100-Year-Old Reverend Has No Intention of Giving Up Soon
Cheryl Wilcox - 700 Club Producer
“I could hear them, but I couldn't talk. And the nurse said, ‘Shall I wash her and clean her up?’ And he picked up my wrist like this and he said ‘no,’ he said, ‘she won't be here in the morning, leave her.’ "
Beatrice LaMonte was 23 years old and newly married when she was diagnosed with tuberculosis and quartined in a sanatorium. The doctor had given up hope, but Beatrice called out to God.
“I said to the Lord, if you let me live to see the sun comes in that window, I’ll serve you the rest of my life and I’ll go where you want me to go, and I’ll do what you want me to do. And from that moment on, God began to heal me.”
When she was discharged in 1940, Beatrice was the only patient on her ward to survive. Now 100 years old, she has kept her promise to God, and it has taken her from her home in Pittsburgh to the plains of South Africa, from preaching the gospel to starting churches to housing and caring for recovering drug addicts.
“The Lord gave me such faith! I just – I can't even tell you. I just believed God for anything. There was no limit with God with me when I come out of that hospital.”
Beatrice began to minister in a local congregation and then in 1955, she started her own church at a time when few women filled the pulpit. She gathered up young people from the rough parts of Pittsburgh and invited them into her home, later moving into a storefront.
Reverend LaMonte remembers, “The place was just filled, standing room only. “
Emily, an original church member, says: “She introduced us to God and I came to church to a young people's meeting one night.
Reverend LaMonte recalls: “ And it was tremendous. These kids just – we just bonded. We became like family.”
Emily adds: ”I hate to think what my life would be had she not come up there that day and took us to church.”
in the 1960’s Beatrice offered a home to group of former drug addicts launching into ministry. among them was John Gimenez, the founder of Rock Church International, who was introduced to his wife Anne by Beatrice.
Reverend LaMonte says: “It's tremendous what this couple did together. Anne served the lord from youth up. – and then John was in charge of Washington for Jesus three times, and then he started works all around and also over in foreign countries.”
Beatrice became a mother for the first time at age 58, when she and her husband adopted their son. Samuel now serves as the senior pastor of Temple of Faith, the church his mother founded and where she still teaches and preaches. He has been a special comfort to her, especially after her husband passed away in 1991.
Reverend LaMonte says: “You can't imagine how good Samuel is to me. God blesses you with your children.”
Last October, in honor of his mother’s 100th birthday, Samuel invited friends and ministers from 15 states to celebrate her 77 years of ministry and to thank her for keeping her promise –a promise she has no intention of giving up anytime soon.
Reverend LaMonte shares: “This one brother has me come to his church, he says, ‘sister Bea, I want you to preach old out of my people.’ ” She continues: “We don’t preach life. When you reach 70 years old the doctor says, ‘Well, you're 70 years old. What do you expect?’ If you go to him and-and you're sick, right? And if you're 80 -- well, ‘you're living above your time. What do you expect? You’re 80 years old now. You're not a teenager anymore, what do you expect?’ In other words, get ready to die. No! Jesus said, ‘get ready to live, that you might have life and that more abundantly.’ "
Reverend LaMonte says; “Really, truthfully, and honestly the word of God keeps me alive.”