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  • July 11, 2014 - Reflections

    By Jean S. Horner
    The other day while walking down a corridor in a public building, I saw what appeared to be someone walking toward me. On coming closer, I found it was my own reflection in a huge mirror. For a moment it frightened me. Somehow a full-length reflection of one’s self is a startling thing. ...

Everlasting Impact

Today is National Sunday School and Teacher Recognition/Prayer Day in the Assemblies of God. While many churches have transitioned from a traditional Sunday morning hour of Bible instruction prior to the a.m. service, Sunday School is alive and well in a variety of discipleship training venues. Sunday School teachers continue to impact a new generation of believers, and the following tributes recognize their vital ministry.

I’m 57 years old, and I’m happy to say that Zella Pfitzer is still alive and serving Jesus faithfully — just as she taught me to do so many years ago as I sat in her Sunday School class. Through the years, no matter what her hands found to do, she did it with all her might and strength.

Along with her husband and family, Zella served at Seaside Assembly of God [now Monterey Bay Christian Center] in Seaside, Calif., for over 40 years. She was my junior choir director before becoming my Sunday School teacher when I turned 13. I watched as she consistently maintained a Christlike character no matter what trial came her way. She was the same outside the church as she was inside the church. I know this because she also became my personal friend.

Zella’s Christian character was and is impeccable. A student could share anything with her and know that she kept it between herself and the Lord as she prayed on his or her behalf.

I couldn’t wait to be a part of the adult choir after our time in her Sunday School class. All of us learned to love and appreciate Zella Pfitzer because she led by example: playing the organ during worship service for over four decades, teaching Sunday School for numerous years, leading women’s groups, and many other areas of service as well.

Sharon Hoffman
Las Vegas

I grew up at First Assembly of God in Memphis, Tenn., where “Sunday School is big business,” according to Pastor James Hamill. His words rang true, because it would be impossible for me to name only one teacher who impacted my life.

I think back to my preschool years with “Miss Roberta” and her contagious smile, as well as Mrs. Wiseman, gentle and soft-spoken. There was Myrtle Cobble, who picked up our family in her Studebaker on countless Sundays before my father accepted Christ.

And who could forget June Pillsbury? Our feisty little group of fifth- and sixth-grade girls put up such a fuss about being promoted out of her class that she was allowed to teach us for an extra year.

And finally, I think of June Scott, who so wisely taught us to be the Christian young women God meant for us to be.

Years later, I had the joy of returning to First Assembly and serving as children’s director. In 10 years I coordinated the ministry of so many Sunday School teachers. If I had enough space, I think I could name them all.

Methel Jacobs
Eads, Tenn.

Vanita Scoggins was my Sunday School teacher and Missionettes leader at First Assembly of God in Morton, Texas. When you walked into her room, it did not matter what label of clothing you wore or what side of town you came from. She welcomed all students equally and made everyone feel important.

My dad did not attend church with us, and other children talked about his drinking. But Vanita would stop them and say, “Let’s pray for Julie’s dad.”

I adored Vanita and wanted to be just like her when I grew up. She was my hero, mentor and friend. I remember stories she told using felts and marionettes. She would have contests for learning the books of the Bible and Scripture memorization, and I always worked so hard — to make her proud.

From a very young age, I believed I was supposed to be in ministry. But I came from the “poor side” of town, and I didn’t think God would use me. Vanita was the first person in the church who taught me the Scripture “Seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you” (Matthew 6:33, KJV). She said that meant the “desires of my heart” as well, and I believed her.

That was over 30 years ago, and Vanita has gone home to be with Jesus. Today I am married and working in the ministry, in Teen Challenge of Texas.

Julie Johnston
San Antonio

I grew up in Memphis, Tenn., and attended First Assembly of God. I would like to pay tribute to two Sunday School teachers who impacted my life.

The first is JoAnna Coscia. To this day, she is to me the model of what a Sunday School teacher should be. I accepted Jesus as Lord and Savior in her class. I now manage a Christian television station in Macon, Ga. A large portion of my job involves introducing people to Jesus — in much the same way “Miss JoAnna” introduced me to Him through her teaching.

I also want to mention my junior high Sunday School teacher, Marie Harrup. “Miss Marie” and her husband, Obie, had just come off the mission field. She made our lessons come alive, and also introduced something often missing from much of Sunday School teaching today: the power of the Holy Spirit.

It was a blessing to be taught by these two women. I would be a different person had it not been for their influence.

Rip Kenley
Macon, Ga.

I am 47 years old, but I will never forget the impact that Linda Prince had on my life — as well as so many others during our formative high school years in her Sunday School class at Montgomery Assembly of God in Cincinnati.

The class grew so close to each other, and so close to the Lord, because of Linda’s willingness to share with us on a level that many cannot when dealing with a bunch of awkward teenagers. Linda and her family opened their home to us on many Friday and Saturday nights. There was a special room that we called the Upper Room, where we spent countless hours sharing and praying together. Linda and her husband continue to be a light in our community!

Lisa Paris

I would like to honor Lucille Gray, the Sunday School teacher of the teen class at El Dorado (Kan.) Assembly of God from 1961-65.

As a teenager I felt scared, alone and always embarrassed. Our family was very poor, and our dad’s name was often in the paper for being in and out of jail. We lived in the country and in fear for our lives because of my alcoholic father.

Many Sundays, Lucille Gray invited me to spend the afternoon at her house and hang out with the other youth from the church. I felt accepted and safe. She challenged me to memorize chapters out of the Bible. And I did!

Lucille poured love and acceptance into me and pushed me to be great for God. She sacrificed her time for me and saw something in me that I couldn’t see. She made sure I was deeply grounded in the Word of God!

Sharon Thomas

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