|Pearl Whichard Evans was born April 17, 1948, the daughter of Sam and Ella Mae Ingalls Whichard. While she was growing up in their North Carolina parsonage, she heard the call of Jesus Christ to preach. During her college and seminary studies at Immanuel College, Pembroke State University, and Duke Divinity School, she was in demand as a preacher and counselor. She was listed in ‘‘Who’s Who in American Colleges and Universities.’’ After earning her Master of Divinity Degree, she pursued clinical pastoral education at Duke Hospital and Georgia Mental Health Institute to refine her skills as a pastoral counselor. During this time, she married Reverend A. Wayne Evans, joined the Louisiana Conference, and gave birth to a son--Nathan Kirk (‘‘gift of the church’’).
During her ministry in Louisiana, Pearl served as a hospital chaplain and earned a Master of Social Work Degree, while at the same time undergoing chemotherapy for cancer. Her courage and perseverance were evident in the daily trip to Baton Rouge for two years. Upon completing this education, she was appointed to the Davidson Memorial—Lydia Charge in Lafayette as co-pastor with her husband. The counseling center she opened there united her disciplines of prayer and psychotherapy.
We treasure our memory of Pearl’s faith and covet for ourselves her life of prayer. The more she listened to God, the greater was her ability to identify with the deepest needs of those who sought her counsel. Pearl attributed her insight and discernment to the work of the Holy Spirit, who is available to every Christian. Because of this belief, she saw the possibility of growth and hope for all whom she knew. She had the capability to make the most of what she had to work with, whether in herself or others. Many persons with whom she worked have said, ‘‘She touched my 1ife.”
Pearl was courageous. The most difficult circumstances did not prevent her pursuit of the highest goals, whether ministering to juvenile delinquents, paraplegics, alcoholics, or others in crisis. The decision to have a second child, Joshua Blake (‘‘God delivers’’) indicated her faith in God’s power to care for her and her family. Her ordination as an elder four weeks prior to her death culminated her goal to be a faithful minister of Jesus Christ. She credited God and her friends’ prayers with the strength to participate in the service. We all rejoiced in her faith, even while we regret she received perfection in God’s kingdom so soon on July 2, 1984
Pearl’s unfulfilled desire was to continue to provide nurture and support for those she loved. Yet her sensitivity, openness, faith and love challenge us all to follow Christ more nearly. As Wesley said of Whitfield, so we now say of this servant of Christ, ‘‘Let me die the death of the righteous, and let my end be like his.’’ (Numbers 23:10)
|Source: Journal Louisiana Conference, 1985; p. 246 By James O. Evans and A. Wayne Evans|