Faced with a hungry child and no money, Harold Medlock had gone to several local grocers to see if they would accept the couples’ wedding rings as collateral. After hearing “no” several times, one grocer finally told him to get the food he needed and allowed him to pay later. This is just one of the hardships faced by Frances and her husband while ministering to the poorest of the poor in small churches for more than 45 years.
But things got even harder for Frances once Harold died. Having used up her small savings, Frances struggled to cover the basic necessities, but she couldn’t make ends meet.
Medlock served as pastor for 45 years in churches across Louisiana, Maryland and North Carolina. Frances worked diligently at his side; serving in many capacities – as pastors’ wives often do – in the small congregations.
Frances Medlock says Mission:Dignity has helped her to stay in her home since her husband, Harold, died in 2000.
“We were blessed to at times minister to the poorest of the poor and many times saw the great difference in many that the Lord made when they became Christians,” Frances recalled. “He loved to minister to the people and he certainly could preach.”
Sacrifices are also part of the job for most preachers. But most pastors will tell you it’s a calling from God, not a career. How much the church would pay Harold was not in the criteria for accepting a call to pastor a new congregation.
Thinking back to those long-ago days, Frances remembered, “The churches we pastored, the missions we started, were not able to pay us a living salary. So he worked a secular job plus ministering to the church. We just never had any money and there was nothing to save.”
Married more than 50 years, Frances still misses Harold every day since his passing in 2000.
Unfortunately, Harold’s death also brought new financial struggles to Frances. One of her early applications included a note, “I just can’t make ends meet. Have used most of my savings. Trying to save what I have left for burial. No matter how much I cut back I am short the end of the month.”
“Sixty percent of the people served by Mission:Dignity are widows, so it’s an important story to share with our donors,” John Ambra, director of development for Mission:Dignity, said.
“If a couple is living on mostly Social Security and has little to no retirement income or savings, a widow will often find her income cut in half when her husband dies. Without other assistance, widows are often faced with no-win choices regarding food, medicine, utilities and other needs.”
Approved for her first grant a few months after Harold’s death, Frances cannot say enough about how much Mission:Dignity means to her, “It’s just been such a blessing to me. I would not be able to stay in my home, if it weren’t for Mission:Dignity.”
The ministry also provides a way for Frances to keep serving others.
“Since my husband has been gone, I do anything and everything I can to minister to the people as individuals and give them a word of encouragement. They mean so much to me,” Frances recounted while talking about her church.
“I know that God’s arms are around me and He’s going to be with me,” Frances told us in a voice trembling with emotion.
God’s arms are around Frances – and thousands of other faithful servants – through the faithfulness of donors to the Mission:Dignity ministry whose gifts allow loyal soldiers of the cross to pay their bills and live with dignity and security.
Mission:Dignity Sunday is June 22. Mail gifts to: Mission:Dignity, GuideStone Financial Resources SBC, 2401 Cedar Springs Road, Dallas, TX 75201-1498. Visit missiondignitysbc.org.