There is nothing like seeing someone in their 80’s still living life to the fullest. There can be a beautiful wisdom, patience, focus and endurance. This sentiment embodies Lois Gaydos and here is her story. She has walked with her Savior for almost 75 years. Her faith through life’s seasons will inspire you, as you see her trusting her loving God, even in this last, most difficult season, as a widow.
For I know that my Redeemer lives, and that and at the last he will stand upon the earth. And after my skin has been thus destroyed, yet in my flesh I shall see God, whom I shall see for myself, and my eyes shall behold, and not another… Job 19:25-26
*This episode is dedicated to the memory of her beloved husband, Ken Gaydos, who along with his lovely wife, lived life to the fullest.
Dairy Farm Family
Raised on the Moody Bible Campus
Milking cows and driving tractors
Owning her faith
Called at age 6 to be a nurse (45 years)
Billy Bangles, WMBI
Edgewater Baptist Church, Mtng her husband
Marriage and Motherhood
Ken Gaydos next to Bobby Kennedy
Kings Garden (now Crista) radio
Kings Christian School
Answered prayers of children
Trust fund given by a stranger
Caring for seniors at the Crista Nursing Facility
Several saved before passing
Debilitating Battle with EBV for several years,
Caregiving for her husband who had cancer
Life as a widow
Training as a Steven’s ministry, a lay pastoral ministry
THE P.S. Questions Answered:
What does she miss about her childhood, what are kids missing today?
The greatest need in the church today
Advice for young Moms
Prayers with Grandkids
Advice for middle age women
Website: for Support 7, https://www.support7.org/
- “We were taught to have empathy not sympathy for our patients.”
- “There isn’t a way we can experience God’s comfort and peace, without going through suffering.”
- “He always had a desire to help victims of families going through a tragedy.” Of her husband Ken Gaydos, founder of Support 7.”
- “If you look inward, you can get depressed. If you look outward to see what God still has for you, to be serving other people, is the greatest joy. And my husband, his motto was to finish well. It has become my motto too.”
Ep. 7 – “The Dream of My Life” Grace Nelson (age 89)
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Lois Gaydos: That Christmas my parents gave my sister and I a nurse and doctor kit and it was, it was a very realistic looking back nurse and doctor kit, but they didn’t have enough money to give us each one or each one a present, so we had to share it. So, from that time on, my sister was five, I was six, and we played with that nurse and doctor kit with our cat, our dog, our dolls, the neighborhood kids… and we both felt this is what we wanted to do for the rest of our life.
Narrator: And now for the next episode of Letters From Home. Sending encouragement to your doorstep by capturing the heartbeat of God’s people, one story at a time.
Meg Glesener: Hi, it’s Meg. Are you ready to be encouraged? Do you know anyone who has walked with the Lord for a really long time? For me, what I’ve noticed is there is such a wisdom and a depth that draws you in. Today’s guest has walked with the Lord for almost 75 years. She was clearly saved as a young child and heard God’s call in her life. She shares with us today some highs and lows, in the seasons of her life, and I can’t wait for you to hear her story. After all these years, she is still serving the Lord today. I know for me, I wanna be like her when I grow up, and I think you will be so inspired. Here is the everyday extraordinary Lois Gaydos.
Lois, I’m so happy that I get to have you today on letters from home, and the Lord has used you to really speak into my life. And I know you have an incredible story and I’m really grateful that we have the chance to finally sit down and have our conversation.
Lois Gaydos: Thank you, Meg. I’ve been looking forward to this as well. Thank you.
Meg Glesener: Well, I know you’ve lived in the Seattle area for decades, but you were raised Wisconsin, so what was it like growing up?
Lois Gaydos: Well, see, I was born in Green Bay, Wisconsin, and about three months after I was born, my parents moved to Chicago so that my dad could attend Moody Bible Institute. He had been accepted in the pastor’s course, and we lived in Chicago a little over five years. And so, I practically grew up on the campus of Moody Bible Institute. I remember going to Sunday school at Moody Church and yeah, it was wonderful. I love that. I, I, I really have great memories of that area.
Meg Glesener: You were raised in a Christian home?
Lois Gaydos: Mm-hmm. . I was
Meg Glesener: What was it like, how did your, what did your faith story begin?
Lois Gaydos: My mother had heard the gospel over WNBI, which is the Moody Bible station, and she was a schoolteacher in Wisconsin and heard the gospel. They were churchgoers. They had grown up in, in church. So she, she was teaching public school and felt the Lord calling her to go to Moody to major in Christian education. She had met my father before she moved to Chicago, and he wasn’t a believer, but she kept witnessing to him and sending him tracks and he became saved. And then after she graduated, she came back to Wisconsin and they got married, and then they went back as a couple so he could go to the pastor’s course at Moody. I did grow up in a Christian home, definitely. It was wonderful. Yes.
Meg Glesener: And did, did you at some point give your life to the Lord? Do you, do you have any kind of memory of that?
Lois Gaydos: I do. So, after my dad graduated, we moved back to Wisconsin. I was about six. He was preaching one Sunday morning in Revelation. I just remember thinking, when Jesus comes back and the rapture, if I’m not saved, I won’t go to heaven. So, I, when he gave the invitation, I raised my hand. I was had just turned six. So, we went home after church and my parents led me to the Lord. Well, my parents were first generation German. Grandparents on both sides had immigrated from Germany. So, but my parents were born and grew up in, in Wisconsin. And yes, they both grew up on dairy farms. So, we lived in small town. I grew up in a very small town in Wisconsin, but in the summer, my sister and I would go back to the homestead where my mother had grown up. And we helped my mother’s sister and her husband, my aunt and uncle, on their dairy farm. So, I grew up, you know, milking cows and driving tractor at age 10 out in the field. And hoeing the garden, picking beans and all that. Working really hard as 9, 10, 11, 12-year-old. Yeah, and it’s interesting because the children were expected to do a lot of chores. Hoeing the garden, picking crops, and feeding the chickens, gathering the eggs, driving tractor, milking cows, picking up apples in the apple orchard… I, I, looking back, I, we worked really hard. So, but it was wonderful. I have so many great memories of summers in Wisconsin.
Meg Glesener: Well, any kind of crisis of faith, like as a teenager, as the process of kind of owning your faith as an adult.
