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2009 Conversations

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2002 Conversations

Ron McManus: Leadership center launched (December 30, 2001)

Norman Arnesen: History's supreme event (December 23, 2001)

Dr. Everett Bartholf: Help for the holidays (December 16, 2001)

"Auntie" Anne Beiler: God has a plan (December 9, 2001)

Mary Inman: Raising seven sons for Christ (November 25, 2001)

Tony Hall: Feeding the hungry, one person at a time (Novemer 18, 2001)

John Maracle: A growing Native American Fellowship (November 11, 2001)

Al Peterson: Praying for national leaders (October 28, 2001)

Beverly LaHaye: The family is God's gift (October 21, 2001)

Terry Meeuwsen: Putting family first (October 14, 2001)

Dennis Gaylor: Changing the world, one student at a time (September 30, 2001)

Nate Cole: You are not alone (September 16, 2001)

George Cope: Training pastors, missionaries and evangelists (September 9, 2001)

Thomas E. Trask: Breaking down the barriers (August 26, 2001)

John Kilpatrick: The blessings and challenges of revival (August 19, 2001)

Marie Colwill: A passion for evangelism (August 12, 2001)

Lottie Riekehof: The Joy of Signing (July 22, 2001)

John Castellani: Teen Challenge: The Jesus factor (July 15, 2001)

Mike and John Tompkins: Publishing newspapers and proclaiming the Good News (July 8, 2001)

Chuck Girard: Music, marriage and ministry (June 24, 2001)

Stanley Burgess: The value of a godly father (June 17, 2001)

Dennis Franck: Single Adult Ministries Agency (June 10, 2001)

Thomas E. Trask: The work of the Holy Spirit (May 27, 2001)

Stephen Tourville: The changing church in America (May 20, 2001)

Margaret Columbia: Raising 17 children for Christ (May 13, 2001)

Donna Fahrenkopf: Wanted: a life change (April 29, 2001)

Sean Smith: Spiritual attacks on young people (April 22, 2001)

Josh McDowell: Is the Bible true? (April 15, 2001)

Joyce Meyer: Being a practical Christain (April 8, 2001)

Paul Drost: Multiplication (March 18, 2001)

Bill Bright: Fasting for 40 days (March 11, 2001)

Beth Grant: Women in ministry (February 25, 2001)

Alicia Chole: His people and His presence (February 18, 2001)

Cris Carter: Playing on God's team (January 28, 2001)

Randall K. O'Bannon: The value of life (January 21, 2001)

Dennis Gaylor: Secular colleges: a vital mission field (January 14, 2001)

Raising 17 children for Christ

(May 13, 2001)

Richard and Margaret Columbia raised 17 children (including two sets of twins) born to them between 1945 and 1966. Margaret ministered as church hostess at First Assembly of God in Memphis, Tenn., for 19 years under pastors James E. Hamill and Frank Martin. When Richard passed away on December 2, 1996, the Columbias had been married for more than 52 years. Margaret now resides in Port Clyde, Maine. Her children are all serving the Lord. She has 28 grandchildren. Margaret talked with Scott Harrup, general editor, about the joys and challenges of raising a family for Christ.

Evangel: Where did you and Richard meet?

Columbia: At a camp meeting in Quebec, Canada. My father was an evangelist with the Advent Christian Church. I grew up in Maine, Richard was from northern Vermont, and that revival was just over the border.

Evangel: What was it like raising 17 children?

Columbia: It’s just the same as raising one. You think of it as 17 times 1.

Evangel: What are some of them doing today?

Columbia: Sarah, our youngest, is married to Pastor David Rosenberger of Pennsylvania. Our youngest twins, Eunice and Bernice, are also married to ministers. Eunice’s husband, Ken Roach, pastors in Kansas. Bernice’s husband, Mark Bradford, works at Assemblies of God Theological Seminary. Our daughter Rhoda serves at Central Bible College, and our son John graduated from Central Bible College and is pursuing the ministry. Our other children live across the country serving the Lord in different careers.

Evangel: Your family was known at First Assembly for working together.

Columbia: Richard and I always did everything together. That was our life. He worked as a grocer. When he got off work, he helped at the church even though he was never paid. I never could have served as the hostess without him. Several of the children also worked at the church. It started when they began collecting the trays after meals and people would leave change on the trays for them. Then some of them took jobs in the kitchen. It provided them with a little spending money. We couldn’t afford allowances.

Evangel: What were some spiritual milestones for your children?

Columbia: Several of them made their salvation decisions at church camps when they were young. Others got saved during children’s church or in the regular service. I also taught children’s church for a number of years and watched them mature there and in First Assembly’s youth group. Early on, we had family devotions. That was difficult once everyone was old enough to have a different schedule. Looking back, I wish we could have had more devotions. But we always kept the children in church.

Evangel: Some cherished memories?

Columbia: Some of my favorite memories are from Christmas. We couldn’t afford to give the kids presents at their birthdays. We would have ice cream and cake to celebrate each birthday. But we made Christmas special. I also remember when the grandchildren were born. That’s when my kids called "Mama" to help out.

Evangel: What advice would you give young parents today?

Columbia: God comes first. Take your children to church. You don’t ask them if they want to go; you insist that they go. It becomes a habit, and it’s a good habit. Pursue anything that draws them to God. Make your entertainment Christ-centered.

In your marriage, try to do everything together. You can’t pull in different directions. That’s half the problem in families today. There is no togetherness.

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