By Jan Diaz, Director of Bible Adventure/CIA
The harmonies floated through the sanctuary as we sang in celebration, “Safe in the arms of Jesus” acapella and with full hearts. Mary had reached her final home, bringing many of us out to remember her steadfast passion for Jesus and the Joy El ministry that she shared with us for over 50 years! YES, 50 years!
She chose the theme herself for the service, “Be Ready”, and Mary Whitmore was! Since 1968, in the very early years of the then “Released Time Bible Program,” Mary’s cheerful and determined ministry to school children was her focus and passion that never faltered. She tirelessly worked to “be ready” to share God’s truth with students, in spite of her physical limitations and many changes she experienced through the years. Having no children of her own, her desire was to see children who had lost hope find it in Jesus.
As I honored this amazing woman, I was challenged and inspired to continue our mission at Joy El of providing opportunities for people (children particularly) to experience life-change through personal encounters with God. I see this daily in our Bible Adventure/CIA, Camping, and 4.12 mentoring programs at Joy El.
Mary invested her life in so many ways, volunteering at the office for mailings and folding t-shirts for the summer campers. She led in two Bible Adventures each week for many years. Her motivation was shared at the service with the question, “Where will you spend eternity?” Mary cared about our children and was prepared to provide an answer for the hope that was within her! (1 Pet. 3:15)
A poem she wrote in 1987 ends this way, “By the grace of God, I hope to have a part in Released Time and Joy El till death do us part!” She did – and continues to touch lives, including mine, as we continue the work she loved so much! What a legacy and a challenge! “Be Ready!”
Register now for summer camp!
Final Work Day: May 18- Call Jeanette at 717-369-4539