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My earliest memories of hearing the gospel of Jesus Christ are closely connected with the love and faithfulness of my mother. I now recognize what a blessed providence it was to grow up in a Christian home in which my father and mother believed the good news of the gospel. Moreover, they were deeply invested in the life of the church.
Years before I could read, my mother, Pansye Elizabeth Pierson Dockery, read Bible stories to me and helped me memorize verses from the King James Version of the Bible. She was to me what Lois and Eunice were to young Timothy (2 Tim. 1:5).
Home - Side - Birmingham - Alabama - Neither
I grew up in a working-class home on the western side of Birmingham, Alabama. Neither of my parents attended college, nor did their parents. My father taught me the importance of hard work. He worked long hours, six days each week. Still, we were always in church every Sunday. In fact, my name was on the cradle roll before I was even born. Sundays in our Southern Baptist home included Sunday school, morning worship, afternoon choir practice, Bible drills, Training Union, less formal church services in the evening, and then an after-church fellowship. Sundays were extremely busy days. And it didn’t stop there. Wednesdays included church suppers, prayer meetings, teachers and officers meeting, Sunbeams, Royal Ambassadors, Girls Auxiliary, committee meetings, and choir practice.
During the week, there were other church activities, sandwiched wherever they could be placed on the calendar. In so many ways, it was exhausting growing up as a Southern Baptist. My mother helped to shepherd me through these numerous activities, encouraging me to be properly prepared for each one. She made sure I read my Bible each day and studied my Sunday school lesson each week.
When I turned 9 years old, I was given a...
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