By Dr. Aaron Meraz, Director of Mission:Dignity at GuideStone
You are an answer to a widow’s prayers!
Jeanetta Watson served with her husband, Wendell, in Oklahoma and Texas for 45 years. Wendell, a bi-vocational pastor, always pastored small churches that could not pay a full-time minister. Some of the jobs he worked to supplement his pastoral income included selling insurance, selling church bonds and running his own landscaping business. Though the Watsons weren’t able to save much in the way of retirement, the Lord always provided for their daily needs.
Wendell’s health worsened after the Watsons retired from 45 years in the ministry. He was on dialysis for the last six years of his life, and Jeanetta was his caretaker. When Wendell passed in 2005, Jeanetta worked as a substitute teacher in the local school district until her own struggle with health issues derailed that income stream.
Finances became tight as Jeanetta tried to keep up with car insurance, house insurance and supplemental insurance, which added up. Sometimes she couldn’t pay for extra things such as tires and repairs for the car. Jeanetta would not even go to the doctor or dentist because that was another expense she couldn’t pay. She would pray and leave her situation in the Lord’s hands.
Thankfully, friends and Mission:Dignity® donors Jon and Carol Young remembered Jeanetta and recommended that she apply to Mission:Dignity. “I got a call saying that I’d been accepted by Mission:Dignity. It was such a burden lifted off my shoulders. There are no words to explain what this ministry has meant to me,” says Jeanetta. “I pray that all of you realize what this means to know our years of service have not been forgotten. Many of those years were a struggle, but I would not change a thing. I’m sure Wendell is looking down from heaven and would say, ‘Thank you for looking after my wife.’”
GuideStone’s Mission:Dignity ministry serves more than 2,500 retirement-aged ministers, workers and widows as they face advancing age, illness, infirmity, death of a spouse and even natural disasters. Through it all, we provide constant care, prayer and financial assistance directly at the point of need.
In the Old Testament, we find these words: “I have been young, and now am old; Yet I have not seen the righteous forsaken.” Psalm 37:25a (NJKV)
These retired pastors, workers and their widows blessed others in their care, time and again. And now, we have the opportunity to return that blessing to these unsung heroes of the faith.
Each year across the Southern Baptist Convention, thousands of churches celebrate Mission:Dignity Sunday to raise funds to help these servants of the Lord. This year’s Mission:Dignity Sunday is the fourth Sunday in June – June 26, 2022.
Mission:Dignity does not receive any Cooperative Program funding, yet 100% of every gift to this ministry helps someone like Jeanetta Watson.
With Mission:Dignity Sunday quickly approaching, would you, your church and/or your small group join us in giving to these soldiers of the cross in need?
Visit MDSunday.org to order materials or get involved.
Dr. Aaron Meraz is the director of Mission:Dignity at GuideStone. Dr. Meraz served Southern Baptists for 30 years as a pastor, church planter, associate director of a large Baptist association and professor at Criswell College before joining GuideStone. He holds a Ph.D. and a D.Min. from The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary and an M.Div. in biblical languages from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary.