Lewis Stubbs, my maternal grandfather, left a legacy of mission in my life and in the lives of countless others. The testimony of his life demonstrates how everyday believers can make disciples and plant churches. He is remembered not for his theological education (he had none) or material resources (he had few), but as one who walked deeply with God.
During World War II, Grandpa joined the United States Merchant Marines and traveled the world on military support ships as a chief purser and medic. He wasn’t a Christian when he went to war, but after surviving several harrowing experiences, he came to believe that God was protecting him. In gratitude, he committed his life to serving the Lord.
After the war, he settled in Washington, DC, where he met a young woman named Virginia Ashton. Virginia was a Seventh-day Adventist, and Grandpa was attracted to both her beautiful smile and her faith. He was baptized shortly before they were married.
Grandpa became a pharmacist and for a while worked at Adventist hospitals in Stoneham, Massachusetts, and Orlando, Florida. But he had a dream of owning his own drugstore and using his profession to witness for God. In 1959 he built Stubbs Pharmacy on the outskirts of Orlando. His faith in God led him to be the first business to openly serve African-Americans in that city.
Grandpa enjoyed his time in Florida. He had five healthy children, served as an elder at the Forest Lake Church, and had many witnessing opportunities through his business. He had no intention of leaving.
But the Lord was about to disrupt Grandpa’s life. When he turned 50, the Holy Spirit filled his heart with a passion to plant a church in a “dark county,” an old term referring to a county with no Adventist church. Grandpa and Virginia prayed for guidance, and God lead them to Westminster, South Carolina.