The Moore Family

popsycarlMost church members are afraid of Junior High students. The main reason….Well….Junior High Students are crazy! Their brains are not fully developed yet, in fact, their brains are not even close to being developed.(The average person’s brain is not fully developed until the age of 25!) The parts of the brain that thinks of an idea and the parts of the brain that realizes consequences are not fully connected. So many teenagers make poor decisions and must learn from their actions. Middle School students (6-8th grades) are developing into young teenagers that are full of energy, questions, hormones, and very little attention span. In a short amount of time, they can be a handful to oversee and push the most qualified teacher or volunteer to insanity. Most “overseers” usually don’t last long.

The average youth minister in America stays at a local church on average of 18 months. That is not a good statistic. Now that might say more about the misguided expectations many churches and pastors place on a youth minister…but overall…why is it common for so many youth leaders and volunteers to give up so easily?

This was not the case for Trinity Baptist Church youth volunteers Sue and Carl Moore. For 42 years (that’s right, 4-2!), they served as JUNIOR HIGH LEADERS for the Educational department on Sunday mornings. The Moore’s absolutely loved Junior High students! They understood the students need for “acceptance and constant questioning” as possibility, opportunity, and potential phototo love students at a crucial time in their teenage life. When most people were rejecting these students, The Moore’s were accepting them just as they were….the crazy but amazing Junior High Students. Apart from the students, one of the lasting legacies the Moore’s made on TBC is helping design and oversee the building of the Education Wing on the Mulberry Campus. The Junior High Lounge is still named after them and used every week by our Jr. High Minister, Claire Glover.

In order to compile this article, I met twice with Carl Moore (who is now 96 years old). His wife Sue passed away in 2010. The first time we met, I went with my then assistant, Sarah Benson. We met with him to get photos and stories about the past youth program at TBC. Sarah and I planned on staying one hour. We were there for over three. He told us lovely stories about his ministry to students and how much he adored and loved his wife, Sue, of 65 years. Each night before he goes to bed, he looks at his favorite picture of his bride and wishes her goodnight. Even in death, they are not separated from the love they had for each other. Before we met with Carl, Sarah said that she would not cry…well…once we were finished, there was not a dry eye in the room. Words cannot express the love this man has for his wife and his family…and for the hundreds of Junior High students they adopted at TBC. I met with Carl again last week. He is alert, full of grace, laughter, and answered every question I had without hesitation. I also used part of the “Trinity Trumpet Spotlight” article (written October 2010) for information about dates, church involvement, and part of Sue’s early life.

Carl was born on June 17, 1916 in the small town of Quincy, Michigan. He was a northern boy who was raised on a farm by his parents. Carl grew up helping on the family farm and engaging in 4-H Club activities. Carl had been awarded two scholarships and enrolled in Michigan State Agricultural College and graduated with a Bachelor’s Degree in Animal Husbandry. He was appointed Asst. Agricultural Agent and 4-H Club Agent over two counties. Then during the onset of WWII, Carl was drafted as an officer in the military and served in the Army Air Force (now U.S Air Force). He flew B-26 Marauder planes over Europe. However, Carl says “a World War, and blind date can change everything.” After the draft in 1940, Carl went to training in Tyler, Texas. While in the “Rose Capital of the World”…he met a young teacher in training named Sue Watkins. Friends had set them up for a blind date, and after that date…they knew they were a match made in heaven.

PopsyCarl1943Sue Watkins was born three years later about 70 miles from Dallas, Texas. Sue, who her family called “Popsy”, grew up in a family with a Southern background. She had all the usual childhood diseases, including rheumatic fever, which may have caused her poor eyesight. Sue attended East Texas Teachers College in Commerce, Texas and graduated with majors in Home Economics and Science. She accepted a teaching position in West Texas, far away from her home. Sue taught school in West Texas for a time, but grew homesick and returned to East Texas. Even though she went back home after becoming homesick…God had a better plan for Popsy.

After the war was officially declared in 1941, Carl went to Navigator school and became an Army Air Force Navigator. From 1944-45 Carl completed fifty combat missions as a B-26 Navigator and was awarded the Air Medal with Silver Star, Distinguished Flying Cross, Purple Heart and numerous commendations. His craziest memory flying was the day c275b1c8838611e2adc122000a1f9ace_6his team lost an engine flying over the Sahara Desert and they had to figure out how to land safely. He wrote about his Marauder experiences in his book Flying B-26 Marauder Over Europe (Tab Books 1980 & 2012). He won the Purple Heart while flying over Germany bombing bridges and his team caught anti-aircraft artillery. While in the air, his plane was hit and he was hurt by glass and plastic shrapnel. “It was not too bad…but it got me a Purple Heart,” Carl said smiling with a slight smirk and laughter.

