A Fond Farewell (and "Hurry Back!")

July 07, 2017 | Jennifer Burkes

An emotional crowd gathered in the Better Living Center on May 13, 2017, to wish Chuck and Alta Austin a fond farewell. They were called to Chicago, Ill., Chuck’s hometown, to assist his family and serve the Lord. They were recognized for many years of service within Oregon's Grants Pass Church. There were echoes of “hurry back!” from the many friends made in 21 years in Grants Pass.

Chuck and Alta were married in 1990 and together raised two sons. After moving to Grants Pass, Chuck worked in the printing industry for many years. He was eventually led into ministry within the Grants Pass Church. He was appointed the pastoral assistant in evangelism — the church Bible worker.

Friend and active church member Henry Martin was instrumental in Chuck being appointed Bible worker of the Grants Pass Church. Martin presented the idea to then-senior pastor Marvin Clark, and Chuck was presented his calling. 

As Bible worker, Chuck led numerous Bible studies. He began that position on January 2, 2009, leading many to the Lord. Chuck says that these connections were the highlight of his service in Grants Pass. He made an impact, reaching out to people at home, in the hospital and in the community. Leading Bible studies will continue to be Chuck’s favorite way to serve the Lord in Chicago.

For the past 11 years, Alta Austin served as church secretary. She balanced ministering to people with the day-to-day responsibilities of the church office. She brought a remarkable gift for remembering each person she met and a heart to minister to all.

Over the years, Alta held various church offices during her years in Grants Pass. She served as Sabbath School superintendent and finance committee member. She was also an assistant church clerk and school board representative. She will follow the Lord’s lead in Chicago and serve where called.

Many people were present May 13 to show their appreciation to the Austins. Following the fellowship dinner, some shared stories. Many were gathered simply to say, “Thank you.” There is comfort in knowing that, despite the distance, the friendships will always remain. As part of the family of God, this separation is temporary. 

Jennifer Burkes, with Chuck and Alta Austin