Lois Gaydos: Mm-hmm. , Yes. Let’s see. When I had finished my junior year of high school, just about ready to finish my junior of high school in Wisconsin, my dad received a call from another church, but it was in Illinois, and they accepted that call. So, it meant I had to leave the town where I had grown up, and my childhood friends basically in my high school, and move to Illinois to a brand-new high school. And it was right before finals at the end of the year. I would say that was my first crisis of faith. I was 16. The subjects that I had been taking was to get me ready to enter nursing school. I knew I had wanted to be a nurse from the time I was six.
Meg Glesener: Really?
Lois Gaydos: Yes. I felt God calling me to be a nurse when I was six years old, after I got saved.
Meg Glesener: What, what did that look, or like, how do you know you knew, Like, what was it about it as a six-year-old, that’s pretty astounding that at six you’re, you just had a heart for helping people or what was it?
Lois Gaydos: Well, that Christmas, my parents gave my sister and I a nurse and doctor kit and it was, it was a very realistic looking back nurse and doctor kit, but they didn’t have enough money to give us each one or each one a present, so we had to share it. So, from that time on, my sister was five, I was six, and we played with that nurse and doctor kit with our cat, our dog, our dolls, the neighborhood kids… and we both felt this is what we wanted to do for the rest of our life. My mother had been a schoolteacher and then a pastor’s wife, and she said, Don’t you wanna be a school teacher because you can have summers off your weekends off, holidays off with your children? And we both said, No, we feel we both wanna be, she wanted to be a doctor and I want to be a nurse. So, we both went on. She became a nurse practitioner and had her own health clinic and in, in this area for over 25 years. And I, I was a nurse for, I don’t know, 45 years. It, it was a wonderful career and we both felt called to do that.
Meg Glesener: And how old were, So you were six and how old…
Lois Gaydos: I was six and she was five.
Meg Glesener: That is incredible. What a statement that we should listen hard to those little elementary and preschool hearts.
Lois Gaydos: Mm-hmm.
Meg Glesener: to just take what they’re saying. Seriously. How precious is that?
Lois Gaydos: I know it. I know when, when I have shared that with even my children or grandchildren, they think… And it was because of that Christmas gift that year at Christmas, and they, we had to share it. So, we worked together with our little, With our little clinics.
Meg Glesener: With your little clinics. Thank that’s, praise the Lord. That’s wonderful.
Lois Gaydos: Well, I was gonna go back and finish. So, one that was go for 16 and we moved to Illinois. I went and asked the principal at the high school, The high school in Illinois was probably twice, three times the size of the high school in Wisconsin. And the subjects I was taking was, they were designed so that I could enter nursing school. Certain subjects were required. And the high school in Illinois, we were 10, 12 chapters ahead of my high school in Wisconsin. So, I was behind and had two weeks to get ready for finals that year. The end of my junior year. And so, I went to the principal to ask him if my sister and I could take the finals a little bit later, so we would have time to catch up and study. And he, he said, no. He said, I’ll have a tutor when the teacher, so you can stay after school and, and whatever… get tutored to catch up. I remember praying and asking the Lord, if you want me to continue on this path to become a nurse, help me with the chemistry, the physics, the Latin. We had a, in those days, Latin was required to get into nursing school. So, both my sister and I committed… I, I just remember committing my life to the Lord, If this is the path you want me to be on, help me with these classes. With the exam, we studied hard, we stayed after school. The teachers helped us get caught up. And by God’s grace, we, you know, did well. And that was the first time that I could put a stake down and say, God is faithful. He, he was there for me, and he answered my prayer.
Meg Glesener: Praise the Lord.
Lois Gaydos: Mm-hmm. So, then moving forward, Yeah. So, I went to Chicago, to the Swedish Covenant Hospital School of Nursing. My freshman year we were looking for a church. My, my roommate and some of my friends. I was 17, I had just turned 17 when I moved to Chicago. We went to a church, Edgewater Baptist Church, and on a Sunday night to go to the college group. The person I married, he had just gotten outta the Navy, but he was the president of the college group. And that’s, that’s how I met him, was at that church, Edgewater Baptist Church.
Meg Glesener: Well, and it didn’t take long, right? What, what did you love about Ken when you met him? What was it that drew you to him?
Lois Gaydos: Being the president of the college group, we had students from Wheaton College, North Park College, Moody… They came to this little, smaller Baptist church there in that neighborhood in Chicago, and he had so many great ideas of organizing and plans, and our college group was, was wonderful. And he was in charge of it. And he, yeah, I just, that kind of drew me to him. His, his vision, his motivation, his heart for the Lord. But I, we did not start dating right away because I was there to study. You know, I wanted to do well, so I, we didn’t start dating until quite a while later.
Meg Glesener: Yeah. Yeah. And then once you started dating, it didn’t take long, right? Or did it?
Lois Gaydos: When I graduated from the nursing school and took my state boards to get my registered nurse, he had gone to Bob Jones University in Greenville, South Carolina. So, he was down there. and I went to Moody myself as a graduate student.
Meg Glesener: Oh, that’s cool.
Lois Gaydos: Yeah, so I majored in theology at Moody that year.
Meg Glesener: Oh, you did? Yeah. So, you were a nurse and you majored in theology. You were one busy person, so, Wow.
Lois Gaydos: Yeah, it was hard, you know, a lot of studies and I was working part-time as an RN on the evening shift at a hospital on was on Michigan Avenue in Chicago. The 3-11 shift. Took classes, and then I was also taking organ lessons, pipe organ lessons at Moody.
Meg Glesener: Oh, when you were in nursing school or when you first started practicing being, being a nurse, did you, what was that experience like? How did you learn to separate your emotions from, you know, like your, your heart for caring for people, and seeing people super sick and dying and all that?
Lois Gaydos: That was hard. You’re, you’re right. Exactly. So, in nursing school, we had a lot of classes with, they were all our psychology class that we had, and we had a whole year of psychiatric nursing down at Cook County Hospital. We were taught to have empathy, not sympathy for our patients. So, it is quite a bit of difference to have empathy. Is you come alongside someone you understand, and you let them know that you are listening to them and you care for them, but you can’t be sympathetic to what they’re going through. You have empathy instead of sympathy. Hmm. So to separate those two things is very important. Anybody actually, it would work for any person in a career where you’re helping people. Yeah, you can burn out very fast if you’re too sympathetic. You’ve got to be empathetic instead of sympathetic. Yeah. And they taught us how, how to, the steps to go through for that.
