Mary quietly moves about her kitchen making breakfast. She is feeling every bit of her 73 years this Sabbath morning. Perhaps it’s the cold blustery chilling wind outside, or the temperature that is hovering around minus 20 degrees this January morning.
It is nearly 7 a.m. when Mary bundles up in her warmest winter wear, bids her husband goodbye and steps out into the predawn air. For a moment the wind takes her breath away, but she starts out, briskly walking through the fresh snow.
It is a mile hike to the highway, and she reflects as she walks. It has been 38 years since I found the truth and joined the Seventh-day Adventist Church, and they have been good years. Oh, it was hard, with her husband not being by her side in the faith, and it was doubly hard when they moved 23 miles away from the church with no transportation to get there.
But she had vowed in her heart not to miss the blessing of worship together at church. She reaches the highway and wonders," Who will pick me up this morning? Who will I get a chance to witness to?" As her hand goes up to hitchhike, her prayer goes up to her Father above. "Lord, use me this day, whoever I get a ride with, please, open their hearts to spiritual things.”
She sees an approaching car and quickly checks her pockets for her ever-present literature, then holds up her hand with her thumb extended. The car flashes by with swirling snow and biting wind, but Mary is not easily discouraged.
The third car slows, and soon Mary is seated in the front seat of the car, warming her hands on the heater. The driver casts a sideways look at her. "Well, Mary, off to church this morning, are you? "How long have you been hitchhiking to church now? He pauses and glances admiringly at this remarkable senior. "Rain or shine, summer or winter. Mary, you are a shining example of dedication to all of us who call ourselves Christians."
Mary nods to his question. "Yes, I've very seldom missed a Sabbath blessing from attending church. I love my time of worship with the other members of my church, perhaps you would like to read this book on why I go to church on Saturday?"
Mary arrives at the church by 8:30 a.m. and lets herself in with her key. She has been fortunate today; no waiting for an hour, no walking for miles after catching a short ride. She bows her head and thanks her Father in heaven for His protection and care, then settles down to study, pray and wait for the Sabbath day's blessing of worshipping and praising God for his goodness with others of like faith.
Epilogue: Mary Holt was baptized in August 1950 and was a charter member of the Fredericton Church in New Brunswick, Canada, where I was the pastor. She died several years ago, but the legacy of her dedication has been an inspiration to me. Many weeks, in addition to her unorthodox method of witnessing and church attendance, she would hitchhike in once a week to volunteer her services in sorting clothes at the Community Service Center. Her husband never joined the church.