An email exchange began last Sunday when I received this message:
Rev. George: 

I met the Lord at your Church–in the old church on the corner, in 1957 or 1958 when I attended there. I came as a result of the church’s outreach program at Altadena Elementary School. Thank you Lord, for that influence on my life!

I remember the name of Van Alstine–was it your father perhaps? I am 71 years old and he was a grown man, so I don’t think it was you at that time!

Tell me, what is the status of Maurine Georgiades? I knew her and her family, and remember them. She was such a positive person, in spite of several life-issues that were going on at that time.

I notice Kathyrn Bassett is the webmaster re your church. She has also served as webmaster of the John Muir ’63 website. What a coincidence, it is a small world. I graduated from JMHS in 1963.

I am an old lady now, and although I lived in Altadena, Pasadena, and Glendora for 60 years, I am now relocated in San Diego with family.

Please let me know about Maurine if you have any information you can share with me. Also, do you know what happened to the Stankey family who were so active in the church there in the 1950s-1960s? They were so helpful in helping me get to and from church since my parents didn’t seem too interested in my religious education or church attendance. I am so thankful to everybody there in helping me to understand God and Christianity and be the person I am today. Sometimes you help folks, and plant a ‘seed’ and you never know where it will go or grow. God is good, He has sent me good people in my life to help me and guide me.
In His name, sending God’s blessings your way,
Gail (Doane) Becker
I wrote back:
Dear Gail:
Great to hear your story. I think I’m the Van Alstine you remember. I attended ABC while I was a student at Fuller Seminary, 1958 through 1961. I’m 80 now. After graduation, I returned to the East Coast, where I pastored a church in Sharon, MA, for ten years. In 1972, ABC called me back to be its pastor, and I’ve been here ever since.
Maurine is still going strong at the age of 90. She lives in the same house a couple of blocks from the church. She has severe breathing problems and depends on a respirator, but she’s still sharp as a tack and amazingly positive. We have a weekly Bible study in her home. I’ll be sure to mention you to her.
Both Ed and Nita Stankey passed away some time ago. Their children and grands live in various West Coast  communities, and we hear from them once in a while. 
Katheryn Bassett is in church just about every Sunday. Her father Norm is still pretty active in his late nineties, but he lives in Glendora, and we seldom see him.
It’s very nice of you to reach out and let us know about the influence the church had on your early life. I’m going to print portions of this in our weekly Messenger.
I received this answer a couple of days later:
Hi Rev. George:
Thank you for your response.  I am sure you are the Van Alstine I recall mentioned many times at the church.  It sounds as if you have had a full life serving the Lord and have returned to where it began to complete your work.   
I remember a lot about ABC, Rev. Dow and his family, Maurine and her husband George and their family, the young friends I met there, and most especially the Stankey family–I am so thankful to them for their role in coming to pick me up and take me to church. I am sure Mrs. Stankey had better things to do, and Mr. Stankey too, but they were faithful, and so instrumental in my attendance there. Their daughter Virginia was my friend and a wonderful pianist and organist, and she had such dignity and grace at an early age.
I last saw Maurine many years ago when I came to her home to purchase a book she had written, about her son’s life and death.  Please tell her I will keep her in my prayers.
Gail added more in this second email about her children and grandchildren and how they are passing on the spiritual heritage that began with her experiences at ABC. I sent her copies of our 75th Anniversary Souvenir Book and of Maurine Georgiades’ second book,  Stitches of Grace in the Quilt of My Life.
I thought it was important to share Gail’s personal testimony with you all, as we begin the countdown to our annual Vacation Bible School week. Lots of hard work just to touch the lives of these children and their families for a few hours. Is it worth it?
Ask Gail.
— Pastor George Van Alstine
VBS Is Almost Here!
Altadena Baptist Church invites children entering grades Kindergarten through 8th to Maker Fun Factory VBS July 31 – August 4 .  $15 for first child; $10 for each additional child.  Go to to register or call 626-797-8970.  Volunteers may also register at the website.