Well, so, okay. So, I was just finished my graduate studies at Moody after becoming a nurse, and working that that year in Chicago, we got married and then we returned to Greenville, South Carolina, cuz he still had three years left at Bob Jones University.
Meg Glesener: Oh, right.
Lois Gaydos: So, he was, had been a student there. So, we returned as a married couple back to where he was going to college. So, he was majoring in communication broadcast, radio and television, broadcast journalism communications. So, we lived there, and I worked as the nurse manager supervisor at the Shriner’s Hospital for crippled children, in Greenville.
Meg Glesener: Oh, that’s neat.
Lois Gaydos: And a year of that, I also worked at the Big Greenville General Hospital, downtown Greenville. And this is 1963, ’64, before, the year before the Civil Rights Act was passed. Which was quite interesting for me, coming from the north, going to the south.
Meg Glesener: What hit you? What struck you about that?
Lois Gaydos: What struck me about that was I think the segregation of classes of people. Yeah. I had not seen that in the north and I had not been used to that, or been part of anything like that, but I, I had to commit every day to the Lord going to work.
Meg Glesener: Were people treated…
Lois Gaydos: it was a different floor for the African Americans, and they put me in charge of that floor. It was really a privilege. Yeah. Yeah. So, from, so we lived in Greenville for four years, and then my husband got hired at Biola for the radio station and we moved to California, Southern California. It was during that time that he witnessed a lot of, he would be sent out on different calls, like, I don’t know; a death or an accident or things that were happening around Southern California. And it was during that time that he was covering the press coverage of Bobby Kennedy. Hmm. When Mr. Kennedy was nominated and accepted the nomination for the presidential campaign. And my husband happened to be standing at the podium right next to him. After his speech, Mr. Kennedy turned and walked through that kitchen in the Ambassador Hotel and my husband needed some scratch paper to write notes on to call the radio station to report on what he had just said and picked up a piece of paper and it happened to be the notes that Bobby Kennedy was reading off of.
But anyway, so he was part of that whole scene, aftermath of the shooting. We had people from Los Angeles Times coming out to our house to interview my husband. It was on television and still the clips that you see of Bobby Kennedy, his, that speech, you’ll see my husband standing right next to him. They play that every year, you know, on the anniversary of his death.
Meg Glesener: How did, how did Ken feel? Did he feel humbled to be part of that? And I’m sure super sad, huh?
Lois Gaydos: Yeah, it was. And I think the Lord was planting seeds in him to help, and minister to the families of victims. Of tragedy. Anyway, and I worked full time down there and at the Whittier hospital, the, the years that we lived there. And we had, our oldest daughter was actually born in Greenville, South Carolina when we lived there. And we had a daughter that was still born when we lived in California. She, she died while I was in labor, so she was stillborn.
Meg Glesener: Oh wow.
Lois Gaydos: I had been a month overdue with her. I was 10 months; I carried her 10 months. She weighed almost nine pounds. We named her Karen, and we had a little graveside ceremony for her. And she’s buried in Forest Lawn and Glendale, California. So, and then I had our son, Mark, our oldest son, Mark was born in California, and I kept working, I was working all this during this time.
Meg Glesener: And then I think your next stop is Seattle.
Lois Gaydos: It was.
Meg Glesener: How did you get up here?
Lois Gaydos: Well, the radio station at King’s Garden was called King’s Garden, which is now, CRISTA, needed a manager for their news department and they called, and they hired him over the phone. Yeah, we had didn’t even come up to Seattle. We didn’t. I’m going, I had to get a map out to Where is Seattle? Is that up by Alaska? . . We had never been here. He got hired over the phone. We moved to Seattle in 1969.
Meg Glesener: So, what was it like being in the Pacific Northwest? As a, as a young mom, you have all these kids. Ken’s working at the radio station. You probably had a new church.
Lois Gaydos: Actually, when we moved here, we were looking for a place to live. We had sold our little rambler down in California and we were looking for a place. And actually, we couldn’t find anything up here right away. So, we ended up renting the parsonage at the Alderwood Manor Community Church. And so, we lived there next door to the church for two little over two years and, That’s how we started going to Alderwood. The chairman of the elder board had heard that I had played the organ. I, I was involved in music from the time I was 10. Played at my dad’s church, piano. Every church that we were at, I ended up playing the organ. I didn’t play in Greenville cuz it, it didn’t work out. But the church in California, I played Oregon and piano. So, I ended up playing the Oregon at Alderwood. I accepted that responsibility. It was wonderful.
Meg Glesener: And you know what I heard? There was this band called Joyful Sound, an Alderwood band.
Lois Gaydos: It was a singing group. There were six of us. We started in about 1971. We were, we sang, we were called the Joyful Sounds. And one night we had been asked to go down to Seattle to sing at the Bread of Life Mission, and one of the gals in the group said she’d come pick me up. So, we were gonna carpool. And anyway, we ended up in a horrific accident on the intersection of 196 and 99 in Lynnwood. And I ended up, I was in the passenger seat. In those days, there were no seat belts in the car, and so I ended up, they thought I’d broken my neck. I was taken by ambulance to Steven’s Hospital in Edmonds. I was there for three weeks and neck traction. I ended up getting paralyzed on the left side of my body for probably 10 hours or so, and then finally the movement came back. The movement came back, but I ended up being in the hospital almost three weeks with neck traction. They went, I had sandbags on either side of my head. I couldn’t move my head. They were afraid my spinal cord would be affected.
Meg Glesener: Wow. That’s so, so serious and so intense. How are you feeling at that moment?
Lois Gaydos: Well, it was, if it hadn’t been for my friends at the church, they came and help babysit my children and took care of my kids. Brought meals over. Our pastor at the time was Lowell Went and he had just finished a series on the 23rd Psalm. The week of the accident, he had preached on, Yea though I walked through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil for thou art with me. And that verse was what kept going through my mind. When I, I was knocked unconscious for a while, but when I came to that is the first thing that went through my mind, were those verses in Psalm 23, and I knew the Lord was with me. I could feel his presence in the hospital laying there wondering about my kids. What were they doing? And they were like, Yeah, they were little. Yeah. So, I think memorization of scripture when you’re young, growing up, and you’re not able to access a Bible or for some reason, those scripture verses that you’ve memorized come back in a, in an instant. So, it was such a comfort to me. Right. To know those.
