Hovey serves when she spots a need - Word&Way

Hovey serves when she spots a need

NEVADA — Delores Hovey of Nevada gave up her career as a paid children's minister to marry husband Richard more than 22 years ago. But she still makes ministry a way of life.

Delores Hovey teaches children during a Bible Day Camp at First Baptist Church in Nevada. (First Baptist Church, Nevada, photo)

"I'm just kind of a jack-of-all-trades," Hovey laughs, which, over the years, has encompassed volunteering as a minister of education, teaching Sunday School, working in an inner-city center and caring for the homeless.

A native Georgian, Delores served as preschool and children's minister on church staffs in Georgia, Louisiana and Arkansas. Then she married Richard, a dispatcher for the Union Pacific Railroad. She gave up her ministry position when Richard was transferred to Omaha, Neb., where they joined a small Baptist church.

The church couldn't afford to hire another staffer, so Hovey voluntarily stepped in as minister of education for about 13 years. She also ministered to children through a Baptist center in Omaha's inner city.

Originally from Nevada, Richard wanted to return to the area upon retirement. The couple did so in 2005, joining First Baptist Church. Delores started teaching in Sunday School that July. Sticking primarily with first- through sixth-graders, this year she has been teaching third- and fourth-graders. In addition, this summer she stepped into the kindergarten class during second service as a fill-in teacher.

Hovey also leads the church's intercessory prayer ministry and the missions team. "Our church is concentrating on ways to get more people involved in ministry to the community," she said.

She has served on several First Baptist committees, including the bylaws committee. She also used to volunteer in the church office.

"Delores…demonstrates her faith in her priorities, her stewardship and her sacrifice. She goes beyond the call of duty in helping people," Pastor Bill Cox said. "She is the kind of person every pastor values — supportive but honest, prayerful but hard-working."

Hovey serves with Richard through Gideons International as an auxiliary member. Richard visits the church's homebound members and those in nursing facilities. The pair even participated in a Woman's Missionary Union-sponsored MissionsFest in Kansas City a few years ago.

And together they have opened their home to the homeless and to travelers, leading some to Christ because of their kindness. "You do it because you know Jesus expects us to," Delores said. "When we find people in need, we want to help them."

Delores said her experience over the years, particularly in Omaha, helps reveal ministry in the community. "When you have lived in a pioneer area, it's just hard not to see the need," she explained.

The couple does a lot of volunteer work for the church, she added. "Volunteer ministry is abundant. You can find opportunities everywhere. There are needs everywhere," she said. "People just sometimes fail to think, 'How can I do it?'"