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Meet Our Members: Diane Patrum

This time we have the privilege of sharing with you what one of our newest members shared with the church as she joined! Take a look!

I was born in North Wilkesboro, NC and graduated from Wilkes Central High School.  In early 1965, I married my best friend who lived across the street from me.  I jokingly tell folks that I knew Jimmie all my life and married him anyway.  We had one son born in North Wilkesboro and later moved to Charlotte where our daughter was born.  We have been blessed with seven grandchildren.  I worked as an accountant for many years.  Once our children were almost grown, we bought land in Iredell County and proceeded to cut timber from a neighbor's property to build an 18th century style log house using old tools and methods of construction.  It was a labor of love and backaches.  We also moved and restored an old farmhouse built on the property around 1890 which we connected to the log house we built.  We moved to Statesville in the early 1990s and have lived here ever since.  Even Jimmie's shop where he built custom cars and restored antique cars is a big log and timber frame building that we moved and reconstructed.  We had dreams of restoring another house found on the property that was built around 1810.  Jimmie formed his own business in 1972 and was able to continue building custom cars and restoring antique cars until August of this year when he tragically died after a car jack failed, pinning him under the car and causing his immediate death.

My home church was First Baptist Church in North Wilkesboro where I was baptized around the age of twelve.  I don't remember exactly when I came to know Jesus as my Savior.  I believe I was greatly influenced by my father who was a deacon in our church and our pastor, Dr. Weyland.  Some of my fondest memories are of walking to church each Sunday morning with my mom and dad and younger brother.  I was active in BTU and choir.  Of course, there was Bible School in the summer to look forward to attending.  Church life was a big part of my family, as well as for Jimmie and his family.  His mother made our choir robes, as I recall.

Jimmie and I grew away from church life when we moved to Charlotte and I have regretted that very much.  I was first introduced to WABC indirectly thorough Andy White's recommendation of Griefshare after Jimmie died.  Pretty big church for a small town girl.  The first night of Griefshare, I walked into the back door to a flurry of people going this way and that on a Wednesday night.  Armed with only the room number, I was already nervous about attending Griefshare and I surely did not know exactly which way to go.  A gentlemen in the hall stopped when he noticed that I looked lost.  He kindly walked with me to the Griefshare room where I was met by Kyle Tucker and Kathy McClelland.  Truly their compassion and caring at a moment when the tears were just starting to flow was so comforting.  Their welcome smiles and hugs have continued to this day and I highly recommend Griefshare to anyone who needs or wants to come.

After having attended Griefshare several Wednesdays, I remembered that Andy and Jennifer White had encouraged Jimmie and me to visit WABC.  My heart was feeling the need to belong again to a church family.  One of the people in Griefshare also invited me to sit with her family and be a "back row Baptist" like them.  So I worked up my courage one Sunday morning, drove over to the church and sat for a few minutes watching people setting up a tent outside.  I prayed that God would give me the strength to actually go into the Church.  I finally got out of the car and walked up to the sidewalk.  I was met by a lady who came up to me and with the very biggest smile said, "Welcome - we're glad to have you here today".  How beautiful that was to me.  She opened the door and led me inside where I was met by a gentleman who again smiled and welcomed me to the church.  He even led me to the place in the sanctuary where my friends from Griefshare usually sit.  So that's how it began for me to find a place in my heart for WABC.  I tell you the truth:  without exception, every single person I have met at WABC has been warm and kind to me, from the lady on the sidewalk to Jeff Spry and a lot of other folks mixed in.  Sunday School folks are equally welcoming.  

I prayed and prayed that God would help me find a place that I could be nurtured and learn to nurture others in the way I need and God wants.  God has answered my prayers and after meeting with Jeff, I decided that WABC is just the place where I am meant to be.  My life has been shattered by Jimmie's death, but it is being put back together with the help of the loving and warm people at WABC. I volunteered at the recent blood drive and had a chance to see first hand how the church membership gives back to the community.  Even couples gave blood together.  I met Martha Cash and she invited me to help out with food for the upcoming four performances of “It's Christmas!”  Another opportunity for me to become more involved with this big church with big love for everyone.  There are so many opportunities for hearing and learning about God's Word at WABC and I thank everyone for allowing me to join in all of that.  I haven't been excited about very much since Jimmie died, but I am beginning to be excited at becoming a member of WABC and welcoming others to my church family.

Posted by Greg Mathews at 10:00 AM