Group Publishing
Subscribe Button

Heart Matters: Our Mr. Trump

There's a gentleman in our congregation who's had a huge influence on the children and young parents of our church. Each Sunday Bill Trump is there, impeccably dressed in a suit and tie, ready to serve as a greeter and usher. Mr. Trump is a model of dignity and compassion, and he's served our church as an elder, an usher, a greeter, and most important, a friend to the children in our small church.

Mr. Trump greets church members and newcomers with genuine warmth -- handshakes, hugs, and kind words -- and with his signature gift of love that comes in the form of Tootsie Roll candies. All the children -- and many adults -- receive a Tootsie Roll from Mr. Trump on their way to worship. His pockets seem to hold an unending supply of the delicious candies. Mr. Trump and Tootsie Rolls go hand in hand.

Our Mr. Trump could never be confused with billionaire Donald Trump, but our Mr. Trump is wealthy in a different way. His gentle spirit, kind acts, and uplifting words are a testament to his great faith. Mr. Trump is a beacon to others because of the way he exhibits his love for God every day.

Mr. Trump's faith has been most evident during the harshest trials of his life. He fought off throat cancer, only to lose his wife of more than 50 years to cancer last year. Though the battle was long and painful, Mr. Trump tirelessly cared for his beloved Vivian throughout her illness. He endured great personal strain, but Mr. Trump rarely missed a Sunday service. That one hour each Sunday was the only time he left his wife's side. And he smiled through his pain. Still he handed out Tootsie Rolls, hugs, and handshakes to all the children -- young and old.

Eventually Mr. Trump's wife died, and he was grief-stricken. In his despair, he contemplated leaving our congregation to attend another church. Sundays without Mr. Trump were unimaginable. We were desperate to show him how much he meant to our children and our church, so we decided to play a loving practical joke on Mr. Trump to show him how much he meant to us. We called it Operation Trump. I left a giant bag of Tootsie Rolls in the church mailbox before the service. The older kids gave handfuls of candy to the younger children and the congregation members.

Mr. Trump arrived and took his usual position to greet people. To his surprise, everyone he greeted gave him a Tootsie Roll before he could give out his usual gift. It didn't take Mr. Trump long to see that we were up to something, and soon his eyes were gleaming.

The children had so much fun turning the tables on their lovable friend -- ministering to him in the way he had loved and befriended them for so long. Mr. Trump received Tootsie Rolls that day until his pockets overflowed. And he knew without a doubt how much the children -- and all of us -- love and appreciate him.

Despite his personal hardship and loss, Mr. Trump continues to be an example of perseverance and strength to the children who flock around him each Sunday. He's remained steadfast in his mission to serve our church family. And more than any gift of Tootsie Rolls or kind words, Mr. Trump's greatest gift is his example to all of us about how to live out our faith. Our Mr. Trump, who gives so generously from the heart, is one of the most important children's "ministers" our church has ever known.

Janine Congi is a children's minister in North Tonawanda, New York.

  • Page 1
Print Article Print Article Blog network
Copyright © 2014 by Group Publishing, Inc.