Meg Glesener: Well, and then you, you healed. So, at one point they thought maybe you’d be paralyzed. Right. But then you ended up, did you ended up fully recovering or Mostly?
Lois Gaydos: I did. I came home with a really heavy neck brace. I wasn’t allowed to drive my car. I, there were certain restrictions the doctor didn’t want me doing, like vacuuming or ironing or lifting up my children. So, this was 1973. Denise was three, Just barely three. Cuz she was, Yeah, she was three years old. Her brother was four and a half. And our oldest daughter was probably, Seven. Yeah. So, to take care of those three little kids, it, just, looking back, my friends came and helped a lot from the church. My, my girlfriends were quite a blessing. It was a wonderful, Yeah.
Meg Glesener: Lois, one thing I remember from all the years of being with you in Bible studies that you have always valued prayer.
Lois Gaydos: Definitely. I have seen so many answers to prayer in my life starting when I was 16 in high school. So, our son, Mark, was in sixth grade at the elementary school down in Edmonds, and he would be coming home and saying he wanted to go to King’s junior high in seventh grade.
Meg Glesener: Which is a Christian, a really great Christian school in the area. Yeah, yeah. In Seattle area. Yeah.
Lois Gaydos: And it’s still called Kings. Yep. Schools. And he wanted to go there. His sister Kristen, our oldest, had just finished her, she was her freshman year at Kings. And my husband was working at the radio station at Kings Garden, which is now CRISTA, and we just couldn’t afford two children going there to the private school there, the Christian school. So, I kind of discouraged him, but he would keep coming home from school and begging to go there for seventh grade. And so, I said, Well, I think we need to pray about this, right? We need to pray about it. So, we did. He did. I did. We did as a family. And I can remember, almost to this day, the stoplights on 196 or 99 where I would be sitting at a red light praying. So, it’s like I prayed probably every day; about three months. And three months later, my husband called me, and he said, Have you been praying again? And I said, Why? He said, A lady called the radio station and said, Do you have a son named Mark? And he said, Yes. And she said, Would he like to go to Kings next year for school? And he said, yes. How did,
Meg Glesener: Was this on air and on-air call?
Lois Gaydos: No, it was not on air. No, but she had called the radio station and talked to the receptionist and was put through to Ken. No, it was not, it wasn’t on the air. But my husband said, Well, how did you know? She said, Well, every night, most nights for the last three months, Holy Spirit prompted me that you had a son named Mark and wanted to go to school next year at King School. And she had listened to my husband on the radio, cuz he did the news, and he had a two-hour radio show every day from 4:30 – 6:30 on, on air called News Magazine of the Air. And she, you know, had listened on and off, so she knew my husband’s name, but he, he never, he never talked about his children on air, you know, anything personal. But so, she said the Holy Spirit had prompted her and woke her up and she said, I need my sleep because I’m elderly, so, I have to call you to find out. So, yes. So, when Mark got home from school that day, Ken said, Why don’t you bring him over to the radio station and we’ll go over to where this lady lives. Wow. And she can tell him herself. So, that I think drove a stake in his life, and the lives of our children, to know that God is a miracle working God.
Meg Glesener: Amen.
Lois Gaydos: It was such an answer to prayer. So, he went seventh grade all the way through high school at Kings, and she was able to pay for that. She paid for that.
Meg Glesener: What a blessing.
Lois Gaydos: It was such a blessing.
Meg Glesener: Did your other kids end up going there?
Lois Gaydos: They did. So, Kristen finished her high school. Denise was able to go to high school there as well. And then our youngest son, Tim, went through seventh and eighth grade there, and then he went to Edmonds Woodway his freshman year. It was such a blessing and such an answer to prayer and a big event in our children’s lives.
Meg Glesener: Absolutely. And one thing I love about it too, Lois, is sometimes, you know, we think of our prayer life it has to be this really big fancy thing where we set aside five hours, you know, like on a hard floor on our knees. But praying in the car with your kid. It’s not perfect, but hearing, you know, while you’re running and they’re trying to throw their shoes on, right? Right.
Lois Gaydos: Yeah. Just, you know, bullet kind of prayers, you know? Like praying for a parking place or praying for protection in the cars you’re driving. Just praying those prayers. Of course, and then praying in your devotional time is important too, but when there’s a need that arises at the moment, you can pray wherever you are. That’s what’s so wonderful about prayer. God is always there. He always hears us. We can pray anywhere.
Meg Glesener: I love that the Lord is the friend that sticks closer than our brother and it’s.
Lois Gaydos: I was not working for 10 years. After we moved here from California, I did not go back to work as a nurse for 10 years. I went back to work when our youngest son, Tim, was in first grade. When he started first grade, I got hired at the CRISTA Senior Nursing Facility. So, my time as working as an RN at the Christus Skilled Nursing Facility was really wonderful. It, it was ministering to the employees, the other nurses, the nursing assistants, the residents, the families, the doctors. So many times, the Holy Spirit would prompt me. I’d be walking down the hall. I, I started out part-time and then I ended up being the clinical and nursing supervisor. So, I would make rounds many times during the day, but as I would be making rounds, the Holy Spirit would prompt me; go in that room and witness to that person or this person. And I would so many times praying to myself for the Holy Spirit to lead me, to give me the right words to say. And there were several that accepted Jesus, hours before they died.
Meg Glesener: Can you share any story in particularly that really resonated with you?
