Eleanor Van Gent

Eleanor Van Gent

JOY! – A Success Story

Where do we find JOY? I started with food early on. I weighed nearly thirty pounds at one year of age. My loving mother provided healthy foods. I overate! She sewed all of my dresses while in elementary and junior high school as the “huskies” were too small. I slimmed down following an appendectomy in my early teens.

Years later, with three children, there were fifty extra pounds. I joined various weight loss programs repeatedly yo-yoing up and down the scale. Too many times, the JOY of losing was short lived.

In 1995, while living in AR, a First Place (FP4H) group started at our church First Baptist Church of Mountain Home. I didn’t need another weight loss program. I knew what to do. I thought the verse that refers to our bodies as God’s temple only referred to alcohol, tobacco, and drugs.  After the first session at my church, one of the members had lost 23 pounds. I didn’t lose anything. In response to the Lord’s encouragement, I joined the group. The JOY began–losing 48 pounds in nine months. The Bible studies, memory verses and group support emphasized the need for making Christ No. 1 in my life. I’d given my life to the Lord as a teenager. I never thought to put Him first in all areas, including my weight.

FP4H’s foundational verse, “But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well” (Matt. 6:33) resonated with me  Other verses that rescued me:

Matt.16:23, “….get behind me Satan…”

I Corinthians 10:12-13, “No temptation has seized you except what is common to man.  And God is faithful, he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear.  But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so you can stand up under it.”

Isaiah 41:10, “So do not fear, for I am with you. Do not be dismayed for I am your God.  I will strengthen you and help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.” ReJOYice!

When I retired in 1996, I assisted with leading FP4H groups.  In July 2000, due to my husband’s health, we moved to Waupun, WI.  He made his eternal homecoming with the Lord four months later.  Through much prayer and the encouragement from friends in AR, the Lord directed me to introduce First Place at First Reformed Church in September 2001. Jenn Krogh, then networking leader for WI, supported me in many ways. JOY!

After nine years, this great grandma rejoiced when the Lord led one of our members to start a FP4H group at Immanuel Lutheran Church. JOY!  In Sept, 2014, another member began leading a group at First Christian Reformed Church.  JOY! JOY! Now there are two groups at each of these churches.  In January 2016, the Lord led a third member to start a group at Pella Lutheran Church. JOY!  JOY!  JOY! That’s a total of five groups in our town of 11,000! Praise the Lord!

FAT is an acronym for Faithful, Available, and Teachable.  I am thankful for God’s faithfulness throughout my journey.   Through the teaching of FP4H I have experienced JOY–Jesus first, Others second, and You last.  Over these past twenty years, I strived (and struggled) to be faithful, available and teachable. God has given the power for me to maintain my weight and make Him No. 1.  JOY!

Pictured:  Eleanor Van Gent, Jenn Krogh, Carole Lewis, Helen Nemetz