Today's post was written by Aubrey Johnston, Brook Hills' Small Groups Ministry Assistant, and is part of "Meet the Generations at Brook Hills", BH Women's summer blog series.
When sharing your testimony, it becomes so easy to share about the trials and the big victories, but we often leave out the mundane grace that truly transforms our heart. Donna Kendrick did not give me one of those testimonies though. Her story is packed full of the big moments but also the small victories in Christ- the mission opportunities, the blessings of have grandchildren, and the gift of a sweet and leading husband who walks so faithfully along side her. For this reason, I want to share with you some of these small victories of Donna’s life, so you can also feel the warmth of Jesus that comes from her heart.
Donna Kendrick, 70 years old, has been attending Brook Hills since 1999. She grew up in Mobile, Alabama, and attended Spring Hill Baptist Church. From a young age, Donna and her brother were dropped off on Sunday mornings by their father and picked up at the end of service. As a young girl, Donna understood her need for a Savior, though she was unaware of the depth and power of salvation. When she went away for college, she was quickly surrounded by women who knew and feared the Lord. Their families were places of refuge and learning about Jesus, and Donna grew tremendously. She was set up on a blind date with a man named Wayne Kendrick during her college years and married him shortly after graduation.
After Wayne finished his degree at Samford University, the couple moved to Hueytown, Alabama, and settled in. They began attending Pleasant Ridge Baptist Church, Donna was a teacher, and Wayne, an athletic trainer. Donna expressed her love for how involved and surrounded they were with love at Pleasant Ridge Baptist, where she taught Sunday school, watched her children grow up, and forged friendships that thrive even today.
When the eldest of her two sons, Dale, started attending Samford, he invited his parents to join him on Friday nights at a church called Brook Hills. Donna explained, “Brook Hills was like a shot of revival each week. Coming from a more traditional church, I had learned to hide my emotions in worship. At Brook Hills, I learned about freedom in worship, for I know that no matter what hymn we sing- it is God’s truth.”
Wayne and Donna began attending this Friday night service each week, making the long drive, and continuing to grow through the teaching at Brook Hills. One Sunday, the pastor at Brook Hills gave a sermon on tithing and on the importance of trusting Christ through a giving spirit. “It rocked my world,” Donna exclaimed, for she realized how she had not been trusting God because they were not tithing where they were being spiritually fed. Feeling this deep conviction, Donna and her husband finished out the giving season at Pleasant Ridge and moved their membership to The Church at Brook Hills.
Throughout her life, Donna has created a resume of wonderful serving opportunities, but it’s not the amount that seemed to matter to Donna at all. What mattered is the character of God that was revealed to her through those organizations and mission trips. She loved sharing the details of each trip and the lessons she continued to learn as she stepped out of her comfort zone into the unknown. From being a Billy Graham Association Chaplain to assisting in Discovery Classes to being a vital part of small group life at Brook Hills, the Kendricks, like many other couples their age, form an influential and needed part of our church body.
When I asked Donna what nugget of wisdom she would want to leave behind, she said, “Love God’s Word. There is so much to know about God, so we must continue to learn and grow.” This simple idea flows out of each word Donna says. She is a woman who searches for God in the small moments and reminds each of us to remember His holiness in all things.
As women at Brook Hills, we must search for leaders like Donna, who pave the way in grace and love as a woman of true character. If you see Donna anytime soon, give her a hug and a smile, and then expect the same in return.