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An Interview with LaJoyce Martin

Q: Sister Martin, would you mind telling us how old you are?
A: Not at all! I’m 69.95 plus tax. And the tax is getting rather steep!

Q: Can you tell us a little about your beginning?
A: I was quite an expensive baby, costing my parents $1.25 a pound. It took my dad a whole year to pay Doc Pyke’s ten-dollar home-delivery fee. I had big ears and no hair, and at six weeks my feet were almost four inches long. I doubt if I ever wore a size-zero anything. The government got me mixed up right away and listed me as T. Zoy on my birth certificate. And I fell totally in love with Little Boy Blue on my baby quilt.

Q: Would you say your childhood was quite normal?
A: For one year it was. Then my dad got called to preach, and “normal” flew out the window.

Q: What about your teenage years?
A: In my early teens, I adopted a mantra: “Only one life, ’twill soon be past; only what’s done for Christ will last.” I wrote it in the front of my cardboard-backed Bible.

Q: Tell us how you met your husband.
A: Ah, that’s quite a story. I prayed for that good-looking, blue-eyed hunk for five years! I lived in Texas, and he was Brother David Gray’s assistant pastor in California, two thousand miles away. I heard that he planned to marry . . . someone else. My tears probably caused the angels to exhaust Heaven’s supply of Kleenexes in sympathy. I sent him a funny birthday card on his twenty-second birthday. He called and proposed over the phone—with my dad listening in on the extension! He came eleven months later for the wedding. We never had a date. We had thirty-five dollars for our honeymoon.

Q: And from there?
A: Sight unseen, we took an abandoned work in Colorado—without a job, credit card, or money in the bank. But I knew God loved us when He miraculously supplied catsup for our potatoes, the only food we had.

Q: So, was your ministry confined to pastoring?
A: Oh, no! We traveled for nine priceless years—I tell folks that means we didn’t get paid. And in many places, that wasn’t far from the truth! We lived in attics, basements, and church annexes … and two ugly travel trailers. But, honestly, I don’t ever remember complaining. We were working for God!

Q: How many children do you have?
A: Two on earth and one in Heaven.

Q: What are some of your favorite memories?
A: Youth camps! We assisted in thirty-five over a fifteen-year span. Most boasted an enrollment of over five hundred campers. I especially liked Crusaders’ Camps. Those nine- year-olds really got down on my level.

Q: When did you begin your writing ministry?
A: My first book was published in 1985, though I had written for Word Aflame Press Sunday school literature since its onset.

Q: How many books have you written?
A: I’ve lost count, but it’s somewhere between ninety and one hundred too many!

Q: What do you enjoy most about writing?
A: Words. I love words. Some of them I invent. When my wonderful editor, Bethany Sledge (who is my daughter), calls me and says, “Mom, this isn’t a word!” I say: “If Mr. Webster can make up words, why not I?”

Q: You’ve traveled quite a lot, right?
A: Yes, I’ve been to every UPC district in the continental United States, plus Hawaii and Alaska.

Q: Have you been on any missionary trips?
A: Australia, Canada, New Zealand, and Brazil. Sometimes it was fun; sometimes it was scary.

Q: What were some of your special moments?
A: I won the “Writer of the Year” award from Pentecostal Publishing House in 1989 and received a doctorate forty-nine years after finishing public school. Now, am I a slow learner or what?

Q: Tell us about a special experience with God.
A: In 1962, I was in an explosion, and God walked me right out of the flames, unscathed. And when my lovely daughter was killed in a car wreck three-and-one-half years ago, I thought I couldn’t possibly attend her funeral as we had a very close relationship. But that morning before I got out of bed, it seemed Jesus entered my room, stood beside me, and whispered to my heart: “Trust Me, My child. I know what I’m doing.” It changed my life.

Q: Can you tell us something that none of us know about you? A: I played the banjo in church when I was a little kid.
Q: Where can we learn more about you?

A: I’ve written my life story. It is entitled Once upon a Lifetime—A Sortabiography. In it you will learn about my stroke and how I was coded “blue,” when I didn’t breathe for ten minutes. About my husband’s stroke. About my dozens and dozens of miracles. And why all my poor angels have gray hair!
Q: Have you a parting quip for us?

A: Only one life,
It’s going fast;
Our future is brighter
Than all our past!