Clarence & Peggy Ledford
Clarence and Peggy Ledford have walked with the Lord for decades and served as overseas missionaries for much of that time. Over those years they've experienced many challenges, seeing God's faithfulness as promised in Romans 8:28, that “God causes all things to work together for good, for those who love God and are the called according to his purpose.”
But in 2020, the unexpected death of one family member and the incapacitation of another tested their faith in a new way. Clarence and Peggy had been planning for some time to have Peggy's sister, Lois, move in with them along with her husband, Grant, as Lois' and Grant's abilities declined with advancing age. Some years ago Clarence and Peggy had purchased their home in Mars Hill with this in mind, establishing a separate living quarters for Grant and Lois within their home.
Finally the time came for Grant and Lois to move in with the Ledford's, and Peggy asked her GracePoint small group to keep her and Clarence in prayer over the matter, that the Lord would superintend a smooth transition.
But God allowed a series of events that tested and grew Peggy's and Clarence's faith in ways beyond the experiences they had as missionaries.
First it became clear that the older couple had become unable to negotiate the path to their new apartment. A handicap ramp had to be constructed on very short notice.
As Grant and Lois were completing their move-in, Grant suddenly took ill and passed away. Lois, who had already been diagnosed with early stages of Alzheimer's, moved more sharply into that world of shadows.
Peggy and Clarence decided to provide long-term care for Lois within their home, but the demands quickly became a crushing burden to the Ledford household. After much prayer, the difficult decision was made to place her sister, Lois, in a facility set up to handle people in end-of-life situations such as hers. A place in Burnsville was found for Lois, and a smooth transition was made.
A mountain of “loose ends” had to be dealt with. Peggy had to gain official recognition as Lois' legal guardian, and oversee the sale of her sister's home--including disposal of its contents and pre-sale cleaning.
In reflecting on these events, Clarence noted, “Through it all, I could see our small group faithfully carrying out all the elements included in Acts 2:42. They demonstrated the Apostle's teaching of showing love for the brethren by providing us with prayers, with encouragement, and in tangible ways.”
“Our group provided us with numerous meals so we didn't have to cook,” Peggy added. “Jane Wallin even brought us dinner the night before she and her husband, Freddie, were to board a plane so Jane could continue her cancer treatments in Mexico. I told Jane, 'I should be providing you with dinner, not you for me!'”
Clarence continued, “When a member of our small group heard about our need for a handicap ramp, he came to our home and personally built an ADA-qualified ramp, providing also all the materials and covering the cost! And we had small group members come to help us clear out and clean up Lois' home in Burnsville before we could put it on the market.”
“There were many times I was at the very end of myself, both emotionally and physically,” Lois added. “What carried me through was the strength the Lord gave me through the fellowship, prayers and encouragement freely given to me by our small group family.”