Dell Reed leaves her longtime home in California to work at Thorncrown Chapel.
By Dell Reed
Sometimes, very personal happenings in our lives are best when shared with others. I had been commuting back and forth to California for over four years pursuing the chapel dream. It was a very good day when my wife and daughter finally joined my sons and me on June 19th for a permanent stay. The closing days of my wife’s 27 year teaching career showed the little melting-pot town of Los Alamitos, California reaching out to her and Thorncrown Chapel in a very special way. In the little story below, my wife gives a glimpse of what happened.
I was born to teach elementary school. It was usually the second or third grade. For 27 years I had always hoped that I had given a lot of myself to each child. I know that each child gave much to me. Now it was down to two more days. The hurt was growing each day. I was leaving so much of myself here at Jefferson School.
The door to my classroom opened and in walked a large group of mothers. They were mothers of my students from down through the years. They were smiling broadly and handed me an envelope saying, “We have a gift for you.” I opened the envelope and found a check for $230 made out to Thorncrown Chapel. They had collected it door to door – person to person in the little community. Through the tears, I couldn’t see much or say much, but it didn’t matter, as neither could the mothers. That moment will always be with me.
The big fundraising event in my school is the paper drive. Children work for hours and days stacking up old newspapers in their garages. Competition is very tough, but the class of 4th and 5th graders had recently won twice in a row. The money is usually used for something special for the whole class. Yes, these 4th and 5th graders walked in and handed me their entire winnings of $30. “For the chapel,” they said. “For the chapel!” I cried. They were too sincere to want to make much of it. Children know how to give.
My fellow teachers and the entire staff had given me a beautiful gift, a cake, and other special things, and even yet they came to announce that the faculty social fund had $20 left over, and it too must be given. I had to go now – I knew where God wanted me to be.
As the big plane lifted off the runway at Los Angeles International Airport, it climbed out over the foggy Pacific Ocean, and then the pilot banked left, slowly making a wide turn and back over land. He pointed the nose toward Eureka Springs. I was ready now. My spirit seemed to race ahead even faster than the plane. All of them had given a part of themselves for me to take along. Each and every one rode with me. I lay my head back on the cushion, closed my eyes, and smiled. God had made life so good: My family was waiting….
Dell Reed and her husband Jim Reed founded Thorncrown Chapel in 1980. She continued to serve at the chapel for 34 years.