While we were on holiday with our parents in Mussoorie last month we had an unexpected visitor: Mrs. Gladys Staines.
Mum and Dad knew Gladys from her days with OM in the early 80s – before she met and married bro Graham Staines and settled down to serve in Orissa.
Sister Gladys had some work in Dehra Dun and took the opportunity to come up the hill and meet Mum and Dad for some fellowship and prayer.
Sheba and I and the kids were privileged to meet this humble servant of God in such an unexpected setting – while drinking coffee on the terrace of Shanti Kunj, with the evening air taking on its first crispness as the sun painted the oak forests golden.
One of the things that struck me from our chat was this: Sister Gladys talking about how glad she was to be able to teach scripture in Australian public schools. She shared that since she is living with her daughter who is studying medicine, she found out that the Australian state still teaches Scripture as a subject in schools – but that there is always a shortage of willing teachers.
Sister Gladys and another lady decided to take on the challenge for a local school and found it to be so meaningful. There as such a joy in seeing young lives interact with God’s word and changes taking place. Sister Gladys also shared that though she did not start the teaching with this in mind, it did allow her to be with young boys of an age her younger son was when he died. Looking at Enoch she mentioned that he had died when he was still at home with her.
Looking back on the conversation, what strikes me about Sister Gladys is her willingness to serve. Though she is known the world over now – and has many speaking invitations – she retains the essential willingness to serve – to be used in whatever way possible. I wonder how many of those little boys realized who their tall lady Scripture teacher was –and what her life has already seen.
Unless a grain of wheat falls into the ground and dies....