Stories of Faith



  Loftin  Setzer    Goble    Johnson

Of Faith


Jeannie Stewart

Glennie Frances Loftin

Paul Allen

Sam William &
Willie Goble Loftin

































































































































Stories of Faith in Our Family



There are so many stories that make up our lives and our family histories
but none is more personal than our own stories of faith.


John 3:16 - 17

For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him
should not perish, but have everlasting life. For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world;
but that the world through him might be saved.


If you'd like to share your story with the rest of the family, just contact me at:


CLARK, Jeannie Stewart

Jeannie Stewart Clark is the daughter to Norma Lynn Cook Stewart (1950 - 2016), granddaughter of Alvin & Frances Loftin Cook (1926 - 2015), and the great-granddaughter of Alonzo Lester Loftin (1876 - 1937) & Ida Lillian Setzer Loftin (1884 - 1964). She is married to Keith Clark and has three children, Keylee,Noahand  Madison  Clark.
Jeannie lost her brother, Michael Lafone, on 11 May 1991. With the recent lost of her mother, Norma, and grandmother, Frances, Mother's Day 2017 proved to be a day of challenges for her. Jeannie shared this post on Facebook concerning the loss of her family and gave me permission to share it.


"Mother's Day"


by Jeannie Stewart Clark

14 May 2017

I have some amazing friends that have been asking me how I'm doing. I'm not going to lie. I woke up feeling sorry for myself this morning because this Mother's Day weekend marked the 26th anniversary of my brother's murder, and it's also the first Mother's Day without my mom.

Mother's Day has always had a cloud hanging over it. But this one feels impossible. They both died tragically and unexpectedly. After a good cry and what felt like I was drowning in my own tears, I looked up and saw a picture on my wall with the phrase, “Life isn’t about waiting for the storm to pass, it’s about learning to dance in the rain.” I’ve always loved that saying, but I can’t honestly say I’ve really lived it. I heard that unmistakable whisper in my soul that simply asked, “Dance or drown? Which will you choose?” I realized that I had a choice to make in that moment. Drown in the depth of my grief or celebrate everything that God has done for me?
I have so many blessings in my life and yet I also have great sadness. I’ve weathered my fair share of storms. My feelings are justified either way. Life’s storms have left devastation, but the gentle rain of God’s goodness has made beautiful things grow in my life, too. Am I going to let the rain drown or nourish my fragile faith?
You know what? This day is not over. I’m choosing to worship. That’s what “dancing in the rain” is all about. It’s an act of worship in the midst of life’s storms. A celebration that even the darkest storm clouds will one day give way to blue skies and a rainbow of God’s promises. I don’t always understand God’s plan, but I know He has one. As I let Him wrap His incredible arms of mercy, love and kindness around my grief and sadness, I’m going to hold on to the promises found in Romans 8:28 and Jeremiah 29:11.
I miss her/Mom like crazy but after 26 years, I’m happy that my brother will get to celebrate Mother’s Day with our mom in Heaven this year. One day I’ll celebrate with her again. A hug that will last for eternity!
I know that being a Christian in our culture isn’t always popular. It definitely isn’t life on easy street. But when someone asks me if I truly buy into all this “churchy faith & Jesus stuff”, my answer – "with all my heart, mind, soul and strength". Because without Jesus there is no anchor in life’s storms. No peace, no help and no hope of eternity to spend with those we love. He is the way, the truth, and the life … an ever present help in time of trouble.
My life’s storms are far from over, but I’m choosing to dance in the rain. I love you Mama and I thank God for the time I got to spend with you.

(Left) Jeannie Stewart Clark; (Right) Madison, Keylee and Noah Clark



(Left) 2013 Loftin Family Reunion - Norma Cook Stewart with Keith Clark and Eddie & Yvonne Loftin Bryson
(Right) 2014 Loftin Family Reunion - Frances Loftin Cook and Norma Cook Stewart



"An Empty Chair"
by Jeannie Stewart Clark

 14 December 2016


I know it seems silly, but I came by to see you (Mom/Norma) this morning. I saw the light on and just couldn’t resist. I knew in my mind that you weren’t going to answer the door .. but my heart still doesn’t understand that yet. I wanted to walk in and see you sitting at the table with a cup of coffee .. doing your Bible study like you so faithfully did each day. But you weren’t there. So I sat down in my favorite chair and relived the memories of our everyday conversations. It took so long to get over the loneliness of the empty “red chair” after grandma died last year .. but it was almost unbearable to see two empty chairs in that room. I miss you, grandma, and Michael every single day. I wonder if you guys have an empty chair like that for me. I love you.

