Spiritual mothers influenced Samaritan staff members

Samaritan staff  ·  Apr 19, 2021

In 2 Timothy, Paul mentions the faithfulness of Timothy’s mother, Eunice, and grandmother, Lois, in raising the younger believer: “I am reminded of your sincere faith, a faith that dwelt first in your grandmother Lois and your mother Eunice and now, I am sure, dwells in you as well” (2 Timothy 1:5).

In honor of Mother’s Day this month, we’re sharing stories about the Eunices and Loises who have had a strong influence on the faith of some of our staff members. In June, we’ll relate some stories about the spiritual fathers in other staff members’ lives.

Laura and her grandmother, Maria

I was the youngest of four when my parents left Romania to emigrate to the United States: my brothers were 6 and 5, my sister was 3, and I was 1½. The plan was to have us on a plane to join them in six months or so after they had settled in. My paternal grandmother, Maria, said she’d care for us four young children. Six months turned into a year. A year turned into a decade … and then some.

Every Saturday she’d get us all ready, herd us onto the bus, and take us to church. Every night, she’d have vespers with us. I still sing her songs to my little girls, and I can still recall her reciting Christian poems and psalms. Her prayers are forever engraved in my mind. My grandmother did it all and did her best just so we’d have this Christian faith embedded in our souls.

I remember her tears when she was at her wit’s end and on the verge of giving up—just in time to start it all again in the morning. We weren’t an easy bunch to raise, that’s for sure. Somehow, through the struggles, tragic moments, and beautiful memories dear to my heart, I feel Jesus. In every sacrifice she’s made, I see His love and care. I can’t explain how or why; I just do. Like the breeze of spring and the smell of hyacinths, I can feel God’s presence because of what she did.

I was 18 when my sister and I emigrated to the U.S. to finally reunite with my mom. I struggled to find God in the hard adjustment. I felt angry and lonely, with anxiety and depression running rampant and wreaking havoc in my young adult life. The problem of pain has been hard to disentangle, and I kept making choices like there was no God. But one thing had been embedded within me since I was a toddler: I needed to seek Him. Thanks to my grandmother’s relentlessness, I found Him again, and today I am the daughter of the King, too.

Carol and Grandma Carol

My Grandma Carol (for whom I am named) raised me when my teenage parents were unable to care for me. For years, she shared the Gospel message with me through her example of selfless giving (she cleaned the church for $30 per week and would put it ALL back in the offering on Sunday), her tenacity, and her complete and utter reliance on the Lord. Though she was widowed three times and could barely make ends meet, she never lost her faith in God. She always reminded me that He would provide for us.

I was a wild, rebellious granddaughter to her, but she never gave up on me.

After finding myself a single mother at 20 years old, I was at the end of my rope. I didn’t know what to do. I knew that I wanted to be a better mother to my son than my mother had been to me. Thankfully, those years of Grandma Carol sharing God’s Word and His love were planted deep in my soul, like a seed.

On Mother’s Day 1999, I attended a Mother’s Day banquet at a church at my grandmother’s invitation. That’s when I gave my heart to Jesus. He changed the trajectory of my life and the legacy of my family through the consistent prayers of my grandma.

Grandma Carol is 81 years old now. She has dementia and doesn’t speak anymore, but through her eyes, I still see that deep love that won my heart to Jesus 22 years ago.

Amy and Mrs. Peterman

In my church growing up, there was a dear, precious saint named Mrs. Peterman.  She was a widow, maybe in her 50s when I was little, and my dad would sometimes mow her yard or do other things to help her. We always talked with her at church, and my mom was always interested in what she was doing. As I grew, I formed my own relationship with her. God made me very sensitive to the needs of others, with a heart for those in need, so I was really interested in what she did. She was a volunteer with the Philadelphia Bible Society, and every week she drove to inner-city Philadelphia and visited at least two or three hospitals, handing out Bibles and Christian reading material.

Once I turned 16, she asked me if I’d like to go with her. Boy, did I! It was quite an experience!  It was such a privilege to spend time with just her, and when we got to the first hospital in the morning, she would sit and read a psalm and a proverb, then pray, then go about her work. She just included me in what she did, and I learned so much. She was kind and attentive to each patient, and offered them God’s Word to read to help bring comfort to them.

She just loved PEOPLE so much—like Jesus loved them. I’m so thankful God put Mrs. Peterman in my life. She helped to teach and train me in a unique way to love and serve the Lord. 

Jen and Margaret

In my life I had a Margaret: my great-grandmother, Margaret. She was the matriarch of the family, putting so much energy into serving God to her fullest. My favorite story of her comes from the Great Depression. The family was struggling. My great-grandpa had exactly two shirts at the time. One for work and one for church. One day a shirtless, homeless man came by. He asked if she could help him. When she asked about his shirt, he explained that he had tried to wash it in the nearby creek, and it had fallen apart. Grandma was convicted and, while she didn’t literally take the shirt off my great-grandpa’s back (he was at work and already wearing his work shirt), she did give the man his good church shirt and a solid meal.

That story has stayed with me my entire life. It was such an amazing example of true Christian charity. I think of it often when I am faced with difficult decisions.

Margaret lived to be 104, passing into the arms of Jesus when I was 18. She impacted a lot of lives during her time on Earth.

Amber and her grandma

I am one of six kids. I grew up in the Projects with my single Mom and siblings in The Woodlands in Peoria. She tried the best she could. 

When people meet me today, they would never have guessed. My Grandparents took me under their wings around the age of 7 years old. 

I remember my Grandma telling me that I need to be in Church. So she picked me and my siblings up and started to take us every Sunday and Wednesday. 

My siblings only went for a bit, then decided they did not want to get up. At the age of seven, I received JESUS as my Savior at Grace Presbyterian Church, thanks to my Grandma listening to GOD. 

I was then set for the amazing adventure of getting to know HIM and building my trust with HIM.