Erma Evans, a widow in the Church of God, served as a perfect example of what the Apostle Paul called for from our senior women (Titus 2:3). She touched the lives of many and was affectionately called «Mama Evans» by the young fellows of the Worldwide Church of God in Toledo, Ohio: Church singles whom she graciously would have over for a home-cooked meal every month.
Mrs. Evans knew all about southern hospitality since she was originally from Mud Creek, Kentucky. She would offer the meal, after we prayed, and would often then fall asleep on her couch, practically purring like a kitty, content as we fellowshipped and played board games or cards.
The following is a letter from «Mama Evans» that she sent me when I was living in Israel (August 1989), getting ready to begin a work-study program at Kibbutz Sdot Yam near Caesarea. It reveals a little more of this precious woman God blessed us with:
Just a few lines to say hello and that I miss you very much and get a thrill of thankfulness and joy when I can speak of having a son in Israel.
This must be a dream come true. All my life I have dreamed of going to all the far off places. I think I was born a wanderlust child.
Any place even as a little girl that I read or heard about it just filled me with desire to get up and go. Even today I feel the same way.
My Dad must have been the same way because his books of which he had many were about places all over the world.
He would talk to me even when I was 5 yrs. old about the far corners of the earth even China, but I never got any farther than Toledo.
But in the world tomorrow I hope to be able to flit from place to place. When I looked at the picture I could picture Christ walking on the shores of Galilee.
I pray for His Coming to rescue the world. It can’t be too soon for me.
Everyone who knows you misses you. You are a special kind of guy. A little rebellious with a head full of dreams mixed with knowledge, There can’t be another like you. I have a feeling you are very special to God.
Take care honey and don’t forget all that you know of God’s Truth. Bye for now.
This letter shows how loving Mama was… She was always gentle but firm if necessary, but you never doubted she always had your best interests at heart. She used to say «a little love goes a long way, » «they need love the most who deserve it the least» and «tears purify the soul.»
I was pleased to write this poem for her one Sabbath day (on the spur of the moment, wanting to help let her know how much we loved and appreciated her), and gave it to her at our Church of God services before I left, getting a big hug and kiss in return:
Her warmth and love is known both far & wide
Her wonderful smile illuminates lives
Her sweet laughter uplifts many hearts
Helping both young & old she knows is her part
Giving hugs & kisses, making many meals
Veritable love feasts from a woman sincere
GOD BLESS OUR ERMA we need her so dear
Keep her close to your Kingdom
Help her bring You near.
Mama Evans, 89, died October 29, 1998. We know she rests in peace and awaits the First Resurrection. Meanwhile, Mama lives on and shines through the eyes of those who remember her and have tales to tell of her from the heart.