Mary Brewton Cupka Pictoral Autobiography and Obiturary

Isaiah 46:3, 4 tells me that God carried me before I was born, that He has cared for me since I was born, that He has been my God throughout my lifetime until my hair is white with age, and that He will continue to care for me!

As God told Jeremiah, I believe what He said about me–that He knew me before I was formed in my mother; and that before I was born, He set me apart…. (Jeremiah 1:5)

I was born at home in Lanier, Georgia, in 1925.

Lanier’s population was about 100 at most. There was a post office, train depot, store, church, and a railroad right in front of my house.

I rode a bus to grammar school about five miles in one direction, and to high school about that same distance in the opposite direction.

Lanier was about 20 miles from Savannah, the closest real shopping center. It was five miles to the closest small town.

This is the church I attended, probably every Sunday, for 18 years!

One night when I was 12, at a revival meeting, the evangelist gave an altar call and I went forward. He asked me if I believed that Jesus had died for the sins of the world. I said “Yes,” and was soon baptized in a nearby creek.

This is the location of the house in which I grew up, just across the road from the house where I was born.

This picture was taken many years after we all left Lanier. I understand that there was a fire, and that this is a portion of the remainder. When we lived there, there was a white picket fence, flower garden, a big chinaberry tree in the front yard, a rose bush, a long front porch with small columns, and a swing.

This picture reminds me of the location. I loved it. It was near a wooded area with a little stream of water.

I graduated from High School in 1942.

I was known as a good girl, the main reason being that I had a very loving and protective father!

This picture was taken during a visit with a girl friend in Atlanta, after my first airplane ride. I was living in Savannah at that time.

I remember that it was during a period when I was wondering about life. I had no goal and felt certain that there must be something I had not yet experienced.

Not too long after that, on New Year’s Eve night of 1948, when I was 22, I remembered something a preacher had said back in Lanier. He said, “If we ask God to take over our lives, He will guide us as a pilot guides a ship.” That statement was very vivid in my mind that night, and I did just that.

Very soon, He led me to a new girl friend who was attending an Independent Presbyterian Church in Savannah when Dr. Woodbridge was pastor. Her life epitomized the peace for which I had been searching.

The first night I attended a Bible study there, I realized that THIS was what I wanted.

Very soon, during the study on Romans, it was made plain to me that Jesus had died for MY sins too! I’d never considered myself a sinner before but I did then. I prayed, “Lord, if this is true, I want to be forgiven.”

There was a dynamic change and I was overwhelmed with the desire to learn more of the Bible and to tell the whole world how to be saved.

These are some of the verses that impressed me at that time:

Romans 3:23, “All have sinned and come short of the glory of God.”

Romans 5:8, “God commandeth His love towards us, in that, while we were yet sinners Christ died for us”

Romans 6:23, “The wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.”

The same year I was saved, 1948, after turning 23, I enrolled in Columbia Bible College. I shall always be thankful for that opportunity.

It was a whole new world–Christians everywhere, good Bible teaching, beautiful music, and much emphasis on Missions. I was especially interested in Africa.

During the summers I worked in Christian camps as a counselor–the hardest work I’d ever done! Prior to college I’d known nothing but office work.

These children are holding tambourines. I almost always had a rhythm band.

After graduation I taught Child Evangelism classes in schools, homes, and parks all day, every day.

In 1995 my voice could no longer support the amount of teaching I was accustomed to doing. I then went to Source of Light Mission in Madison, GA, which was a Bible Correspondence Course ministry. They wrote, printed, mailed, and processed completed courses from people all over the world.

Most of my years there were in the bookkeeping department. Here I had a private office.

My name then was Mary Brewton.

Later, Cyril Cupka joined the mission.

The job he loved most was packaging the Bible courses to be mailed.

Later we married!

That was the happiest day of my life.

The engagement period had been sheer joy.

He had been saved aboard a ship in the Pacific in a Navigators Bible Class, evidently about the same time that I had been saved in Savannah, GA.

We were “made for each other.”

Psalm 113:9 says, “He maketh the barren woman to keep house, and to be a joyful mother of children. Praise the Lord!” (MISSING IMAGE NOTE!)

First there was Cary.

Next there was Chuck.

In Deuteronomy 11:13, 18, 19, God tells us to hearken diligently unto His commandments… to love the Lord… to serve Him with all our heart and soul… to lay up His words in our heart and soul… and teach them to our children.

Soon Cary was old enough to attend school. That was the time when Bible and prayer had been removed; sex and evolution was introduced.

I remember standing in line at the public school to register him and I thought, “This does not seem right… my son being in an institution that does NOT teach Bible and prayer, but DOES teach evolution and sex!”

