Former ARP Missionary and Director of Christian Education Judi Hodges was surprised when she heard her name called at Erskine Seminary’s Bowie Chapel service on April 11. Hodges, who was translating English-to-German for her German guests, suddenly stopped mid-sentence when she realized Rev. Doug White was talking about her.

“I heard my name, then realized he was saying that I was the recipient of the Julia Hardeman Rhodes Award!” Hodges said. “I never suspected it would be me!”

Born the fourth of seven children in a farming family of the Back Creek ARP Church, she grew up doing chores, milking cows and loving the country. A university education in foods and nutrition took her to her first job at Memorial Mission Hospital, then to Appalachian State University. There,she continued her participation in an InterVarsity Christian Fellowship chapter until she was led by the Lord to enter graduate school at Reformed Theological Seminary.

Her master’s degree in Christian education took her to Neely’s Creek ARP Church in Rock Hill, SC, where she served for 14 years before joining the staff of World Witness as a missionary to Berlin. Hodges worked with a team of missionaries planting churches in the former communist-controlled areas of Berlin. After seeing the most recent church turned over to national leadership, she returned to the U.S. She is now serving as training coordinator for Christian Education Ministries.

Women’s Ministries Coordinator Elizabeth Burns was guest speaker: “In a day and time when women were suppressed and confined – not only in the church – but in society as a whole, Julia Rhodes saw the need to encourage and equip women to fulfill the purpose for which they were created and called: to glorify God and enjoy Him forever!”

Alice Gore, co-president of Women’s Ministries at Louisville (GA) ARP, where Julia Rhodes attended church, gave a brief history, telling how the Women’s Ministries’ pioneer had a servant’s heart and a vision to have a women’s organization. Mrs. Rhodes also started The Bulletin – the first women’s magazine, which eventually became the ARP Magazine. WM Louisville co-president Nancy Jordan gave a prayer of thanksgiving.