People Encouraging People

Posted on December 6, 2009

pwr-influenceHas someone profoundly influenced your life? Maybe it is something that you never really gave much thought to, but now you see the impact more clearly. Please share your story of encouragement with us. The story doesn’t have to have a “wow” factor, just in your own words tell us about a person who might have given you an opportunity, shaped your character or challenged you to be a better person. We hope that in sharing these stories with one another we might capture just a glimpse of the real meaning of Christmas…LOVE.

Use the comment feature below to post your encouraging story. Come back to this blog post to review each of the stories submitted this Christmas season.


3 Responses to “People Encouraging People”

  1. Ivan Steele
    Dec 08, 2009

    I grew up in Snake Spring Valley, Bedford County. I was born into a very, very poor farming community. The whole area was nothing but farming homesteads. We were particularly poor even in comparison to the rest. Our house was clapboard structure, no electricity, and no running water. We heated our house by woodstove. My mother was a teacher when she married my father at the age of 29. That was “late in life” by the standards of the day. They had eight children, seven survived. My father would go to town on a 1940 Ford Ferguson. In town, he would buy sugar, flour, day old bread and butcher leftovers such as calf’s brains.

    The farm that we lived on had seen better days. Many of the structures were falling down. We made a living by selling a small amount of livestock and selling the cream from our cows. We could not get our structures up to the standard to sell our milk.

    Even as a youngster, I knew we were “poor.” We didn’t have nice clothes, etc. There would not be a lot of opportunities to succeed in Bedford. I really did not know what I would become if I stayed locally.

    In 7th grade things started to look up for me. My wrestling coach for much of the next six years would be our health teacher, Eddie Clark. Eddie took a special interest in my abilities and would help me from time to time, with lunch money, etc. He was a good teacher, a caring individual and a motivator. Another benefit of joining the wrestling team was a hot shower! My first shower was in 7th grade!

    Eddie influenced my decision to go to Shippensburg University. Athletes were given jobs to cover expenses in college. Due to my wrestling standings in high school, I could now afford to get an education. I had the opportunity to work in the dining hall. After college I taught business courses for 32 years and I was a wrestling coach for 27 years. I am still an active member of Lancaster Lebanon Wrestling Officials Association. A small guy instilled much of my determination, not more than a 150 pounds, but a goliath in my book.

    Dec 20, 2009

    My name is Trina Barr,I was raised in a home where there was alot of abuse. My Dad was a alcoholic and was very mean. He was very abusive to us five children(both verbally and physically.) I had alot of anger and hatred toward my Dad.
    Every Christmas at our house, was waking up to drunk men lying on our living room floor. We literally stepped over them to get to our kitchen.
    Christmas’s were never a good time for me or my brother’s and sister. It was centered around drinking and relatives getting drunk, and usually ended in a fight or two.
    I became a Christian in my early twenties, shortly after the suicide of my sixteen year old brother.(which I blamed my Dad for most of this.)
    I started attending Pequea a few years after my brother’s death. Some time later Janie Hess invited me to her house for bible study. It did not take long to know Janie was becoming very important to me.She was a BIG INFLUENCE in my christian walk. I strived at being a better woman and mother because of her many examples of how you should lead a christian life.
    But most important, she helped me through words and scripture on how to forgive my Dad and move on, So I could be closer to God. She helped me to pray for my Dad. She said I would want him to be in heaven with me some day.(at that time I told Janie I did not want to spend eternity with him.) But after some time and many prayers and my heart softening, I got down on my knees on night and prayed for God to help me forgive my Dad and even prayed for his salvation. I left my bedroom a different person that night. I felt a peace I’ve never felt before.
    My Dad has not drank in over ten years. He has prostate cancer and we just found out this Thanksgiving that it has spread.
    He told me last week that he has been praying. (I allmost fell over). I’m not sure what that means to him, but I told him I was glad and that I pray for him daily.
    This year I baked Christmas cookies with my Dad and I still can’t believe how much fun we had.(I never dreamed in a million years that I would ever bake cookies with my Dad).
    With out Janie’s influence in my life and her gentle teaching, this would not have been possible.
    I still have times where I get angry for what he did to me. But I can now say and pray that I do want to spend eternity in heaven with my Dad.
    Thanks to someone who saw my hurt and cared about me and my feelings. Janie was such a big influence in my life. Trina Barr

  3. Jeffrey David Derstler
    Feb 06, 2010

    My name is Jeff Derstler i was adopted in 1961 never to find my true birth mother or Father but I have been starting to understand Jesus and his love. He is a gentlemen and is sharing his character with me I am reading my bible again. I have asked him for his grace and he now has saved a wrench like me he has given me great Christians to walk with here at Pequea Church. I want to thank many for there fresh encouragement and thank God on his new opportunity he is given me to walk out my christian life here at Pequea Church I am very blessed to have my Christian life encouraged through basketball and grow group. Thank You to all, who have given to us this year its been truly a blessing and a help at our time of need!

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