Pastor & Doris Spear
GOD'S GRACE TO HOWARD SPEAR
Pastor Howard and Doris Spear retired from Bridge Community Church June 1, 2013. They will be sorely missed.
In God’s kind providential grace I was born into a Christian family where my parents loved the Lord and taught us from the Word of God. Every night before bedtime my father read a portion of the Bible, led in prayer and we children prayed the Lord’s Prayer. Every Sunday we participated in Sunday school and church. We lived on a farm in Kansas, where there were many daily chores—milking cows morning and evening, feeding cows, calves, chickens, horses, and beef cattle. These chores were completed early so we could drive ten miles to church each Sunday. In seed time and harvest and all year we were in church and rested on the Sabbath, except for necessary chores. The only Sunday I can remember not going to church (except for illness) was when we had to rebuild fences for our cattle because a neighbor’s dog had stampeded our cattle causing them to crash down the fence.
As a youth, I read the Bible daily, usually morning and evening, prayed and memorized Scripture. The verses memorized fed my soul and have been a guide to me throughout my life. Memorizing Scripture enabled me to meditate on the Word of God.
My dad and mother gave me a Bible, which I have, and wrote in it: “Ye have not chosen me, but I have chosen you, and ordained you, that ye should go and bring forth fruit, and that your fruit should remain: that whatsoever ye shall ask of the Father in my name, he may give it you.” KJV John 15:16 I claim this as my life verse.
Although I received Christ about age 12, I had doubts and fears whether I was ready for the Lord’s return. These doubts were removed when I realized God would keep His promise to forgive me and give me new life.
As I was reading about Elijah calling Elisha, while he was plowing, to serve God, I realized God wanted me to serve Him in some full time ministry. After my father died when I was 18 years of age, my mother and I operated the farm for a year. Then, we sold the farm and I attended Sterling College in Sterling, Kansas, graduating in 1962. There Doris and I dated and married. In my senior year I preached at a country church. Then, we moved to Pasadena, Calif. where I attended Fuller Theological Seminary, graduating in 1965.
Doris also grew up in a Christian family on a Kansas farm. She worked with her mother in the home and learned many useful skills. Doris and I have worked as a team in all our Christian service. Doris has worked with ladies and children, leading Bible studies, Good News Clubs, Bible school and Sunday school, mentoring and encouraging women. She has volunteered at Carenet Pregnancy Center for over 16 years. We have four adult married children who love the Lord and twelve grandchildren who also are following Christ.
Doris and I served thirty years with Village Missions in four churches. We served three and one half years in Wishram, Wash., a railroad community along the Colombia River near The Dalles, OR, 19 years in the Skokomish Valley, near Shelton, Wash., three years in Cohasset, Minn. two hours north of Minneapolis, near Grand Rapids, and five years at Ash Valley and Scottsburg, Oregon on the Umpqua River, 26 miles inland from Reedsport. While serving at the Skokomish Community Church we worked with others to begin the Mason County Christian School to provide Christ centered education. We praise God for keeping the school going even through challenging times.
In 1996 we moved back to the Shelton area and met with others seeking God’s will and direction for a church plant. We obtained permission to meet in the Harstine Island Community Center where the first worship service was held on November 10, 1996. The church met there for thirteen years. Through God’s grace and the prayers, giving, and work of many people a church building has been constructed debt free and is being used for the glory of God. After almost 17 years Willa Smith and Gary and Gloria Aube are the only ones with Bridge Community Church since the beginning.
In 1999 our son, Andrew, and many friends helped us build our home at 153 E. Rolling Hills Drive. We are very grateful for our home and enjoy growing fruit, vegetables and berries. It is a place of hospitality and sometimes a refuge for needy people for a while.
We are very grateful for the love and kindness of God’s people. In 2008 BCC blessed us with a wonderful trip to Israel. Bible places have fresh meaning as we recall visiting many of the places where Jesus lived and ministered.
The church is the people of God gathered together as a body to love, worship, and serve the Lord. We are thankful for every person God has brought into His body. It is amazing that God calls us into His family, forgives and transforms every person who comes to Christ, and puts us together into the body of Christ, a temple for His worship. It is God’s grace that saves us and keeps us. We are thankful for close relationships with many as we have shared important events in their lives. May we abide in Him and bear fruit for His glory.