Investing Lives in Lives


by John C. Westervelt


     A little less than three years ago on a Sunday morning, Shonda Wagner left her husband Jay with Dub Ambrose and the Worship Team to rehearse for the 9:15 worship service, and then she walked the cavernous halls of Asbury.  She asked a lady she passed if there was a Sunday school class in session at the eight o’clock hour.  The woman said, “The Joy class meets right here and you are welcome.”  Shonda came, stayed, and even taught a chapter from a book that Bill Mason selected for class participation.

     Over the ensuing months, Shonda and Jay invested their lives in the Joy Community, and the class members invested their lives in this young family.  Zachary, now three-years-old, would come with his mommy each Sunday and walk the aisles of the classroom greeting his fifty adopted great-grandparents.  The outpouring of love prepared each of us for a better understanding of Jesus’ message that would follow from Bill Mason’s lesson.

     Throughout the summer months, Shonda, a beautiful woman already, seemed even more beautiful as she and Jay expected a baby sister for Zachary.  The Joy Community women gathered at the home of Barbara Thornton for an old-fashioned baby shower.

     Shonda and Jay asked all of Zachary’s adopted great-grandparents to stand with them at the 9:15 worship service for the baptism of Haley Dianna by Bill Mason.

     Following the service, the class enjoyed brunch at the home of Jay’s parents.  Once again, as at every class party, Shonda, with her servant’s heart, served the guests and gathered empty plates from the tables.

Jay and Shonda have held management positions for a number of years with McDonald’s.  Both have been promoted and are moving to Dallas as soon as they sell their house.  For now, Jay is commuting to Dallas.  Their departing will leave behind some heavy hearts when Zachary no longer walks the aisles of the Joy classroom.  Maybe it is just as well, for in another year, with Haley Diana beginning to walk, the pain of a departure would be twice as great.


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