Graham Teacher Shares Lifetime of Love for Children

At Graham Church, everybody knows Roberta (Bobbi) Eicher: Children give her hugs, parents praise her love for children and leaders marvel at her weekly commitment to 44 years of children's ministry.

"Bobbi has a good heart for getting kids excited about God," says Brad Brown, pastor. "She's taught many generations of children, and the kids see her as a surrogate grandmother."

Eicher, a mother of five children, began teaching children's Sabbath School classes in 1964 when her youngest child was a toddler. She taught at various children's levels at Tacoma South Side, Puyallup, and Graham churches, and enjoyed the youngest children's divisions best.

"I love the little ones," Eicher says, "because they are so impressionable. The children love Jesus right away, and their faces just light up."

Just as the children love Eicher, so do the parents. "The kids want to come to Sabbath School," says parent April te Nijenhuis. "Bobbi always makes them feel special."

Nancy Egnew began working with Eicher two years ago as Eicher's replacement, and says, "You know the Bible verse about the first must be last? Well, Bobbi lives that."

Eicher is still adjusting to the adult Bible study program. "I think in terms of Jesus, and I kept waiting for them to mention Jesus in the lesson," she says, after her first adult Bible study class in July. "Sabbath School should be all about Jesus."

September 01, 2008 / Washington Conference

Heidi Martella, Washington Conference associate communication director