Malinda Gregory knows about the early days of AGAPE of NC. She started off as a Volunteer and, then eventually, became a paid member of Staff. She speaks fondly of AGAPE’s ministry and the Slaughter family. Listening to Malinda talk about the organization, one realizes she is forever part of AGAPE’s family and history.
Malinda worked with LoveLine (AGAPE’s former crisis hotline) for many years and was a church ministry leader for that service. During the day, Malinda answered the AGAPE phone line used exclusively for LoveLine, talking to people in crisis. In her role coordinating LoveLine’s evening/overnight Volunteers, Malinda wrote out the on-call schedule. She was also in charge of the training materials used to prepare and guide those same Volunteers.
In the early days, once a year, AGAPE launched a massive mailing, sending the organization’s annual newsletter all across the nation. It was a very tedious and time-consuming process. In fact, AGAPE’s small office didn’t have enough room for the project. All the mailing materials had to be carried over to Friendly Avenue Church of Christ so Malinda could spread out and accomplish the necessary tasks. Malinda was so efficient, soon she was given responsibility for this yearly project too. She even wrote a few of the newsletter articles over the years.
Because Malinda spent time in AGAPE’s office every week, she witnessed and experienced the stress of helping people in crisis — but she handled it with grace and with love. Malinda shares that, even during challenging times, Tom and Joan Slaughter always made the work fun. Malinda also recalls lots of laughs with Jerry Sprague, often joking around to lighten any tensions when he came to Greensboro from Raleigh.
Another full-time Social Worker from Raleigh, David Clinard, was good to joke around with too. Now, if you’ve ever met Malinda, you’ll notice God gave her many gifts but, at 4’8”, tall stature was not one of them. David stood over 6’ tall. So, whenever he saw Malinda, David would get on his knees to give her a high five. She laughs just talking about it to this day!
Another one of Malinda’s roles was helping with AGAPE’s Annual Yard Sale that took place in the driveway and on the front lawn of the office. So, here’s another funny story from Malinda . . . If you know anything about yard sales, getting an early (sometime pre-dawn) start is part of them. On one particular AGAPE Yard Sale Saturday, as Malinda left her house that morning, she noticed her make-up looked a little bit off, but she couldn’t tell what was wrong. (It was early after all.) When she arrived, Joan looked at Malinda with a weird expression and asked why her lips were blue. Malinda had accidently lined her lips with blue eyeliner. (Guess she is not really a morning person!) Anyway, Malinda accepted her plight good-naturedly, everyone got a laugh out of it, and they carried on with a successful AGAPE Yard Sale!
Malinda certainly worked hard in AGAPE’s mission to serve children and families in North Carolina. But the memories that stick out most in her mind are filled with fun and laughter –amusing moments spent among the people with whom she was close. It’s that family aspect all over again. Everyone at AGAPE, then and now, cherishes life — and joy is as much a part of AGAPE as the difficult realities we see each day. Malinda reminds us to take time along our way to enjoy each moment of bliss — those little glimpses of heaven just might be the ones that leave a lasting impression.