Lois Gaydos: So, this one, one person, he was not that old actually in his sixties. He had a terminal diagnosis, although he was still very cognitively alert. I mean, he, he was not imminently dying, but he did have a terminal diagnosis. So, I had gone home from work that evening, it was kind of late and I got home, and I felt the Holy Spirit prompting me to go back, go back and check on different people. So, I went back to the nursing center. It was about nine o’clock at night and I walked through the back door. One of the nurses on duty saw me coming in and she paged me over the, over the intercom to come to where she was working on that unit. And I went, and I went into the room of this man, and I could see, just visually see that he was not doing well. We did his vital signs and I had to start oxygen. He was having a hard time breathing and I could tell he was struggling to breathe and struggling to live. So, I went into his room and prayed, and this is one thing that I found, when you’re getting ready to witness to somebody, always have the Holy Spirit convict that person. Do the work of conviction before you start witnessing to them because it is only with the power of the Holy Spirit that the work of convicting, that they will repent and ask forgiveness. I learned that one time the hard way. But so, I was praying as I went in the room and I just said to him, You’re, you’re not doing very well and you know you’re not doing well. And I said, Do you do you believe there’s a God? And he tried to tell me that he had been, lived a good moral life and was, gave a lot of money to charity and that he was, you know, a pretty upstanding citizen. Actually, he was a very well-known businessman in Seattle. I said, Do you believe that there’s a God? He said, Well, I, I think, yes, I believe there’s a higher power. And I said, Well, the God of the universe created heaven and earth, and he is, you know, created us in His image. And then he said, Yes, I believe there’s a God. And I said, Oh, good. I said, Because you know what? God loved you so much that he sent his only son to die for your sins. And I quoted John 3:16 to him. He had never heard that verse before. Hmm. And he said, Well, he didn’t know if he was a sinner. I said, Have you ever told a lie, a white lie or done anything that your conscience would have told you was wrong. And he, yes. He agreed that he probably had, So therefore he was a sinner. And you were born in sin, right? He, he said, Can you tell me how to get to heaven? Cause at the end of John 3:16 will not perish but have everlasting life. And I said, If you accept Jesus as your savior and ask forgiveness, you will have everlasting life with him in heaven. And he actually begged me, tell me, tell me, how I can get to heaven.
So, I explained and said, I’m gonna pray this prayer and you pray after me. And he did. And I had had the nurse call his family. And his doctor to get the order to call 911 to get him transported to the hospital cuz he was not doing well. So, the nurse came in and she said, Oh, the medics are here to take him to the hospital. And so, he finished praying his prayer. We got him loaded onto the stretcher and as the nurse was wheeling him down the hallway, several of the nursing staff were gathered there and he waved at us all and he said, I am so happy. I will see you all in heaven. So, he got to the hospital, it was Northwest Hospital to the emergency room, and I stayed Now by this time it’s like 10:30 at night and I stayed around. We got a phone call from his son saying, My brother and I were here when our dad came to the ER, and we were able to talk to him. He was still talking, he was still alert, still talking, and he told us that he had accepted Jesus and was going to heaven. And then he died. He died in the emergency room right after he saw the sons.
So, that impacted our whole staff. So, that was on a Friday, Monday morning, I was able to share that, and we always had about a 15-minute prayer time and devotion I had with the staff at six o’clock in the morning before we started our shift. So, I related that story and I said, you know, we are all ministers of the gospel. We don’t need to wait for a chaplain, or a minister to come and pray or read scripture or even quote a scripture verse. If, if you have a patient that asks you questions, we are all ministers of the gospel. So, come to find out, he had been asking the nurse when she would come into his room to give him his medications, he would say, I think I need to talk to a chaplain, cuz we had a chaplain full-time on staff and I need to talk to the chaplain. And so, she would go and call the chaplain’s office and leave a message. What nobody knew was that the chaplain was on vacation that week. So, the chaplain came back on Monday morning and had all these phone messages saying, Come to room such and such to talk to this man. Wants to talk to you. So, see, the Holy Spirit was already prompting him to talk. We don’t know what he wanted to talk about, but he had questions. And so, I said, Don’t ever pass on, like that. Always check out what would you like to talk to the chaplain? Can I help you? Because you are a minister of the gospel. If you’re a child of God, you are a minister of the gospel. So,
Meg Glesener: and I bet that was so encouraging for your children as well, cuz you know, you bring those stories home and just influence their faith. Just hearing right. Or coming with you. I’m sure some of ’em came with you to go to the old people.
Lois Gaydos: Yeah, they would come they would have to wait after school so I could bring ’em home. You know, they would go up and down the halls talking to people and Yeah. Yeah. It was great. They, it was, yeah, they, they will tell you that they remember certain people that they used to go talk to. So, that story of salvation. So, what happened was at his funeral, a week later down in Seattle, I, I don’t remember where it was, I, I couldn’t go. But the president of CRISTA went, And some of the other administrators, went to the funeral, came back and called me into the office there at CRISTA and said that at the funeral, the two sons got up and relayed the whole story of how their dad had talked to a nurse, and they even read John 3:16 at the funeral service, these two sons who were not believers. So, everybody at the service got to hear John 3:16 because of their father telling the two sons right before he died, that some nurse had quoted John 3:16 to him, , . And so, the gospel was spread that way just by a simple prompting of the Holy Spirit.
Meg Glesener: It’s amazing. Those small things and the small promptings the Lord puts on our heart can make such a difference. That’s incredible. Well, I know you had so many, so many great stories there, Lois, and for people listening now, you can’t see what I see, but can I share your age or is that okay?
Lois Gaydos: Sure.
Meg Glesener: Are you 80? I am. Yeah. You can’t see the beautiful Lois in front of me now, who is 80 and energetic in spry and beautiful. And I wanna be like her when I grow up. But Lois, I know your health has been touched. In the year…
Lois Gaydos: 2000, 2001. We’d had a…
Meg Glesener: while you were working at CRISTA?
Lois Gaydos: While I was working full time, yeah. I was working many hours a day, five days a week. I, we’d had a flu epidemic go through the nursing center, which you know, is very common. All they all need have their flu shots every year, but it’s invariable that, you know, people do come down with the flu. And so, you know, some of the residents that got it, some of the staff got it, took time off to get better and I had the flu, which I thought I was gonna recover from, but I did not really recover from. I kept almost like every day thinking, When is this gonna go away? I kept working. I wasn’t running a temperature or anything. I didn’t feel that sick, but I just didn’t feel right. This went on for about a year, and finally I thought, I think I better go to the doctor. So, my doctor asked me some questions and did a very extensive blood test. Sent it off to the Mayo Clinic in Minneapolis, and it was about a week later, she called me at work and my secretary had gone for lunch, and so I picked up the phone call and she said, Well, I have good news and bad news. She said, The good news is, is that we know what’s wrong with you. The bad news is I’m gonna send you home from work now right now. Oh, . And I said, Oh, I can’t leave. I’m in charge. I’m in charge of the whole place. And the state surveyors just walked in at eight o’clock this morning. She said, Well, if you want me to be your doctor, you’ll do what I say. And so, what it was that I had an acute, contagious episode of Epstein Bar Virus. I had been tested negative for, It’s the virus that causes infectious mononucleosis. And I had been tested a couple of times for that previously, and it was always negative, but the virus itself can stay in your bloodstream and make you really, really sick. So, she said, I’m gonna send you home immediately. And I said, Well, I can’t leave right away because I’m in charge. And the state surveyors are here. I asked her to fax over the lab report and a letter, you know, stating why she was gonna send me home. And fax over the lab report. And I called a meeting in my office and explained that I was gonna have to leave at the end of that day.
