As we celebrate 40 YEARS of Hillside, we also celebrate the many people of our church who have been faithfully and sacrificially serving, leading and teaching our people for the past four decades. The investment made by those with a desire to share God’s hope with the people of Hillside has left a legacy that will reach far into our future.
The first story worth celebrating on our new blog series, “40 Features,” is the man behind The Story, one of Hillside’s adult Bible studies. Since first attending Hillside 31 years ago, Mervin Tapsfield has taught Bible classes, was part of one of our Africa mission teams, served with Upward Bound Sports, and has served on various ministry projects.His story starts in Hollywood, California, where he was born four minutes before his twin brother, Marvin. His love for teaching began at a young age, when he worked as a teacher in the Jurupa Unified School District and taught every grade, from 1st-12th. Focusing primarily on teaching high school advanced placement courses in United States History and American Government, this also set the tone on what would eventually evolve into a love of Biblical history.
During his 40 years of teaching in the district, he was also a reserve deputy sheriff for the San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Mountain Search and Rescue Team. For 24 years, he helped in the aid and rescue of lost and stranded hikers, the recovery of downed airplanes, and was trained in tracking, rappelling, survival, and medical skills.After retiring from the public school system, Mervin took up blacksmithing and tree climbing. He recently formed his own tree service in Alaska and just this summer, spent time there climbing and cutting down trees.From teaching to mountain rescue to tree climbing, it’s easy to say Mervin has lived a life filled with adventure! However, his most enjoyable and greatest calling has been the ability to teach Bible classes at Hillside. From a very early age, he has had a passion to study God’s Word, and especially as a historian, has come to appreciate studying the Bible from a historical perspective.
Mervin says that when he reads scripture, he begins asking questions such as:
- When did the event take place?
- Who or what is the subject matter?
- What events led to the subject?
- Where did the event take place geographically?
- When ramifications did the event have?
“Asking these questions help to make the Bible come alive,” Mervin says. “I am convinced the Bible is the powerful word of God, and it pleases His heart when we study it.”
“For the word of God is living and active and sharper than any two-edged sword and piercing as far as the division of soul and spirit, of both joints and marrow, and able to judge the thought and intentions of the heart.” Hebrews 4:12
Mervin says he considers it a true joy to share God’s Word with others and to see their eyes light up in those “ah-ha” moments when they suddenly see a passage in a new way.
“I truly love teaching The Story at Hillside,” he says. “I believe it’s such a great way to gain a valuable appreciation for how the entire Bible points to Jesus. The prophecies, stories, and miracles all point to Jesus as our Lord and Savior. The Story is a great opportunity to connect and meet other Hillsiders, and I sincerely believe that God wants to communicate to each of us through His Word.”
Mervin has been married to his wife, Kim, for 41 years, and they have two grown children, Jared and Lindsay. Mervin says that besides knowing the Lord as his personal savior, being married to Kim has been “his greatest treasure.”The ripple effect of Mervin’s faithfulness has reached far and wide. God has used him to ignite a passion for scripture in the hearts of so many here at Hillside, and we are so grateful for his life of adventure and teaching.
Sign Up For The Story!
The Story is a 26-week study of the Bible from Genesis to Revelation, broken up into three different sessions. The first session begins on Thursday, September 19 from 6:30-8:30 p.m. with a 10-week study of the New Testament.
Whether you’re interested in diving deeper in Scripture, or you’ve graduated from Rooted and are looking for something new, we recommend this study as your next step!
Cost is only $25 and childcare is available for an additional cost. Click below to register now!Register Here