Frances Loftin Cook with her nephew, Curtis Loftin



"Norma Lynn Cook Lafone Stewart"

b. 07 Jul 1950 , d. 03 Oct 2016


by Jeannie Stewart Clark

06 October 2016

Where do I even begin? My heart is such a tangled up mess, and there are no words to describe how I am feeling. The moment I walked into that waiting room and saw the state troopers standing by the door, I knew I had just lost my best friend. My confidant. My partner in crime. My cheerleader. My hero. Maybe you didn't even know that you were all of these things to me. Because maybe I didn't tell you enough. I took for granted that we would have more time.
I thought about calling you on Monday afternoon just to tell you how much I appreciated you, but I was busy and so very tired. I thought I would have tomorrow. But sometimes today is all that we get. Tomorrow is never promised. So, I'm telling you now. I LOVE YOU!! More than I could ever put into words. I love that you had such a generous spirit. Always giving. Up until the day you died, giving selflessly for your family.
I have experienced so much pain and guilt over the last few days. If only.. If only I had told you not to go. If only I would have told you that what I needed wasn't important, maybe you would still be here with us. But then I remembered what you taught me about giving your best to the people you love. Even if they don't always notice. Even when you don't feel appreciated. You should love unconditionally, and that's exactly what you did. Up until the very end.
You were hands down the best mom and the most devoted grandmother I could have ever asked for. My heart is so broken right now. I just want to call you one more time. I want to walk next door one more time just to sit and talk about nothing and everything all at once. My heart is broken for Keith and the kids. They loved you SO much. We're going to miss you every single day.
And right now it doesn't feel like we're going to get through it, but you know what? Because of your faith and love for the Lord, you taught me what it means to be a Christian. That " I can do all things through Christ, who gives me strength". Not because you were perfect. None of us are. And not because you had all the answers. None of us do. But because you had incredible faith in a perfect and loving God who DOES have all the answers. You taught me what it means to believe when you can't find a reason why you should. Hard times make our faith stronger. You taught me how to find strength in God when I feel so weak. You taught me how to follow Jesus when I struggle to hear His voice. You taught me how to love the church and serve Him. Your faith was so childlike, so genuine. You have no idea how much you have impacted the people around you.
Mama, I hope you're reading the sweet comments on Facebook. I hope you're listening to the stories being told of how you inspired your students. Or how much you taught your Sunday school class about God. Or how you made people laugh. How you made people feel loved. I hope you have seen the outpouring of love we have received from the community because of the wonderful person you were.
I want you to know that we're going to be okay. We'll have to take it one day at a time for a while, but we have so many memories to cherish. And because I know and believe from the bottom of my heart that you're in a better place...Walking with Jesus. Spending time with Michael, with your mom and dad, I know that you're happy. There's no more sorrow and pain in heaven. No more tears. No more regrets. I know you're singing songs of praise and playing your guitar in His presence right now. So, I'm going to celebrate your life as we say our goodbyes today. Because it's not really goodbye but just an "I'll see you later"
And as we move forward, I'm going to let go of the bad memories, and regrets, and hold on to the good ones. I'm going to love more deeply and forgive more easily. I'm going to remember that being a mom is my greatest calling and serving family is my greatest ministry. I want to honor what was important to you.
Thank you for everything you taught me and all of the sacrifices you made for me even when you knew I could never repay them. Sadly, many times I probably didn't appreciate them either. I do now. More than you know. I praise God that he chose you to me by mom! And I am thankful for the time He shared you with us before calling you home. Go sing and dance with Jesus, Mama. We love you!!

2012 Loftin Family Reunion - Norma Cook Stewart with Keith Clark and his children


COOK, Glennie Frances Loftin

Frances Loftin Cook with her sister Sadie Loftin Lee

Dear Lord,
     Help me this Day with my pain. Sometimes I feel I can not endure, but with your help I will try.
     I know I'm not the only one that needs help. I look down the Hall & hear people groan, Lord. Please help them this day. Help me I pray.
     This defect in me does not only hurt me but has put a burden on my daughter and Grandkids.
      Thank you Lord for hearing my prayer. I love you.
     Thank you for giving us Jesus Christ to save us from our sins for I have many.