And so, I went home and was in bed on and off for five years to try to recuperate from that. So, that was probably a low point too. But there again, scripture and prayer were so, God’s presence just becomes so real when you’re going through a time of, you know, suffering and testing and trials like that. God’s presence. I, I don’t, there’s, there isn’t any other way, I don’t think that you can experience God’s comfort and peace unless you go through a time of suffering. So, this virus causes extreme it’s not tiredness. It’s not exhaustion. The only way I can explain it is that the virus attacks your muscles. It’s the virus that causes Guillain-Barre. And if you have that, you tax the muscles in your respiratory system and you can’t breathe. So, I had a friend who was on a ventilator for several months with Guillain-Barre because of this virus. I was so weak that, yeah, I couldn’t lift my arm to comb my hair, barely get out of bed. I had to be assisted to get out of bed. It was debilitating. It’s debilitating virus.
Meg Glesener: Wow. And just, just hearing you say how much the, you drew near to the Lord then, and how much the word meant to you. And I know Lois, you’ve been through so much in your life too, and your husband passed away like three, three and a half years ago, huh?
Lois Gaydos: Yes. Right. Yeah. So, he, I never really finished the story of my husband. So, after being on the radio at King’s Garden, which then became CRISTA, for a while, he had always desired to help victims, families, the families of victims, going through a tragedy. So in 1981, ’82, he started a nonprofit called International Chaplains Ministry. It started down in Edmonds, but actually it went around the world. And then he also attached to that chaplain’s ministry with Support Seven, which is a mobile van that is driven and maintained by volunteers, but the chaplains that work as chaplains, he recruited and trained, and they’re also volunteers. So, he did that until the day he died. From 1980. It’s about 81, 82 that he… so, he quit his job, his full-time job started this nonprofit. And that’s that time and 81 when I went and got the job at the CRISTA nursing facility to, to work in the nursing facility at CRISTA, to augment our income, because now we were missionaries. We were considered missionaries. So, and we still, you know, had four children.
Meg Glesener: If you could sum up what Support seven does as a ministry.
Lois Gaydos: So, the chaplains carry beepers, and they rotate their schedules and they’re always, someone is always on call 24 7. And so, when somebody calls 9 1 1, the SnoCom dispatcher then will automatically page the chaplain on duty at that time. So, the chaplains would be going to these 9 1 1 calls, and with my husband, he was always doing that as well. There was a scuba diver down in Edmonds one year that had not resurfaced, and they were down there. The family was down there, and it was raining. I think it was probably June, a rainy month of June. And there was no place for the family to sit and it was raining, and the police were interviewing them and talking to them, and the fire was down there in the Coast Guard and all these people, and they were trying to sit in the back seat of a police car to be talking to different people. There’s no place to come in out of the weather to sit. So, my husband desired to get a van, a mobile van, where families, police, and all these officers could come in, sit down, get away from the weather, and sit down in private and have, be interviewed and, and talk and go over all that. And so, yeah, they provide. So, that’s how that started, support seven.
And that ministry’s still going strong today.
Meg Glesener: And I’ll put a link to that. Mission is, but you could also Google support seven and find out about this beautiful ministry or how you can participate, and get involved, so,
Lois Gaydos: So yeah, that’s still going. Yeah. Yeah. That’s still going on very well. New chaplains are being trained and certified. It’s still meeting a need in Snohomish County. Actually, my husband was privileged to start chapters in many other places in the world with.
Meg Glesener: Praise Lord. That’s so encouraging. So, Lois, since Ken’s been gone, what’s been the biggest change for you in this chapter of your life?
Lois Gaydos: So, he had asked me, going back a question about, he was diagnosed with esophageal cancer in November of 2017 and started chemo, and did pretty well for not quite a year, about nine months, and then started going downhill. We were down in southern California for our granddaughter’s wedding, and we were both down there and he suffered a seizure, and we were down there for 10 days in southern California at a hospital. Came home and he never really left the house again after we got home in June, June of 2018. So, I was his caregiver at home there as he was declining in his health. So, he was taken to Swedish Edmonds, August the 24th, 2018, and passed away on September 3, 2018, which was hard, but. Oh, there again, scripture and prayer. Really not to say it was easy. It was very hard to go through this. And anybody who’s a caregiver for family members, it’s, it’s hard. It’s very hard. But God can sustain you and give you strength. I was going through the Book of Job during that time. Did a study with John Piper online. I just happened to type in job, the Book of Job, and it came up john Piper was doing a doing a study on job. So, I listened to his online study of job, which was so helpful. And you know, the last couple chapters, you know, Job says, Ye though he slay me, yet will I trust him. God answers Job. Where were you? It’s like, You know, we question God sometimes, to his plan in our lives. Right? And God came back to Job and says, Where were you when and I laid the foundations of the earth. Where were you when
I stored up all the snow and the wind in the north and created the earth and heavens and where were you, oh man? And Job came back and said, I know that my redeemer liveth. Those verses and the end of job, I know that my… Can I read that? Yeah, please. I gotta read that. So, Job 19:25. Job says, Oh, that my words were recorded and that they were written in a scroll or engraved on a rock forever. I know that my redeemer lives and that in the end he will stand upon the earth. And after my skin has been destroyed, yet in my flesh, I will see God. I myself will see him. And then going along with that verse, Job 42. Then Joe replied to the Lord, I know that you can do all things. My plan of years can be thwarted. My ears jumping down to verse five, my ears had heard of you, but now my eyes have seen you. Therefore, I despise myself and repent and dust and ashes. Mm. So, Job had heard of what God had done, cuz God had said, Where were you oh man when I laid the foundations, my ears have heard of you. But after he went through his suffering, now my eyes have seen you. He knew personally going through his suffering. He knows personally that God is sovereign. And that, that really impacted me, my thinking on how the, So, I mean, I, I know God is sovereign and I always have trusted in that, but who are we as mortal human beings to question God’s plans? Yeah. In our life, right? Our ears. I had grown up, you know, hearing all my life, you know, reading scripture, praying and seeing answers to prayer too. But I think this experience with my husband’s death really impacted me significantly. My ears have heard, but now my eyes have seen that you are sovereign God.
