By Susan Mires
DE SOTO—Juanita Nobles had heard the stories for many years and decided they should be written down.
The result is A Heritage of Faith, the book she wrote chronicling the life and ministry of her husband, Marvin “Charlie” Nobles.
“My husband has been such a rock for the churches we serve. He has been a true godly man,” Mrs. Nobles said. “So many people think you have to have a big name to get anything done. But you just have to be the person God called you to be.”
David Tolliver, executive director of the Missouri Baptist Convention, wrote in the foreword, “The story of Marvin Nobles is a wonderful mix of history, family story telling, and theological truth. I have every confidence that some of these stories will find their way into my own preaching in the future.”
The ups and downs of life in ministry are lovingly told through the book, weaving in family stories that often made their way into sermon illustrations. The Nobles served at a number of Missouri churches that were in turmoil or had split.
“I wanted to show how God used him to turn these churches around and make them loving, vibrant churches again,” Mrs. Nobles said.
In 1970, for instance, they were called to a church that had recently purchased a bus, but some members believed it was a frivolous purchase. Pastor Nobles helped develop a bus ministry that brought in diverse members and led the church to grow, with more than 100 people being saved in the two years they served there.
Mrs. Nobles also deliberately included descriptions of times when her husband shared the Gospel but no one got saved.
“I wanted people to see in spite of all the work we do, people don’t always respond,” she said.
Pastor Nobles served at 12 Southern Baptist churches in Texas, Missouri, and Florida, beginning in 1955. Most of their time was in Missouri, where they served in Hannibal, Sedalia, Bogard, Bosworth and De Soto. From 1983 to 1994, he was director of missions for Jefferson Baptist Association. He is now retired and the couple continues to live in De Soto.
With an open heart, Mrs. Nobles tells about what life was really like inside the preacher’s house. Her own father got saved when she was seven years old and nearly died in a car accident. He went on to become a preacher.
She shares many funny stories but also some of the difficult times, such as her own emotional problems as a young mother and how they had to borrow money for gas to drive to seminary. Growing up in the pastor’s family was full of blessings, but it also had hardships.
“None of our kids were rebellious, but when that happens in a preacher’s family, I hope the people would realize that they are just ordinary kids and pray for them rather than make them the talk of the town,” Mrs. Nobles said.