Davis’ ‘place of service’ lies with the littlest children

Published 12:00 am Friday, November 23, 2001

Features Editor

Some children rumble and tumble, whine and cry from "the terrible twos" right into the "threes" and are no better for it.

Many people just can’t take big doses of little children, but Ona Myrle Davis is not like most people.

Sign up for our daily email newsletter

Get the latest news sent to your inbox

She loves and adores little children and she has all the patience in the world when it comes to working with them. So much so, that she’s stuck with them and by them for 50 years.

Mrs. Davis was recently recognized for 50 years of service as a Sunday school teacher at First Baptist Church of Troy.

Fifty years is a long time to do any one thing, however, what made that recognition even more astounding, and appreciated, was that Mrs. Davis has been teaching 3-year-olds for all that time.

"I’ve enjoyed every minute of those 50 years and I’ve loved every child I’ve taught," she said. "I do love children and it’s important that they learn at, an early age, that God loves them most of all."

Teaching young children has never been a bother to Mrs. Davis rather "always a pleasure."

There’s just something about having a child at your knee that brings God close to you, Mrs. Davis said.

"You can see God’s love in the eyes of little children."

And, you can see His love in those who serve him.

"My place of service was

with little children," Mrs. Davis said. "And, it still is, but, at 82, I can’t do as much as I used to. I wish I could though."

Mrs. Davis can’t remember the church not being a part of her life.

Her family moved from Shellhorn to Ansley when she was 7-years-old and her first memories of being in church was at Ansley.

"There was a Baptist church and Methodist church right across the road and we went to both of them," Mrs. Davis said. "Most everybody in the community went to both. Each church had bimonthly services and, if you went to both churches, you could go to church every Sunday."

As far as Mrs. Davis could tell, there was little difference between the denominations other than the "way you were baptized."

"Believing in the Lord and doing His will was what both churches were about," she said.

The reason Mrs. Davis was baptized a Baptist, probably, had more to do with following her parents in their church than anything else.

"I remember my baptism well because that was a very important day in my life," she said. "We had a pastor, who was like family, and he had talked to me a lot about committing my life to the Lord. I knew that’s what I wanted to do and I knew it was time to do it."

Mrs. Davis was baptized in a pond near Ansley when she was 13-years-old and her relationship with her Lord has grown stronger every day and she has never wavered in her commitment.

Years later, two of her children were in the age-range of the terrible twos, when a "knock" came at Mrs. Davis’ door.

The knock was an opportunity to teach the 3-year-old Sunday school class at First Baptist Church of Troy, which Mrs. Davis and her family attended.

She agreed, but had no idea

she was agreeing to 50 years of service in that same capacity.

But, even had she known, would she have still said, yes.

"I believe God puts you where He wants you and that is where He wanted me," she said. "Teaching young children is a challenge, but it is so important. I have been blessed by it. My parents always went with me to church and I always went with my children. I wanted them to know that going to church and learning how God wants us to live was important to me. I like to see parents with their children in church. That’s the way God intends for it to be."

Mrs. Davis has lived her life in a way she hopes is pleasing to God and a witness to others.

The little children she has led have all been a blessing and inspiration to her.

On Thanksgiving Day, Mrs. Davis said she had much for which to be thankful – her family, her

friends, her health and the freedoms that come with being an American, especially the freedom to worship. And, not least of all, she’s thankful for the

little children who have come unto her for 50 years.

"I have been richly blessed by children" she said. "Those I have taught, my own children, grandchildren and now great-grandchildren."