By TC Robinson
Often when I see persons of advanced years, I wonder about their story. They were once young and strong; could he have been a decorated war hero or an Olympic contender? Or did she perhaps escape from a concentration camp during the Holocaust? Everyone has a story.
Before I came to know Helen, I would often see her around Coast Hills. I noticed she always looked so pulled together and stylish. I came to know her car by the crazy way she parked. But I think what affected me most was her smile, she just seemed to shine. Her smile shows her peace, which comes not from a lack of trouble, but from knowing Who is in charge. I looked up her name, which means “light”, and I found that very fitting. I wondered what her story was.
Helen was born in Iowa, into a family of seven children, and attended a one-room schoolhouse. Two years after graduating high school, she met her handsome future husband, George. They were married in 1947, eventually becoming the parents of four daughters, with the first being born on Helen’s 25th birthday. She and George worked in the school system in Panama for 20 years, George as a principal and Helen as a school teacher.
After 32 years in Panama, George and Helen returned to the United States. While raising her family, Helen attended college at night, eventually receiving her Master’s degree. She has traveled to Costa Rica and Columbia, and was able to realize a lifelong dream when she visited the Holy Land. She has also gone on several mission trips with Campus Crusade to Guatemala and Panama.
Helen attended church all her life, but gave her life to Christ when she was 25. She has attended Coast Hills for about 19 years, spending many of them teaching the children in Sunday School. She has devoted years as a leader with the Tuesday morning Women’s Bible Study, and runs a College Club at a nearby retirement center. She gives a devotional twice a month at Palm Terrace, a local nursing home. She also has spent the last five years doing a Bible Study with a young girl in Juvenile Hall, as well as her recent commission as a Stephen Minister
She shared with me that her desire is simply to please God, to be remembered as faithful. Matthew 25:21 comes to mind, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your master’s happiness!”
The Coast Hills family is constantly inspired by her boundless energy for doing God’s work, and her cheerful disposition as she goes about it. I have no doubt that the Lord will reward her greatly when He takes her home.
I think of Helen as the classic Proverbs 31 woman: “There are many virtuous and capable women in the world, but you surpass them all!”