Ora Lindberg was born in 1915 in Bosque, Texas. After the death of her first husband, Ora married George Black in 1938. In addition to gaining a husband, Ora gained a son, George, from her husband’s previous marriage. She adored young George and loved him as though he were her own. Together George and Ora had a daughter, Joy Black, in 1939. George and Ora raised Joy and her brother, George, in the church of Christ. Joy spent most of her early years in Texas and in 1960, she married Joseph Breu. In 1961, Joseph and Joy welcomed a daughter, Brenda and four years later, a son, Joseph Jr.
Joseph had been raised Catholic, and the church of Christ near where he and Joy lived in Minnesota had a piano. Thus, Joseph and Joy did not attend the church on a regular basis. Just a few years into their marriage, Joseph was diagnosed with colon cancer. While in the hospital, a horse trough was brought in, and Joseph was baptized.
Then in December 1965, just a few days before Christmas, Joseph died from colon cancer, leaving Joy with a four year old and a six month old. Over the course of the next three years, Joy met and married a man by the name of Howard McDonald. He was a wonderful man who loved Joy and her two children as though they were his own. Howard and Joy soon welcomed two more daughters, Gina and Linda, into their family.
During the early years of their courtship and marriage, Howard and Joy did not attend church. In 1977, a neighbor of Howard and Joy’s, who was a member of the Maryville Church of Christ, asked for Howard’s permission to pick the two youngest daughters up on the church bus and bring them to worship services at the Maryville congregation. Howard agreed, stating they could go, but he would never go to church. The two girls began regularly attending the Maryville congregation. Within a few months, the entire family was attending services, including Howard and Joy’s eldest daughter, Brenda and her boyfriend, Terry Rush. Soon, Howard, Brenda, and Terry were all baptized on the same night.
Brenda later married Terry in October of 1983. Together they had two daughters, Rachel in 1987, and Laura in 1995. Howard and Joy still faithfully attend the Maryville Church of Christ where Howard is lovingly known as “The Candy Man” who stands at the front door every Sunday morning and greets everyone with a smile and a handful of candy. Howard and Joy worship at Maryville with their three daughters and their families. Two of their sons-in-law are deacons at the Maryville congregation. Howard and Joy’s son attends the Karns Church of Christ with his wife and two daughters in Knoxville, Tennessee. All four of Howard and Joy’s children and their spouses are faithful members of the church, as well as all nine of their grandchildren. Their four oldest grandchildren all attended Freed-Hardeman University and that is where I, Rachel (Rush) Foster, their oldest grandchild, met my husband.
If it had not been for my great grandparents, George & Ora, raising my grandmother in the church, so that even when she fell away for a period in her life, she knew exactly where to return. If it had not been for my grandparents’ neighbor asking to take my aunts to worship on the church bus. If it had not been for the Maryville Church of Christ and their bus ministry and my grandparents’ willingness to let their children attend. If it had not been for my parents, who raised me in the church, always making sure I was present each and every time the doors were open. If it had not been for my choice to attend a church of Christ university. If it had not been for me meeting that tall youth ministry major from Baton Rouge, Louisiana. It is in all of these events that God has shaped my life and lives of my entire family. This is my story… but it’s only the beginning