J. L. Jones
March 29, 2011
I want to introduce you to an amazing man. I had the awesome privilege of being his wife, and partner in the ministry for almost 20 years.
He was my best friend, lover, confidante and teammate. He loved the Lord, and he loved God’s church. He spent his life working to share God’s message of forgiveness with anyone who would listen.
We served the Lord in three churches: Calvary Baptist, Clay Center, KS; Immanuel Baptist, Grand Island, NE; and Immanuel Baptist, Miami, OK.
I hope that you will enjoy the following testimony from someone whose life was touched by J.
“When I was in sixth grade, I was a knucklehead. To be fair, most sixth-grade boys are knuckleheads. I had the somewhat typical dramas at school. I had a bully who was harassing me. I was the fat kid. I didn’t shower often. And, I was quite certain that no one liked me. The only thing that made my situation worse was that my home life was even worse than my school life. My father was drunk half of the time and the other half he was abusive.
It was a crucial time in my life. I was understandably insecure, and I was beginning to make bad decisions. About then, a friend of mine invited me to church. It wasn’t a big church with a fancy youth group. It was a church of between 10 and 20 people who had just asked a college student to be its Pastor. His name was J. L. Jones. He began to spend time with me, and, although we didn’t call it mentoring back then, he mentored me. Let me assure you, I was not easy to mentor. I was rude, obnoxious, combative and as alluded to before, I didn’t smell that good.
At a crucial time in my life, God sent a man in my life to care about me. Though I didn’t make the best decisions, all of the sudden, there was a man in my life to encourage me to make better decisions instead of berate me. It changed my life.
It wasn’t like J. had oodles of spare time. During a large part of this time, J. was a full-time seminary student at a school that was three hours away, in addition to pastoring this church where he was the only staff member. He made time for me.
After graduating from high school, I went to college and then later seminary. I served twelve years in vocational ministry, and I am now attending law school. None of that would have happened if it wouldn’t have been for J. L. caring about me. I cannot express the level of my gratitude. I wonder if the young man I mentor now will ever have an understanding of the profound effect that J. L. has had and will have on his life?
J. L. and Lora left that little church in 1993. Almost twenty years later, the little church is much the same as it was before they came in 1986, between 10 to 20 people trying to keep the doors open. But I’m not the same. I believe in my soul that the measure of someone’s ministry is not the impact he makes on a church, but the impact he has on the lives around him. Well done J. Enjoy your reward.”
By God’s providence, I got to work with JL and Lora as a summer missionary when they were in Grand Island. He was the first pastor I met that rode a motorcycle. I thought that was so cool. I remember that he studied a lot and really took sharing God’s word seriously. Even to a small, struggling church. That summer I watched him model grace, mercy and forgiveness. I watched him being sensitive to the leading of the Holy Spirit in others lives. I watched him be a real person that happed to be a pastor.
I remember the night that J.L. met my dad…I had just accepted God as my savior..and J came over to talk to my dad about me and the church to let him know I was wanted there..that night my dad passed away and J.L. was a male figure in my life for years and really made it easier to be without dad…i miss the kids and j, but i know they r up there probably playing soccer with my dad….Love u lora
I love you too Jessica. Thank you for sharing your memory. It touched my heart in oh so many ways.
I may not have had the privilege of meeting J, but I think I got the next best thing his loving wife. 🙂 I have no memories to share except I’m so glad this wonderful lady has come into my life. Thanks J for sharing her even a bit.