Wealth of Our Community

Goldston Concrete Company

Forward by WT Cox

In  “The Wealth of Community” series we continue to highlight the people and businesses that have made this section of North Carolina a great place to live and grow up.  One of the oldest businesses in Ramseur is Goldston Concrete Co. Today this business is actually two separate businesses… Each owned and operated by the sons and grandsons of the original founder Ashley “Fat” Goldston.  

Carnell Goldston has run his own business since  1996, concentrating on the concrete pouring and finishing part of the business. His sons work with him doing large commercial concrete and grading projects all over North Carolina and surrounding states. His brother, Larry, and his sons continue to operate Goldston Concrete Co and focus on septic tank installation and maintenance, along with specialized concrete work. Both brothers trace their success back to the hard work and dedication instilled in them by their father.  

Both companies carry on the tradition that was started by Ashley Goldston way back in the 1950s.  

 “ Fat” Goldston is remembered as a responsible businessman who could be counted on to provide quality workmanship.  Back then, most of the work was done with basic tools… pick, shovel, and wheelbarrow.  The respect for hard work was installed in the Goldston brothers at an early age. Over the years, things have changed a lot. Today, modern backhoes, graders, motorized wheelbarrows, and sophisticated equipment help to provide the quality workmanship that the name “Goldston” signifies. The following is a brief history of the company, compiled by Brenda Goldston. 

 Goldston’s Concrete Products

“Let us do it, we know how”, was the slogan used by Goldston’s Concrete Products in 1949 by its owner, Ashley “Fat” Goldston.  He began his business with a pick, shovel, and three employees.  These employees were Jack Butler, Thurmond Brower, and Nate Graves. 

They poured and finished concrete by mixing concrete in a portable concrete mixer. They also installed septic tanks by using a pick and shovel to dig the hole. They used coal cinders in the drain field instead of gravels which are used today.  In the “old days” individual one-foot long drainage tiles were laid to carry off wastewater.  They had to be painstakingly laid by hand, one by one. Now long lengths of black plastic perforated lines are laid much quicker. The business continued to grow and Ashley continued to diversify into other business enterprises including a logging business and a bail bondsman business.

Ashley used profits from his businesses to purchase land in Ramseur and Liberty, North Carolina.  A construction company working on a highway offered Ashley eight houses free of charge if he would move them.  He relocated these houses to his property on Highway 49 in Ramseur.  Four of the houses were used as starter homes for four of his children and the other four were used as rental properties. Ashley also built ten rental apartments in Liberty, NC. 

Ashley also invested in White Face Hertford cows. When he was not working, you could find him in the cow pasture admiring and enjoying his cows. These cows were a source of joy and pride for him.

Ashley was married to Hazel Goldston in 1940.  They had five children: Ashley Jodene, Shirley, Larry, Carnell, and Boyce Goldston.

In 1971, Ashley “Fat” Goldston died at the age of 49 leaving the business to his wife, Hazel Goldston.  In 1971 the name was changed from Hazel Goldston Concrete Products to Goldston’s Concrete Works, Inc.

Hazel Goldston and the children ran the business successfully, with each child assuming responsibility for different facets of the business.  Hazel and Shirley were responsible for the financial end of the business, while the brothers were responsible for the day-to-day operations of the concrete and septic tank businesses.  

Goldston’s Concrete Works, Inc. experienced some extremely turbulent times during the seventies: Ashley “Fat” Goldston died in 1971.  In 1974, Boyce Goldston was accidentally killed in an explosion at the plant, and Ashley Jodene left the business to pursue a career as a Substance Abuse Counselor in 1974. With much hard work and lots of prayers, the business worked through these adverse circumstances to maintain the family business until 1996 where there would be additional changes.

In 1996, Carnell left the family business to create his own concrete business.  In addition to Larry running the family business, he created Goldston’s Concrete Creations, a sole proprietorship, in 1998.  This new business specialized in designer concrete, i.e., stamped concrete, stenciled concrete, and acid stain concrete.

