My name is Dawn White. I grew up at First Baptist Church and have so many fond memories of the church. My father, John Resor, was a fifty plus year member of the church. In fact the last time I was at the church was for his memorial service in 2006.
My father and mother, Annette, ran The Back Door when I was a teenager. The Back Door was a social space created for teenagers to gather in the basement of First Baptist in the early 1960s with live music and concessions. I worked at the concession stand on those nights. My father auditioned the bands and set their schedules to play and my mother greeted each teen at the back door of the church when they entered the building.
I was baptized in the church, married in the church, and our daughter was dedicated in the church. I taught a young girls Sunday School class for a couple of years, served as a Deaconess and after I married Dennis I taught a young adult Sunday School class that was called The Be Seeing You Class. I also taught Vacation Bible School for a few years. We had so many friends in the church and admired our Pastors who became a huge part of our lives. All those memories are so very precious to me.
My husband, Dennis, and I were members there until we moved to Battle Creek in 1979 due to a job change for Dennis. Our daughter Darycka was 1 year old at that time.
God has had us on a journey both spiritually and actually moving us around the Midwest since we left Jackson. Dennis was called to go to seminary, which he did. We moved to Dubuque, Iowa where he attended the University of Dubuque Theological Seminary and received his Masters of Divinity in 1990.
Since that time we always did joint ministry together. We served as Youth Pastors for 5 years in Port Huron, Michigan, and after a year of time to reflect and pray we started a non-denominational church called Our Father’s House in Marysville, MI, which we served for 23 years.
God blessed us with so many other ways to do ministry also. We did marriage workshops in Michigan, Wisconsin, and Canada. Dennis had a lovely gift for music and played the piano and the keyboard. Dennis played and we sang together. We were chaplains for the Billy Graham Ministries and was sent to New Orleans to work for a period of time following Hurricane Katrina.
In 2014, I started noticing that Dennis was having some memory issues. After testing, he was diagnosed with Vascular Dementia. That caused us to close our business and move two years later to Holly to be closer to our daughter and her family. Dennis’ health has continued to deteriorate. He is still at home where I take care of him and he has a caregiver three times a week.
About three years ago I was struggling very hard with the feeling like I was not doing any ministry work and crying out to God about why and what he wanted me to do. One day as I cried out I heard God whisper to me, “You are doing my work taking care of my man Dennis and people are watching you.” I am doing my best to care for Dennis since then with a renewed love for the special man he is. May 17 was our 47th wedding anniversary. He still knows me and tells me daily that he loves me, which blesses my heart.
A few months ago I discovered that you have your worship services live on YouTube. I have so enjoyed watching, listening, and singing with you all. My heart just rejoices to be able to worship from home and I feel at home with you all while I do that. God just blesses my heart each Sunday morning at 10:00am. Thank you so much. I was looking for something, and it filled that connection. What a blessing!
“A few months ago I discovered that you have your worship services live on YouTube. I have so enjoyed watching, listening, and singing with you all. My heart just rejoices to be able to worship from home and I feel at home with you all while I do that. God just blesses my heart each Sunday morning at 10:00am.”
I have had a longing for over a month now to come back to visit First Baptist and go to the room where I gave my life to Christ as my Savior so many years ago. It is in the old part of the church upstairs. I was about 11 years old. It was about 1961, while the church was raising money to build the education building addition to the church. This longing to return to the church and that room has become so strong. I find myself weeping when I think about it and as I type now I can hardly see what I am saying as my eyes have filled with tears. I look forward to visiting Jackson and coming to church in person for a Sunday in July, to worship with you personally and to sit in the room where I gave my life to Christ.
May God’s blessings be on this church and its ministries.
This article appears in the June-July 2022 issue of the FBCJXN Magazine. If you’d like to sign up to receive a copy of our magazine in print or digitally, you can subscribe online.