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Dr. Dave’s Secret Weapon

I’ve heard a lot of great things said about my dad (Dr. Dave) over the years — all well deserved.  But not as many people know about his secret weapon:  my mom!  It’s amazing what an important role she played in the entire scope of his ministry.  As the saying goes, behind every great man is a great woman. 

When my parents got married, I don’t think mom had any idea what she was in for.  Back then, dad was a research scientist in “secular employment,” as he used to say.  But his growing passion for youth ministry meant several relocations:  first to serve with Young Life Ministries, then again to attend seminary.  After seminary, it meant moving again, half way across the country to a new (low-paying) job at a small Bible college.  

When he wasn’t at school, dad spent hours at his desk studying, writing, and preparing sermons.  On weekends he traveled to speak at different churches and conferences. He was fully dedicated to the ministry. Mom was fully dedicated to doing whatever she could to support that ministry and our family.

Many years ago, dad started writing devotional letters. That was long before computers and email, so mom served as his editor, typist, and mail specialist.  Without the help of a word processor, each issue would be laboriously laid out, and then 5,000+ letters were printed, stuffed into envelopes, stamped and addressed.  Our living-room-turned-postal-warehouse would be stacked high with trays of letters every month.  Mom took on a major portion of these responsibilities.  And little did we know those letters were the start of Growing Christians Ministries (those original writings are still on the website today!).

There were many other areas where mom supported dad’s ministry ideas.  Dad loved Bible studies, and in the mid-80s he started a fast growing Friday night dinner & Bible study in our home.  Of course, he had no idea how to handle the “dinner” portion of that outreach!  So for many years, 30+ young adults jammed into our modest home every week, with mom handling the cooking and clean-up for each event. Recently, a friend told us that in those years she learned how to “do life and ministry” from watching my mom and dad work together on those Friday nights.

When dad spent his summers as the spiritual life director at Deerfoot Lodge, a wilderness Christian camp for boys, Mom went along with him.  She served many seasons as the camp nurse in less-than-ideal conditions.  Along with treating the usual cuts, sore throats, and homesickness, she became a spiritual mom to many young staff members spending the summer in a remote camp and unable to talk with their own moms. 

Through the years, my dad also invited people to live in our house as a Christian outreach.  This included a refugee couple from Vietnam who didn’t speak a word of English (nope, not a single word).  When the pregnant wife went into labor the very night they arrived, of course it was mom who was much more equipped to deal with that situation than dad!  Then came a Turkish exchange student (not much English there either), several post-college individuals who needed a place to stay, and a whole bunch of newborn babies who needed foster care before they were adopted (supporting pro-life decisions for young women).  As you might expect, virtually all of the extra household duties and midnight feedings went to my mom.  

You might think it sounds like my dad put a lot of work on mom’s plate, but they didn’t look at it that way.  They saw it as teamwork for the Lord, each doing what God had gifted them to do. 

Of course mom’s “regular” ongoing support for dad’s ministry included accompanying him to the different speaking engagements, often not knowing anyone else in attendance.  He also sought her constant input and support when writing devotions and throughout his 20-year project to record all the “Talks for Growing Christians.” 

So much more could be said, including the time dad volunteered mom to become the teacher for a local Bible study with weekly attendance upwards of 90 women!  That position lasted 21 years.

When my dad went to be with the Lord in early 2012, you might think mom finally stepped back and took a break from ministry.  Not at all.  Even at 80 years young, she continues to contribute to the ministry of the GCM website every day.  Whether it’s editing the 1,700+ transcripts for the Talks we have online, or looking over the latest devotion I’ve written, she’s always up for the next task.  

Proverbs 31 paints a picture of a godly wife who is a blessing to her husband and family.  To put it simply, my mom lives up to that description in a magnificent way.  And for anyone who has used and appreciated the GCM website over the years, you can thank the Lord for my dad and my mom.  Her unselfish and practical support for dad’s many ministry visions gave life to what this growing outreach is today!  

– Ron Reid

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