On June 14, 2012, Ashely Jodene passed away: on November 14, 2015, Shirley Goldston Pillow passed away, and on March 8, 2019, Hazel Goldston passed away.

Seven decades and four generations later, Ashley “Fat” Goldston’s legacy continues to live on through his sons, grandsons, and great-grandsons.  While the type of equipment and materials have changed over the years, the quality of work and the pride that goes with it have not.  “Let us do it, we know how”!

History of Goldston Concrete contributed by Brenda Goldston

Wealth of Our Community

Sawdust and Sweat

The Wealth of Community Series:  Steven Cox

Forward by WT Cox

Everyone has a story to tell, but only a few people have the ability or choose to take the time to put that story into words.  It is hard to write a book, even a short one.  I know, because that is something I have aspired to do for a long time.  I admire people who with dedication and commitment, have actually managed to complete a novel.   Personal feelings and “matters of the heart” are the hardest to put into words and onto paper.  Each paragraph has special meaning and pulls an emotional cord within the writer.  One such person who has been able to take memorable events from his life experiences and put them into print is   Steven Cox.  

Steven currently lives just off Hwy. 42 near Coleridge, NC.  He is married to Cheryl, daughter of Odell (deceased) and Ruby Perryman of Ramseur.  Son of (deceased parents) J.D. and Hazel Cox of North Georgia.  Steven moved to Ramseur in 1998.  His first paid construction job was in 1973 and he has 47 years of experience in the construction industry.  A carpenter by trade and a rather proficient stone artisan.  He also works from time to time as a construction consultant and became a licensed contractor from 1988 to the present.  Currently serving as the Senior Field  Engineer/Representative for Statesville Stained Glass Restoration & Preservation of Statesville, North Carolina.

Sawdust and Sweat

     “Everyone has a book in um.”  I really cannot recall the first time I heard this saying or who said it.  But there was something about this phrase which resonated.

     Constrained by Love

     Very early in life, a Gideon gave me a gift.  It was a little red New Testament.  He told our class to take the book home and read it.  Occasionally, I did what I was told.  So, I took the little book home and began reading it.  This little book became my treasure.  Each night, at bedtime, I would read the words found therein.  I would mark with a pencil what I had read.  The central character of this little book became my hero.  To be sure, my parents were the most important people in my life.  But this central character made such an impression on me. The desire to be like Him has never left me. 

     Tempered by Fire

     So many variables contribute to who we are and who we become.  Born and raised in the shadows of the Blue Ridge Mountains in North Georgia, I was blessed to have a very “in the woods and dirt” upbringing.  I have been asked, “How were you raised? In what class of folk, we’re you, lower, middle, or upper?” I would say, 1st class!  We raised goats and chickens, drew water from the well, knew well the path to our grandparents “out house,” and how to grow a garden. I learned to hunt and trap, identify plants and trees, distinguish between good critters and bad.  It was bred in us. If you needed something, you built it, made it, sewed it, butcher it, clean it, grew it, bandaged it, invented it, etc…You get the picture.  So fortunate was I, to live in America in a time when Americans were truly free!  We had very little, but yet, we had everything.  My grandparents, whom I was greatly privileged to spend a good deal a time with, knew a hard life.  The memories of their grit, their “toughness,” permanently imbedded a “can do philosophy of living” in me.

     Sawdust and Sweat

     Sawdust and Sweat is the product of the Love I am constrained by found in that little red book and the tempering of my life’s experiences. The inspiration for the title as well as the contents, I believe with my whole heart, came from my Heavenly Father.  The intentional black and white cover gives a glimpse of the book’s essence.  One of the considerations for the book was, how can we put the truth of the little red book into the hands of a person who, for whatever reason, would not take up that book and read it for themselves?  Sawdust and Sweat is four hundred and eight pages of practical, straight shooting, easy to read, philosophical, spiritual, educational, and hopefully inspirational life lessons.  The book has been shipped to pretty much all fifty states as well several countries.  It is my honor to introduce to you, “Sawdust and Sweat.”  

