Noel Edwards and his wife, Sue, have been well educated by God during Noel’s 55 years of service as a pastor.
“Life is a university and God is always teaching us things,” Noel Edwards said. “Sacrifice was at the center of our ministry.”
Sue shared that Noel was always giving of his time.
“If someone needed him at one o’clock in the morning because of sickness or death, he would just go. God sent him there to minister and that’s what he did,” Sue said.
“There were times that required sacrifice – where we had to do without – because the money just didn’t go far enough,” Noel said.
“But we found out in our ministry that as we ministered to people, and then as we had needs, they ministered to us,” Sue said.
Noel and Sue Edwards are thankful for the help they receive through Mission:Dignity. Sunday, June 22 is Mission:Dignity Sunday.
One of their fondest memories from their days in the ministry was the kindness of a local grocer when they were down to their last $2. Noel ‘tells that when the store owner was dying, he’d called his sons together and asked for a promise.
“‘I want you boys to promise me something,’ he’d said, ‘I want you to promise you’ll never see a school teacher or a minister want for anything they need.’ And those boys did promise.”
It wasn’t too long until one son had the opportunity to make good on that promise.
“We’d had a lot of illness and Sue had nearly died when our baby daughter was born and we just — we had just run out of money. I was up, really just praying, talking to the Lord about what we were going to do because we didn’t have any money, and we didn’t have any groceries,” Noel remembered.
The next morning, Noel and Sue scraped together $2 and he headed off to the store.
As Noel came in the front door, one of the grocer’s sons approached him and asked him to join him in the back of the store.
“The grocer said, ‘Brother Edwards, first of all, I want to tell you what you’ve meant to us and to this community. I feel you have needs that aren’t being met,’ he said, ‘you’re not buying much. Are times hard for you?’” Noel replied that they were.
“And the grocer said, ‘I want to tell you that until times get better, anything that you need, you come down here and you get it. If you ever get to the point where you can pay for it, that’s fine. If not, that’s fine too,’” Noel continued.
God has seen the Edwards through some tough times over the years, but they don’t complain.
“We’ve been able to minister to others because we’ve been there. So tragedy — those things that hurt – can also become a blessing,” Noel said.
“His ultimate goal was, not only to help us, but then to let that be a part of our learning experience so that we could know how much it means to bless other people. God blesses us in order that we can in turn bless others,” he added.
Keeping food on their shelves hasn’t always been easy, but today the Mission:Dignity program is helping the Edwards with groceries and other essential needs.
John Ambra, director of development for the Mission:Dignity program, said, “We are grateful to all the donors who make it possible for people like the Edwards to not only survive, but to also continue their ministry to others.”
“Words just don’t express how much we appreciate the people who help us through Mission:Dignity,” said Noel. “It’s a life saver for us.”
Mail gifts to: Mission:Dignity, GuideStone Financial Resources SBC, 2401 Cedar Springs Rd., Dallas, TX 75201-1498. Visit missiondignitysbc.org.