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Teacher, mother, sailor, wife

Cheryl Turner Photo by Rikki Elizabeth Stinnette

Teacher, mother, sailor, wife

In his book No Little People, Francis Schaeffer wrote that “in God's sight there are no little people and no little places. Only one thing is important: to be consecrated persons in God's place for us, at each moment.” For four years during the 1990s WORLD annually ran a set of features with specific examples of Christians who were doing God-glorifying things out of love and obedience but without recognition. We continue that tradition in this new series on people who glorify God by serving others without getting any money or publicity in the process. —Marvin Olasky

Cheryl Turner, in Waterford, Va., has decided the best use of her time is to forego career honors and to stay at home to educate her 11 children. Turner grew up a tomboy with five brothers and one sister. She attended the U.S. Naval Academy, married, and served in the Navy for five years. Now she opens every day of homeschooling with a hymn and a prayer. Over an intercom she summons to lunch the eight children still in her home. (Three are grown and out on their own.) The youngest ones set a basket of homemade bread and bargain-size tubs of margarine on the table, and her husband, Mitch, leads the family in prayer.

Turner sees her greatest challenge as a mother as dealing with her own sin nature. “I totally believe children are a blessing, but some part of that blessing is actually for our sanctification,” she says. She remembers potty training her oldest daughter, Rebecca, and becoming angry about four messes in two hours. She asked herself why she was mad and concluded that her own heart needed more changing. Rebecca, now a university student diagnosed with Lyme disease, recalls that her mom “knows how to encourage people, to have an others-focused conversation, and incredibly demonstrates the gifts of hospitality and giving.”

Turner’s dreams for the future are simple: She hopes each of her children will remain committed to Christ and live close enough for her to have them over for weekly meals. Even though none of her children are married, she’s already tucking away ideas for activities to do with the grandchildren.

Rikki Elizabeth Stinnette Rikki is a World Journalism Institute graduate and a former WORLD contributor.

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