Thanks to Jeannie Stewart Clark for sharing a copy of Frances's letter with me


LOFTIN, Paul Allen

Paul Allen Loftin is the son of Paul Roosevelt Loftin (1927 - 1982) & Mildred Allen Loftin, the grandson of Charlie Roosevelt Loftin (1905 - 1988) & Edna Jones Loftin and the great-grandson of Alonzo Lester Loftin (1876 - 1937) & Ida Lillian Setzer Loftin (1884 - 1964). He is married to Pat Isenhour Loftin.
For years Paul shared an email with family and friends that was entitled, "Sunday's Monday" in which he shared from his heart what God had been speaking to him through the week. Paul continues his writing and now shares on Facebook.
Sunday's Monday
by Paul Allen Loftin
12 Nov 2013
I realize that this may be a little early and maybe out of the ordinary for me but I feel it needs to be addressed. I have heard it said a couple of dozen times already, we are starting Christmas too early, we are skipping Thanksgiving altogether. "What happened to Thanksgiving?", was the big topic at Wal-Mart this week. I have the answer that no one wants to hear but it’s true. We happened to Thanksgiving! Once we forgot to be thankful for what we have we became disgruntled of our lack. We initiated a new attachment to Thanksgiving. It became our appeasement for the guilt of not living a thankful life all year.
The Bible tells me in COLOSSIANS 3:15-17, 15 And let the peace that comes from Christ rule in your hearts. For as members of one body you are called to live in peace. And always be thankful. 16 Let the message about Christ, in all its richness, fill your lives. Teach and counsel each other with all the wisdom he gives. Sing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs to God with thankful hearts. 17 And whatever you do or say, do it as a representative of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks through him to God the Father. (NLT) The key is "always". We are to be thankful every day and in every situation.
The very first Thanksgiving, as I understand it, was about gathering together with family and friends to give thanks to God for His provision. How did we get so far off? The KVJ  Bible mentions "thanks" and its variation some 73 times and it is usually accompanied by the word "always". We are to always be a thankful people but we must first understand "thanks", "thankfulness", "thanksgiving", etc., as there are guidelines.

ROMANS 1:21, For although they knew God, they neither glorified Him as God nor gave thanks to Him, but their thinking became futile and their foolish hearts were darkened. (NIV)

I believe that this is where a lot of folks are today! They get so caught up in the things of this world that they have simply lost the art of being thankful. Oh, sure, they give thanks to God at the end of a crisis, although the degree is usually based on the outcome being in their favor. Otherwise it’s life as usual! We have learned to be thankful when in church or when gathered with like Believers but what are we actually thankful for and to whom are we giving thanks. 

For me growing up, Thanksgiving was usually gathering with family, uttering a sentence about what you are thankful for, a prayer, and then eat till you pop. That is a ritual, nothing more! Thanksgiving comes from the heart and we all know that whatever is in the heart is what we will eventually discover.


One of my favorite sayings when asked, "How are you is?", is “WONDERFUL! I woke up breathing this morning, so I know it’s going to be a wonderful day!” God still has things for me to do and for that I am thankful. Thanksgiving is not merely something in your head, it conquers and controls one’s heart. I/You have an uncontrollable desire to help, to be kind, to make things better and it is because we have received the gift of God. Once God moves in, we find a stirring inside of us, compassion, love, understanding and a host of other good things that start to rise up inside us. We discover that thanksgiving is so much more than words, much more than a feeling, it is something that touches our very core.


As it is written in 2 CORINTHIANS 9:15, Thank God for this gift, too wonderful for words! (NLT) Once we understand, that we can’t understand, we become pliable for God to transform us into a thankful being. No longer a prisoner of the holiday of Thanksgiving, rather a life style of the true meaning of Thanksgiving. It is only through the grace of God and by His mercy that we have family and friends to love and cherish. I believe that God through His "will" gave us Thanksgiving Day to gather those we see so little throughout the year(s) to celebrate. However, as He explains all through the Bible, we are to be “thankful to Him” for all, everyday!


So, it is my belief that nothing can remove, replace or diminish the phenomenon of being thankful. It is a gift of God - to become a life style. These holiday’s that have taken such control of our lives are all man made and even though they may have had good intentions, they have equally added excuses for not living God’s will everyday. There is nothing made on earth or heaven that should take our hearts away from God.