You can purchase Sawdust and Sweat on-line at Amazon or email the author Steven Cox at:

Bio by Steven Cox.  

Wealth of Our Community

No One Saw It

by Debra Vernon

A new year has come upon our community.  Gone are the harried and fretful days of 2020 – the year that changed us.  COVID became the grim reaper, and new phrases and known words became sinister – social distancing, flattening the curve, quarantine, curfew.  

Family gatherings were impacted, as well as worship.  “Can’t have too many people in the house; someone may be carrying the virus and pass it on.  Can’t have worship in person for the very same reason”.  The usual joyful gatherings were postponed or canceled; in hopes we could come together later.

On December 1st, I took my nativity set to the church to set it up on the altar table.  Others were there decorating the church for Christmas.  And oh, how beautiful it is when decorated with trees, bows, wreaths, and poinsettias!  It adds to the beauty of worship itself!  At the time, we did not know we would not meet again in person prior to Christmas.  But COVID became rampant in the community and among the congregation, and services were canceled, perhaps even into the new year.  I remember thinking to myself, “the nativity and the church were so beautiful this season, but no one saw it”. 

And then, COVID took something most precious from our community – Larry Patterson.  A man with a heart of gold who lived out the love of Jesus each and every day of his life.  And oftentimes, no one saw it.

Baking cakes and pies and gathering the bounty from his garden to share with others; no one saw it.  Showing up at the nursing home to shave men unable to do it themselves, and to just assist the hard-working staff; no one saw it.  Hanging around afterward and perhaps helping feed them their lunch; no one saw it.  Picking up food from the grocery store and delivering it to the food pantry; no one saw it.  Giving money for kids to go to summer camp because their parents could not afford it; no one saw it.  Having a pocket full of candy on Sunday to give to the kids; no one saw it.  Visiting the sick and the shut-in to just sit down and talk and help them if needed; no one saw it.  There are many things Larry did, and no one saw it.  He was love in action – he was not doing it to gain accolades or praises.  He was doing it to show God’s love.  

And more often than not, he was joined by his lovely wife Denzal.  Those two were like two peas in a pod.  Where you saw one, you most likely saw the other.  Such givers of love were this little duo!  A mighty force in action!  And perhaps their most endearing acts were the love they showered on the children of their church and their community.  Hundreds of kids have claimed them as grandparents over the years and consider them family.  And they are right; it is not blood that makes a family, it is love.  Denzal will continue this legacy and I ask you to pray for her as she navigates life without her sidekick of 64 years.

In the coming months, we will probably come to know many of the things Larry did, as some things will not get done.  We will pause to ponder why not, and then realize this; it is because Larry and Denzal always did it, and no one saw it.  

Wealth of Our Community

Stephen Clarkson Cox

Stephen Clarkson Cox, son of Calvin and Sarah (Sally) Cox, was born on August 12, 1862. He was named for Thomas Clarkson, a famous English Quaker who led a movement in 1790 against the use of sugar produced by slave labor. He attended Buffalo Ford School and the Liberty Academy during the 1880’s.

Clark married Mary Frances (France) York on February 23, 1890. Mary Frances was the daughter of Enos and Lucinda Kivett York. She had grown up in the Kildee area. Clark and France moved in with Clark’s grandmother Sarah, widow of Nathan. Nathan had died thirteen years earlier. Sarah had remarried, but she and Washington Parks chose to live in their separate homes, so she was alone. Sarah died two years later on July 26, 1872. Clark bought Nathan’s home and land from his father, Calvin. They continued living in the old home until 1898 when they moved into a new home they built further from the river.

Clark farmed and ran the grist mill. He also operated a sawmill located beside the grist mill. Mary Frances was a frail woman who cooked, cleaned and ran a household filled with boys of all ages.

Although Clark was a birthright Quaker, he and France joined Parks Cross Roads Christian Church. Clark led the singing at his church. During this period, music (singing) schools were held in rural churches and the family attended these. Singing was an activity the family enjoyed. Clark and the boys frequently gathered around the family organ for hymn singing. The organist would be Michia, the only daughter, or Cecil, one of the sons. The family love for music continues today in the grandchildren and great-grandchildren.

