A Guest Blog Post by Rev. Paul and Mrs. Margie Woodworth
I have said it before and I feel pretty sure I will say it again, Rev. Paul Woodworth is my oldest friend in ministry and you can take that any way you want. While that part is a joke, Paul and his wife Margie were the first people I met after he and I both assumed the pulpit at our respective congregations. Paul went to Bremond and Calvert, just about as far west as you can get and still be in the Texas Annual Conference. I went to Elwood, as far east as you can go and still be in the old Bryan district. Since that time, we have followed each other around the conference. Now Paul and Margie and Cindy and I all live in Lufkin. Margie made her living in the property title business. Before entering ministry Paul was in the grocery business. Since entering the ministry Paul has served, Bremond, Calvert, First UMC Madisonville (Associate Pastor), First UMC Groveton, Prairie View UMC Groveton, First UMC Brownsboro, New Hope UMC Brownsboro, Ben Wheeler UMC, Burke UMC, and First UMC Sweeny (Pastor Emeritus). Today Paul and Margie are enjoying their retirement as much as one can enjoy being quarantined in a senior living center for over three months now. That is Keith saying that, not Paul and Margie. Paul is probably the finest pastor I have known. He cares about people in a way few people I have known care. I am thankful for my friendship. I pray you enjoy their words today.
I was very glad in the Lord because now at last you have shown concern for me again. (Of course, you were always concerned but had no way to show it.) 11 I’m not saying this because I need anything, for I have learned how to be content in any circumstance. 12 I know the experience of being in need and of having more than enough; I have learned the secret to being content in any and every circumstance, whether full or hungry or whether having plenty or being poor. 13 I can endure all these things through the power of the one who gives me strength. (Philippians 4:10-13, Common English Bible)
We have all been making adjustments during the time of quarantine. After our Easter Sunday Service on April 10, 2020, as we finished singing “Victory in Jesus”, we were told that we had to go to our room in our Assisted Living facility and not come out until further notice! We were all stunned. However, we did as we were told since there was no one to ask “Why?”
The next day we were advised that it because of the Corona Virus and the fear that we might catch it. For the next few weeks we (28 of us) we stayed in our rooms, ate in our rooms, read, watched TV, played on our computers if we had one
Then we were given a list of times (20 minutes) intervals to walk in the hall or out in the Courtyard as long as we wore our masks. During the first few days of “a little freedom”, we noticed that some of us would take advantage of this freedom and others would not. Some residents appeared to be sad and depressed. We were two of them. It occurred to us that if you used to see family and friends, you would naturally be missing them. Missing their hugs, their visits, the treats they would bring.
Next, they decided to let family and friends come to your window and see you for a short time. This helped those who had family that came frequently. Unfortunately, our family is unable to come.
We are happy for those folks who can see their loved ones and friends, but we have become sad because we have no family to come to visit us.
The Apostle Paul went from one town to the other and he didn’t have a Hilton Inn and Suites to stay in or a wonderful buffet to eat.
Our son, Ryan chose Philippians 4:13 as his favorite scripture: “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” We have adopted this scripture to help us during this difficult time. We have a roof over our heads, food to eat, clothes to wear, and last but certainly not least, our Bibles to read and sermons to listen to on our phones. Praise God for all of the blessings he gives us! When we feel low, we sing all of the songs we can find that we know out of the hymnals we have to enjoy. Call a family member and friends who are alone.
We are all struggling, but we are all blessed by the love of God! Remember, “I know who holds tomorrow, and I know who holds my (our) hand.”
Praising God while Learning to be Content!
Paul and Margie Woodworth