During this time, Carl and Sue developed a serious relationship. Upon his return to the U.S., Carl and Sue announced their engagement and were married in October of 1945. He said with affection, “My favorite date with Sue was the date before we were to be married” “Why?” I asked. He replied, “Because we went to a good movie and did a lot of smoochin!” I guess I walked into that one. 🙂

After the war and marriage, Carl earned his PhD from Purdue University. In 1948, Carl was employed at the Federal Reserve Bank in Dallpopsrcarlwedding2as, Texas. In 1955, he moved to San Antonio as Vice-President of the San Antonio Branch of the Federal Reserve Bank. He brought his family Sue, Cindy (who died in her youth), Henry and Susan. A year later, they moved to 2322 Blanton (across the street from Buckner and Martha Fanning) where they still reside.
Carl was invited to serve in several civic positions for many years: the Board of the Baptist Hospitals for 32 years, the Board of the Character Education Foundation, as Director of the Church Loan Foundation and the San Antonio Rotary Club (We are fellow members!). In 1968, Carl was asked to serve as Chairman of a group to secure financing for the ALIVE Pavilion at Hemisfair’68, San Antonio’s World’s Fair. The pavilion’s witness was to show Moody Institute “Sermons From Science” films. These films had a significant impact for Christ, but it would take three years after the close of the fair to complete the financing. During this time, the Moores also became very active in Trinity Baptist Church. Sue served as the President of Trinity Women in Action (TWA) and led the TWA Prayer Group that met for many years in their home. Carl served on the Board of Deacons where he was chairman, vice-chairman and secretary for several years, Chairman of the Personnel Committee, Counseling Committee, Stewardship Committee and one year on the Budget Committee.

TBCBusCarl and Sue also worked in the Middle School Sunday School Department for 42 years, teaching both the children and grandchildren of many grateful church members. They created games and skits to teach the students Bible verses…they served with passion each and every week. Some of their past students are now Trinity leaders. The Moore’s are legends! Carl and Sue loved those Jr. High students for who they were…and saw their potential for Christ. “They were at a crucial stage in their life….they were trying to figure out who they were as a person and going through many life changes….we were there just to teach what we could and help them find the answers.” Carl recalls that all too often he did not know the answer and thought to himself “what can I even possibly do to help this teen.?!” But time after time his and Sue’s love would rule the day and bring peace and love into the student’s life. “That’s the crazy thing about youth ministry” Carl said laughing. “You just have to show up and care…its not that hard” After leaving the youth ministry, Carl said he and his wife really found no interest in the Adult Education department. He said to me laughing, “After 42 years of working with Junior High Students..who are not suppose to be smart, I was not challenged by many of the Adult Sunday School classes. They seemed boring and dull in comparison…Imagine that!”

Carl and Sue are my youth ministry heroes!

Carl reading to JJ and KKSince retirement Carl has been busy writing novels (16 and counting) and keeping up with Henry, Susan and their families. In 2010, Sue passed away after suffering from Dementia over a ten year period. Even in those last years where Carl said that Sue could no longer remember anyone, “She was still my Sue….regardless if she did not remember me. I knew she was mentally gone but I served her until the Lord took her home physically.” Carl was a loving and caring husband each step of the way! Carl reminds me of the power of “presence” with both his Junior High students and with his wife during the last year, Carl shows us how to minister with actions more than just with the spoken word. words. St. Francis of Assisi would be proud of this Baptist family.

Preach the Gospel at all times and when necessary use words.” – St. Francis of Assisi

I will dedicate this blog just like Carl did when he wrote the book So You Have a New Bible (Trafford Press, 2007): “This writing is dedicated to Sue and to the dozen of other fellow workers who strived to present the message of the Bible to growing, inquisitive, questioning, flexible, but lovable young persons.” Amen Carl. Amen.

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The Schaper Family

Over the next 40 days, I will highlight a member (or couple) of Trinity Baptist Church and tell their life story.  I believe everyone has a story to tell.   Regardless of one’s experiences, perceived popularity, age, or backgrounds,  stories can be found in the simple everyday events and not just within grand or extreme events we so often remember.

schaper 1The Schapers:  The first members I will write about during my Lenten journey is the Schaper Family.   Darrell and Andrea Schaper have two daughters, Alex and Claire, who have been active in my youth program at Trinity and the family has been a source of strength in my life and personal ministry at TBC.