PSALM 100, 1 Shout with joy to the Lord, all the earth! 2 Worship the Lord with gladness. Come before him, singing with joy. 3 Acknowledge that the Lord is God! He made us, and we are his. We are his people, the sheep of his pasture. 4 Enter his gates with thanksgiving; go into his courts with praise. Give thanks to him and praise his name. 5 For the Lord is good. His unfailing love continues forever, and his faithfulness continues to each generation. (NLT) Contrary to popular belief, it is OK to enjoy God in all His splendor and it is a ton of fun to be nice, kind and thoughtful to others. 
Paul & Pat Loftin
Sunday's Monday
by Paul Allen Loftin
14 Aug 2016
This past week has really been good for me in a lot of areas that I never expected. God is teaching me to be humble in the work that I do and He is helping me to be the best "me" that I can be in Him. He (God) brought a new person into my life and led me to be helpful to a few others. God is good! I am so very blessed by God and cherishing every moment of it to its fullness.
As I said earlier, God is working with me on humility, especially when it comes to receiving compliments. PROVERBS 29:23, Pride ends in humiliation, while humility brings honor. (NLT) I sometimes still have a fond attraction for being the monkey in the middle and compliments simply feed that frenzy or pumps me up as some would say. Compliments somehow give me the impression that I am so much more than I am and God has to intervene in turning down the volume of my self-centered pride in order to help me remember,
JOHN 15:5, “Yes, I am the vine; you are the branches. Those who remain in me, and I in them, will produce much fruit. For apart from me you can do nothing. (NLT) This is about the time my lightbulb comes on and I realize the value of knowing who God says that I am. This not only helps to keep me humble but it keeps me very thankful for His sacrifice to give me a second chance.
God created me to be a divine being and to live a life style of divine design in order to please Him. I was chosen (hand-picked) from my deepest iniquities to receive, repent and serve God. I heard it said this morning that humility is simply agreeing with God on who you are in Him. In-which is a pretty tall order sometimes, that is until I remember everything worthwhile is uphill. Anything God asked of me has a price tag on it and it will always cost no less than time, effort, concern and sometimes money. But what the hay! God owns it all anyway, so why not use His gifts as He desires. There is a guaranteed feeling of real humility and true joy at the end of each project. As I think on this, I am reminded of something else that was said during our service which has a real grounded value in this train of thought. I need to be busy spending my time collecting people instead of wasting my time correcting them! I battle this statement daily and with God as a coordinator I’m improving daily. I don’t have the qualities nor the education to correct anyone. Neither do I have the experience or the pilgrimage to judge. You’ll find in this life, my past is dirty, my present is dusty and my future is unknown but God has chosen to love and accept me as His own. He says that I am chosen, appointed, salt, light, a friend, a temple, a new creation, a joint heir, united, His creation and best of all His son. The Bible is full of many such reasons that God in all of His holy wisdom chooses those of His calling.
Ergo one of my favorite verses come to mind. MATTHEW 6:33, Seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and live righteously, and he will give you every-thing you need. (NLT) For the humble this is completely self-explanatory, however, the haughty will have trouble as they strive to amend the word "need" for "want". God is my provider and will see to my needs. He has also given me the means to help with some of my wants but nothing is guaranteed on that end. However, should God’s provision become more than generous, it is my place to share my abundance with those of God’s choosing. You see, I learned a long time ago that I don’t have to be wealthy or rich (according to earthly standards) to help someone in need because I am a son of God and He owns everything. My point is, I have no right to self-centeredness, Proverbs 29:23. I can do nothing to justify selfish pride, John 15:5, however God has given me the key to real humility and joy in Matthew 6:33. Think on this: Most people have uphill hopes with downhill habits! I believe that the person God gave these words to could hear Him quite clearly! 

