast should have been outside) we noticed someone in our backyard. It was a neighbor from across the street, cutting up some of our trees that had fallen!

You may have seen the ad on TV which shows 'acts of kindness' as they spread from one person to the next throughout the town. Our prayer is that all of us will show God's Love via acts of kindness on 'the streets where we live".

Leviticus 19:18: "Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself"

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