Pauline White - Missionaries Serving in Their 80s
While Pauline White was listening to a sermon at the First Baptist Church in Sebring, Florida in 2002, she heard about an 86-year-old woman who was still serving God.
“See, you still have at least 14 years to go,” the Holy Spirit whispered.
“Yes, Lord, send me!” Pauline answered.
Sensing God was calling her to Eastern Kentucky, Pauline resigned her position in Florida as an outreach worker for the Association for Retarded Citizens. The last day she worked, she came home and posted a “For sale” sign in her yard and went inside to have lunch with two ladies who were helping her pack.
Just then, the doorbell rang. A couple looked at the house, asked the price and paid her in cash. “Just more proof this was God’s will,” Pauline said.
MSC missionary Pauline White directs Shepherd’s Pantry in Cumberland, Kentucky, a ministry that provides several weeks of food to 500-900 low income families each month. “Harlan County is one of the poorest counties in the state,” she said.
The families who receive food are assigned a date and time to come to the pantry. They are also given personal hygiene items, snack food and treats for kids. “We place at least three gospel tracts in each food box and wait patiently for the Lord to move,” she said.
“We are available to minister to their spiritual needs whenever asked.”
In addition, she distributes U.S. Government commodities to low income families on the second Wednesday of each month. She also supplies breakfast for children who are bused to church and snacks for mission groups.
Her home church in Sebring, Florida recently brought 40 volunteers to work at Shepherd’s Pantry. The volunteers bagged carrots, candy and cereal and delivered food to clients. Volunteers from London, Ky. have also worked at in the food ministry and have helped serve meals.
“We have 10 volunteers who are here almost every week,” Pauline said. “We can always use people every Tuesday and Wednesday or the first Thursday of the month when we get truck loads of food. Prisoners come and unload for us but we need help to put the food away. We also need help the third Wednesday to bag bread and on the second Wednesday when we give out commodities.”
As Pauline ministers, she witnesses the power of God. “We have never run short of food. We have 24 freezers and two refrigerator freezers and they are all part of His provision for us. Hundreds of miracles happen week after week. God has proven He is with us.”
For example, one day a computer malfunction wiped out the names and addresses of all of her clients. After much prayer, Pauline turned the computer back on. “Suddenly, the printer came on and all 500 names and addresses and e-mail addresses came out,” she said. “The mail station company said, ‘No way!’ but I told them, ‘Yes—God’s way!”’
Instead of recalling the hours she spends preparing and distributing food to families, Pauline denies the existence of any real challenge. “God has truly taken care of me and the ministry. ‘For he will command his angels concerning you to guard you in all your ways.”’ (Psalms 91:11).
“My greatest reward is when a person tells me what the food we give means to them and I am able to tell them about the true food—Jesus. God told me I would serve until I am at least 84 so I have less than four years to go. There is something all of us ‘old folks’ can do that He will truly bless. Look at others who served Him even in their old age. When He calls, I think you need to consider His call—not your age.”
Written by Shirley Cox