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The new series, Steps of Faith, attracted a new student who loved her homeland. A quarter of the way into the series, she walked into class with a cassette recorder, inserted a cassette, pushed play and the red record button.

“I am going to translate your lessons into Spanish and put them on the radio in Honduras,” she explained.

Several lessons later, she expressed frustration at the inadequate quality of the recordings, which made it difficult to hear everything I said. I doubted a single mother of two who worked as a hairdresser could afford to buy radio time in a foreign land. But the project was important to her, so I offered to write more of what I said and give her a copy.

Before I finished teaching the series, I was writing everything I said and read most of it to the class. When others learned I gave her copies of the lessons, they wanted a copy. I made extra copies and set them on a table for anyone who wanted one. Occasionally, a student would tell me, “You should be published,” which I always dismissed as nonsense.

The woman eventually abandoned her goal. Translating English into Spanish proved to be a challenge. She gave up her dream of sharing my lessons with Honduras, but she started something that never stopped. I continued to write everything I planned to say and put copies on the table, and I rarely had copies left over to bring home.

One day, I had a new student. At the conclusion of the lesson he exclaimed, “That’s good teaching.” I dismissed the class, and we went to the main sanctuary for the service. The pastor introduced the guest speaker as a good friend and an evangelist he greatly admired. The guest speaker was the new student in my class. About mid-way through his message, the evangelist paused, and then said, “You have a great teacher in this church. I sat in her Sunday School class this morning. All of you should be in that class.” Everyone turned and looked at me except the pastor. He was stoic, face flushed red with anger.

Several weeks later, a deacon paused in the middle of making the announcements to tell the church that I was the finest teacher the church had ever had, then continued making the announcements and introduced a man, who attended my class, to sing a solo. The soloist compounded the problem by telling the congregation, “I have attended Sunday school all my life, but I have never heard a better teacher than Teena. You should attend her class.” Again, everyone turned to look at me except the pastor, who sat motionless, face flushed red with anger as he gritted his teeth.

He had received too many compliments about my class to justify taking the class away from me. Instead, he avoided me, and would not look at me or even speak to me. The compliments created a problem I did not know how to fix. It became increasingly difficult to contain my frustration with his childish behavior when I taught.

I visited a good friend to cry on her shoulder about his abusive treatment.

“Have you ever heard of Joyce Meyers?” she said.

“I’ve seen her TV while flipping through channels, but never stopped to listen.”

“I find it interesting that you have the same last name, and both had a problem with your pastor. You should contact her ministry.”

When I returned home, I found her website, and sent an email requesting prayer, and the titles of any books or recordings that might help me resolve the problem with my pastor.

A month later, I received a package from Joyce Meyers ministry. The letter said, “The Holy Spirit told us to give you this cassette.” I was amazed to learn Rev. Meyers and I shared more than a last name. Her pastor and his wife had the same name as my pastor and his wife, and the name of her church was the same as mine. Her description of the problem between her and her pastor was similar to mine. After she spoke, her pastor admitted he wrestled with jealously when her class drew more people than he had in the main service, and how he dealt with his jealously.”

The message gave me hope; if my pastor heard this message it would solve the problem. My husband gave the cassette to our pastor and asked him to listen to it. The following Sunday, he returned the cassette and told my husband I was forbidden from bringing written copies of my lessons into the church. He told some of the people in my class they should stop listening to me and return any copies of my lessons.

His response made it clear the problem I would not have the happy ending Rev. Meyers enjoyed. I decided it would be in the best interest of the congregation for me to leave. My husband was Sunday School Superintendent at the time, so I told him to find another teacher and we needed to find another church.

The following Sunday, I taught my last class and told the students I would not be returning, then returned home without attending the main service. As soon as I stepped into my apartment, my phone rang.


One comment

  1. This post grabbed my attention. I could visualize the jealous pastor so well that I felt emotions of confusion and sorrow, just as if the man were turning his red, angry face toward me. I’m happy that you are a good teacher, and very sad that the pastor had such low self-esteem.


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