Meg Glesener: Amen. You know, as you’re going through this but I know you’re still ministering in service, in serving. Can you bring us into where you’re at today?
Lois Gaydos: I have always felt and desired to someday be a Stevens minister. I had heard of it cuz in a lot of my girlfriends in nursing school had done some of that ministry in, you know, in their, in their lives.
Meg Glesener: What’s a Stevens Ministry?
Lois Gaydos: It’s an organization that churches subscribe to. The church has to join this organization. It’s a Christian organization, it’s a nonprofit and it’s a national. It’s about 70 years old. It’s an older organization and it is biblically based. And I had heard that Alderwood was thinking of starting a Stevens ministry. So, I called and asked some questions and here again the Holy Spirit prompted me to fill out an application and see if they would accept me as a Stevens minister. So, I just finished. There were 10 of us in the class. We just finished a month ago, Intensive training for three hours every week, five months. Wow. And a month ago I got my certification as a Stevens minister.
Meg Glesener: That’s wonderful. Is it like a mentorship program?
Lois Gaydos: It is a lay pastoral ministry.
Meg Glesener: I see.
Lois Gaydos: So, somebody from the church or community are going through a grief or a loss in their life, would call the church office, or even a friend can say, Oh, you might benefit from a Stevens minister. It’s taken from Steven the martyr in the book of Acts, how he ministered even as he was going through his own time of martyr ship. I mean, he was stoned to death, right? So, somebody will ask or require, you know, they’re going through, say, a death in their family or a d a health diagnosis, or maybe a divorce or a death or loss of a job. So, it’s people going through a grief or a loss, any loss. And if they require or want, ask a Stevens minister. So, we come alongside the pastors, and they would send us in their place to help these people.
Meg Glesener: Amen. What a beautiful ministry.
Lois Gaydos: I think for me, the loneliness of being a widow at times can be overwhelming. But in Psalm 139, these verses have been my mainstay, oh Lord, you have searched me and know me. You know when I sit and when I rise. You perceive my thoughts from afar. You discern my going out and my lying down. You are familiar with all my ways. Before a word is on my tongue, you know it completely, Oh Lord. You hem me in behind and before. You have laid your hand upon me. Such knowledge is too wonderful for me. So, when I go out of my house, I, Lord, I know you’re with me. You’re with me on my going out and my coming in and my sitting down and my rising. My laying down in bed at night, my rising up in the morning. He’s with me. So, those verses help with the loneliness. Not that it’s easy, but it’s scripture. There again, scripture and prayer have to be your mainstay.
Meg Glesener: Before we seal up the envelope on this letter of encouragement, we have prepared little treat for you that we like to call the PS. So, you can see more of the heart and personality of our guest.
Narrator: Here is your PS.
Meg Glesener: Are you ready for some bonus questions?
Lois Gaydos: Mm-hmm.
Meg Glesener: All right. Before you met Ken face to face, right, What did you wanna share?
Lois Gaydos: So, I would want to share when I was growing up in Chicago, there just a block away from Moody Bible Institute where my dad was a student. My mother on Sunday afternoon would take my sister and I to the radio station. We could sit in the, they called it the peanut gallery. Oh yes. Up on the fourth floor in Crow Hall. And in those days radio was live. They didn’t pre-record anything. It was live radio and there was a children’s program called the KYB Club. Know Your Bible, KYB Club. And aunt Theresa was the head of it and she was a wonderful Christian lady. And so, she had these child actors and actresses. They would come and read and do their parts. There was Billy Bengals, Patty Bengals. They would go up the hill to visit the bookstore lady and, Aunt Theresa was a bookstore lady. And then she would give a Bible lesson and the kids would sing. They would sing and play their trumpets and their marimbas. They were like 8, 9, 10 years old. It was a wonderful children’s program. So, My mother would take my sister and I up there to watch this live performance. Well, unbeknownst to me, my husband was Billy Bengals on that Children’s program on the KYB club.
So, I was five, he’s three years older than I am. I was five. Ken Gaydos, it was his name, and he was eight and he was Billy Bengals. I remember watching Billy and Patty Bengals go up the hill to visit the bookstore lady. And they still to this day have podcasts on the Moody Station, you can listen to this from those years. He would sing one actually at his funeral service, they played the recording of him singing in a song of the month; Save You Like a Shepherd, Lead Us. And it was recorded, obviously on WNBI, and my son found a cassette recording in our house somewhere of him singing and they played that at his funeral Wow. Of him sing. He was eight years old. So, when watching him and then of course we moved back to Wisconsin. So, it was about a year that I watched him play this part almost every Sunday afternoon. So, fast forward when I was 17 and met him there in Chicago at the Edgewater Baptist Church, he said, So, is this your first time in Chicago? I said, No, actually I kind of was here until I was five and a half. He said he had been born and grew up there in Chicago, and I don’t know how it got, we got talking about Moody and then he said that he had been on the radio station from the time he was eight years old on as Billy Bengals with the KYB club. And I’m going, Oh my goodness. When we got our dates situated, I realized I had, He was the Billy Bangals I was watching. So, yeah, that was, that was so… so God directs your steps even as children. You know, into the families you’re born into, people you meet, things you know.
Meg Glesener: Is there anything you miss about the culture of your childhood that just isn’t part of children’s experience today?
Lois Gaydos: Oh my goodness. The culture I grew up in, in the, Say I was born in 1942, living in Chicago, those first five and a half years, and then moving back to Wisconsin to where my parents were from… growing up in a small town, we could ride our bikes, and our next-door neighbors had horses. We would ride horses, bikes, like especially in the summertime all day, you know, no cell phones. In fact, we didn’t even have a television until I was outta high school. My parents never had a, In fact, there were no TVs. You just, you worked hard. I mean we worked on my aunt and uncle’s farm like I said, every summer milking cows. We went swimming a lot. We had picnics, and just really kind of a simple, simple life that’s missing today, I think. With all the technology and things available for children to do.
Meg Glesener: Yes. And also, that fear of not being safe, direct so much of parenting. There’s some, whereas carefree, carefree biking in the neighborhood, you could go in the neighbor’s house. All those kinds of things.
Lois Gaydos: Exactly. We would go way out of town onto country farm roads and ride horses, and Oh my goodness. Yes. It was amazing.
