Thursday, March 4, 2010




Pastor Joe, Crocker, Dad, Mom

Mom, Crocker, Dad

Dad & Crocker

Mom, Crocker, Dad, Max


The following is an article written by Pastor Joe Thornton about our grandson and his family. It was published in a church publication.

For Jenny and Sheldon Hoesli, members of Lester's Chapel United Methodist Church in Jackson, Tennessee, distance has been a problem they have been able to overcome.

It was overcome to some degree when Sheldon was an exceptionally long distance away. He was serving in Iraq, when their first child, Max was born. Sheldon could not cover the distance in person, but it was overcome when he was able to view their newborn son via satellite hookup from Iraq to Jackson-Madison County General Hospital.

Distance was overcome in October when their second son, Crocker, was born in another location quite distant from Jackson and Lester's Chapel: Wyoming.

Solving the problem of distance can be challenging, especially with two young children. Still the family returns to Lester's Chapel even though shortly after Crocker was born the family was transferred to LaMarque, Texas, near Houston. When Crocker was eight weeks old he was back at Lester's Chapel where he had the role of Baby Jesus in the church's Christmas pageant, the same role that both brother Max and mother Jenny had played as babies.

The Hoeslis wanted Crocker to be baptized by the same pastor in the same church where Max and Jenny had been baptized, so once again they overcame a long distance, traveling the 750 miles to Jackson.

Then the big winter event that swept across much of the country's midsection descended on West Tennessee shutting down most locations, especially in rural areas. This included churches, and Lester's Chapel was among them.

The Hoeslis are blessed with determined spirit that overcomes odds as well as distance. They contacted the pastor, Dr. Joe Thornton, to ask him to baptize Crocker in the Thornton home in Brownsville, a hazardous 25 miles from Jackson. Not to be outdone, the adventurous travelers made their slow journey to fulfill their mission to have Crocker baptized. The Thornton home, located on a long road off a country road, presented the family with not only distance but ice. Neither was a problem for the Hoeslis.

Baptisms and weddings plus visitations for departed have been held before in the almost 170-year-old home of the Thorntons, built by Becky Thornton's great-great-grandparents. Some of the nine children born there were baptized and later married in the front parlor, and their father, a doctor, gave medical care to Civil War soldiers on both sides. Crocker was baptized in the same parlor where piano and guitar "concerts" were held for soldiers who had come for food and shelter and where generations ago babies were dedicated to God.

The church is not a building. It is where "two or three are gathered together," and the family who gathered in the Thornton home for the sacrament of baptism was the church.

Baptism is not only about dedicating the life of a child to God, but it is about the responsibility of the parents, grandparents, and church members toward the infant. This baptism, in particular, shows the determination of these young parents to make that happen, and that in caring for their sons, nothing can deter them. Truly, distance is not a problem.

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