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When I became a member of Brackenhurst Baptist Church, Nita Nagel was ten years older than I am now. And now, as I head toward the finish line of my ministry, Nita has just turned 97. As I visited her yesterday on her birthday, I was once again blessed to observe that she is as grateful to God today as she was in 1993.

Nita as often told me of her early years of marriage to Fred. Not long after they were married, Fred was sent to serve in Italy and North Africa during World War II. She gave birth to their first child while he was away. Fred was at war for several years and so, when he returned, his firstborn daughter was already a toddler. Nita said those years were difficult, and though she was not yet a Christian, she knew that God had sustained her. My generation can learn a lot about grateful perseverance from Auntie Nita.

Having faced a life of great challenges, including now having buried her husband, her oldest daughter, and more recently her son-in-law, Nita remains as gracious and grateful as when she was a young lady of seventy. I thank God for Nita Nagel. I thank God for her love for Christ and for our church. I thank God for her decades of daily prayer for me and for my family. I thank God for her forgiving spirit. I thank God for her example of daily reading of God’s word. I thank God that every time I visit with her, or speak with her on the phone, she tells me, “I can’t complain, I have much to be grateful for. The Lord has been good to me.” What a joy!

Our beloved sister is frail in her body. She spends much of the day in bed. And yet there remains a loving sparkle in her eyes. Though suffering discomfort, her speech is seasoned with grace rather than complaint. I love this woman, as I know you do.

I am also grateful for the several church members who visit with her and who assist her with practical needs, such as going to the shops, and taking her to the doctor, etc. Your ministry to her is a blessing.

But let me take this opportunity to encourage our wider church membership to bless Nita, perhaps with a phone call, or perhaps by sending her a text. Let her know that you are thinking of her and praying for her. Like me, I’m sure that you thank God for Nita Nagel. Let’s do what we can to let her know it.

Grateful with you,