Welcome. Today we are joined by Judy Sherrin and Judy is one of the friendliest people you will ever meet.
Thank you, thank you.
She has a daughter and two grandchildren, how old are your grandchildren?
Nine and seven.
Nice. Fun times.
Judy has worked for thirty three years in Coles, in every department (she tells me) except for meat and the bakehouse. And she’s retired now, which means that she’s really busy.
Doing things like Mainly Music, and Breakfast With Us, and Lunch Friends – things that we do at our church. And one thing that I learned or possibly relearned (I think I did know) about Judy was that she loves netball, coaching and playing.
Oh yes, yes.
So it’s a great pleasure to chat with you this morning.
Thank you very much Ruth.
So do you want to start by telling us how you became a Christian?
Well I think I have to go right back to when I was twelve or something like that, with the Salvation Army and I went to Sunday School there. And I never knew about Christ before that. And Sunday School was absolutely fabulous. We learn a lot at Sunday Schools, and all the songs that never go away, that come back again. And all the Salvation Army stuff. We went to the Salvation Army for a little while.
And then after that we went to All Saints, South Hobart. And we became, my sisters and I, two other sisters that I have out of the six of us, we all joined the choir. And we got confirmed at All Saints. We also got married at All Saints. Father Bramwell was there at the time, and he was an absolutely gorgeous man. But he’s now passed on, of course.
So were your parents coming to church with you as well?
Not at that time.
No, it was just you kids?
Just us kids, yeah. We were sent every Sunday to church, whether we wanted to go or not.
And your parents got some time off.
Yes, they did. Mum did the lunch. And Dad went elsewhere. He was probably working.
Well, six kids I can understand them needing a bit of space.
Well it was eight actually, I had two brothers as well – one older, and one younger.
Oh eight! Oh wow.
Cool, right. So you’ve gone to church and you’ve got confirmed …
That’s when I just started really to understand about God. But I didn’t understand truly what God was all about. It was a lot of words to me at that time. But even though I was confirmed, we had to learn a lot of stuff. I’ve forgotten that already, (laughs) as you do as you get older. But I went to St Clements after that. I’ve been at St Clements since 1982.
Robert was minister there and that was good fun. But I got baptised in the Holy Spirit at Lutana church. I didn’t get baptised in the Holy Spirit at St Clements. When I was at Coles I came across this lady from the Lutana church and we used to get talking about Christianity. And I got baptised in the Holy Spirit there. And then you were allowed to take communion then. They didn’t allow you to take communion like we do in our church until you were baptised in the Holy Spirit.
So that really changed your life, being baptised in the Holy Spirit?
Yes. Absolutely. That was the change in my life. I became so much more in tune with the Lord. Which was really good and I just went around telling everybody about the Lord, didn’t I? Even if they didn’t want to listen to it.
That’s fantastic. That’s awesome.
That was really great. And I came across a lot of friends through being baptised. And I went to Bev Farmelo’s bible study group for a long long time. And that’s how I met a lot of my friends now. It’s really great.
It’s awesome. Those deep friendships that you make in the bible study group are so important.
Yes, yes they are. Very much so.
And they are very long lasting. Even if you, like I’ve got friends that I made in bible study groups years ago. We’re not meeting together anymore but we’ve just got that depth of friendship that lasts forever.
How did your faith show itself in your work in Coles?
That was very interesting because at Coles it’s very hard to be a Christian and show people what you believe in. Because they hoo-hah it a lot. I met a lot of lovely people through the checkouts and I became friendly with a lot of Christians through the checkout, especially Doris and Martin Hurley and Vanessa. And they were absolutely wonderful and we got a good relationship going and I used to go to a bible study with Doris on a Monday night and she taught me a lot.
I worked as a check out chick as well and it’s amazing the depth of conversation you can have, when you’re doing someone’s groceries.
Absolutely, you can if you really want to. But a lot of them are not trained that way now.
They don’t want to.
I think that must be something where your faith showed itself is that you cared for the people you were serving in the shop. Whereas, and I’m not being judgemental, but I’ve had people tell me, “I just don’t care”.
They don’t. I understand that, yes.
No, that was a really good time to talk to people, and to just talk to people about Jesus if they wanted to listen. 95% didn’t. So it was hard. And you got ribbed and made fun of by your colleagues as well. But I got through that with a friend. She was a Seventh Day Adventist and she helped me get through it, and we helped each other really. It was really good. She’s still a friend.
So she was a work colleague as well?
Yes, she was.
That makes a big difference.
It does, it does.
And I think from the way that you were farewelled that they held you in high regard in the end.
Yes, it was a good goodbye and they made me a beautiful afternoon tea and that was lovely. I didn’t have to do much that day – it was really lovely.
And how would you say your faith shows itself now? How has your life changed now that you’re not working?
I don’t have to get up at 3 o’clock in the morning to go to work at 5 o’clock.
Oh my goodness!
And that’s really good.
I knew you’d say something like that, Ruth!
Yes, it has changed. I now do things that I want to do for Christ. And I can do all those things at church without fail and I don’t have to say anything to anybody I just go and Nola and I just do a lot together, really and that’s really beautiful, our friendship.
And through changing I think that God has changed me. God has changed me a lot since I’ve retired. And I think through going through the pain that I have gone through with my back and my hip God has taught me to be very patient.
I didn’t have that before.
He teaches you to be very patient. In his time not ours.
And it has changed me. When Jan used to live next door I used to go and talk to her about Christ and she knows there’s a Christ but she won’t commit herself and of course the next door neighbours are very nice people but they’ve only just come so …
Still getting to know them.
You’re so right, Ruth, yes.