Clark believed in education and enjoyed reading. The children were sent to Parks Cross Roads School and to high school in Ramseur. Before school buses and cars were available, the children boarded with relatives and friends. James, the youngest son, drove one of the first school buses in Randolph County.

Clark and France had eleven children, ten boys, and one girl. Their first-born son died when he was ten days old. The boys were Walter, Ivan, Arthur, Hubert, Milton (Bill), Cecil, Rufus, Talton (Tally), and James (Jim). The daughter was Michia.

The boys grew during the time when baseball was a favorite recreation. The Clark Cox boys had their own baseball team during the 1920’s and 1930’s. They played other local teams in and around the county. Their coach was their father who settled any disputes that might arise.

Sources: Files of Evelyn W. Cox.
Johnson, Emily C. “Stephen Clarkson Cox.” The Heritage of Randolph County, North Carolina, by Cheryl Lynn. Martin, Randolph County Heritage Book Committee, in Cooperation with the Heritage Book Collection and Delmar Print., 1993, pp. 213–213.

All the Clark Cox children remained residents of Randolph County. Several remained on farms in the community that was originally known as Coxborough. Clark died on July 26, 1938. Mary Frances died on December 29, 1945. Both are buried at Parks Cross Roads Cemetery.

Wealth of Our Community

Claudette Reeder – Piano Lessons

By Karen Woody

Whether we realize it or not, our lives impact those around us. Whether we see someone every week or only spend a moment of our time with them, we will leave an impression. I only truly learned this when I thought of the time that I spent with my piano teacher Mrs. Claudette Reeder.

The first time I saw Mrs. Reeder was on a cold, gray January day in 2007. She lived in a small house in Coleridge, which was a short drive for us. My mom and I walked up the steps of her quaint house to the front door. She was already standing on the other side with the door ajar. She seemed to be the oldest, skinniest person my eight-year-old self had ever seen. To me, her hands looked like a skeleton’s, and her eyes had a kind of sparkle to them. The room we entered was small and dark; the piano lamp appeared to be the only source of light. There were shelves of books, a piano, an organ, and a harp crammed into the small space. After she and my mom talked for a few minutes, she instructed me to sit at the piano. My feet dangled from the piano bench, and I was not yet able to reach the pedals on the floor. “That’s ok,” she said, “You won’t need to reach them yet.” She asked me some basic questions about the piano such as the location of middle C and which end of the keyboard had the higher notes. Before the end of the lesson, she gave me a beginner’s piano book and assigned one song for me to practice until my next thirty-minute lesson, which was in exactly one week. Mom and I went home, and I practiced the song once a day for the next week. The events in the first lesson repeated week after week. Soon the weeks turned into months and the months into years. My mom and I grew more acquainted with Mrs. Reeder, and we both looked forward to the weekly visit to her house. We rarely missed a lesson, usually due to occasional illness or inclement weather. Every spring, Mrs. Reeder held a piano recital, and I participated every year. Each of the students would play their recital piece, and after all the students had played, Mrs. Reeder would play a song she had arranged herself. Each year I thought to myself, “I’ll never be able to play as well as Mrs. Reeder.”

  It was just another hot summer day in 2012 when everything changed. I was at church for Vacation Bible School when my mom got the phone call. When I arrived home, Mom told me that Mrs. Reeder was in the hospital. She had tried to talk to my mom on the phone herself, but she was too weak. Her daughter had talked to my mom instead and informed her that Mrs. Reeder had a low blood cell count. In the days to come, we learned that she had a rare type of bone marrow cancer. There were no piano lessons that summer. We were unsure whether there would ever be any again. I still practiced the songs that she had given to me the week before her hospitalization. By God’s grace, she began to recover near the end of summer. She took medications to control her blood count and had the cancerous cells removed. That fall, she began to give piano lessons again to a few students at a time.  

