Forgot your password? No. Never!
While that may not be the case with today’s mountain of passwords, it was a no-brainer when it came to Linda Turner Riddle. A three-word password developed that gave her entrance to my office when I came to Oklahoma City to serve as the Women’s Ministries director. She would come to the door and in her gentle manner ask, “Got a minute?” Those three words always granted her access to my office and to my undivided time and attention.
There was definitely a need to give ear to her inquiries, her advice, suggestions, and inquisitive questions. It was in such settings that she and I built on our friendship and our commitment to the ministries we served.
When I was elected as the general director, Linda’s friend expressed her own concerns about the future of Linda’s position as office secretary. There was no doubt in my mind that Linda should remain. I needed her. In past years, as I had served on the General W.M. Board, my impressions of her work ethics were admirable and highly recognized. She worked so closely in a beautiful ministry relationship with our previous General Director Doris Moore. Linda was a loyal, competent, and proficient member of the staff. I often referred to her as the “energizer bunny.”
Following the great leadership of the GEMS Director, Linda Parnell, it was apparent that a full-time director was needed. It was Linda Riddle who was appointed to the position, making her the first full-time director of Girls’ Ministries. During her tenure, the ministry for girls was transitioned from GEMS to Missionettes. This required trips and meetings with the leaders of the Assemblies of God, the IPHC Bishop, and Greg Hearn, the CEO of LifeSprings Resources. Having met the mandates for this transition, Linda dove wholeheartedly into making this mammoth task become a reality. Countless and sleepless hours were credited to her “get with it” account. She and I traveled many miles and spent many hours making this ministry possible and available to the girls and women of the IPHC.
As the first full-time Girls’ Ministries leader, Linda immediately began the transitional challenges and conquered each one, one challenge at a time.
Challenge #1: To customize the Assemblies of God curriculum with IPHC guidelines and requirements.
Challenge #2: To write a unit on Sanctification as outlined by the IPHC Doctrine.
Challenge #3: To complete all of this within a stated timeline.
Challenge #4: To teach, train, and resource conference and local Girls’ Ministries leaders.
Challenge #5: To plan, prepare, and present the new Girls’ Ministries curriculum across the IPHC boundaries at four regional training sessions.
One by one, Linda met these challenges, which culminated in the four regional trainings. They were all well attended and well received. It was a team effort, with Linda focused on the destination to benefit our girls. She set out to win the world “one girl at the time.”
Throughout the process, this mother of two never neglected the two closest to her heart: Destiny and Travis. On October 15, 2016, Linda Riddle became Linda Riddle Roberts when she married Carl. They reside in Edmond, Oklahoma.
Hundreds of girls and leaders continue to benefit from Linda’s work for IPHC Girls’ Ministries. This ministry for girls is better because she cared enough to give her best. She will always be held in high esteem, always appreciated, and forever loved for the imprint she has left and the foundation she prepared for those who have followed. There is no question that Linda’s desire was (and still is) to develop a ministry with committed leaders who will always grant access to girls of all ages as they mentor and disciple them in a deep relationship with God.
Written by Mary Belle Johnson
Mary Belle Johnson, affectionately known as “The Tea Lady,” served as the General Women’s Ministries Director from 1997 to 2001. She played a key role in transitioning the IPHC Girls’ Ministries from GEMS to Missionettes in the late 90s. Mary Belle’s “About” section on Facebook describes her beautifully with these words: “My legacy? That I was sensitive to the needs and feelings of all people and when I had an encounter with anyone they left feeling they were the most SPECIAL of all God’s creation.”