HUNTINGDON, Tenn. (BP) -- "I believe God has me right here in Huntingdon, Tenn., because He has a purpose for me here," Marge Tucker says. "He's never let me be without something special to do."
Although Tucker's involvement in both church and community runs deep, for more than 40 years she has focused her time and teaching on the young people of First Baptist Church, specifically seventh- and eighth-grade girls.
When Tucker talks about young people, her tone is earnest. "There are a lot more things out there for them to be involved with than when I first started working with them. But I still think all they need is loving, someone to share with, and somebody to help direct their lives."
Teaching the Bible is central in her relationship with her classes. Although there are many good resources available, she says teaching from the Bible is most important. "I want them to know how important God's Word is. They can't find His will if they don't stay in His Word."
Tucker emphasized her thoughts by quoting Proverbs 3:5-6: "Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge him, and he will direct your paths."
Remembering the influence of a teacher in her own life, Tucker mentions growing up in the west Tennessee area of Cedar Grove. She attended high school in Trezevant, where one teacher made a lasting impression. "She never talked about going to church, but she talked about things that let me know how much she loved God and how much she loved us."
"All my life, from the time I can remember, I wanted to teach in school, but I didn't have the means to do so," Tucker says. "I believe God opened up the opportunity to teach in church to fulfill that desire in my life."
Fred Ward, pastor of First Baptist Church in Huntingdon, says of Tucker, "She has set a godly example throughout the church community, the business community and in her family life." Ward adds, "The countless lives she has touched for His Kingdom is immeasurable. "
A central theme in Tucker's life and teaching is missions. "I believe missions is important because that's our purpose for being here. We are to share Jesus Christ, starting with our neighbors, extending to our community, and then, if God call us, to go around the world." Missions, she says, is "how we tell about Jesus. That's what we're supposed to do every day."
When Tucker talks about the seventh-grade girls' Sunday School class she currently is teaching, her words are full of excitement and hope, "God may be beginning to speak to them about what they're going to do with the rest of their lives. We talk about this a lot, and there is a possibility that God may want to use them somewhere in missions."
Jimmy Furr, director of missions for the Carroll-Benton Baptist Association, says, "Throughout the years I've known Marge, she has always promoted missions in her church and throughout our association." Furr describes Tucker as "a unique person with an amazing capacity to love and encourage people, and that translates through her love for the Lord Jesus."
At this time of the year, Tucker emphasizes in her classes the importance of the Lottie Moon Christmas Offering. She explains how the offering is used to help share Jesus Christ around the world, and that this is a way they can be involved.
"If we could love like Lottie Moon loved," she says of the famed missionary to China, "and want to share Christ as much as she did with the rest of the world, no one would need to ask us to give to Lottie Moon, we would want to give.
"Missions means we go not just around the world, but right here in Huntingdon, Tenn. Every day we will meet someone that needs to be told the story of Jesus Christ."
Jim Veneman is a freelance photographer in Jackson, Tenn., and president of the Baptist Communicators Association who formerly served as director of visual communication and assistant professor at Union University in Jackson, Tenn.