Raymond and Rosemary Robbins are a precious couple highly involved with our Columbia campus. Growing up, they each had very unique experiences within church. For Raymond, one of the main things he remembers is when his Sunday school teacher tragically took her own life. One can only imagine the kinds of questions this would cause to rise up in a young child. Rosemary lovingly remembers her Sunday school teacher as well, but one of her main memories of church was riding in the back of their pick-up truck to get there. Even on days when it was pouring down rain, that did not stop Rosemary’s family from getting to church functions. She talked about how a lady who lived across the street from the church would take them in and dry them off before service started.
Although both Raymond and Rosemary were introduced to church and saved at a very young age, they had no idea at that time how important their faith and reliance on God would become later on. Raymond recalls growing very distant from God throughout his teenage to adult years, while Rosemary remembers feeling the most distant from God after her mother passed away. She and Raymond, being married at this time, were not prepared for the drastic life change that happened so quickly for the both of them. They had to adjust to the new normal of Rosemary being basically a full-time caregiver to both her father and handicapped sister. This caused Rosemary to miss out on a lot of events and memories with her own family, and she could not help but ask God why things had to be this way.
Luckily, after many years of neglecting God, Raymond had the radio on while he was hard at work. He had been feeling a nudge from the Holy Spirit for a bit before this, but when American Family Radio played “Watch the Lamb” by Ray Boltz, he stopped running. When talking about this moment, he stated, “At that moment I felt the presence of the Lord, and all I could do was cry. Right then and there, I rededicated my life to God.”
Raymond and Rosemary learned about The Springs from Ginger Pierce, Columbia’s children’s minister. Ginger asked them to pray about visiting the Springs, and after a lot of thought and prayer, they figured they would give it a shot. In the past, they had a hard time finding their place in a church. They had tried a few different places, but could never find the perfect fit. Whether it was a church’s life group schedule that did not work for them due to prior obligations or just not being able to really dive in and get involved, they found themselves searching for a place to call home. After finally visiting The Springs, they asked about life groups, and were told they were on Wednesday nights in Sumrall. Unfortunately, this would not work for them either… Now, normally it would have been back to the drawing boards, but ONE WEEK after asking about groups, they were told we were beginning a life group on Sunday nights in COLUMBIA. Raymond said, “This is a perfect fit for us!” Even though they finally had a life group to try out, they still had their questions and reservations about The Springs. After discussing some of their questions and such between the two of them, they came to life group that next Sunday night, and Pastor Michael unknowingly answered nearly all of their questions! They knew right then and there it was confirmation from God that they were where they needed to be. When talking about how she knew they were where they needed to be, Rosemary stated, “Everything just fell into place for us to be able to get connected and serve according to our God-given gifts. We love The Springs and have been loved in return.” Their favorite thing about The Springs is that they were immediately involved and that we are a church that longs to see EVERY person come to know Jesus, regardless of who they are, where they come from, or where they are at in life.
Today, Raymond and Rosemary know they are walking in their purpose when they are serving and worshipping God together. Raymond is passionate about serving God the best he can for the current season he is in. He has a deep understanding of how seasons change, and he knows that sometimes those changes call for certain gifts to be used more than others. Rosemary has a nurturing spirit, and has used that gift both in her family and our church. She cannot imagine doing anything other than being a caregiver to people who are hurting. When asked what they would tell someone when asked why they are believers, Raymond said he would tell them about all of the experiences he has had where he without a doubt knows he has been in the presence of the Lord, while Rosemary could not help but talk about God’s never-ending love and grace that has completely changed her life. She wants everyone to know that same unconditional love. We are SO thankful for the joy, love, and servant mindset Raymond and Rosemary add to our church! We have no idea what we would do without them, and we absolutely cannot wait to see how God uses them in the future!
We love you Raymond and Rosemary!