Today’s blog is a reprint of a story originally published in Pamlico News of North Carolina. Just think. This woman went from not being able to type to launching her own newsletter that helps connect and pray for people. Never let age be a factor in trying new things. As a wise woman once said, “It’s never too late – never too late to start over, never too late to be happy.” Enjoy!
A few years ago there was a popular television show, Touched by an Angel. Della Reese, who made fame with the Motown sound, played Tess. Tess helped angels touch people in need.
In the greater metropolitan section of Royal, NC, there is a real life Tess who uses an angel’s touch to comfort those in need. Royal is bounded by suburbs Aurora on the west and Hobucken on the east.
Though not a real native of Royal, (she moved there when she was nine) Tess Peele was raised in Royal and has lived there almost her entire life. Her father was a merchant in the town’s business district.
She married her husband soon after the beginning of the big one, WWII, did not follow him to sea, but was there to follow him when the war ended.
The couple returned to Royal in 1965 when he retired from the Navy. They raised four children and he worked for what was then Texas Gulf Sulfur, retired from there and worked for a while at FCX in Little Washington. During that time he was a deacon at their church, Dublin Grove Original Free Will Baptist, in the heart of Royal. Though he died a few years ago, he lived long enough to witness the work of his angel, Tess.
One doesn’t ask a woman how old she is, especially after she has passed 80 years. But age has never been a factor in her mission – despite the fact that Tess operates a high tech ministry. She did admit that she was in her seventies when she first touched a computer keyboard and is now 86.
About 14 years ago, Tess had a daughter living in New Mexico. Her daughter kept prodding her to get a computer so she could e-mail her daily and keep in touch.
Now Tess didn’t even type the way typing students were taught to type. Her passion had been being a good wife and mother, not adept in the use of electronic devices.
In the summer of 1998, the ice broke – or melted – when a granddaughter gave Tess her old computer when she upgraded to a newer model. She told the granddaughter, “I want to learn to receive an e-mail and write back. I don’t want to get into all that other stuff that people are doing in research on the Internet.”
With the hunt and peck method of speed typing, Tess learned to e-mail family members and keep up with them regularly. Soon family members began sharing with others and Tess began to receive requests about the latest daily happenings on the home front in Royal, from the society news to late breaking news in southeastern Beaufort County and northeastern Pamlico County.
Tess reported daily. She became a fast hunter and pecker on the keyboard.
Then it became obvious. As Tess pointed out family and friends in need of prayerful thoughts, the circle of relatives and friends began to grow on the receiving end of her daily e-mails.
And then, people started e-mailing her with names of people known to them that should be on the “prayer list.”
Soon, her daily e-mails took on structure. A daily devotion was added. And now, the list is up to about a hundred, a significant number from her church with news from and for the church members, but also with news to people as far away as Vacaville, California.
She has added a re-cap of the daily weather in and around Royal, passings and births, a reminder to pray for those serving the country in uniform, those needing to be reminded that there is hope for the faithful – all of this in addition to a re-cap of the day in Royal.
Tess is now on her second computer and has about mastered use of a laptop when she spends the night with her daughter, Joy, also a citizen of Royal. Joy and Penny Groome are on the staff of this e-newsletter/prayer list as back-up staff. The news must go out.
In essence, her daily e-mail is seen as combination prayer list/daily devotion as well as all the news that is news in Royal.
At the conclusion of an interview with her about this e-mail ministry, she admonished the reporter, “This is not about me. It’s about reaching out and connecting to other people. If one of my e-mails helps someone, that’s just a blessing to me. No, this isn’t about me. I have had help from a lot of partners.”
A partial sampling from a Miss Tess e-mail:
DEVOTIONAL THOUGHT: What does the word “hope” mean in the Bible? It doesn’t mean “maybe.” We may use it that way in modern English, but that’s not what the word “hope” means when used in Scripture …
Share the hope of eternal life in Jesus Christ with someone today. Maybe there’s someone at the hospital who needs a word of hope. Maybe it’s a member of your family!
Young couple who lost their home in a fire a few weeks ago now needs a home, preferably in Pamlico County.
Pray for many who feel they have no hope
For the Parson family as they will miss their Father and brother.
For Janet’s friend ‘s family whose Mom died.
ALWAYS PRAY FOR:
Our Military Men, Women and their Families
Our Nation, Leaders and upcoming Elections
Those feeling hopeless of various kinds throughout the day.
It should be noted that Miss Tess does not use the familiar social networking tools such as Facebook or Twitter. Miss Tess composes a letter to those on her e-mail list, definitely making it more personal. An additional advantage, the recipient receives a personal e-mail rather than having to go browse Facebook for some generic message.
Her minister, Earl Sadler, who also doubles as a teacher and men’s basketball coach at Pamlico County High School, has great praise for Tess.
“It’s just awesome. I can just call or e-mail Miss Tess about some news in the church that needs to get out, and the word gets out. And she also reaches people way beyond the church. Not to mention that beyond the news she sends out, her devotions help me slow down and think.
“When we collect necessary items for Vacation Bible School, she sends the word out and the contributions come in. If we have a clothing drive for needy children, we wind up getting donations from all over.
“For me, it’s like having a second minister. It was a calling from God for her to take on this role for the church. It is so heartening to me to see an elderly person embrace this task, especially using the new technology of the Internet age. Her work is a ministry.”
One can see why the municipality is called Royal. They have two ministers for one church, one, an elderly lady eager to learn new ways to reach out to people, one a basketball coach, recognizing the value of her help in his ministry.
When someone receives an e-mail from that corner of the world – an inspiring devotional thought, a re-cap of the weather, an activity report from the church, and a list of those in need of prayer and help – created by the hunting and pecking fingers of Miss Tess, they have received a message from someone with spiritual royalty living in Royal.
Written by Ben Casey, Pamlico News. Used by permission
Want to be on the email list? Email Tess here.