It’s easy to love Gwen Eiland. At age 97, Gwen’s steps are a bit slower, but her mind is sharp and her heart is big.
She and Clarence married in 1941 while he was a young seminary student and she was a member of one of the churches he pastored.
“Our first full-time church was at Pleasant Hill, Louisiana. That was a good start; we felt like we were really progressing.
“We were paid $25 a week, we had no insurance, the church didn’t pay any retirement, and it was just that little salary that we had for the week,” Gwen recalls. “There was nothing provided for the future.”
Clarence and Gwen eventually moved on from Pleasant Hill, raising two daughters while starting and serving churches in Florida, North Carolina and Pennsylvania.
“When we left our last church, we knew that we really didn’t have a full retirement, so we had to do something,” Gwen says. “I had a cousin who was an interior decorator, and she said we could come work for her. That was our life for several years.”
Clarence died in 1986. Gwen says, “I lived on his Social Security, and, fortunately, the Lord had let us buy a home through some friends while we were working. We had sold that home, and I had a little savings left to live on.”
Eventually, her savings ran out, and Gwen was faced with expenses she couldn’t pay. That’s when her pastor, Jimmy Dobson, introduced her to Mission:Dignity.
“He came to visit one day and told me about this program. He asked if I would mind if he turned my name in. I said, ‘Of course not.’”
Gwen’s first check from Mission:Dignity arrived in January 1998, and she has been receiving monthly assistance from the ministry ever since.
“When we get old, God looks after us and takes care of us and not just in the big things. It’s also in the small ways that we don’t always realize. Mission:Dignity has helped me with my living expenses, my medicine and it helps pay my taxes every year. I’m especially thankful to all the people and churches who contribute to this program,” Gwen says. “Knowing they are giving and praying for me, I love them.”