Soon at a Sunday night church service, in a little country church near the mission, Missionaries Dave and Sue Darwick spoke. Afterwards I inquired about their location while on deputation. Sue told about Dave teaching at a Christian School in Miami. She told me that they needed teachers and wrote the pastor’s name and address on a piece of paper.

That was in the summer of 1968, and we moved to Miami in August. 

I have precious memories of each of us doing our thing at Westwood.

This was in 1985. Both boys had graduated.

These are my siblings in 1985.

I visited Cary in Longview, TX, while he was attending LeTourneau University.

This was taken at Cary’s graduation from LeTourneau.

This was in Westwood’s nursery BEFORE my own grandchildren were born.

There were many times of fun! This was at Jekyll Island.

This was in Colorado.

This is with my grandson, Stefan, in Africa.

This is West Nairobi School in Africa. I think it was originally someone’s home.

This was my first classroom in Nairobi. It was a separate structure, built by nationals especially for the school.

This was the lunch room that was built by the nationals. Notice that the top half of the wall is open.

The food was “catered” by local cooks.

This is a large apartment complex leased by a Nazarene mission that rented it out to missionaries. This complex was surrounded by other apartments that housed only Muslems!

The van and driver took me to the school during the week and to church on Sunday. The church was located across town. I had used a taxi until they sent one that was leaking fumes so strong I feared for my life!

In the taxi, it cost $20USD to go to church each Sunday. For a while, I attended services for two hours and then taught a Sunday School class for two hours! I loved it.

These are grocery shopping centers near my apartment. I wanted to take pictures that showed the bleak, gray walls of the buildings. But I bought colored film! So the buildings look quite modern in the picture. 

At first I was not too excited about grocery shopping but, after a while, I was as enthusiastic as others. 

There were also little “duka”s (Swahili for store) located beside the street that sold fresh fruit and vegetables.

This is a picture taken after my return from Africa at my brother’s house in GA. We were celebrating his 84th birthday.

Please notice that in the top picture we all had our legs crossed the same way–and we did not plan that! Also notice that my sister and I were wearing the same colors. We hadn’t planned that either!

These pictures were made on special occasions after my return from Africa.

This is Chuck, visiting one Christmas after my return from Africa. He gave me that big plant in the bottom picture.

These are special friends in Miami, 2005.

These are pictures from my patio. There were always shadows, no matter what time I chose to use the camera.

This is Christmas in 2004. The front corner of the living room served as Cary’s office! (MISSING IMAGE NOTE)

In the left picture Stefan painted the circle with birds on the wall. Faith made the delightfully cozy “throw” blanket on my left arm. You can tell I enjoy red birds!

These are pictures of a nearby ball field at a little park at the Greenglades Villas. I walked the park many times with the dog, Neekee Tu. My granddaughter, Cherylin, is in the top picture. That was a familiar scene for several years. 

This is Stefan in December of 2004.

The big surprise birthday party in 2005–and surprise it was!!!

These are pictures of the front of the villa in 2005.

These are familiar scenes from my villa.

Psalm 128:4,6 “…thus shall the man be blessed that feareth the Lord… thou shalt see thy children’s children…”

Galatians 5:16 says, “…Walk in the Spirit.”

Galatians 5:22 says, “…the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, and temperance.”

The years since my return from Africa have been spent “at home;” but these years have been far from uneventful and/or meaningless. I’ve used the time for Bible study and have learned SOOO much.

Since my conversion in 1948 I have been intrigued with Galations 5–the fruits of the Spirit. Unfortunately, I did not study it enough, and I regret so much the lack of the manifestation of the Christ-life which is the fruit of the Spirit.

I had always been busy “serving the Lord;” but to my shame, I did not always walk in the Spirit.

I’ve been learning a lot and appreciate all the revelations received from the study of God’s Word. I desire to obey it with all my heart.

I’ve been singing a lot, too. I love it! All by myself!

God has been GOOD to me. I praise Him for every breath He’s given and for every blessing during all these years!

ADDENDUM

Mary Brewton Cupka lived to see 96 years of age. After living in Miami for many years she relocated to Greenville, SC in 2006 to be near her son Cary and his wife and, several years later, was joined by her son Chuck. She died on September 10th, 2021 from the novel coronavirus Covid-19. Mary was a cancer survivor and continued to study the Bible, retain copious notes, sing to and with herself, and keep in touch with surviving friends and family members. She is survived by her son Cary Cupka, Cary’s wife, Faith Cupka, and their children, Cherilyn and Stefan Cupka, and Mary’s son Chuck Cupka.