Sunday's Monday
by Paul Allen Loftin
21 Aug 2016
This has been a fantastic week for Pat & me as we’ve celebrated her birthday basically the whole week. Tuesday we went out to eat followed by shopping. Thursday she went to the foot doctor (who said that she could go back to a full workload on Monday) then on to Myrtle Beach where we ate out a lot and went shopping two or three times. In case you hadn’t figured it out, shopping is Pat’s favorite thing to do. The beach was wonderful and the trip was very successful providing some much-needed rest and relaxation.
I have noticed for some time now that a lot of parents send their children to church for a couple of hours a week expecting them to learn all that there is about Jesus. Just as they send them to school with the expectation of the child learning everything about life. It is as if we (the adults) have forgotten how we learned growing up. I learned best from example! If I saw something with my own eyes and could actually test it out on my own, then I could choose whether I adopted it into my own life or not. I am a living example of the writings in PROVERBS 22:6, Point your kids in the right direction, when they’re old they won’t be lost. (MSG)
The wrong path is always the most enticing, especially for an eager "want-to-be" man. The enemy is ready with an abundance of half-truths and false promises to lead him astray. The school tried but fell short to teach us how to live correctly, as peer pressure and fear overtook the teachings. Church attendance slowly wanes as other stuff becomes more important. For example, we (adults) have never gotten or forgotten the writings in DEUTERONOMY 6:7-9, Write these commandments that I’ve given you today on your hearts. Get them inside of you and then get them inside your children. Talk about them wherever you are, sitting at home or walking in the street; talk about them from the time you get up in the morning to when you fall into bed at night. Tie them on your hands and foreheads as a reminder; inscribe them on the doorposts of your homes and on your city gates. (MSG)
It is our privilege, responsibility and mandate to prepare our children to meet the real world. We have been given the honor of growing old (older than the child) in-order to share what we’ve learned, at that point. This is a thus saith Paul Loftin, “I believe that everyone is put here to help someone specific to understand Jesus” as well as proclaim that "He lives" to all the earth by the way that we live, while we’re here. I read this mandate, (Deuteronomy 6:7-9), and can’t find where it is the responsibility of the church or the school to teach children about Jesus. I
In the early days, church (usually a small gathering of adult men) taught each other what they had learned and the men dispersed to their homes to teach their families what they had learned. Sadly, today, little is shared as we return home from our daily life. The children jump on their choice of electronics while the adults indulge in particular events that isolates them from the family. Most of which is by design on all sides to keep from dealing with the awkwardness of knowing. Read this next writing carefully, Hebrews 5:11, At the time, discipline isn't much fun. It always feels like it's going against the grain. Later, of course, it pays off handsomely, for it's the well-trained who find themselves mature in their relationship with God. (MSG) What better way to meet the world on its terms than with the saving wisdom of God almighty!
It is up to each adult, but especially the parents and grandparents. This is simply our biggest opportunity to prove the words "I LOVE YOU" are more than mere words. The measure of a good parent can usually begin with the behavior of their children. The love of a parent for his child shall be measured in the time and effort spent building a relationship. Most people haven’t grasped the full definition of "AWP" (Abandoned While Present). To be a part of one’s life, you have to be a part of one’s life! We owe it to the child. God has given us the means to raise a child, prepared to meet this world, in His strength, on its terms where they succeed! Sorry, but church and school are simply support systems for our (adult) responsibility!

2011 CVCC Grauation - Paul with his children and grandchildren



Paul & Pat Loftin with his son, Charles Ray Loftin, and Charlie's family (Left to Right) Roxie Stafford, Kim Loftin & Emily Loftin


Sunday's Monday
by Paul Allen Loftin
28 Aug 2016
I have had my socks blessed off this week and the more that I learn "not to sweat the little things" the better they seem to get. I spent one day this week with my only brother, Gerald, and it was good. I spent one afternoon with my youngest grandson and helped his father with a project. Pat and I had dinner (supper) with my daughter and her family in their new house, what a privilege. Pat, myself, Linda and Joe Dillard attended the 50th year anniversary celebration at Covenant Christian Church today and boy was that a blessing!
I had no clue what I was to write this week, even after hearing a powerful message on "grace" this morning. I asked God and instantly got a picture in my mind of something that happened this past Friday, so here goes.
I was waiting for Pat’s car to be washed and decided that I would wait outside for it to finish. Once outside I found a man doing the same thing, so I spoke, "How are you this fine morning?" He replied, "Fine, how are you?" I love this part because my reply is most always,  "Wonderful! I woke up breathing this morning and knew it was going to be a great day!”
This reply almost always brings a look of astonishment, then a little smile and sometimes the question, "Are you really?" Well, this time was one of those, "Are you really?", moments.
The man’s reply was, "I guess you could say that breathing was a good thing", as he chuckled. To which I replied, “Are you kidding!” I can remember a day when I didn’t care whether I woke up or not. As a matter of fact, not waking up would have suited me just fine. Each new day was just something else that had to be suffered through. I had no hope, no desires (at least none that I would put any effort into), no dreams. As a matter of fact, I was so filled with "feel sorry for me" that nothing good could fit into my life. I was the poster boy for self-centeredness. My attitude was, 'Me first, and the heck with the world'. I was never happy, had no clue of joy and was the most hateful, sarcastic person you would never want to meet. Yet, through my misery and ignorance, God was arranging for us to meet heart to heart. You see I had known God before. Let me rephrase that, I knew of God before and it didn’t work, ergo, I wanted nothing to do with that Bible stuff. But that did not deter God as He set up His time. He picked the place and the arrangements that He required for our meeting. I never knew what hit me. He drew me in, cleaned my heart, filled me with hope and deposited me right back in the same situation that I was in. Well, it took a couple of days for me to realize that the situation may be the same (sad, sorry and sickening) but there was a huge difference. I had been changed and nothing has been the same since. I have spent years allowing God to teach me to "not sweat the little things" and give Him all the big ones. The little things will work out through Godly choices and good decision making, while the bigger things need to be a team effort, with God as my coach. Shucks! Today I woke up breathing, just so I could be that glimpse of heaven that so many need to see and by that I mean, if I can bring a smile to one person that needs it, then they shall have experienced a bit of heaven for those brief fleeting seconds and sometimes that feeling will reoccur during the day. Yes! I’m wonderful because I woke up breathing so that I may be here to bring you this story of rags to riches or hopelessness to eternal hope."
Now, I may be all wrong with this verse, if so, forgive me, but I see the SONG Of SOLOMON 2:11-13, 11 Look, the winter is past, and the rains are over and gone. 12 The flowers are springing up, the season of singing birds has come, and the cooing of turtledoves fills the air. 13 The fig trees are forming young fruit, and the fragrant grapevines are blossoming. Rise up, my darling! Come away with me, my fair one! (NLT) As my spring has arrived, the air is filled with wonderful fragrances, I am dancing, singing and rejoicing in God, who wakes me breathing that I might brighten someone’s day to honor Him.
YES!!! I am WONDERFUL!! And I pray that you are also.

