Monday, February 27, 2017

One of the great influences on my life was Reverend Earl Gibson, my aunt Birdie (Thomason)'s husband. Though he was an uncle, everyone called him "Reverend Gibson" out of respect for his walk with God and powerful impact on the family and community. His ministry was centered around the cotton farming community of Memphis, Texas near the Red River. An Assemblies of God minister, Rev. Gibson pioneered many churches within a day's drive of their Memphis home which he built with his own hands. Whenever the large Thomason family had its get togethers, he was always the one called upon to lead prayer even though there were several preachers in the family. He was getting old already when I became keenly interested in him and losing his eyesight. I enjoyed many conversations with him, always about the Lord. He talked about Jesus like he was describing his best and closest friend and would always burst out in loud, joyful praise. I shall never forget his glowing face and dimpled grin as he encouraged his young nephew preacher boy.  When I pastored a church in Rockwall Texas, I made frequent trips back and forth to Amarillo. Memphis was on the way so I would stop in to cheer up the home bound old preacher. It never failed that I would be the one who got "cheered up"! His faith in God was enormous and his spirit never grew dull as he aged. He was known in the community as one who would pray for the sick with healing results. So, when his failing eyesight prevented him from driving, people would come to his driveway and "honk for prayer". He would make his way to their cars and stick his hand through their window to pray for them. He never quit. What an example to me even after all these years. All I have to remind me of him are these memories, an old bible he wore out, and this picture. I cannot wait to see Reverend Gibson again!

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