"We children were always given change to put in the offering plate during Sunday school, and Daddy would let us place greenbacks in the wooden offering plate when it came down our row during the service. In church, we learned about faraway places with exotic names — like Imokolee, Florida, where missionaries from our own congregation were helping migrant workers, and Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, where they were teaching blind boys how to survive.

"Kindness and empathy were other highly valued traits in our family and community. When babies were small, they were major celebrities at church, family reunions, and other social events. Young children were taught to pat the baby and to be gentle. "Ah-ah" was one of the first words most babies spoke as they patted a soft toy or another little body. In church especially, everyone was safe because a child in need was everyone's problem to solve, not only the parents' responsibility. If I encountered any type of difficulty, I could trust anyone in our church to help me. If I saw a "plain person" in a long dress or wearing a bonnet or a "plain suit" on the street, I would never have hesitated to ask for a ride, for information, or even for money. All though my childhood, I was being trained to be that same kind of beacon of kindness for others."