(Left) Paul, Pat and Gerald Loftin at the 2016 Loftin Family Reunion; (Right) Paul & Pat at the 2010 Loftin Family Reunion


Sunday's Monday
by Paul Allen Loftin
28 Aug 2016
This week has been a very good week in as much as I got a lot accomplished and through favor with The Holy Spirit each project was successful. Tuesday Bible Study was good and filled with lots of information. Getting to spend time with our Christian Family was like a vitamin for my soul. Enjoyed a brief visit with our new neighbor and her 12-year-old daughter, very nice people. We are enjoying them in our community and pray for success in making them feel welcome in their new home. Praying for God’s comfort on those affected negatively by Hurricane Matthew.
I had a totally different direction for this week and just as I started to write it out, God changed it. My intentions were to use 1 Thessalonians 4, but God at the last moment changed it to 1 THESSALONIANS 1:3-4, 3 As we call to mind your work of faith, your labor of love, and your patience of hope in following our Master, Jesus Christ, before God our Father. 4 It is clear to us, friends, that God not only loves you very much but also has put His hand on you for something special. (MSG)
Instead of using the first person noun "me" to describe my revelation, I am using the noun “us” because this was written to all believers. As I understand the writings contained in this verse, it is very judicious in encouragement for all Christians. I know that it does my heart good to be reminded that God chose us to be Believers, not because of our looks, friends status or finances. He chose us because he loves us that much and He has something special for each of us to do! He sees the "big picture", with us in it, walking out His plan for our lives. He has put His hand on us for strengthening and reassurance as He teaches us how to be like Jesus. It is because of Him that we even exist and we were created for His great pleasure. For me (back to the noun "me" for the first person observation), I don’t understand why I complicate the following of Jesus as such an impossibility. The more I study God’s word the more I learn the true intent of God creating me and that is to be a living love story in having an intimate relationship with Jesus. God desires for Jesus to be my biggest love, recognizing Him as my Lord and Savior, my closest friend and brother in God’s family. God desires for me to be able to talk to Jesus like no other, willing and able to tell Him everything. Expecting, with all that is in me, the guidance and leadership that can only come from God, during which time I’ll gain the where with all and patience needed to wait upon the Lord.
The results of my spiritual maturity can be measured using 1 THESSALONIANS 1:8, The word has gotten around. Your lives are echoing the Master's Word, not only in the provinces but all over the place. The news of your faith in God is out. We don't even have to say anything anymore - you're the message! (MSG) For me, no finer words can be uttered about my life here on planet earth.
I remind myself regularly that it is not about me. I seek no glory because I can do nothing or have anything that is worthy of glory. I (We) need to get it deep down inside our soul that we bring nothing to God’s table. He supplies it all! Even we ourselves are created by Him and therefore can’t even offer that. We have nothing to bargain with, not even our own lives, ergo, the "deal making" that all of us try to use with God is futile. God doesn’t want or need the trinkets and bobbles that we feel are worth something. God seeks our love, in order to grant us the understanding of joy and what it feels like. He desires our loyalty so that He might share His knowledge and wisdom with us. And His greatest passion is for us to be in His presences to learn about Him and that He might open doors into the spiritual realm of miracles, prophesies and understanding. I say again, for "me", there are no finer words that I wish to describe "me" than those in verse, 8 The news of your faith in God is out. We don't even have to say anything anymore - you're the message! The down side to all of this is, if people cannot find Jesus in your daily life (24 X 7 X 365), He may not be there at all! Christianity is not a tool of community service - it is a Godly life style!


LOFTIN, Sam William & Willie Aleen Goble Loftin


by Curtis Dean Loftin



Willie Goble was born 04 Dec 1925 in Iredell County, NC - the daughter of Martin Luther Goble and Beulah Vernesta Johnson.  Willie was third from the youngest of fourteen children to a poor share-cropper family. The family moved from Iredell County to Catawba County when Willie was in the third grade.


