Today at the PFWomen’s blog, it’s my privilege to ask some questions of our First Lady, Athena Raburn. She was glad to share here in this space today and says she does so, “in His service” and “with an open heart to all.” Let’s get to know our First Lady a little better today. ~ Deanna
Deanna: It is such a privilege to have you share with us today. Let’s start at the beginning…where were you born?
Athena: I was born in Lake Wales, Florida.
Deanna: And where did you grow up?
Athena: All over the state of Florida, including the projects of Lakeland.
Deanna: Can you tell us anything you’d like to share about your family growing up?
Athena: I am the oldest of many children. (My parents were married a number of times.)
Deanna: How did you come to know Jesus?
Athena: I came to know the Lord at a small wooden Baptist church in Chiefland, Florida, during a missions convention.
Deanna: Did you always feel that you would be a minister’s wife?
Deanna: How did you meet your husband?
Athena: We met at the end of summer at a youth water ski party in Winter Haven.
Deanna: Can you share with us a bit about your dating and engagement?
Athena: We dated long distance for almost five years. I worked for a Judge in the Juvenile Division. I think it helped me learn what to do in youth camp when we became youth directors.
Deanna: And where did you and Superintendent Raburn get married?
Athena: We married at Mt Zion church in Plant City, Florida.
Deanna: What was your first ministry assignment together?
Athena: We were missionaries, itinerating and returning to Beirut Lebanon.
Deanna: What was the most surprising thing for you, about being a minister’s wife?
Athena: The expectations!
Deanna: And what about as Superintendent’s wife? What was the most surprising thing about this role?
Athena: So many life issues and the incredible needs of the ministry.
Deanna: If you could give just one piece of advice to a brand new minister’s wife, what would it be?
Athena: Make sure to have a solid relationship with the Lord, and don’t be afraid of whom the Lord has created you to be.
Deanna: What do you like to do for fun?
Athena: I love history and finding out about the times and circumstances that have created what we have become. You know the southern question is always, “And who are your people?” Loaded question but full of information!
Deanna: What is your favorite color?
Athena: I love all colors, but purple would be the primary.
Deanna: What is your favorite food?
Athena: I love all types of food and love to experience the flavors, spices, history and culture through food.
Deanna: What is your favorite TV show?
Athena: Right now it’s Call the Midwife and Law and Order. (What does that say about me?)
Deanna: Is there anything else you’d like to share with us today?
Athena: I am so excited to see the women of PenFlorida taking steps toward ordination. Many years ago I asked the Lord to grant an opportunity for the women to have a place within our fellowship to minister and work together.
We now have so many outstanding qualified women within the district. Our district has put into place PenFlorida Women’s Director, Deanna Shrodes, the PFWomen Reps – so many are ordained and serve in many capacities within their sections. PF Widow, Freda Kramer; PF Woman Presbyter, Susan Pippin; PFKids Director Sydney Morrow; Natalie Barnoske with PF Youth Alive – ministering to middle and high school public ministries; Linda Adkins, Senior Pastor of Words of Light; Christina Knotts of Christian Life Community Church in Jacksonville area and Maria Khaleel of Pembroke Pines who is an original church planter. Well, I could go on and on forever about the incredible ministry available to Peninsular Florida and the women of this district. It is my prayer that everyone finds a place of ministry and is able to find value in their calling.
Deanna: Thank you so much for sharing all of us today. I speak for so many in saying that we are absolutely delighted to get to know you better. We love you.