The state fair has begun in Oklahoma. That usually means rain is about to come in abundance. However, that seems unlikely this year. No rain in the forecast.

I had a privilege of interviewing a faithful Sunday School teacher for the latest edition of the Baptist Messenger. I enjoyed my interview with her, and it made me think of the many interviews I’ve done for stories in the Messenger over the last nine years.

For this week’s DHD, I thought I would share six of my favorite interviewees, in no distinct order. And there could be even more than just these six, but you know—half dozen. I got to keep consistent.

Here we go!

  1. Joanne Moran

Joanne is the faithful Sunday School teacher I mentioned. This sweet lady has been teaching kindergarten Sunday School for 55 years at Muskogee, First.

You can check out her story here: “Moran makes impact, teaching 55 years at Muskogee, First.”

Joanne is the ideal interview subject for journalists—at least for print journalists. She speaks directly, matter-of-factly, with no parentheticals. In other words, she gives great quotes. That’s a journalist’s dream, and it’s not very common.

Many people will stop mid-thought and add something to what they are talking about. It’s fairly common. I know I do it. But when getting content for an article, sometimes you have to fish through the nonessential remarks to get a good quote, one that would be more appealing to readers.

I didn’t have to do such fishing after interviewing Joanne. It was a blessing, and made the process a joy to write about her and the impact she has made on many lives.

  1. Franklin Graham

I’ve interview a few national figures. Franklin Graham was one of the first I interviewed since working for the Messenger.

It was a phone interview, which I sometimes prefer, especially because I have a recording device on my phone, making it easier for me when I’m constructing my articles. This was also a Q&A style article, which can make it even easier. I just feature the comments verbatim, though I have to be conscientious of word space on the page.

Franklin Graham speaks in similar fashion to his dad, well-known evangelist Billy Graham. I confess, there were some chills when I heard his voice come over my phone. It’s amazing to think how many people across the globe have heard his voice, as well as his dad’s voice, throughout the years, sharing the Gospel. And I was having a personal conversation with him.

You can read the story I wrote on Franklin Graham here.

  1. Ed Newton

If you are not familiar with Ed Newton, you need to hear him preach. He has long been a Falls Creek favorite. I’ve written a handful of articles featuring Ed, and it’s always a joy to get comments from him.

In 2018, I wrote about Falls Creek campers cheering whenever a speaker would tell them to open their Bibles. Ed is responsible for this. He instigated it during one of his first summers at Falls Creek, but many kept the cheering response when other speakers asked them to open their Bibles. When I interviewed Ed about this, he had no idea the cheering was going on, and a big smile came to his face.

His response: “To any preacher reading this, never stop asking your people to open their Bibles.”

  1. David Sons

I tried to find the article online that I wrote about David Sons. Unfortunately, I was unsuccessful. He is well-known in South Carolina as a camp speaker, but he came to speak at Falls Creek for the first time in 2018.

I decided to tag along with David the first couple of days at camp to get his perspective of what he thought about Falls Creek. He was impressed. What was really great about David is how unrecognizable he was the day after he initially spoke. Campers and sponsors had no idea who he was. They just figured he was a really friendly guy driving around on a golf cart.

When they eventually would ask where he was from, he would say South Carolina, and then it dawned on them. “Oh! You’re the speaker this week!”

David wanted to be personable, knowing that he could encourage people just as much in personal conversations as when he addressed them en masse.

  1. Willa Ruth Garlow

I treasure this dear woman. She was always a thrill to interview and to hear her speak publicly. I had the privilege of writing an obituary piece of Willa Ruth in the Messenger when she passed away—“Remembering Willa Ruth”.

I confess, when I did my recent interview with Joanne Moran, Willa Ruth came to mind. Both ladies have a great wit and a love for teaching children.

  1. Dennis Jernigan

Dennis Jernigan will always be an all-time favorite for me. The Christian singer/songwriter has an incredible story, and I believe his story becomes more and more relevant with the current culture.

The first time I interviewed Dennis was in 2013 for my article “Jernigan’s Journey.” He has written many well-known worship songs that are still sung in church services today, all over the world. Every time, I’m at church and we sing “You Are My All in All” or “Who Can Satisfy My Soul (There is a Fountain)” I turn to Karen and say, “Hey, Dennis Jernigan!”

After every interview and story I wrote about Dennis, he mailed me a written note, thanking me for the article. I feel the privilege is always mine to spend time with him.