Willie said that as children, she and her sisters (Elgevia/Gevia, Helen and Lib) would sometimes walk to Ebenezer Lutheran Church with Mrs. Pump Alley, a neighbor.  Eventually the girls settled at Center Methodist Church as a result of attending several revivals there - being closer to their home made it more convenient, too.  Willie's brothers didn't usually go with them to church.  The Rudisill boys (including Glenn) would frequently walk them home from church.  Willie was eventually baptized and joined the Center Methodist Church.

(Left Standing) Nessie, Martin, James/Legs, (Sitting) Willie, Elgevia holding Bud (Leg's son), Helen
(Right) Willie when she and Sam lived in the house he built on Shiloh Church Road

(Left) Center Methodist Church: Helen standing beside of her sister, Elgevia (to the left), about 1942
(Right) The original 1951 building for Mathis Chapel Baptist Church in Catawba, NC


Willie married Sam William Loftin on 21 Mar 1942 and her first child, William Ray "Billy Ray", was born 26 Dec 1943.  By this time, Willie was not attending church anywhere.  The family was living near Bandys High School and Sam owned and operated a beer-join in a cinder-block building beside of their home.


Willie said that she and Sam were good friends with William and Annie Guins at that time.  She and Sam had gone to William's house to get some chickens and William invited them to a revival at Mathis Chapel Baptist Church.  The revival preacher was Pastor Bruce Christopher from Hudson Chapel Baptist Church.  It was during this revival when Willie got "saved" - going to the altar and inviting Jesus into her heart.  The following Sunday found Willie at the altar again and after that she never doubted her salvation.  She was about 23 years old at the time.


About that time, Sam went to his brother-in-law's (Glenn Lee's) store and told Glenn about Willie going to the altar at Mathis Chapel and getting "saved".  Sam told Glenn, "It'll be a cold day in hell when I go the the altar like she did".  Glenn (who attended Center Methodist) told him, "I wouldn't say that, Sam".  The conversation weighted heavily on Sam's heart and within a couple of days Sam got saved, too.


(Left) Sam, Willie & Billy Ray at Mathis Chapel Church about 1952
(Middle) Deacons at Mathis Chapel: Bob Wilson, Sam Loftin, William Guins, T. A. Potter, Vic Kirksey, Floyd Kirksey
(Right) Sam & Willie with other charter members of Mathis Chapel Baptist Church in 1953;
(Right) Willie (middle left) holding Curtis with Billy Ray in front of them, Sam (standing center) beside of Pastor Tommy Taylor


Willie read her Bible at work during lunch everyday and frequently talked about the Lord.  She asked Allie (Glenn Lee's wife and Sam's sister), "Are you saved, Allie?"  Allie responded, "I don't really know.  Will you pray for me?" - which Willie did.


Eventually Willie's sisters, Helen and Gevia, left Center Methodist Church and were "saved" at Mathis Chapel Baptist Church, too. Willie, Sam, Helen and Gevia were all baptized in the cold waters of a local creek.  Rev. Carl Keever was their pastor at this time.


Sam's beer-join had been the main source of income prior to his salvation experience, but after getting saved, he felt the Lord leading him to close down the beer-joint.  Eventually he turned the beer-joint into a grocery store.

(Left) Sam's beer-joint on East Bandys Cross Roads
(Right) Sam & Willie's home and beer-joint on East Bandys Cross Roads

Willie's parent's, Martin & Nessie Goble, started going to Hudson Chapel Baptist Church in Catawba County, NC.  Martin had been a bootlegger and enjoyed his liquor, but shortly after attending Hudson Chapel, he and Nessie both got saved.  Willie said, "People were saying, 'He'll go back on the Bottle'.  But he didn't.  He threw it away.  When he got saved - he got saved!"


Willie said she and Helen had a burden for their sister Lib who had not been saved and they would pray for her often.  Eventually they heard the word that Lib had gotten saved at Hudson Chapel Baptist Church.  "We were so proud", Willie said.


After Willie and Sam joined Mathis Chapel, they never joined another church. It was only when Willie was age 87,  could no longer drive and was having some mobility issues, that she started going with her son, Curtis, to Covenant Bible Church in Lincolnton, NC.


Willie and Sam's son, Curtis, was born in 1953.  Willie was frequently involved in church activities - visiting - teaching Sunday School - and always talking about how good the Lord was.


Willie taught Curtis' Sunday School class for Primary aged children (ages 6 - 9) for several years.  She was an active teacher - not just teaching Bible stories, but encouraging the children to memorize scripture.  When Curtis was in her class, he memorized John 3:16, The 10 Commandments and numerous other scriptures that followed him into adulthood.