Andrea has been a member at TBC since 1966, when she was only 3 years old. For those mathematically challenged like me…that’s 47 years.   Andrea is the daughter of Wayland and DeeAnn Simmons, who placed membership once they heard former Trinity Baptist’s pastor Buckner Fanning preach the Gospel on a Sunday morning.   They were amazed how Buckner could simply communicate the gospel with such power, grace, and conviction.   A combination many pastors lack, including yours truly.  When Andrea was a bit older, she was baptized by Buckner in the TBC Sanctuary, grew up in the youth ministry, and went on to attend Texas A&M where she met her husband Darrell Schaper (a football player for the Texas Aggies!)

schaper 2Andrea and Darrell dated for 4 months, and they had an instant connection and good friendship…but would it go deeper than any of their past dating relationships?  Since his walk with Christ began, Darrell always wanted his spouse to desire and respect a “spiritual relationship with Jesus Christ.” He even dreamed that God spoke this desire into his heart.   Once he started seriously dating Andrea, he asked her what she thought about such a religious desire, and Andrea could not agree with him more (maybe even more so) about the need for common spiritual connection.  This realization brought them both to tears that night and led to a deeper relationship that grew into engagement and then marriage.   After graduation and leaving Aggieland, they were ready to start a life together!

Darrell found a nice job as an Insurance Salesman. He would be working for a Trinity member, Bill Harrison Sr., in Andrea’s hometown of San Antonio.   They both joined and were married at Trinity Baptist in 1986 (where Darrell was also impressed by and baptized by Buckner Fanning). They set their dream and began attempting to start a family.   It was all going as planned until they ran into a recurring problem that was out of their control.   Darrell and Andrea could not seem to get pregnant.  Years went by and they kept getting negative result…after negative result…time after time.   It was beginning to weigh on their marriage and spiritual walk.  Andrea was becoming more and more upset with God, even asking God if she could at least have child before her 30th birthday.  It appeared that God had allowed the “fairy tale” life to come to an end. The negative results continued.

One afternoon during a church mission trip to the Baptist Children’s Home near San Antonio, they met fellow TBC member Kay Ingram, who had an adopted son.   Kay told them about the joys of adoption and how God has blessed her family through the adoption process.   After much prayer and reflection, Darrell and Andrea decided to adopt a child.  After all the process was complete, they adopted 4-day-old Alex Elise Schaper on January 23, 1993.   Andrea’s 30th birthday was the day before…”God seems to have a sense of humor when it comes to our plans,” They were now parents of a beautiful little girl!  Regardless of the process…she was their child and they were her Mom and Dad.   The Schaper family had grown and soon would add another girl into the mix.   After consulting more doctors, Darrell and Andrea were able to become pregnant…and October 29, 1995, they gave birth to Claire McCauly. The family was complete.  All was right and good.   It seemed God’s creativity was much larger than their own imagination and understanding of how a family can be formed and put together.

Having one adopted child and one biological child never seemed to negatively impact their family in any significant fashion.   Other than the time Alex kept getting letters from her birth mother and 3-year-old Claire pouted during breakfast because she wanted to know her “birth mother” and receive letters in the mail like Alex.    “That’s about as awkward as it ever got with our family” Andrea said.  The family knew both Alex and Claire were “chosen for us” regardless of the circumstances of child bearing.

Alex grew up the star singer in the family, and Claire grew up the star athlete in the family. However, the sisters had much in common…despite their different personalities.  In the fall of 2010 they both were elected to the Homecoming Court.  Alex was a Senior and Claire was a freshman.   A fun family moment.    For me personally…Alex was a part of my first graduating class at Trinity Baptist.  She was a leader for many of my youth events and the president of the Mainstream Choir.  She now attends Texas A&M and pursuing a degree in Education.  Claire is currently a Junior at MacArthur High School and active in the youth department, Young Life, and volleyball.   “But more importantly than all of the accolades”, Andrea says “what makes her and Darrell such proud parents is that both of their children are committed followers of Christ and grounded in their faith in both belief and action.   Everything else is meaningless.”

