April 24, 2013
Dear Brothers and Sisters,
April 11 was Judy’s sixtieth birthday. We have had the privilege of spending a good many of those years together. The scriptures say that “A wife of noble character is her husband’s crown” and “a prudent wife is from the Lord.” I can undoubtedly affirm this tidbit of truth in testifying of God’s blessings on my life through Judy. When I was not yet a teenager, my mother emphasized in our family devotional time that we should pray for a spouse from the Lord. I began doing this on a regular basis and God fulfilled my request. So, if you are not yet married and want to be, I suggest that you ask God.
Just after I wrote the above paragraph, Dave Parks reminded us that this month, in honor of mothers, we were going to ask the missionary wives to write a few lines. So, I will let Judy share her thoughts.
Bonjour and merci from Tournefeuille, France. Each morning John and I thank God for you who give so sacrificially so we can share the gospel in France. Many of you we will never have the privilege of meeting until we are together in heaven, but know that today we are thankful for your many years of support. In my philosophical moments I ponder, “What influenced me, a common Kentucky girl from a not so known small town on the south side of the Ohio river to be a missionary in France?”
The answer is simple, my parents, Jim and Pansy Foster. How? By living out Christ in their lives.
What I learned from my parents… love the Lord your God with all your heart… it wasn’t just what they said, it was the way they lived. One of my earlier memories is of waking each morning and seeing my mom in her chair and my dad in his chair both reading their Bibles. God’s Word was important. Often I would hear my parents talking in their room as if someone else was there. One night, on peeking into my parents’ room, I saw them knelt by the bed, my dad’s arm around my mom, praying. “God’s will” was something active. You follow His path because He is good and He loves you, even when it meant blessing your 19 year old daughter to go to Brasil 6 weeks after marrying John Hatcher! (John wasn’t the question, Brasil was too far for an overnight visit.) Twenty-five years later, when I told my mom that we believed that God was leading us to France, her words were, “If that is what God wants, that is what we want.” My mom had just been diagnosed with cancer.
Love your neighbor…even though my dad pastored the First Baptist Church, Garrison, Ky and later Emmanuel Baptist Church, Oldtown, Ky., it was after I was grown. My parents had a lumber and hardware store. At times this meant being kind to those who were demanding, being “at your service” whenever, and paying off bills that were owed by someone else. I saw “love covers a multitude of sins” in action! Visiting the sick, nursing homes and giving a helping hand to those in need was just what you did because it was the right thing to do.
I was given “missionary eyes”. Often in the evenings I would sit with my mom looking at the Compton’s Pictured Encyclopedia. We would examine far away lands. The question would usually arise, “Do these people know about Jesus?” Often the answer was, “No, not unless someone goes and tells them.” Closer to home, my dad spoke of the areas in eastern Kentucky with no gospel witness. Whether across the sea or across the street, it was emphasized that people need the Lord.
Often people ask, “What can we do for you?” Moms and dads, live Christ before your children, give them missionary eyes, grandparents, share with your grandchildren what great things God had done in your lives, aunts and uncles, influence your nieces and nephews to follow God wherever He leads, Sunday School teachers and neighbors, share the love of Christ with the children whose lives you touch. With God’s help we can pass on what has been so freely given to us.
With love and thanksgiving,
Judy and John Hatcher
John and Judy Hatcher
4, rue d’Aspin
31170 Tournefeuille, France