Highlights from the Traditions Tea 2012: Nancy Gustavson

In November, we had our annual Traditions Tea, where we highlighted five of our senior women. We will be posting each of their narratives during the coming weeks, in case you didn’t have the chance to attend. Many, many thanks to Evanelle Olinger who interviewed each woman and organized their stories into narratives. Also available are booklets that Women’s Ministry has put together with the stories of women who have been highlighted in the past. Contact the church office and/or Jo for more details.


Nancy GusNancy Gustavson, interview by Evanelle Olinger

Nancy’s was influenced for Christ by her mother, people she met through Bible studies, and God’s word. Nancy’s mother was a woman of great faith who knew and quoted Scripture. Her Dad was also a loving and generous man who knew everyone in town. Nancy’s life revolved around family and their neighborhood Methodist church. Even though she probably prayed to receive Christ when she was very young she remembers raising her hand at a revival at age 14.

Nancy has had the opportunity to learn from many different Christian women over the years. Sue Goodwin, Marjean Fooshee, Lynn Nolte, Wanda Yinger, Jody Drevets, and many other Christian friends have been instrumental in Nancy’s walk with Christ. Nancy grew through singing in the choir and praying with and for each other. Most of all Nancy deepened her walk with Christ by studying His Word. As a young wife living in Kansas City with her husband Jim, Nancy prayed for help to gain a better grasp of God’s Word and God sent someone who taught her a good overview of the Bible. When they moved to Wichita she got involved with BSF and also Precept classes for many years.

Nancy is of the age that she can look back and see that God was leading her every step of her way. Her mother’s desire was for Nancy to attend Baker University, a small college in Baldwin, Kansas of about 500 students. Although her parents could not afford to send her, God supplied through many scholarships, good grades, and providing work for her. The “norm” at Baker was to find a man by the time you graduated to spend the rest of your life with, but that didn’t happen and Nancy felt rather sad and scared as she left to teach school in the Kansas City area. She lived on the Country Club Plaza in a high-rise apartment with two other friends.  They became friends with two men their age across the hall – CPA’s who worked for Arthur Young & Company.  One of these men was Jim Gustavson. Nancy could never remember that crazy last name.  That spring, though, Jim left for eight weeks basic training for the Air National Guard. He asked Nancy to pick him up at the airport when he returned and to coin a phrase: “That’s all she wrote!”  The following school year they were engaged in April and married in July. He has been her sweetheart for fifty-one years. They have two children, Eric who lives in Overland Park and has a son, Oliver, age six.  Their daughter, Inger, lives in Denver and has two girls, Annika, age 14 and Julia, age eleven. They are a great joy to both Nancy and Jim.

God has used Nancy as she has served in several ministries here at First Free: singing in the choir, working in Women’s Ministry, taking meals, teaching Precepts, and involvement in the Heart-to-Heart ministry. Right now Nancy is involved in the Evangelism Explosion because of her passion for people to know Christ. Nancy is also a support for Jim as he has served on the Elder Board.

Advice to Women of First Free: Be in the Word and hide it in your heart. A good visual that Nancy uses that comes from Beth Moore is the phrase, “Wallpaper your mind with truth.” Some of those “truth” verses are: Joshua 1:8 “Do not let this Book of the Law depart from your mouth; meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do everything written in it. Then you will be prosperous and successful.” Matthew 6:33 “But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.” Matthew 22:37 “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.”



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