The front desk was Betty’s battle station. If there was no visitor to greet, it was where Betty helped with administrative tasks, where she prayed, where people went for encouragement or to receive a hug. It was the place where faith was reforged and joy was restored.
It was a rare event for someone to walk past Betty’s desk without being loved by her.
“Hey, honey!” Betty would call out to staff as they walked through the front lobby doors, her midwestern accent causing smiles to curl the lips of even the most downturned mouth.
Children were offered animal crackers in exchange for hugs from Auntie Betty, as she was affectionately called; adults were told stories of how “God is just so good!” and visitors were given the opportunity to hear the Gospel.
“I don't care if it’s a vendor or someone just visiting,” Betty said, “I want to know if they know Jesus Christ is their Lord and Savior.”
If a visitor didn’t know the Lord, she gave them Gospel tracts and shared about the glory of salvation in Jesus. If they knew Jesus, she made sure they had plenty of GFA materials to read before their visit was finished.
God’s Faithful Steward
Betty wasn’t one to sit around doing nothing. She was a hard worker, and if there was something to do around the GFA office, she was going to find it.
“I don't care if it’s a vendor or someone just visiting... I want to know if they know Jesus Christ is their Lord and Savior.”
“We would sometimes hide work that we needed to save for someone else,” says Ruth, who was Betty’s manager.
Betty’s work ethic was obvious in her special love for God’s creation. To Betty, taking care of the land was taking care of God’s land; it was being a good steward of His creation. There were times she would mow a neighbor’s lawn or a lawn a few streets over from her own because it just needed to get done. It may have been just grass to some people, but to Betty it was “the Lord’s grass,” and we were supposed to be the caretakers.
Betty once tried to get GFA’s Facilities crew to teach her how to drive one of their industrial mowers. With Betty being well into her 70s at the time, though, that wasn’t considered the best idea.
Betty saw everything as a gift from God—her house, her lawn, the sunshine, the rain, her flowers, the GFA campus, the front desk—and she was going to give it her all to show her Creator how much she appreciated His gifts.
An Overwhelming Love
Betty loved fiercely. She loved her children, grandchildren and great-grandchild deeply. She loved the brothers and sisters on the field. She loved GFA and the staff. But mostly, Betty loved Jesus. She loved Him with every fiber of her being and wanted others to know His love. She prayed and prayed for people—near and far—to know their Savior.
“One time, as I headed up the stairs to my cubicle,” recalls Shelley, a GFA staff member, “the familiar call of Auntie Betty chased me through the lobby: ‘Hey, honey girl, you’re not going to walk by without giving me a hug, are you?’ After an embrace, Betty asked about my brother, who was struggling with addiction. Betty had been praying for him to encounter Jesus in a mighty way. And I believed her, that she had been praying and that my brother would encounter Jesus in a powerful way. Betty inspired that kind of confidence.”
“If you’re going to serve the Lord... there’s only one way to do it: with all you’ve got.”
When Betty prayed, she prayed with child-like faith that whatever she asked for was as good as done because she believed God and His Word. She believed in His goodness; she believed in His power; she believed in His love. She may not have always seen His answers to her prayers as quickly as she wanted, but she trusted Him to do what He knew was best. She trusted Him because, to Betty, Jesus was her faithful Husband.
Passing of a Saint
Our dear Betty departed to be with the One whom her soul loved in 2019. She would probably not like that this story was written of her—and she’d most likely let me know—but hers is a life worth remembering. She left a mark on many people’s lives, and now she is seeing the fruit of her dedication while she was here on earth.