Folks at First – Javonne Miller and Donalyn Price

An interview with Javonne Miller and Her Daughter Donalyn Price by Vi Maeers

Both Javonne and Donalyn participate in the tape ministry.

Vi: When did you start attending First? Please tell us a bit about what being a part of the FBC community meant to you and what aspects of church life you participated in.

Vi’s summary: Javonne’s husband died accidentally in 1987. The family of 4 had now become 3 and knew that a move would be necessary. After much searching, Javonne found an apartment in Hampton House in the south part of Regina, near her daughter and granddaughter, Nancy. This would allow her to live independently, although working from a wheelchair. It proved to be an excellent choice. She experienced a wonderful community of friends and neighbours over the next 21yrs. After attending church for 30 years in Rosemont, she decided to look for a new church.

Javonne and Donalyn: Under the circumstances of needing an elevator, the decision was to check out First Baptist. Our first impression was, “what a huge church”, but the warmth of people like Henry Friesen, Betty and Fred Anderson, Eva McMillan, Francis Haug, and old friends who were now attending “First”, we began to feel at home in our “pew”.

Javonne: After a few years I became a member of the phoning committee, whose purpose was to keep in touch with people, to get to know them better and to find out how they were doing. I was also a member of the senior ladies’ bible class, led by Katie Medgett. She was a good teacher. I especially appreciated how she connected her teaching to her experiences as a missionary in Africa.

Donalyn: I became an usher in the church, and served a number of years on a team with Ron McDonald.

George Baxter was the Senior Minister and always delivered an uplifting message. We will never forget when one Sunday George stopped in his service, asked the organist to play “Jesus Loves Me” for the congregation to sing. There wasn’t a dry eye in the church. God bless you George! John Nelson was the associate minister and music director, leading the choir with such enthusiasm. We also enjoyed John’s meaningful sermons and solos.

Vi’s summary: They especially enjoyed the structure of the service, the gospel music that opened the church service that “gave you something to think about, and reflect on while waiting for church to start.” Javonne mentioned enjoying the old hymns: “the hymns that I loved since childhood”. She especially likes It is Well with my Soul, Standing on the Promises, My Burdens are Lifted at Calvary, Because He Lives, and Great is Thy Faithfulness. She also loved the quartets, duets (Jack Buyze and Harry Veldhuis), and a band with a saxophone, plus much more that doesn’t come to mind.

Vi: Why did you stop coming to church ?

Javonne: Many of you know that following polio, something called post polio syndrome may develop later, as it has with me. That decline continues as I grow older. My need of rest is critical, so I must pace myself daily. My outings are very limited and generally include appointments. Donalyn’s care means assistance for everything for me as well as operating our business alone. Nancy continues to come home to pitch in if we absolutely need her.

Vi: We know that now you participate in the video service. The church provides this service for people who are physically unable to attend the Sunday morning service. Tell us how you utilize this video ministry and what it has meant for you.

Javonne and Donalyn: This video ministry keeps us up to date with what’s going on at our church and with our fellow members. In the past, further information that we needed was mainly provided by Erin Angus, our former church receptionist. Vi Maeers, a neighbour across the street and a member of FBC, is now our contact. We are so grateful for her friendship and generosity. Both of us physically miss going to church, especially the fellowship. Javonne says “Sunday doesn’t seem like Sunday when you can’t attend church”.

Vi: How can we at “First” make your video ministry and other aspects of belonging to the church community more meaningful?

Vi’s summary: The video ministry is very effective; bulletins keep them up to date. They feel there isn’t much more that can be done at this point. Javonne and Donalyn appreciate the time that various members have spent taping the videos and are grateful to Hilary Ryan for the time she and her committee members have spent producing them.

Javonne and Donalyn: With the many changes that have taken place at FBC these past months, we realize the responsibility that Joel has committed to as Lead Minister, and pray that he will feel God’s presence, blessing, and guidance.

Vi: There is a promise in Psalm 23, a very familiar one: “Goodness and mercy will follow me all the days of my life.” Would you say that is true of your life?

Javonne: I felt I was guided to Hampton House; everything worked so well. When I could no longer live there, we decided that the main floor of Donalyn’s home could be modified to accommodate special bathroom equipment, a ceiling tracking system for a V-3 lift, and doors wide enough to accommodate an electric chair, etc. I had a supportive family and a husband who helped me with anything I needed. I’ve been truly “Blessed”.

Donalyn: Within the last year of my father’s life, he mentioned only once, “When I’m gone, please look after your mother”. I replied that I would. After he died, I asked God to help me with this promise, and “Oh what a gift it has been for me”!

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