For Paul and Jenni Rendall life has been a journey, one that has brought them to Tama, Iowa. This year marks their 10th year of living and working in the Tama/Toledo community. Paul serves as the pastor at the Reformed Baptist Church and Jenni has worked at the State Bank of Toledo for the past eight years.
The two met while attending the University of Iowa where Paul studied social work and history while Jenni focused on education. Jenni was known around campus as the girl with the three-legged dog (a slight inside joke but a fun memory for the two).
Both Paul and Jenni grew up in the church and were quite active within their respective church communities. Paul was raised Presbyterian and Jenni Methodist, but once in college and out on their own they both felt they did not really know the God they had learned about growing up. They lived by the belief that as long as you were a good person everything was "A-okay".
Paul and Jenni Rendall recount their story over lunch as they prepare to celebrate 10 years of living and working in the Tama-Toledo community. They will also be celebrating 10 years of Vacation Bible School starting August 11.
News Herald/Allison Graham
Though Paul did not realize it at the time, his father would play an integral role in the direction of both his faith and his career. While in high school Paul's dad (a Sunday school teacher at the time) had a revelation, recognizing that it wasn't just good deeds that made a person a Christian. He believed the Bible was the ultimate authority in one's life and soon began praying for Paul and the rest of his family's salvation. Paul wanted no part of it and was thankful for his freedom once he graduated from high school and was attending the University of Iowa.
After being on his own throughout college Paul realized that the Lord began working in his heart long before his head could catch up with this new way of life. Once Paul graduated and was married to Jenni, he began to have a similar experience to his father's. At first, Jenni had a hard time understanding Paul's convictions but eventually realized she couldn't do life her way. She came to the conclusion that there was a different path she could choose and in 1976 both Jenni and Paul accepted the Lord Jesus Christ as their personal Savior. They spent most of their married life, 25 years, in Davenport, Iowa where Paul was a painter by trade.
The two began coming to Tama to preach on a fairly regular basis around 1989-90 when former pastor Ralph Sarver was having difficulty maintaining a regular preaching ministry due his wife Lorraine's cancer diagnosis. At the time Paul and Jenni were attending Sycamore Baptist Church in Moline, Illinois, a sister church to the Reformed Baptist Church in Tama. Paul along with fellow pastors Godon Taylor and Kim Dopler began a rotational schedule to assist in filling the pulpit. Paul and Jenni were members of Sycamore Baptist Church for 18 years before moving to Tama. In 2002 a deacon of the Reformed Baptist, Lyle Pakala asked Paul if he would like to consider becoming the pastor in Tama. Paul said that he would if both they and the elders of Sycamore Baptist would evaluate him to determine whether he was qualified for the office. Over a period of time both churches evaluated Paul, determined he was a good fit, and eventually sent him to Tama where he was ordained to the ministry in July of 2003.
After 10 years in Tama community Paul and Jenni feel content and are enjoying celebrating a decade in Tama/Toledo. The Rendalls are passionate about teaching people about the Bible, as Paul stated, "It is the common denominator, the word of God."
Not only is it their 10th year living and working in the community but also their 10th summer of offering Vacation Bible School (VBS). VBS will run from Aug. 11-15 from 9 a.m. - 12:00p.m. with registration on Monday Aug. 11. This year's theme is "Joshua - God Brings Us Into the Promised Land".
Over the years the Rendell's along with volunteers have tried to reach out to the families of the community, teaching them their need of Jesus Christ in order to have eternal life. VBS is open to any youth and you do not have to be a member or even an attendee of the church to have your children participate in VBS.
The VBS week will close out with a Sloppy Joe Supper and a short program for parents and children on Friday Aug. 15 at 6 p.m.