by Jefferson David Tant
“Go ye therefore, and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them into the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit” (Matthew 28:19) Nancy Harber was only 14 (well, almost 15), and at this young age had already experienced one of the greatest joys of life — something that many members of the church will not experience in a lifetime. Let me tell you about it.
Many years ago I was with the Hazelwood church in St. Louis holding a gospel meeting. On Monday evening Nancy Harber invited one of her school friends over to have dinner and attend services with us. Candy had never attended services before, but she knew something about the church because Nancy had been talking to her at school.
We had a pleasant visit at dinner (Bob and Brooksie Harber were my hosts for the week). After church Candy expressed an interest in returning the next evening. Also at the service, Monday night was Robyn, another school friend of Nancy’s. Robyn had been attending services for the past few months—also at Nancy’s invitation. After services Tuesday night, Candy had some questions for me concerning differences between the Lord’s church and the denomination of which she was a member. We talked for a good while. In the meantime, I was also becoming acquainted with Robyn, as we provided transportation for her almost every night.
Candy could not return until Friday night, but Robyn came each night. After giving careful thought to the lesson Friday night, Candy told Nancy during the invitation song that she wanted to be baptized but wanted to wait until next week. Nancy replied, “There may not be a next week.” She then turned to the song, “Why Not Tonight,” and asked Candy to read the words. Candy then came forward to request baptism. There was much rejoicing, both on Candy’s part and on the part of the disciples there. Many tears of joy were evident.
Then we returned to the home of the Harbers to engage in a late-evening Bible study with Candy and Robyn. We had barely gotten started when Robyn expressed her desire to be baptized also. We went back to the church building to assist her in her obedience to the gospel of Christ. More rejoicing. Then back to the house for more Bible study.
You know what Nancy’s great joy was, don’t you? If you have never won a soul to Christ, let me tell you that it is truly one of the greatest joys you can possibly experience. There is no way to describe it adequately.
Nancy Harber was a lovely girl. Not just because she had lovely red hair and a radiant smile, but because she was a soul winner for Jesus Christ. She knew what it was to “remember now thy Creator in the days of thy youth” (Ecclesiastes 12:1). She was not ashamed to stand up for Jesus and let others know she was a Christian. She was not afraid to talk to her friends about the Bible. She did not let school activities or social life interfere with seeking first the kingdom of God. Therefore, her example was consistent with her teaching. Thanks to this, two 15-year-old girls were cleansed from their sins by the precious blood of Christ.
Thanks, Nancy, for the encouragement you have given me, and for the example, you set before all who may read this. I hope this publicity will not embarrass you too much. And I am thankful for Nancy’s parents, for the example and training they have given to their children. May their tribe increase. Nancy is now Nancy Picogna, the wife of Greg. They are the faithful parents of four. Bob and Brooksie have gone to their reward, but their legacy is still living.
Young readers, truly “the fields are white unto harvest,” even among your schoolmates. Are you taking advantage of the wonderful opportunity?