June 23, 2008Article by: Suzanne R. Holsomback
In the friendly town of Mertens, Texas, half way between Hillsboro and Corsicana, two George W. Truett Theological Seminary students minister with the congregants of First Baptist Church Mertens (FBCM). Robin and Lee Fox plugged into FBCM after arriving at Truett in the fall of 2007 after realizing that they needed a church, people, and a ministry into which they could pour their hearts and passions. FBCM is where the Foxes are today, but the journey to Texas, Waco, and Truett is a dynamic story of God's goodness and provision which the Foxes enjoy sharing.
Robin and Lee began their journey twenty-five years ago when they married and began life and ministry together in Pigeon Forge, Tennessee. When Robin was ten years old, she received her call to ministry. She says that it was not specific, but it was present in her heart and mind. She attended Carson-Newman College in hope of attaining a music degree in voice and piano, but the church she grew up in did not affirm her call to music ministry because she is a woman. She says, "that is what I really wanted to do, what I felt like I was supposed to do...I was really discouraged and thought I would just go do something else - and that was accounting."
In the mean time Robin and Lee met, married, and had their son, Justin, eleven months later. She earned her degree as a CPA from the University of Tennessee in Knoxville and worked as a private accountant for twenty years. In the last six and a half years of her CPA career, Robin lead worship in a contemporary church that is open and friendly to those "who have fallen through the cracks, the lost people, and hurting people...the type things for those that are down and out."
Lee served in the church as their pastor, preaching in jeans and flip flops, and ministering to people where they were everyday - the basketball court, baseball games, and the grocery store. His life journey returned Lee to school later in life, where he attended Carson-Newman and earned a degree in Religion and History. In his final year in college, Lee thought to himself, "I have my degree and now I'm going to go pastor a church and go from there." However, a professor recommended that he look at Truett Seminary in Waco, Texas. Lee says his reaction was a mixture of disbelief and skepticism, wondering what was between Austin and Dallas other than the Branch Davidians. Despite Robin and Lee's uncertainties, they came to Waco and attended a Truett Preview. They both realized Truett was a fit for them. They appreciated the teaching style, the seminar-style classes, the professors, and spiritual formation program. "And so, we began to pray," Lee says, "and we came down again after I graduated and spent a week here and hung out at Truett some, we scoured the area, we checked out everything, we prayed. We stayed at the motel and we prayed and we walked around and took pictures and we went back home. On the plane ride back we decided this is what we are going to do."
The Foxes uprooted 40 plus years of life in Tennessee, packed a trailer, said good-bye to their son and families and moved to Texas. Lee says that when "we got down here Robin didn't really know what she wanted to do." Robin says that she knew she wanted ministry they would do together, but they did not know what it was. They spend the summer praying and three weeks before school commenced in August, Robin felt lead to apply to seminary. A rush of applications and recommendations followed and Robin attended the first day of school as a seminarian.
Lee says that returning to school, attending seminary later in life, moving across the country, and figuring out a second career is doable. He says, "God is bigger than any of our situations that we can bring up in our mind, 'We can't do this because...' God always is the answer to the 'dot, dot, dot.' This is possible. No matter your age, your background, if God has called you to seminary and God has brought you to a place in your life where He feels like you need to be stretched and to grow, do something incredible for Him, then you need to take the step to do whatever it takes to fulfill that."
Robin and Lee enter their third semester this fall and continue to minister at First Baptist Church Mertens as well as acting as surrogate parents and friends to their fellow Truett students.