BIG Appreciation Month | Day 3 of 28
Before we begin let me tell you about the first words that came out of JW’s mouth when I asked if I could write this article about him. He said to me, “That’s fine, but be sure that God gets all the glory.” For the next few paragraphs, I will be giving an account of what a man has done for me, my family, and my community. But, never forget that those blessings were felt because of JW’s obedience to God. God provided him a direction and JW followed it and we, the community, reaped the benefits. We are all capable of having the very same impact in each other’s lives. That impact does not come from us, it comes from the values that God’s path provides.
When I turned 16 I started going to Homeland Baptist Church and met the pastor there. My first feeling was intimidation; he was much taller and much bigger than me. My feeling of intimidation left quickly because the first words out of his mouth were not about how "I needed to get right with God", they were instead a joke about a man and his wife (I don't remember it now but it was funny, trust me). JW makes you immediately feel at home and comfortable; I think that's why so many families turn to JW to lead funerals. However, about the time you get comfortable, God gives him a message that would hit you straight in your gut. When you aren't sure how to "get right" you can call him anytime and he offers sound direction and empathetic prayer. I didn't recognize JW when I first started going to Homeland, but everyone I passed, it seemed, knew who he was when I would mention the church (and I do mean everyone). I don't believe my experience with JW is unique, based on conversations with the people I have talked to he has had a huge impact on the entire region and their lives as well.
consolation, consultation, and compassion.. oh and jokes
You don’t have to talk directly with JW to get to know him. He has a radio show, Saturday Night Sing, that brings out the best of his personality along with some great singing (his son Damon [also a great man] now hosts the show). Not only that, but you can meet him in his kids and grandchildren, who live lives that also follow Christ. His wife, Francis, is a pillar of stability that loves and comforts everyone around her. You would pass him at the hospital as he reached out to families who were in crisis. You might hear a joke he tells over and over again and for some reason, it always feels new. You might see him at a funeral through tear-filled eyes or at a wedding with two fresh hearts becoming one. (Okay, looking back it may be best not to mention funerals and weddings in the same sentence… if you all need me, you can reach me in the dog house)
The point is that this very large man who has some trouble getting around these days sure has a whole lot of reach. I appreciate who he is, what he does, and most importantly what he stands for. This is what a life that follows Christ does for others. If you have been affected by JW and his walk with Christ, reach out and let him know.
A Local Legend Pastor/Preacher/Friend
For helping others see the love of Christ and the enjoyment he brought to the community through his radio show and pastoral style.
*Please note that BIG is not affiliated with JW Depew. We simply appreciate who he is, what he stands for, and what he has done for this community.