Mizell lived model of teaching, preaching

Published 12:00 am Friday, January 4, 2008

Allow me, for a moment, to reminisce with you about the Natchez I grew up in and love so deeply. I was born and raised in this city. I grew up on John Glenn Drive, went to Montebello/McLaurin Junior High, went to Adams County Christian School for a year and graduated from South Natchez High.

My father sat at the same desk for 45 years as a CPA, retired now. My mother still sits at the same desk, doing the same job for over 43 years, also financial work.

My sister and I never wanted for a thing in this world that my parents didn’t provide or try their dead level best to get for us.

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But let me tell you now the greatest thing my parents ever did for us. They took us to and are still active members of Parkway Baptist Church. We were, as we jokingly say now, drug to church even when we didn’t want to go. We were there.

As a result, we learned about a loving, merciful, compassionate Savior named Jesus Christ.

Parkway has had too many pastors, music ministers, education personnel and volunteers to name. But the main point I want you all to know about this church is that dozens of us are now preachers, music ministers, education personnel, Sunday school teachers, missionaries, writers, doctors, nurses, lawyers, actors, pharmacists, fathers, mothers, caregivers, etc. And we all love the Lord. And we love you too.

This week a friend to many left this earth, and according to her personal profession of faith in Jesus Christ as her Savior she is now safe in His care in heaven.

I want you, the people of this community, to know that when I was diagnosed with cancer and my family and I were told I was four months from death, my friend and her husband went to my mom’s office at Parkway, took her by the hand and prayed for God’s grace to be with the family.

They further prayed, as did others, that the Lord would heal me of this disease. And He did. I am many things — a husband, father, preacher, law enforcement officer, friend to many, cancer survivor and product of this church and community.

But most of all, I am a child of the king, Jesus Christ, Lord of Lords — the same savior that Deborah Mizell and Glenn Mizell taught me about as a child in Sunday school at Parkway.

Laugh loud in heaven, Deborah. While many of us will miss you in many different ways, for many different reasons, I for one will go on teaching, leading people too, and as you did, praying for others. Praying that they too may find the salvation, peace, joy and love that you knew from a loving relationship with Jesus Christ.

You see, my heart hurts today, but not for her. It’s us that have lost.

The Rev. Stephen R. Gardner

Bunkie, La. resident