Two Great People

The Latest Word from John Ed Mathison

Going to different churches has given me the opportunity to meet many, many interesting people. I am so impressed with how God has strategically placed people in specific churches that have such an impact.

I recently was in Danville, Virginia. Let me share about two people that I met there.

The reason I was invited to Danville was because of the persistent influence of Richard Jones. He had watched our worship service on television for several years. I think the preacher, Charles Wickham, decided that the best way to get Richard off his back was just to invite me.

Richard is 61-years-old. He recently had his second hip replacement on the same hip. He has been on disability for quite some time. He came with Dr. Albert Payne to meet me at the airport. He was the first person present at every event in which I participated at the Trinity United Methodist Church in Danville. He even came to the preachers meetings!

Richard knows more about sports than most anybody I have ever met. We really had a good time talking about great people in sports and great sporting events. He is a walking encyclopedia on sports facts.

His passion for sports began early in life even though he was not able to actively participate. He was “manager” of all the sports teams during his time at George Washington High School. Today Richard coaches a couple of the softball teams there at the church. I understand that he really can get on some of those church players if they are not hustling.

Another person in Danville that I met is Hunter Dunn. He sat in the back of the church in his special chair. His head was turned to the side, but he had a big smile on his face.

Hunter is 22-years-old and has a severe case of cerebral palsy. But that doesn’t stop him.

He is unable to speak and has no use of his hands and arms. He communicates by using his eyes to pick out letters of the alphabet in the air. The alphabet begins with “A” at about five feet high. Then the “Z” is down around three feet. You have to guess the letters until he nods so that you have the correct letter.

The amazing thing about Hunter is that he has written a couple of books. He gave me one of his books entitled “The Claus Chronicles.” It is an amazing story about Christmas and is illustrated by a friend of his.

It takes a lot of effort for Hunter to get to church. He doesn’t see it that way, but he would not miss being there. He inspired me. I treasure the copy of his book. Remember now, every word in the book was spelled out as Hunter would look at a certain level and his parents would guess the letter of the alphabet and write it down. It was amazing to me how his parents could usually determine the correct letter of the alphabet as soon as Hunter focused his eyes.

His parents, Scooter and Linda are special. They have been with Hunter through thick and thin, and never have been heard to complain.

My life is richer because of Richard and Hunter. They both are people whom God is using in a great way.

It makes me ask the question about my life – how well am I using the abilities God has given me? I have some gifts – but am I using them to the max? Writing these thoughts that you are now reading was a lot easier for me to write than the way Hunter has to write. Being able to move around “relatively quickly” ought to be a bigger advantage for me than for Richard. I also lack his persistence.

I thank God for the wonderful people he puts in my path!

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