Wednesday, June 4, 2014
Gib & Wanda Welch
I was the director of Living Water for 5 1/2 years. When I became director, Gib Welch & Herman Mos became my two biggest supporters from day one. I overheard someone complaining when I brought a coffee pot into our chapel to serve our guests the first Friday...but I heard these two defend me that day. They both would come up alone on Wednesday mornings and get organized before the rest of the volunteers came up on Thursdays to bag groceries. They would sit down for a few minutes and drink a cup of coffee--and I started joining them for that cup of coffee. Soon, Herman began baking a loaf of banana nut bread and bringing it to go along with our coffee. (I didn't know for the longest that Herman was baking the bread. I'd tell him each week to thank Billie, his wife, for the bread!) It became such a special time. One day I realized that I had a wealth of wisdom sitting with me each Wednesday and I began picking their brains. I got input for that ministry. I asked life questions. And I fell in love with those guys. Herman went to be with the Lord several years ago. After that, lots of people joined us for our Wednesday morning breakfasts. It became my favorite morning of the week at Living Water--eating something, drinking some coffee--but most of all fellowshipping with some of my favorite people in the world.
Gib kept coming and helping at Living Water and still came for coffee on Wednesdays. Most of the time, he'd cut his time with us short so he could get home to take care of Wanda, his wife, who had back problems. But on days she was feeling well, she would come with him and join us for coffee. She had a wonderful sense of humor and used it to keep Gib in line. They were so great together. They celebrated 66 years of marriage this past fall. I always regretted the day I started keeping hours for individual volunteers at Living Water and turning them in to a volunteer base. I think when Gib began seeing how many hours he actually spent at Living Water, he decided it was time to back out and turn the reigns over to someone else. He felt like he needed to be home with Wanda and take care of her with her deteriorating health. Of course, we understood and blessed him. And I've never seen a leader like Gib--he was a servant leader who embraced every volunteer and helped them find their place at Living Water. He led with grace and love and he backed out the same way. I learned so much about leadership from him. Gib had been in leadership at Phillips 66 and even trained leaders. After getting to know him, I knew our church had missed out on having such a treasure in leadership. Gib always taught Sunday School, but never felt led to become an elder--but he's probably the truest elder-at-heart I've ever met.
When I decided to resign from Living Water, Gib & Wanda were the first people I told. I wanted to give them the same grace they'd always extended to me. They loved me well. After Andy & I moved to Groom, we would run into them at The Plaza in Borger when we'd go back there to eat and get to hug them and visit with them. Every time we saw them, Wanda would tell me, "We miss you so much!" The feeling was mutual.
Wanda finished her journey here on this earth today. She is celebrating a new body today in heaven!! I know God greeted her with the words, "Well done, my good and faithful servant! Enter into the joy of the Lord!" Gib had surgery this week and is in the hospital. I know he's grieving--over losing the love of his life of whom he took such diligent, wonderful care--and over not being there. Please pray for my friend. I love him deeply and I know he's hurting. Pray for his physical healing, too!