When my mom and I went to her house for the first time since early summer, she was still rather frail and was unable to get out of her seat to greet us at the door. Nevertheless, she gave me a piano lesson using the songs I had practiced over the summer. Over the next few weeks, she became stronger and stronger until she was almost back to the same Mrs. Reeder that we knew. In late December, she announced that she would still have a spring piano recital. All of the students and I were thrilled. I practiced my piece as hard as I could for that recital. It was a very special recital for me; just a few months earlier, I thought she may never hold another one.

  Life went back to normal after that. Every week my mom and I would set off for my weekly piano lesson. During the late summer though, Mrs. Reeder appeared to be a little weaker. She changed the medication she was taking, thinking that her decline was because of the side effects. Instead of helping her, the new medicine seemed to make her worse. The piano lessons continued, and I was approaching my seventh year of piano lessons with her. I had gone from an eight-year-old whose feet dangled from the piano bench to a fifteen-year-old in high school studying creative hymns and classical music. During one of the last piano lessons that I had from Mrs. Reeder, she gave me one of the best compliments that anyone has given me. “Karen, that was good.” she said, “You sounded just like me.”  

  Mrs. Reeder gave piano lessons nearly up to the time of her passing in the fall of 2013. The little old lady that I saw as a child had become not only my teacher but a friend. It seemed like I had always taken piano lessons from her, but in reality, I had only spent a few hours of my life with her. I learned many things from Mrs. Reeder about the piano, but the most profound thing I learned had nothing to do with music. She had given me thirty minutes of her time every week, and yet she gave me her legacy to share with others. Mrs. Reeder will always live on through her music, and through the gift of piano lessons that she gave to me and all her other students. Leaving such a positive impact on the world, even in perhaps a small way, is something I hope that each one of us will do with our own lives.     

Wealth of Our Community

Robert Truman (Bob) Stout

by WT Cox

Bob Stout was a special person by every standard and he impacted everyone who knew him. Bob lived on family property in Ramseur where his father Penn operated Stout & Raines Plumbing for many years, and Bob followed in his footsteps. I grew up hearing about the exploits of Bob from his younger days from my Dad, those of fast cars, and a rambunctious lifestyle. But something happened to Bob later in life. Bob trusted Christ as his Savior and became a changed person. His testimony has been an inspiration to countless people who had the privilege of knowing him. Bob had a unique outlook on life. One that recognized the good quality that everyone possesses. He certainly had a way with words and many people, including myself, sought his advice about life or spiritual matters. Bob was a great teacher and someone who you just knew spoke from the heart. Bob spent many morning hours sitting in “his” chair at our hardware store telling stories and talking with locals who stopped in to chat. I used to love listening to Bob and my Dad reminisce about the days of their youth going up here in Ramseur. That space seems empty now when I remember the stories and laughter that emitted from “Bob’s corner” of our store.  He was a friend, a mentor, and more importantly someone who knew from experience how a Christ could change a person. Everyone loved Bob. It did not matter a person’s race, age or social status… all were the same in Bob’s eyes. Bob Stout is one of the reasons we have a wealthy community. The following article was submitted by his daughter Johanna:

