McDowell Technical Community College

Bear Creek Baptist Church

God Doesn’t Give Up

Wendy Cannon

Mitchell County

My husband, Bruce Cannon, and I love Mitchell County. I do not believe we are here by accident.  I do not believe any of us are here by accident. I believe we have been placed here by God to reach the people around us for Him. We are so glad that God has placed us here to serve Him and to serve others.

Mark 5:19 “Go…to the friends, and tell them how great things the Lord hath done for thee, and hath had compassion on thee.”

Because of some very hurtful words said by a Circuit Riding minister when my parents were very young and had lost a child to death, my parents stayed away from church for over 40 years.   I had very wonderful, moral parents; but they did not raise me in church.  There was no Bible sitting out on any table, no Bible stories were told, no prayers said, nothing. My parents did eventually go back to church and I am sure that they are now with the Lord. I am so thankful that I will see them again.

My Grandmother was the one who began taking me to church, but it was not an easy thing for her to do.  She met resistance.  I can remember my grandmother asking my mom on many different occasions to be allowed to take me and my siblings to church.  My Mom always had a reason why we could not go; it was Easter and everyone would think we were going just because it was Easter; it was Christmas and she didn’t want us to go just because it was Christmas and the reason used most often… just plain “No.”  But, my Grandmother was persistent and one day when I was nine years old, my Mom allowed my Grandmother to take us to church.

I was the kid who went to church and heard the stories in Sunday School about Noah, Jonah, and Daniel and I thought they were just that…stories.  I did not realize they were real people. I also remember being embarrassed because all the other kids seemed to know the stories. They knew how to pray and they knew who Jesus was but I didn’t.

My Grandmother influenced me.  When I was in 3rd grade, my Dad got hurt and had to go to the hospital in another state and my Mom had to go back to work. So, my Grandmother came to live with us.  I heard her pray at night and I can also remember my Grandmother talking about there being “two in the field and one was taken, but the other was left.” She also said that “two were in the bed and one would be taken but the other one would be left.”  It scared me.  Now, at this time, my sister and I shared a room and a bed.  Being 9 years old, I must confess, I hoped if we were in the bed and one was taken, it would be me.

Even though I was a little kid, the influence of my Grandmother, sitting under the Word in “big church,” and going to Sunday School changed me.  I understood that I was a sinner and that Jesus had died to save me.  So, my little girl heart was changed when I was ten and I accepted the Lord as my personal Lord and Savior.

When I was 12 years old, I was given my very first Bible!  My other grandmother, who had 18 children, gave each grandchild a Family Bible when they had their 12th birthday.  So, my first Bible was a big, white Family Bible which I kept out on my desk in my bedroom.

My birthday is in March and sometime later that year I stopped going to church.  I was part of the Youth Group at church. Some of the kids in the Youth Group hurt my feelings so I decided I would not go back to church. I don’t remember what happened, but to a 12-year-old it was important. Anyway, I stopped going to church.  I stayed out of church for 2 years. During that time, no one from the church contacted me and asked me to come back.  No adult came by the house. No child from my youth group asked me to go back. No one at church seemed to be concerned that this 12-year-old girl no longer attended.

We need to tell people, even children, that we miss them when they are not in church.  Ask God to make you aware when people are not there and to give you a burden for them.  Be careful not to let someone fall through the cracks.  You may be the instrument that is used to get someone back into church.

I had dropped out of church and no one invited me back. But God…  God had not forgotten me.  It makes me teary every time I think about this truth.  During this time, when “no one with skin on” seemed to care; God wooed me.  I would ride my bicycle on the empty dirt roads around our house and have the thought, “you need to get back into church.” In the evening, I would go upstairs to bed and I would feel an urge to read my Bible.  Remember, my Bible was a very large Family Bible that I kept on my desk.  I would get that big Bible and sit on my bed and begin to read.

How do you read a book?  You begin reading a book at the beginning.  I had no clue that the Bible was different.  I would start at the beginning. Genesis 1:1 “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.”  I would do OK until I got to “the begats.” Oh, I would read some of the begats, but I did not understand all the strange names or why they were listed and there seemed to be so many of them.  So, I would get hung up and frustrated. I would stop reading until a few days later when the Lord would gently call me back to His Word and I would begin again to read. I would start reading again at Genesis 1:1. I can’t tell you how many times I read “the begats.”

Even though “the begats” seemed boring and hard to understand, God placed them in Scripture and reading them taught me something.  I did not get it immediately, but as I got older, I did.  Reading “the begats” taught me that God can use anyone, including me and including you, to be a part of His plan; His ministry.  See, in those names, is the lineage of Christ.  God used Rahab, the harlot, and other unlikely people in His lineage.  God uses unlikely people today to do amazing things.

 

Over the next two years I continued to feel the draw to go back to church.  When I was 14 I finally asked my Mom if I could go back to church.  After some persuading, she said I could go. Occasionally, my Dad would drive me to church and drop me off.  Many times, I had to walk about one quarter mile on a dirt road to catch a ride with my Uncle. When I walked back into church I felt the Lord’s tender embrace and knew beyond a shadow of a doubt that I was where I should be. It was an added benefit that Bruce Cannon was there. He seemed to be interested in me and I was interested in him. He has now been my husband for almost 39 years.

More importantly, my Jesus was there as well.  I began to grow in the Lord and I wanted to grow in Christ. The Lord has never left me in all the years that have followed.  He continues to tenderly embrace me and woo me to Himself.  I can never thank Him enough for His wonderful love and mercy.