Meg Glesener: Lois, in all that you’ve seen, you and Ken in your your lives, what would you say is the greatest need in the church today?
Lois Gaydos: Probably just basic, getting back to basics. Hmm. Basic gospel, basic doctrine, Scripture, memorization. That’s why AWANA is so needed. Scripture, memorization people, families to have devotional times with their children. I think to be encouraged to spend time as a family together. You know, it doesn’t have to be a huge Bible study, but just reading one, even just one person praying together as a family. I think it seems like it’s missing cuz children are so over programmed, and so busy with sports and things today that… we were busy, and we were very active in high school too, but our parents always made sure that we came together as a family. Yeah. So, I think the church really… probably to encourage families to, to get back to basics.
Meg Glesener: Absolutely. That’s really great answer Lois. So, I know you helped a lot with mentor moms and mops and all those kinds of things. For all of our, our young moms that are all of our listeners that are young moms, what is some advice you could give them?
Lois Gaydos: Choose your battles. Don’t worry over the small things, although small things can become big things, if you don’t take care of it. Yeah, Choose your battles. Like, I don’t care how you wear your hair. Or stay on top of your children’s friends. Know who their friends are, because as they become 12, and I’ve even seen this in my own grandchildren. I have 17 grandchildren and one great granddaughter now, so, that’s 18. And I’ve seen with my grandchildren growing up, and it reminded me; when they turn 11 and 12, their friends have such a pull and an influence on them. More so I think than the family sometimes. And as they enter those teenage years, the early years, if so, stay on top of who their friends are. Encourage them in small things, you know. Having chores around the house is a good thing to get them to have. Set a pattern for their, you know, get out, make your bed, for instance.
Meg Glesener: Having a routine.
Lois Gaydos: Having a routine. Encourage them. Encourage them to pray. Memorize scripture but choose your battles.
Meg Glesener: Absolutely. And I, I know you do something really cool with your grandkids. You have a thing with prayer requests.
Lois Gaydos: So, my youngest grandchildren are my son, Tim’s girls. He has four girls. There’s six, eight, just turned 11 and almost 13. So, I’ve been there probably number one nanny since they were born. So, when I with them in the evening and putting them to bed, I will ask them for what prayer requests they have, and we pray. And just recently, my 11-year-old, the 11-year-old granddaughter, Grandma come into my room, You forgot to pray with me. They will ask, Please pray with me before I go to sleep.
Meg Glesener: Aw. And you said they send you request too, right? You’ve got a lot of wonderful kid, kids and grandkids and you have like a connection with them where they send you their prayer requests?
Lois Gaydos: Yes, I do. Yeah. My older grandkids there are three that are now married. My three older ones, and I have some that are in, you know, university studying to be a doctor. One’s studying to be a nurse. I will text them and say, What do you have what for a request? I’m praying for you. And they’ll text me back, and cuz they don’t live around here. Yeah. So, yeah, they’ll text me.
Meg Glesener: That’s great. I love that. Is there any name that’s special to you?
Lois Gaydos: Let’s see. I never really liked my name of Lois, but my mother always encouraged me. Well, she was Timothy’s grandmother in the New Testament, you know. And so, she always encouraged me to think of that Bible name of Lois, you know, as Timothy’s grandmother. So, when I was expecting our fifth child, I just knew it was gonna be a boy. I mean, and this is in the days of no ultrasounds. Nothing. You didn’t know what you were going to have. And my mother was such a godly woman. They were still living in Wisconsin. And my dad was still pastoring churches, and she said, I think you’re gonna have a boy too. She said, Why don’t you name him Timothy? Because Lois was his grandmother, but you would be his mother. But that didn’t make any difference. So, sure enough, we had a boy and we named him Timothy. So, that name of Timothy has always been special to me. And so, our son Tim, was named after my mother’s kind of suggestion, right? And then our older son, Mark, we named him after Mark, also from the Bible, from the New Testament. And Mark was an encourager. And he is. He has actually, he’s a wonderful Christian man. So, both of our sons are, their names are very special to me.
Meg Glesener: Do you, do you have any traditions that you did with your kids? Growing up when they were growing up?
Lois Gaydos: Yeah. Yeah. Christmas is always special to me. My parents, of course, being in the ministry, you know, was always Christmas Eve service at church and that type of thing. We didn’t have a lot of money. I mean, we, my dad had small country churches, but they always made it special. So, when we moved here to Seattle, and the kids were growing up, we always would go downtown Seattle to Fredrich & Nelson and have their pictures taken. Go to the gingerbread house and make a really nice, you know, evening out of it. So, I’ve got all these Santa a pictures with the kids when they were little growing up. That was fun. They still talk about that. Yeah.
Meg Glesener: I, I know I heard this phrase when, and I, and I think of this phrase, when I think of this phrase, I think of you Lois, but I remember hearing this in ministry when I was younger, that somebody said I’d rather burn out than rust out. You know, just like to, to kind of quit everything and just, just become so ingrown or just worried about me. How have you kept your heart envision broader than just you and your little two by four?
Lois Gaydos: Well, I, yeah, your family. It’s easy as you get older cuz you’ve got aches and pains and you know, health things that come up. But if you look inward, you can get depressed. If you look within yourself. I think when you look outward, To see what God still has for you, is when you’re, you know, to, to be serving other people, I think is the greatest joy. And my husband, his motto was to finish well. He always said that I want to finish well. So, that’s sort of become my motto too.
Meg Glesener: I trust you are inspired by Lois’s faith as much as I am. She clearly heard God’s call as a little girl and was a nurse all of those years. How the Lord led her through many health issues and raising young children in so many trials, and how now in the twilight of her life in faith as a widow, is still ministering to those that are going through loss. I really will just repeat like what her husband, Ken said that finishing well and finishing strong. It’s what Paul says in the scriptures and we wanna run the race to the finish line. And I’m praying for all of us today that we have that stamina to trust God. To stay put through all of the highs and the lows, that our faith would be unwavering.
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Lois Gaydos: Links from our guests will be in the show notes. For more everyday extraordinary faith stories, go to our website, lettersfromhomepodcast.com, and click subscriber Follow in whatever platform you’re listening to.
Second Corinthians 3:3, and you show that you are a letter from Christ delivered by us. Written not with ink, but with the spirit of the living God, not on tablets of stone, but on tablets of human hearts. Until next time, go in peace.