Joseph and Connie Pown
Joseph and Connie Pown haven't been at Highland Oaks forever, but they've certainly made an impact in the time they've been here. Their story is not a traditional one. Hope you enjoy learning more about them.
Joseph was born in Plaquemine, Louisiana, the eldest of seven children. He was raised by his grandparents. As a young man he would spend his summers in Chicago visiting his parents, and worked in a shingle plant with his father. Then after high school graduation, he joined the US Marine Corps. The Corps was his profession, from which he retired in 1993 after serving tours in a number of places including Japan, the Persian Gulf, the Philippines, and Africa. In 1998 he and his wife and two stepdaughters moved to Texas. He was searching for a church home and ended up at Highland Oaks. On that first Sunday he was invited to lunch by Richard Brown--and he knew he had found the place he belonged.
Connie was born in Galveston and grew up in Brazoria, Texas, until she was seventeen. She attended Prairie View A&M University, and then moved to California and married her high school sweetheart who had joined the US Marine Corps--but no, it wasn't Joseph. Keep reading. The marriage went downhill and unhappily ended, but two wonderful sons resulted from that marriage; they are now grown men, ages 24 and 27. Then Connie moved to Dallas, and she, too, began looking for a church home. She grew up in the Church of God, but something drew her to Highland Oaks. She said it was nothing like the church she was accustomed to, but she was drawn to the friendliness of the people here. She remembers that Sue Smith made that first contact with her. Connie visited different churches, but always came back to Highland Oaks because she felt she and her boys were always so welcomed here.
Then it happened. Joseph and Connie saw each other at church, and by coincidence had met earlier through common friends. Connie had even asked Joseph to do some work on her car--she needed cheap labor, and he needed extra cash. Now get ready for the part that is going to knock your socks off. Because of the previous failed marriage, Connie had asked God to remove all desire for a husband from her heart. She had remained celibate for seven years when she met Joseph. And Joseph was married at that time, anyway. But Connie felt a strong attraction to this new man in her life. Now there was no way Joseph was going to cheat on his wife, but his marriage was on the rocks, and had been for quite some time. Connie even questioned God--why, when she wanted so badly to remain true to His will, was He allowing this temptation to come to her? She certainly didn't want to be any part of breaking up a marriage--after all, that's what ruined her first marriage when her husband proved unfaithful. And at the same time Connie was praying for God's guidance, so was Joseph. And the bottom line is that through much prayer and pain God redeemed their broken marriages by bringing them together, and eventually Joseph and Connie were free to marry each other and become the dynamic couple they are today, loving God and serving Him, and showing others the way to Him.
Isn't it amazing what God can do in our lives when we let Him? Even when we've messed up over and over and think we're at the bottom of life's barrel, God loves us. And when we turn our lives over to Him, all is made whole again.
Joseph and Connie are a beautiful testimonial to what God can do when we allow Him to work His will. If you haven't met them yet, you must. They are the warmest, most loving people you could ever hope to meet. We're thankful to Richard Brown and Sue Smith for those first contacts they made with Joseph and Connie, and we're thankful God led them to us at Highland Oaks. To God be the glory!