On the morning of October 21, 2019, Kent Burgess and I were sitting in the front yard by the fire. My father, Bob Stout, had died earlier that morning and Kent and I were both shattered. We sat there, not saying much, just looking into the fire and I can’t remember which one of us said it but the phrase “the greatest legacy a person can leave behind is to be missed” was spoken. I have thought of this phrase just about every day since Bob died, cause, Lord knows, he is missed! Whenever a photo of Bob pops up on my or Kent’s or Cousin Pam’s Facebook memories and we share it, just about every comment is about how Bob is missed and how there will never be another one quite like him anymore. Now I know I’m prejudiced because he was my father, but I truly believe he was the greatest man that I have ever met and will probably ever meet. Over the years have thought about why I felt this way and I have come up with a few theories. First of all, he had the ability to draw people to him. This is no exaggeration, but there were some days that I would pull into the driveway and ended up parking in the field beside the house simply because there was nowhere else to park. The driveway was full of cars and the yard was full of folks sitting outside, talking, insulting one another and in general just sitting a spell and visiting. One day my daughter, Anna, looked outside at the yard full of people and said, “I hope I’m as popular as my 87 year old grandfather one day.” I told her, “Don’t count on it, I’ve hoped for the same thing my entire life and it hasn’t happened yet.” Bob was popular but it was a popularity based on his wit, always quick but never malicious, his sense of honor, for he was of the generation where his word was as good as a legal contract and his wisdom, which came from the number of years he had lived (all in Ramseur except for three years spent in Maine and Bermuda when he was in the Coast Guard-as he would say, the US was never invaded under his watch) and wisdom that came from his daily reading and study of the Bible. His favorite biblical passage was John 14:1-3 and daily he lived this passage. His heart was not troubled and he trusted in the Lord and did not worry. Bob always said that he was not worried about dying, he knew where he was going, and while I accept that he is in glory, I still miss him and probably will til the day I die. It’s hard to talk or write about Bob without tearing up, but at the same time I remember him with laughter and all the funny stories that he told and that were told on him. Just like Truvy said in Steel Magnolias, “Laughter through tears is my favorite emotion.” 

Miss you and love you Daddy

Wealth of Our Community

Braxton Craven, 1822 – 1882

by WT Cox

Braxton Craven, the father of Trinity College. – Used by permission of Duke University Archives

A good example of someone overcoming diversity and hardship while leaving a lasting impact on our world is the life of Braxton Craven. Orphaned at a early age and adopted into the family of William Nathan Cox, who lived in the settlement known as Coxborough, located along the mouth of Millstone Creek and Buffalo Ford along Deep River approximately four miles south of Ramseur. Braxton chose to keep his birth name of Craven, but was deeply impacted by the Cox Family that raised him. He developed a work ethic and a desire to succeed despite the odds. His quest for learning was kindled at an early age. Braxton Craven went on to become a respected teacher, minister, scholar, writer and educator. He converted to Methodist while president of Trinity College but never forgot his Quaker up-bringing by his adopted Cox family. He is credited with allowing some of the first women to earn degrees of higher education in the South and his legacy lives on today in his school that later became Duke University. Learn more about Braxton Craven in the article below, taken from The Heritage of Randolph County , North Carolina: Volume I – 1993.


Braxton Craven was born on August 26, 1822, near the Holly Spring Community in Randolph County. At age seven he was orphaned and was taken into the home of Nathan Cox, a Quaker who operated a farm and a trading post. He had 14 children of his own, plus young “Brax” to help out with the farm work.

A minor accident when he was eleven years old had a great influence upon the life of Braxton Craven. He was riding in a wagon with his adopted father hauling goods to Fayetteville. He fell from the wagon and a horse stepped on his leg. They stopped at a store to secure bandages and the storekeeper gave Braxton his first book, a “speller” to divert his mind from the pain. This started him on his educational career. He persuaded his foster father to let him attend a subscription school about three miles from their home.

Braxton was an apt pupil and read everything he could find. At age sixteen, he organized a subscription school of his own at Soloman York’s plantation. During this period, young Braxton was converted to the Methodist faith while attending a meeting at Salem Church. His preaching career started soon after and he began preaching in 1840. He worked on the farm, taught school, and preached, saving his money to further his education. He attended New Garden Boarding School at Guilford College 1839-1841.

After finishing at New Garden, he went to Union Institute in Trinity, as an assistant teacher and became a full-fledged teacher in 1842. He succeeded Brantley York as head of Union Institute and soon became sensitive about the fact that he did not have a college degree. He secured permission from Randolph-Macon College in Virginia to take the examinations in certain courses.

After passing these exams, he received an honorary Bachelor of Arts Degree in June 1845. Two years later he did the same thing and received a Master of Arts Degree from the University of North Carolina. As his fame as an educator spread, he was awarded a Doctor of Divinity Degree from Andrew College in Tennessee and in 1874 was awarded a Doctor of Laws Degree from the University of Missouri.

