Amidst the endless pines of Shreveport, Louisiana, there is no better place to be than Grammy’s house. The words “Grammy’s house” call to mind for many the nostalgic, peaceful feeling of comfort, the smell of incredible food in the oven, and a cozy, restful environment. There is so much more to this place, however, and to this particular hostess. Her presence is so personable and welcoming, you could kick off your shoes and sleep on her couch. Yet, her reputation and spirit are so awe-inspiring that there is an unshakeable sense that you are in the presence of greatness.
You can hardly get anywhere in Shreveport without coming across someone who has been impacted by the life and example of Frances Duron, our Grammy. Her life lived with unwavering purpose and compassion, this modern-day hero of the faith is without a doubt worthy of praise. I had the privilege of sitting with Frances in her home over a cup of coffee as we recounted the incredible journey she has lived; one that is far from over, and one that you are sure to be inspired by.
The Early Days
Growing up, her heroes weren’t actors or comic book characters, but the traveling evangelists who would come through her small town. Then, on one fateful day, a particularly young, kind and handsome evangelist by the name of Rodney Duron came through town, and Frances fell in love.
They soon married and traveled the countryside as evangelists. Spreading the message of Jesus Christ, they ministered in countless churches before accepting the pastorate of a small church in Shreveport, Louisiana. They had no idea what an incredible destiny awaited them.
As pastors, Frances and Rodney could not escape from their evangelistic roots, and thus determined to restore the local church to its God-intended purpose to be a soul-saving center.
Together with her husband, Frances tenaciously answered this call to reach the lost through an alive and active local church. Stirring a call to action, turning congregants into commissioners, the Durons went to the streets. Their mission: to save the lost. The result: incredible church growth.
Over the years, alongside her husband, Frances pastored what is now Shreveport Community Church, and co-founded Evangel Christian Academy. Beginning with just forty members in the church, only twelve students in the school, and through much faith and grit, Frances and Rodney established what is now a thriving landmark of our community.
“In the early days, it was a struggle every year to fulfill our mandate to raise up a generation of Christian leaders, equipped to change the world,” she recalls.
The down and out, the troubled kids, the outcasts- these were always her favorites. Today, there are countless successful, dynamic and God-fearing adults who pay tribute to Frances for rescuing them and believing in them. With a strong, faithful arm, she helped set them on the path of righteousness and success.
“My greatest joy in life is serving people,” she says. “Anytime my thoughts turn inward, I find that my energy can diminish. But, as long as I live to serve and love people, I experience renewed and continuing strength, joy and vitality.”
Still Going Strong
Frances has figured out the key to life. She truly lives Jesus’ words from John 4:34, “It is my food to do the will of him who sent me.” For her, ministry is an every day lifestyle, from which you never retire.
These days, she mentors young people, many of whom she has taken into her home. Frances begins her day with prayer, then hits the road, taking care of many in need. She is especially sensitive to the poor and believes that if she prioritize their needs, God will always take care of her. In this home, she has hosted foreign exchange students, countless showers, Bible studies, as well as traveling ministers.
So, as I sit here in Grammy’s house, drinking coffee with her and relishing the beautiful life she lives, I am not only comforted but inspired. I am not only relaxed, but replenished. What is more, I am reminded of what matters most: that we love God and people wholeheartedly and energetically with all that we are. This is not only the purpose that drives and continually revitalizes Frances, but it is the very calling and mandate that we all share. It is the very life-source from which we can all reap the same benefits that emanate from the beautiful life of Frances Duron.