Claire attended our Fall Retreat last year where we participated in a 3-day Poverty Simulation in Waco, TX.  During the weekend, they live outside, experience homeless conditions, and learn about world poverty through lessons, personal interviews, and experiments.   Needless to say its not your typical youth retreat when you have all your possessions taken from you when you arrive.   After the simulation was complete, Claire was moved to sponsor a child in Guatemala while our students were on a Mission Trip during the summer.   However, Claire had a problem…she had no money to sponsor a child.  Instead of asking others for the donation (even her parents), she decided to earn the money herself so it would truly be her sponsorship.  How did Claire raise the money?  She made earrings.  And lots of them.   She is almost to her goal…and is already on her way to a full year sponsorship.    Claire wrote about her poverty weekend and the decision to sponsor a child in the December 2012 edition of our church’s newsletter, “The Trumpet.” Here is what she wrote:
523515_2317635156290_1157313879_n“One Earring at a Time — Through Her Eyes”
Gavin had mentioned this trip a couple years ago and I was so excited to get the chance to go. I had no idea what to expect going into the poverty simulation. When we got to Mission Waco we were stripped of all of our
possessions and forced to make choices similar to a family trapped in poverty. We also got just a small glance of what the homeless go through by spending Saturday meeting with others who often live on the streets. My group talked with a homeless man named George Strait and he shared some of his life stories with us and the reality of life without many resources. Although we came from different places we actually had much in common! This whole experience was eye opening for me and my friends. We also watched a video on global poverty and it really moved me to action. When I got home I felt like I had the power and the opportunity to make a real difference. I decided to design earrings and sell them at my school to help raise money to sponsor a child in Guatemala.  Poverty equals Powerlessness.  We, the church, have the resources to eliminate extreme poverty. It can be accomplished.

560897_2317643276493_1999802804_n-1It is students like Claire (and we have lots of Claire’s in our youth group!) that keep me excited about the future of the church.  Claire, like many in her generation, don’t put much value in a homogenous community.  Instead, her generation values an intentional community that participates in the diversity of God’s Kingdom.

Above all, the Schaper’s are a family full of laughter, love, and honesty.  Following after Jesus, they have the heart to serve others above self, while breaking down boundaries that separate people and life experiences.  They truly do what is right by living out the greatest commandment to “Love your neighbor as yourself.”

Word Cloud

2012-02-lent

According to www.openbible.info in 2012 this is a Word Cloud that represents what people are giving up during the Lenten Season.   Is your fast somewhere on the above word cloud?  (You can also go on their site and see past years.)

And to be honest.  Do many of these things really keep us from experiencing God?  If not…what truly keeps us from God that we should really give up?

Lent is more than just about a fast.  Lent is a time for our own reflection.
A time for Prayer.
A time for Penitence.
A time for Forgiveness.

But more importantly.  Lent is a time to focus on humanity.   Just how Christ focused his love toward us when choosing to return back to Jerusalem and make things right.

Below is a Word Cloud taken from Pope John Paul II & Pope Benedict’s lenten homilies the last ten years.    What are the real themes of Lent according to the Holy See?

lent200211

Here are a few prayers to reflect on during Ash Wednesday:

Father in Heaven,
the light of your truth bestows sight
to the darkness of sinful eyes.
May this season of repentance
bring us the blessing of Your forgiveness
and the gift of Your light.
Grant this through Christ our Lord.  Amen

O Lord and Giver of my life,
give me not the spirit of laziness,
despair, lust of power, and idle talk.
But give rather the spirit of sobriety,
humility, patience and love to Thy servant.
O Lord and King,
grant me to see my own transgressions
and not to judge my brother,
for blessed art Thou unto ages of ages. Amen
–St. Ephraim the Syrian (AD 305-373)

40 Days of Trinity

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40 Days of Trinity:
The 2013 Lenten season will be a lot different from last years journey of homelessness. This year, I have committed myself to meet with different members or couples from my church (www.trinitybaptist.org) and write down their stories on my personal blog http://www.gavinrogers.com.  Some of these people went through wars, depressions, the civil rights movement, church corruption, family trials, and great success.

Last year I stressed “Humanizing Your Neighbor” above all. And for me that was learning to walk along my unhoused neighbors near my home and church in Downtown San Antonio, Texas. However, it hit me this year…have I been loving my church parishioners the same way I have loved the people “outside the church walls.” I think many people would agree that was true. So…I wanted to find out more about the people inside my church walls. Here are their stories.

(You can still read the 2012 blog at http://www.40daysofhaven.com. I will post on the old site when reflecting about 2012 and when I sleep on the San Antonio streets some days during Lent.) For a good debrief of Lent 2012 please click on the 2012 Lent tab above.

-Gavin