Church-Part 4

25 Sep


Judy Wills

We stayed in the church in San Antonio

First Baptist Church San Antonio, TX, Sanctuary – from a post card

until it was time for Fred to be transferred.  He was given orders to go to Tyndall AFB, Florida (in Panama City), and so we moved there.

Photo credit  Credit Google search

We did one stop along the way, to stay and visit with one of my Dad’s brothers, Uncle Ed and his wife, Aunt Joecilla, in Louisiana.  They were special people to us.

Karen was reading quite well by this time, having finished second grade.  Uncle Ed wasn’t in good health then, and one day, when looking for Karen, I found her at Uncle Ed’s side (he was reclining on the couch), sitting on a foot stool, reading to him.  He was enthralled, and she was in her element.  It’s a memory I cherish.

We finally made it to Tyndall AFB, but there was essentially no guest quarters for us to stay in, so we were put up in a motel outside the base.  We were there about two or three weeks, much to our regret.  At night, the roaches came out to play, and we always heard them.  The room had a kitchenette, and we had some paper plates and cups that we heard the roaches frolicking around.  Yuck!!

We started looking for a church home, and there were quite a few Baptist Churches around the area.  There was one church we really liked – Fred and I liked our Sunday School class, the girls both liked their Sunday School class, the preacher was good…but the choir was just about half-a-pitch off in everything they sang.  Talk about fingernails on the blackboard!  Nope nope nope – we couldn’t endure that.

We had decided long before, that we could be happy in whatever size church God placed us.  We had been in large, small, and smaller churches.  We finally visited the First Baptist Church in downtown Panama City.    While FBC Panama City wasn’t as large as FBC San Antonio, it was still one of the largest churches in Panama City.

Credit Google search and FBC Panama City website

Despite not having the same home feeling I’d had with FBC San Antonio, it was still a comfortable feeling.  As with the FBC in San Antonio, we joined and participated in the Sunday School…the choir…and all things that go along with church, including Fred being asked to serve as a Deacon, which he did.  It was a lovely church, and we thoroughly enjoyed our time there.  We were members of that church for the five years we lived at Tyndall AFB.

An interesting side note about Tyndall AFB – Fred’s father, a U.S.A.F. Chaplain, had been stationed at Tyndall back in the 1950’s, and was Base Chaplain.  The small chapel where he preached was still there, but they had built a newer one by the time we were at Tyndall.

One other side note about living in Panama City:  I joined a women’s bowling league, and enjoyed that sport.  One bowling morning, I woke up with a pain in my side/back.  When I threw the first ball, I knew something was wrong, and stopped playing.  I went immediately to the base ER.  After xrays were done, they discovered that I had a hairline fracture of one of my ribs!  How did THAT happen?  No idea.  The following Sunday, at church, I was holding the elevator door open with my body, so our girls could come out and go to their Sunday School class.  The door started to close – on my back! – and that’s when I realized it had done the same thing the previous week!  So THAT’s how that happened!  I jokingly told a Deacon that I was going to sue the church, and he said, “all we can give you is the elevator!”  Fortunately, I didn’t need an elevator.

I had heard talk at the base that the townspeople really liked the Navy people on the West side of town, but the AF people weren’t held in very good graces.  Knowing ourselves, we just turned up our noses at that attitude, and dug in with both feet!  And before we left that base and town and church…they were quite sorry to see us go.  I like to think we changed the attitude of some of those same townspeople with our willingness to be where and what God wanted us to be, while we were in that place.  Of course, that was our attitude with every move we made while Fred was active duty.


~~~~~~~~~~To Be Continued~~~~~~~~~~

Judy is living in Central Florida with her retired U.S. Air Force husband of 50+ years. Born in Dallas, Texas, she grew up in the Southwestern United States.She met her husband at their church, where he was attending the university in her town. After college and seminary, he entered the Air Force, and their adventures began.They lived in eight of our United States, and spent six years in Europe, where their oldest daughter was born. She was a stay-at-home mom for many years .

  Judy has always been involved with music, both playing the piano and singing. Always interested in exercise, she was an aerobic dancing instructor, as well as a piano teacher for many years, and continues to faithfully exercise at home.

After moving to Central Florida, she served as a church secretary for nearly nine years.Her main hobby at this point in time is scanning pictures and 35mm slides into the computer. She also enjoys scrapbooking.She and her husband have two married daughters and four grandchildren, including grandtwins as well as a great-grandson and a great-granddaughter. She and her husband enjoy the Disney parks as often as possible.

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