By Grace Hartsell, 2023 Summer Intern
Anne Alewine and Libby Thruston have spent their lives at Taylors First Baptist Church. The two sisters lived right down the street with their family, and they remember walking to church. Their parents, grandparents, aunts, and uncles were members at Taylors. Their mother taught kindergarten, and their father taught Sunday School. As Libby puts it, “I was here before I was here.”
As they got older, they were heavily involved in primary choir, GAs, Sunday School, and youth choir. Anne and Libby were baptized in the 1922 sanctuary, now the chapel. As young adults, the sisters began serving Wednesday night supper, which they still do today.
They recall always being taught to live on mission for Christ. Libby worked at the Taylors Lumber Company for 25 years. However, she says that Fork Shoals was her mission field, where she taught for 13 years after the Taylors Lumber Company.
Anne worked for two years at Taylors First Baptist Church Kindergarten, teaching three and four-year-olds five days a week. After that, she worked at a Title I school for the rest of her career. During her years teaching, Anne remembers talking to her mother about needing a break. After her mother reminded her that the school is her mission field, Anne remembers replying, “Even missionaries get a furlough!”
Through their years working jobs, Anne and Libby never desired to leave Taylors in search of another church. Their family belonged at Taylors; the stained glass window in the Worship Center of Jesus knocking at the door is in honor of their great-grandfather. Anne remarks that even though they are the only members of their family left at Taylors, they are still “holding down the fort for the Alewines.”
When asked about a time that challenged their faith, both Anne and Libby recounted the tragedy of losing their cousin, his wife, four of his six children, and one foreign exchange student staying with the family in a car accident. Anne was at Edisto Island at the time, serving with a team. Libby became the spokesperson for the family. Anne was angry with God at first, but then she cried out to Him, saying, “Jesus, you’re going to have to pray for me. I don’t have the words.”
Through this experience and others, they have both learned to rely on the Lord more. “Jesus is our mediator,” Anne says. “He knows the words we need to say even when we can’t speak.” Looking back, they can see that God had them in the right place at the right time. They praise God for working and carrying them through, even when they couldn’t see it at the time.
Libby has two favorite verses. Psalm 121:1-2 says, “I lift up my eyes to the hills. From where does my help come? My help comes from the Lord, who made heaven and earth.” She loves this verse because it is on one of the rocks at Pretty Place. She remembers traveling there often to hear preachers and speakers with her family. Her second favorite verse is Philippians 4:13, which says, “I can do all things through him who strengthens me.” She says this verse gives her the strength that she needs.
Anne’s favorite verse is Exodus 14:14. While working for a school, she remembers having to work closely with a principal who was very difficult to work with. She held this verse close; it reads, “The Lord will fight for you; you need only to be still.”
When asked what advice they would give to younger members at Taylors, Anne and Libby had insightful words. Anne encourages followers of Christ to “make sure you stay in a church that teaches the Bible, and find a way to be involved so you’re not always being fed.” Libby urges members of Taylors to “stand by what you believe. Don’t stray. Stay grounded.”
Overall, the two had one more piece of advice: “Know what you believe and what you stand for.”