Braxton Craven married Irene Leach in 1844. They made their home in Trinity and he spent his life working for the betterment of education. He realized the need for a school to train teachers, and it was through his efforts that the Union Institute became Trinity Normal College. He guided the school through the trying years of the Civil War and Reconstruction. By his persuasion, the Methodist Church became the supporter of the college when it was near financial ruin. He continued to guide the institution until its move to Durham where it became Duke University.

Chair from the Office of Braxton Craven while President of Trinity College.  Courtesy of WT Cox
Wealth of Our Community

Jones Howell

By WT Cox,

Ramseur is located in the Heart Of North Carolina, but it dwells in the hearts of people who have called this town Home.  So many of my childhood friends who grew up in this town have since moved away,  some really far away.  I have wondered what happened to them.  Where did they go? What have they accomplished in their lives since leaving Ramseur? One friend I remember was a freckle faced red headed kid who lived in one of the Mill Houses across town. He grew up here in Ramseur just like me, but his experiences were a lot different than mine.  A few years ago I discovered he had written a book about his time here growing up. His name is Jones Lamar Howell.  

Jones is a writer, philosopher, poet and a man of faith. I asked him what he considered his accomplishments since moving away.  Here is part of his reply:

“After graduating in Eastern Randolph’s class of ’72, I moved to Asheboro, worked for a year, and then joined the Navy.  While stationed in Norfolk, Virginia I visited Rock Church. I stood in the balcony where my mockery gave way to doubts, which turned into a risky prayer.  I gave my life to Christ, was baptized, and then sailed the world for nearly four years on an aircraft carrier.  

After the Navy, I enrolled in Randolph Technical College.  I studied English under Dorothy Snyder.  She changed my life by gifting me with a love for poetry.  At that time, I heard a worship album made by a Bible college in Dallas, Texas – Christ for the Nations Institute (CFNI).  I was so taken by it.  So, at Christmas in 1980 I arrived at CFNI and began two of the greatest years of my life.  I worked part-time in a fish market in the black district of the city and it was there that I started an outreach called Fishnet and chartered it through CFNI.  The children would gather from all over the neighborhood and many gave their lives to Christ.    I met my wife-to-be Cindi at CFNI.  I drafted her into the Fishnet ministry team.  Before we were married, I told her I was called to do missionary work and she said she was willing to do the same.  So, we were married in December of ’82.

Soon afterwards, at a mission’s conference at CFNI, I came upon a missionary who needed a teacher.  So we bought a VW van and moved to Manzanillo , Mexico.  There, I taught the missionary’s kids, and traveled some around Mexico doing child evangelism seminars. After a year we returned to Texas where I finished my degree at the University of Texas at Arlington. While teaching Spanish in Texas, we made a trip to Poland and then moved there in 1993.  Besides our service in the church, Cindi started a daily breakfast program for poor children of the city called Seven Loaves.  We also organized summer English language evangelism camps.  While in Poland, we took two trips into Ukraine, bringing in $600 worth of needed meds and about 100 packets of school supplies.  

In Poland, I started Support English School. I taught there four years and in my last year doubled as a teacher in Foreign Languages College. I had my poem The Song of Mephibosheth published in their college journal.  It is available on Amazon Kindle. 

We returned to the US and I taught at a school for immigrants for thirteen years.  While there, I chartered and led a Fellowship of Christian Athletes group.  We again did several language/evangelism camps.  During this time I wrote two books- Deep River:The Little League Years  and Quos Eqo.  In 2016 I took a job at a school in NC teaching boys sent from the Juvenile Justice System.  I also ran a wood shop club there.”

*Special Thanks to Jones Howell 

Jones and Cindi are now back in Texas and involved in Gateway Church.  He has described his time in Ramseur and an “oil painting in a water color world”.  Jones has literally  touched thousands of lives.  His story is a small part of what makes Ramseur a “Wealthy Community”.