While Rev. Tommy Taylor was pastoring Mathis Chapel, Sam felt “the call” to preach and became a licensed minister through Mathis Chapel.  After attending Fruitland Baptist Bible Institute in Henderson, NC. Sam preached in several small churches, but mainly in homes in the mid-1950s and early 1960s, including the home of Fred & Emma Mathis (for whom Mathis Chapel Church was named).  Average attendance was around 30 – 40 at Sam's meetings.  He even built wooden pews and had revival meetings at his home on Hwy 10 in Catawba.  Sam, Willie and Billy Ray would move the furniture out of the den, move the pews inside to accommodate the crowd, have the meeting, then switch things back after the service.  After several years, however, Sam became discouraged when jealousy and criticism emerged over the large attendance at his home meetings - so he walked away from the ministry.

(Left to Right) Sam's Deacon Certificate from Mathis Chapel  Baptist Church dated March 1955;
His Ministry License from July 1955, and a Revival Meeting Flyer advertising a Revival Meeting where he would be preaching

Mathis Chapel Baptist Church in Catawba, NC


(Left) September 1971 Church Homecoming - Sam Loftin Family
Billy Ray holding Eric, Curtis holding Crystal, Diane & Beverly, Willie, Sam & Billy

(Right) Mathis Chapel Women's Class - about 2000
Willie Loftin, Patsy Stallings, Joyce Sigmon, Elgevia Eggers, Helen Hovis, Judy Honeycutt


As Willie got older, she eventually had to give up driving and rode to Mathis Chapel Baptist Church on Sunday mornings with her sister Elgevia. As Gevia started to age, and as Willie's mobility declined, Willie started going to church with her son Curtis and his wife Carolyn. This was also the church where Curtis and Carolyn's daughter, Beth, and her family attended. Willie started attending Covenant Bible Church in Lincolnton in August/September 2012 to December 2016. Even though Covenant was a large church, with over 500 members, it was also a warm and welcoming church. Covenant members embraced and loved Willie and caused her to cherish her later church years.

Covenant Bible Church, Lincolnton, NC

(Left) Willie, March 2014; (Middle) Willie & Curtis after church, Dec 2015;
(Right) Covenant Church Directory photo, 2015


Willie loved church, loved to read her Bible from start to finish over and over, loved to pray (especially for her family) and loved to read Christian Romance novels. She may have only had an 8th grade education but she was smart-as-a-whip. She read through most of Carolyn Loftin's large paperback collection of Christian romance novels. About 2014, Willie started having more problems with rheumatism in her hands. This didn't affect her ability to ready the Bible because she didn't have to hold it and once it was opened, it easily stated on the page where she was reading. Reading paperback books, however, had become very difficult for her. Curtis and Carolyn finally gave her a Kindle and she was able to read her Christian Romances as well as her Bible as much as she wanted to.


In 2015, aged 89 and still living by herself, Willie started falling. She had a "Lifeline" necklace and Curtis & Carolyn lived next door, so at first the problem didn't seem so severe. By 2016, however, and at the age of 90, the number of falls increased significantly. She had 6 falls from January to May. She broke two ribs, several sets of "black eyes", and had numerous other bruises and cuts from the various falls. While at her doctor's office, Curtis requested physical therapy for Willie and that seemed to help from June to September. In October, Willie started falling again - having 4 falls in October through early November. It was at that time that Willie, decided that it was time for her to move to a Nursing Facility. Curtis & Carolyn chose Cardinal Healthcare in Lincolnton because it was close to Covenant Bible Church and they knew she's get visits from the church pastors and friends.


Willie had prayed that she'd be able to go to church for as long as she lived. Unfortunately, that was not to be. After she moved into Cardinal, her mobility continued to decline. Curtis and Carolyn would pick her up on warm Sunday mornings and take her with them to Covenant for as long as she was able to do so.


As a result of not using her legs (using only her wheelchair at Cardinal), Willie eventually loss the use of her legs - making it impossible for Curtis & Carolyn to take her to church or even bring her home with them.


At Cardinal, she continued to read her Bible and pray - making the most out of her final years. Willie passed away on Tuesday afternoon, 06 Feb 2018, at 1:13 p.m., as a patient at Carolina Health Care Hospital in Lincolnton, NC, as she slept. She was buried beside of Sam on Friday, 09 Feb 2018, at Mathis Chapel Baptist Church.


Sam and Willie's burial site in the church cemetery


Thanks to the following people for sharing information with me for our Stories Of Faith page:


Jeannie Stewart Clark, Paul Allen Loftin, Curtis Dean Loftin