By Tiffany Jothen
Eldora Lowry was a teenager during the Great Depression when she and a friend climbed Mount Hood, Oregon’s highest peak at 11,000 feet above the Columbia River.
Nearly 80 years later, she’s taking a different hike — this time, using her walker to tell the neighbors on her street about My Hope with Billy Graham.
Lowry is 97 — “98 in March if I’m not in heaven by then,” she says. She lives in a senior community in Woodburn, Ore., where more than 1,500 residents 55 and older each have their own homes. Lowry has lived there about 20 years and said many of her neighbors don’t attend church regularly.
She first heard about My Hope in January. My Hope is a movement across North America to encourage relationship evangelism — people sharing their faith one on one.
“And I thought, ‘Oh, that’s going to be tremendous!’” Lowry said. She prayed about it, “but not as much as I should.”
Then in June, she visited a friend. The friend said she had something to give Lowry and pulled out a My Hope pamphlet with Lowry’s name written on it. Lowry took it home, prayed about it some more and told her pastor at a local Nazarene church about the nationwide outreach.
One friend, Patricia Hyatt, calls Lowry “a very dear neighbor.”
“She prays for everyone, and people go to her for prayer,” she said.
When Lowry approached Hyatt about telling her neighbors about My Hope, Hyatt got right on it. She created pamphlets with Billy Graham’s picture on them and information about My Hope. The invitations included the local date and time that a My Hope program called “The Cross” will be on TV.
“The Cross” features a message from Billy Graham and testimonies from Lacey Sturm (formerly of “Flyleaf”) and Lecrae. It presents a clear Gospel message in a modern, compelling way.
As Lowry took her walker down the street from house to house, handing out invitations, she encouraged her neighbors to tune in. She later returned with a golf cart and her cane to deliver the last few invites after she ran out during the first round.
Lowry stays active, but can’t do some of the things she used to. She played golf and ping pong until age 93 — she says she was better at the latter, but had to give those up. Inviting someone to watch a program on TV, though, that’s something she can do.
“I felt that God wanted me to do that. … If we just obey what He shows us to do, He can use it in special ways that we wouldn’t even think about,” she said.
After making the invitations for Lowry, Hyatt wrote about her friend in the community newsletter. One woman who read the newsletter called Lowry to see how she could get more invitations to hand out herself.
Christians who invite their friends over to watch the My Hope program on TV or DVD are called Matthews. That’s after the Apostle Matthew in the Bible who invited his friends to his home to tell them about Jesus.
“My house is so small and I wouldn’t be able to invite many people,” Lowry said, but she does plan to watch the program “at least once” in one place or another. If she does end up watching it at home, she said she will invite a few neighbors.
One neighbor she has been praying for is a man who told her years ago that he was an atheist. His health has declined since then, but Lowry tells him she’s praying, and he says he appreciates her prayers.
“I believe he’s coming close to knowing the Lord now,” she said.
Lowry doesn’t climb mountains anymore, but she still believes God can move them.
“I praise God for how He’s using this and using Billy Graham,” she said. “I think it’s going to be the greatest thing that’s ever happened in this country. I really believe.”
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