A tribute to my pastor


As I prepare to end my senior year and walk into my next chapter, reluctantly, I can’t help but think of the people who helped me get to the point where I am today. That would include my mother, my grandparents, my family, my teachers and even some of my peers.

And when I think about my success and how I’m so prepared to head off to my next chapter, I have to think about my church family – specifically First Lady Luetta Walker and Pastor Harvey walker.

I reflect back on how they have influenced me to be the best that I can be and everything they have done to contribute to the youth and the community.

I wanted this to be a surprise to them just to show my appreciation of how grateful I am for having them minister in my life. So I went out and talked to them in a mock interview. I decided to write a story because I wanted others to know that it was not an easy climb for me to get here – a little less than three months before graduation.

Thank you all. I could have any preacher and first lady but I have you all.

They shepherd a congregation of about 500. But Pastor Harvey Walker and First Lady Luetta Walker are much more than leaders to the youth of The Crossing Community Church on West Orem Drive.

“My mother has created a non profit called Impact where it targets at at-risk youth – where it teaches them lessons, (feeds) them dinner and teaches them life skills,” their daughter Paula Walker said.

Another daughter praises her parents for going the extra mile for the youth.

“My parents have offered the youth family counseling and whatever the youth needs for their family, my parents make sure that they are taken care of,” daughter Carla Hopkins said. “My mother has opened their eyes to different things that life is filled with.”

First Lady Luetta Walker said she hasn’t seen many changes in teens over the years.

“Children are still the same,” said said. “The changes involve the environment the children live in – things like access the technology has given them – access to things their parents may not desire them to have access to.”

When she was growing up, Walker said she recalls her parents would have control over her environment and the intake of things she had access to versus how she was able to with her own children because of technology.

Walker and her husband say they have a soft spot for young people.

“My husband is very open and has a open heart for our young people. He’s open for the programs we have for the young people and community,” Luetta Walker said. “We have had young people in gangs and in trouble. It just feels good to know that the young people in our community and the youth can feel safe and can trust that they will be heard when talking to me or our pastor.”

For those graduating seniors, she had a message.

“I know that when you’re a graduating senior, graduation consumes your mind as you get close and get together all the preparations for that special day. I think maintaining your priority should be your focus,” she said. “I believe a person should create a five-year plan. Put it in writing – ‘where I want to be in five years?’ That way you will have a goal to work towards. It is going to take work and effort.

“I think that life would be better for a lot of young people if they just write where they want to be in five years and when those five years pass, write the next five years,” she added. “It’ called having vision. It helps make things clearer.

Luetta Walker said if she had to tell her teenage self something, it would be, “never let fear win.”

“I would have exercised my faith more because there are plenty of things I didn’t do or the opportunities I passed up because of fear,” she said. “I let fear keep me from walking that path and I would tell myself not to let fear win.”