When I think about heroes of the faith, the first person that comes to mind isn’t someone like Mother Theresa, Billy Graham, or any other famous Christian, the first person I think of is Miss Olwyn.
Miss Olwyn passed away more than a decade ago, in her nineties. I don’t even have a photo of her. But I can see her in my memory, sitting in the front row of the Church, reading the words of the songs from a printed sheet (with large font) because she couldn’t read the screen.
At one time, where there was inter-generational disagreement about the volume of the music, someone asked Miss Olwyn’s opinion, as the oldest member of the congregation. Her reply: “I’m just concentrating on singing the words.” I learned a lot about worship from her example.
She somehow kept track of everyone’s birthday, even the youth. She would make a point of saying “Happy Birthday”. She always had time for a chat, and it wouldn’t just be about the weather, she was actually interested in what was happening in my life and how my studies were going. I learned a lot about building relationships from her example
Nothing ever phased her. She was centred on God, her faith was solid. Even when her body was frail and weak, nothing would keep her from coming every Sunday, to sit in the same seat. She was what we called an “Intercessor”, and committed herself to praying for others. I learned a lot about faith from her example.
There was a time when a local bakery would donate unsold bread on Saturday evening, for members of the congregation to distribute to their neighbours or those in need. Miss Olwyn always took some for her neighbours, and also kept food in her freezer for whenever someone needed a meal. I learned a lot about caring from her example.
When I consider this passage in Hebrews, I’m reminded of Miss Olwyn, who I’m pretty sure is still cheering me on:
Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith.
When I think about who I most want to be like, I remember Miss Olwyn.
Who is your hero (or heroine) of Faith?