Sally Lennon 100 Years and Counting!

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By Clara B. Huff

In 2004 when I moved to Wilmington, N.C., I asked about English as a Second language classes. Immediately everyone told me to see Sally Lennon, who was involved in teaching English to Internationals at the Winter Park Baptist Church.

When I first met Sally, was already 86 years old, still driving, living alone, and swimming laps every other day at the gym. Her yard was a showplace of flowers she had planted. She knew all her neighbors and walked her dog, “Pudge,” twice a day. She was the director of the Women’s Missionary Union at the church and also taught an English class during Sunday school.

I soon found out that if I wanted to work with Sally, I would have to get busy in a hurry! I began teaching a class of beginners in English, along with ten other volunteer teachers, and we marched to the orders of our leader, Sally. We were all younger than she, but we had to hurry to keep up with her.

I learned a lot about Sally during that first year of serving with her. At first I thought she had been in the military and other times I thought she was a missionary. I learned that Sally was married to Woodrow Lennon, and together they served for years at the International Seaman’s Center at the Port in Wilmington. Later they were short-term mission volunteers in seven different countries.

She was never appointed by any missionary-sending agency, but she has been a missionary to the world in her “short” life. As a young woman, she studied business and worked as a secretary in the agricultural department where God introduced her to migrant workers. When she met people who could not read or write, God showed her the need to teach literacy. She became a certified Laubach Literacy Tutor, organized and worked with the Cape Fear Literacy Council of Wilmington. Seeing the need to teach English to some of the Japanese women living in Wilmington, she left the literacy work and began ESL classes. Three language churches in Wilmington have grown out of her work with Internationals: Chinese, Korean, and Spanish.

After moving into assisted living at Arbor Acres at the age of 93, Sally thought her world had ended. She could not drive anymore and would have to depend on others to take her to church and other places. A friend told her, “Sally, this is your mission field now.” And it is! No one escapes her sweet, loving, kind way of sharing Jesus Christ with all who will listen. Her example as a Christian is evident to all who live near her.

To what does she attribute her long life and health? Early in her life she decided there were certain ideals she wanted for her life: To love God and serve Him, to love people and do mission work, and to take care of her health and always be ready to fulfill the Great Commission.

In these 100 years, Sally has definitely made this world a better place.

Clara Brincefield Huff lives in Salisbury where she serves on the WMU Leadership Team of the Rowan Baptist Association. For 32 years, she served as a missionary to Chile. She is a graduate of Mars Hill College, Carson Newman College in Tennessee, and Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Texas.

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