I think he’s changed me a lot in the amount of prayer that I do. And talking to him every single day. I can talk to him here, just by myself, and it’s really lovely and I have a quiet time and in the quiet time we just talk. And I get out my bible and read parts of the bible. It is good.
Mainly Music (just for people who don’t know) is for young children.
Yes, it is. It’s really lovely. We have a good group there, and that group helps people outside our church, and that’s a vision for us, that our church reaches people outside. And that’s what we do. There’s a lot of people there that don’t come to our church but go to other churches. There’s a lot of people who don’t go to church full stop. But they’re lovely and they bring their children and they can see the love. They say they feel the love as they walk in the door, which is really good.
It is awesome.
And you’re not running around after kids at Mainly Music? Your job is to …
And chat. I know that Sue, we’ve talked to Sue Viney before, and she says her job is with the grandparents. She sits down and chats to the grandparents.
She does, she’s wonderful.
So it’s important to have that as well.
And then Breakfast With Us is for disadvantaged people in the community, isn’t it?
Yes, and lonely people. Very much so, lonely people. There are a lot of lonely people in our community. But we would just wish that more people would come and just sit down and have a cuppa with us, have breakfast with us, and get to know us, because we love to serve them.
And Lunch Friends is a similar thing, too?
Yes it is. We have a lot of good times there. That’s really good, with the older folk.
That’s amazing, just how you are reaching out.
And I noticed too, that somewhere on your wall there’s a Rotary certificate? Are you part of Rotary as well?
No that was given to me for my service to people going through my checkout, many years ago.
Yes, Michael Whitehouse gave that to me.
He said, “You’re an important member of our community, your smiling face and your conversation at the checkout.” That’s amazing, wow.
Yes it is. Yes. That was something I felt very blessed to get. And Michael was absolutely lovely. There was another couple, the Gregg’s who came through, that were, I think they were Christians, and they said that they absolutely loved the way that I just served. But I used to say, ’I’m not serving for me, I’m serving for Christ.’ That’s how I do it.
Exactly. And that hasn’t changed now?
No. Just a little bit more.
I really want to belabour the point, I guess, but I think that some people think, ‘Well, I’m just a checkout chick, what can I do?’ or ‘I just work at the bank, what can I do?’ and ‘I’m not out there doing missions, and I’m not preaching a sermon every Sunday or leading this or that.’ But your influence on people’s lives is huge because you served God in them.
I think that’s right Ruth, I just do believe that the more you can talk to people about Jesus, the more of an understanding that they have. Because before the Salvation Army came up our way, I did not know about Jesus, nobody told me about Jesus and I can understand why there are a lot of people who don’t know Jesus now. I have thought about that. And I thought, well, I didn’t know about him until somebody said something to me. So that’s why we’ve got to go out and tell everybody about Jesus.
Did you ever feel like you were putting your job on the line by talking about Jesus?
No. I think he covered me with that.
It’s the way you do it too, isn’t it?
Yes, it is definitely the way you do it. You don’t push it into people’s faces. Because they used to come up and say, ‘why are you so happy?’ And that was the opening. That was some opening.
I didn’t do that every time because I love doing my job as well, and I love serving people, and that was part of me.
And people get to know you and they say, ‘I’ll wait in line for Judy’s checkout’.
They used to! So that was a really lovely time in my life. It was well worth it.
When do you feel closest to God?
When I’m lonely. When I’m lonely I feel very close to God, because I sit there and I think, ‘God, where are you? You are here, I know. I can feel you but I just feel so lonely.’
Because this is something when people sit alone of a daytime, they do get very lonely. And that’s why I feel comforted by him being here with me. And that comfort is a great trust that I have in him.
That’s awesome. It’s interesting because we can think we feel closest to God in the good times, but often it’s in the bad times.
It’s in the bad times. I have found that out. Through the bad times is when you’re closest to God because he’s always there for you but you just don’t realise that at the time.
And I’m sure that you’d love, being the person you are you’d probably like to be out rushing hither and yon and doing things all the time, but your back and your hip have just said, ‘nope.’
I think this is the time God has told me, ‘sit down, behave yourself, and do what I say! Do what I’m telling you to do.’
No I think it’s really lovely that he has given me this time for myself, even though I’m restricted. He has still given me this time.
And he’s here.
Yes, all the time. All the time.
God is good.
All the time.
All the time
God is good.
What’s one thing about God or Christianity that you wish everybody knew.
I wish, I wish they knew about how great his love is for them. Because I feel that a lot of people don’t know that. And they don’t really want to know it sometimes. But God is love, and God just wants them to be his, and that’s the main thing. If they can understand that God died on the cross for them, no only just for me, or you, Ruth, but he died on that cross to save us. We are very sinful and that is why he did it.
I just want to be committed to him and I want to be more like him through my life. And that’s gradually happening. It doesn’t happen overnight, does it?
It does not, it does not.
So true. And I’m just so pleased that I’m in my church family that I am in because that helps me so much. Having the church family that we have, and the amount of different people in that church is fantastic.
I love our church family.
We do love our church family don’t we, Ruth?
That’s wonderful. Is there anything else you’d like to share with everyone?
I’d just like to say to people who are watching this podcast that if you don’t know Jesus, ask someone. Talk to someone who does know, who is a Christian. And they will tell you all about him. And it’s the loveliest thing to know Jesus. Because he’s there always. When you think you can’t get by something, Jesus is there to help you with the strength and power and the love that he has.
And that’s why I just love my Jesus.
Absolutely. You can email me at Ruth@ruthamos.com.au and I will very happily tell you about Jesus.
Thank you so much.
Thank you very very much.
You’re welcome, thank you.