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Heroes of generosity don't always have big bank accounts. For years, John Pierson drove a milk route and worked long hours. But he and his wife, Orlene, found time and energy to maintain their church facilities, call on those who were sick and homebound, and make a bold lead pledge in the capital campaign to build a new church facility.
It is as if the spirit of generosity was ingrained in the Piersons. One holiday morning their pastor, after bringing his wife home from the hospital to recuperate after major surgery, found John and Orlene waiting at his home with dinner. What a moving and appropriate gift of love for that clergy family!
John and Orlene made a difference in advancing God's Kingdom. In the later stages of their lives, in an assisted living facility, John tenderly cared for his wife while she was in the late stages of Alzheimer's disease.
Not long after Orlene died, John, now 95 years old, was playing his violin, sharing beautiful music with other senior adults. As he concluded the last chorus of "To God Be the Glory," where the lyrics state: "O come to the Father, thro' Jesus, the Son," John slumped over from a heart attack and died. One of his caregivers, who often tried to keep up with John on his afternoon strolls, said, "This was John's good-bye party."
Through the Piersons' charitable trust and charitable gift annuities, the Church of the Nazarene Foundation was privileged to make significant distributions to the local church John and Orlene attended as well as to other Nazarene ministries that were near to the hearts of the Piersons.
Note: This is one of a series of articles for the "Modeling Generosity" column in Holiness Today in partnership with the Church of the Nazarene Foundation and other entities. Help inspire others to leave a lasting legacy by sending your stories, or the story of someone you know who lives generously, to firstname.lastname@example.org.