Saying good-bye is hard. . .so we’ll say see you later. Linda Powell is the BCC receptionist, who retires today. She truly cares, having lived terrible trials that became triumphs. . .all because of Jesus’ amazing love. This blog post gives you an insider’s view of our office and of the heart of a staffer. Linda, we love you! We will miss you! –BCC Staff
“Good morning! This is Biblical Counseling Center. How may I help you?”
The warm voice of Linda Powell disarms many a caller. She has a special way of getting callers to open up.
Before you know it, you’re pouring out your pain to Linda and holding back tears or letting them flow like water from a faucet. She soothes, she listens, she shares truth-in-love words pointing to the one true God and then . . .
. . . schedules you for an appointment with one of our biblical counselors.
What? This comforter is not a staff counselor? This wise one who once was an alcoholic after she divorced, who flooded pain with numbing liquid — she’s the one who helped you when you felt confused and hopeless?
Yep. Linda is our receptionist, bookkeeper, and go-to gal. A mother of two sons, and grandmother to Christopher, Nicole, Angela, and Gabriella.
Today she’s saying good-bye to full-time work at Biblical Counseling Center and saying hello to retirement at the young age of 72. “For God to let me end my work career at BCC is amazing,” Linda says. “He has blessed me. I could never ask for more.”
Dr. Ron Allchin, D.Min., BCC executive director, shares, “Linda more than any other staff member had knowledge of the cash flow of the center. When the amount was low, LInda prayed. When the cash flow was good, Linda praised the Lord. She knew the times when just at the right time, God provided in some special way for some special need. She understood the meaning of Jehoval Jireh when it came to doing her job well.”
Biblical Counseling Center was founded in 1989 by Dr. Allchin to provide biblical counseling to people who need hope and training to people who want to help. Over the years, BCC has ministered to thousands in the Chicago area, where it is based, and to churches throughout the United States and all over the world.
She Basically Runs the Place
Eight years ago, Linda joined BCC as the evening receptionist. Soon her roles included daytime receptionist, billing, and event planning. She “basically runs the place,” joked Tim Allchin, associate executive director. “Seriously, Linda cares personally about each person. She doesn’t just answer the phone. She shows them love over the phone.”
Biblical counselor Brandon Lowery adds, “Linda is always there to help in any way possible.”
Linda fondly remembers the months when she brought her pink-collared miniature schnauzer, Chloe, to work. The staff and counselees, especially the children, welcomed Chloe with extra pets and doggy toys. This was a blessing for Linda, for her townhouse was destroyed by a fire that began in an adjoining property; when they moved into temporary housing for several months, Chloe came to work.
More tragic than the fire (which claimed no lives), Linda says, were the years wasted while an alcoholic. She began drinking around the time of her divorce at age 36. “Life seemed hopeless,” Linda shares. Linda shares her testimony openly and publicly. She says she came to the point where “I hate this (being enslaved to alcohol), I can’t do this.”
God orchestrated a series of events that led Linda to know Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord. At her third Alcoholics Anonymous meeting, a kind man asked her in private, “Do you want to quit drinking more than anything else in the world?”
“Yes!” Linda replied.
“Go home and get on your knees and ask God to take away the desire to drink.”
I Know God Did It
This is exactly what Linda did and her urge to drink evaporated like water on desert sand. “I know God did it,” she says. She began attending church and within a month, she “purchased a Bible and then another and another” and became a believer in the Lord Jesus Christ in 1998 at age 57.
A few years later, she enrolled in Foundations of Biblical Counseling at her church and became a lay counselor. Then she learned of an open receptionist position at BCC and the rest is history. She speaks well of each person on staff at BCC. When asked to describe each one in a few words, she happily obliged.
Ron Allchin, “driving force behind BCC.”
Sherry Allchin, “loving, caring.”
Tim Allchin, “idea man, visionary, fun.”
Don Hart, “wisdom.”
Ron Allchin, Jr., “oh my gosh, he’s fun fun fun.”
Karen Coulter, “compassionate.”
Brandon Lowery, “dedicated, passionate about BCC.”
Lucy Moll, “a breath of fresh air.”
Jeff Temple, “good sense of humor.”
Linda Gets the Last Word
We asked Linda how she liked to be remembered. She began with a word, then added another, and then a few more.
“Overcomer. Thankful overcomer. Thankful overcomer only by grace.”
Linda says she’ll continue to live in the Chicago area and devote more time volunteering at her church, including helping out at the church food pantry and leading a group on freedom from addictions, after a trip to California to visit her 94-year-old father.
Biblical counselor and teacher Sherry Allchin sums up the staff’s and counselees’ sentiments: “She was a godsend. It’s hard to see her go.”
Yes, Linda saying good-bye is hard so we’ll just say, “See you later.”