Luther Almer (Jack) Bearden to celeberate 100th brithday
A drop in celebration of Bro. Jack Bearden's life and 100th birthday will be held from 2-4 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 3, at Prospect Missionary Baptist Church. The church is located at 3106 Hwy 351, Jonesboro. All friends and family are invited.
Luther Almer (Jack) Bearden was the youngest child of Charles Luther and Addie Mae Wallace Bearden. He was born in Boydsville on his mother's 39th birthday, Sept. 8, 1916. His father was a farmer, store owner and justice of the peace. Jack had three brothers, Clarence, Ollie, Omer, and one sister, Martha Virginia.
Luther Almer became "Jack" as a young boy as he took water to the cotton fields as a "Water Jack." That was shortened to Jack and has stuck with him for almost a century.
Jack grew up during the Great Depression and, even though his Father had a small country store, he had to work on farms. They would use mules and horses to plow and sowed seeds by hand. They chopped cotton and picked cotton by hand.
One of the most important events in Jack's life came when he was 16 years old. His family walked or rode a wagon to Salem Baptist Church about three miles South of Boydsville. One night about midnight he surrendered his life to Christ at his home. It was a night that would change his life forever.
At the age of 20, the second key life event occurred when 16 year old Martha Geneva Bateman came to Jack's father's store to sell some cream. Jack's brother Omer bet him he couldn't get a date with Geneva. Jack said he could and proceeded to invite her to a tent show (traveling movie). Six months later they were married on Nov. 1, 1936, and began a life together with $30 (before they paid the preacher). They lived with Jack's family for nine months before renting a house for $2 a month.
For over 75 years, Geneva walked the path of life with Jack. Though she said she would never marry a preacher, when God called him to preach, she submitted her will to God's will and plan and never looked back. Never. They worked cotton fields together. They served in church together. They visited the sick together. They went to Women's Associations together. They went to Men's Brotherhood together. They consoled countless families that lost loved ones together. They prayed together. They shared Christ with people together. They made it through trials and tribulation...the type most have never seen...together until September 2012 when Geneva departed this world to be with her Savior that she told so many about.
Jack surrendered to preach on Aug. 21, 1942, at Boydsville Baptist Church and gave his first sermon, "Ye Must Be Born Again" from John 3:7 the next day. He was ordained to the ministry on Oct. 10, 1943, at Boydsville.
During the next 73 years, a few of Jack's ministry accomplishments are:
· Started five mission churches in Northeast Arkansas in Marmaduke, Corning, Rector, Marmaduke and Piggott.
· Pastored 25 churches in Northeast Arkansas and Missouri.
· In order to support his family while pastoring, he was a cistern digger, carpenter, sharecropper, cotton picker, cotton chopper, song leader, pianist and ran a store for a while.
· Baptized over 350 people, including his last baptism at the age of 95 of his great-granddaughter in 2011.
Jack and Geneva were blessed with three daughters, Shirley McNatt (Eugene), Brenda Holt (Thurman who went to heaven in 2009), Lenda Bearden (died at birth), and a son Phillip Bearden who passed on to heaven in 1998. They were also blessed with 10 grandchildren, 23 great-grandchildren and five great-great grandchildren.
Cards may be sent to: Reverend Jack Bearden; c/o Byron Holt, 5505 Summer Place, Jonesboro, Ark. 72404.