Friday, July 03, 2009

In Tribute To Aunt Onie

My Aunt is laying in a hospital bed looking forward to her soon departure from this world into her heavenly home. And I have heard she is smiling and laughing with everyone.. Is this because she is fearless and doesn't care about dying?? No.. Because her joy is almost complete.
Aunt Onie lived an life that is an inspiration to all who read about it. This tiny, single woman walked into a world that was taboo and almost forbidden for a white woman at the time. She began ministering to the black community when they were considered unwanted outcasts in the supposed land of the free. It is almost unheard of. She has courage beyond what I will ever know..

J.L. wrote about her earlier today and I don't think I could say it better than him...

This is the entire text copied from my brother-in-law's blog. His name is J.L. You can read more HERE
Today, I had the privilege of reading Aunt Onie's story. For those of you who don't know Aunt Onie, it is Bethany's great aunt. As I mentioned in a previous post, I remember the two things that Bethany shared about Aunt Onie before I met her the first time: she was a faithful prayer warrior and had been ministering among African Americans for over 50 years. Even as I type these words, Onie is in the hospital very sick waiting to go and be with Jesus in heaven. I look forward to her funeral and hearing the stories of those she has impacted. I wanted to share a few things that I discovered about her as I read her biography.

Leona Schneider was born July 20, 1920 (she shares a birthday with my Molly). She was raised 2 1/2 miles in the country outside of Moundridge, KS. She was the third of four children. As a child, she remembers the anxiety and pain that she caused her mother and father when she disobeyed one time involving a cow and the barn. Her disobedience showed sorrow and she tried to avoid that in the future. She writes about her childhood, "My childhood was filled with fear . . . but thank the Lord that fear I had as a child was taken away when I received the Lord Jesus as my Savior." She went on to talk about one of her favorite verses which says, "So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand." This verse was a reminder to not be afraid for her God was there with her always.

She goes on to share how she was saved at age 17. She talks about her struggles in learning. She missed her 3rd grade year due to illness and had to repeat that year as well as another year when she was unable to pass the test. She, however, went on to attend the Midwest Bible and Missionary Institute in Salina, KS. There she met Marie Johnson who talked often of "the need of teaching and doing mission work among the Blacks." Here began a lifelong ministry of service that lasted many years. As she pondered where God was calling her, she was asked by Gospel Fellowship to help out with some schools. She was not sure and she prayed for God's leading and direction. A helpful verse during this time was Joshua 1:9 which says, "Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be terrified; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go." She decided to accept their offer and went to work alongside of Gospel Fellowship.

Onie's work among African Americans began in the Summer of 1940 when they did D.V.B.S (I think it stands for Daily Vacation Bible Schools, but I am not sure) in Salina, Hutchinson, Wichita, Topeka and Newton. During this time, she met a man that she had considered marrying but it did not work out. She wrote, "But the Lord did not intend for me to marry so I could give all my time to serve Him and to be able to care for Mother later on." She eventually left Gospel Fellowship so she could "continue working with the Blacks in Wichita." She went on to graduate from the Bible course in 1942 and moved to Wichita where she led D.V.B.S. in the summers and children's weekday classes in the winter. She lived in many different locations over the years, but finally lived with her mother until her mother's death in 1970.

Here is how she described her work: "This work was made up of hospital and home visitations and children's Bible classes after school with D.V.B.S. in the summer. Then I started a ladies' Bible study which continued till her most recent hospital stay. She talks about how for many years she did children's and ladies' classes every afternoon and evening except on Wednesday and Sunday. Even with all the work to be done, she understood the importance of the Sabbath and worship in her church. One of the great testimonies of Onie's faithfulness is the people she has trained to teach the Bible. Her purpose she writes was, "to teach them to teach others." Onie had great wisdom in knowing that to multiply Christ's kingdom she had to equip others. This humble woman was not seeking praise and adoration and accolades, but instead wanted her Savior to be glorified and His message to be spread to everyone.

At the end of her story, she goes on to share about her ministry within her church. This godly and unassuming woman gave her all for her Lord both among the African Americans, but in her church as well. She taught a kindergarten Sunday School class for 16-17 years as well as Joy Fellowship (a gathering for widows 60 or over) for 10 years.

Onie has been a joy to know. You never know what she is going to say. I am inspired by her life and what she accomplished for God. In her biography, she writes that June 1990 was 50 years of "giving out the Word to the Blacks." Despite her "problems learning" she writes, "the Lord used me as His messenger girl." What a testimony about how Jesus can transform our lives and can make us strong despite our weaknesses/trials. I close this tribute with her own words for her family and for you as you read this, "Always put the Lord first in your life and trust Him."

Thanks Aunt Onie for your faithfulness and your ministry. I know you will hear these words from your Savior, Jesus Christ, "Well done, my good and faithful servant!"
Amen to that! And thank you Aunt Onie!
Again that was the entire text from daddy4ms by J.L. Martin

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