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‘Do whatever He tells you’

By Tonya S. Swindell

My first meaningful interaction with Suffolk News-Herald Editor Res Spears was in April 2015, when I submitted an article for publication. Through subsequent emails, we exchanged ideas that mainly focused on practical ways to improve the content and structure of my writing. Over time, he and I developed a very professional rapport.

I appreciated the humble yet precise way in which Res answered questions about how to positively impact others through my writing. And as a result of his willingness to share his expertise, I slowly developed greater awareness of my personal style.

Almost two years after we began emailing, I stopped by the newspaper office hoping to meet Res. He didn’t know I was coming, but thankfully he was at work that day. Our meeting seemed relaxed and familiar as he invited me to sit and chat for a few minutes before his next appointment.

I shared about my career as an occupational therapist and my aspirations of becoming a better writer. He told me about his satisfying missions trips to Haiti, the story of how he became editor of Suffolk News-Herald and of a spiritual awakening he had experienced while operating his riding lawnmower one day.

Res’ personal story of redemption showed me how God can change a man’s heart and then launch him on a pathway to a divine calling.

After reading about Res’ planned departure from Suffolk News-Herald, I sent him an email including the following words: “My friend referenced the story of Jesus turning water into wine (John 2:1-11), which I believe signified the start of Jesus’ public ministry. In particular, the part emphasized to me was when Mary told the servants to ‘Do whatever he tells you.’ To me, positive results of that first miracle indicated the servants followed through with Mary’s directive!”

“My friend pointed out the need for me to do the same. And I’m glad you’re taking steps to follow what you believe God is calling you to do. Your actions set a practical example for me and others to follow as we endeavor to hear, listen to and obey the voice of God speaking into our lives. May all of us choosing to follow Him, do whatever He tells us!”

I wish Res Spears the best, and I thank him for giving the Suffolk community stories of hope, life and courage that will last a lifetime.

Tonya Swindell writes a blog for www.inspirenewlife.org and a teacher for Kingdom Building Equipping School (KBES.com). She can be reached at 1brightot@gmail.com.