Gospel Story:

Elton & Lu Linda Tucker

"We really came here on mission. We came here because the work was young and there was a need." –Elton Tucker

In 1971, Elton and Lu Linda Tucker followed God’s unfolding plan, even if that plan was not something either of them would have anticipated. At the height of NASA’s space program in Houston, Elton as Manager of Space Suit Systems, had no desire to change his career. As he stated, "There was a company up here that had asked for several years … for us to return to industry and move to Massachusetts." After moving from California to Houston, they settled into an exciting career and a growing church community for their family.

Both Elton and Lu Linda come from a legacy of Christian families. Elton witnessed his father’s transformation when as an adult he gave his life to Christ. Lu Linda, similarly, mimicked her grandmother’s faith, which was rooted in strong Christian teaching. Elton and Lu Linda desired to seek this same strong foundation for their own family. Slowly, the Lord prepared for the Tuckers to leave their family church and community in Houston. Although leaving was never in their plans, it was this act of faith that would foster, in their family, an unwavering devotion to Jesus.

"We would not have here moved had Lu Linda not become involved in pioneer mission studies," Elton explained. Impressed by a book authored by pioneering Boston-missionary, Edith Lawrence, Lu Linda felt an excitement about the work of the Southern Baptist Churches in New England. She and Elton began to pray for God to either ground them in Houston or make it clear to go to New England. Lu Linda remembers, "I realized through that process that I was perfectly peaceful to do either one. That what we had done was pray about it and ask God where he wanted us to be, and what he wanted us to do. I thought, if I can be peaceful about this, we’re just going to do what God wants us to do. And it was OK."

When the Tuckers and their four young children arrived in Massachusetts, there were only about 17 Southern Baptist churches in all of New England. As Elton looks back on their move, he remembers, "We really came here on mission. We came here because the work was young and there was need." Quickly, they devoted their time to finding a church that focused on family. First Baptist Church of Sudbury became that home and as Elton describes, "We found that in becoming being a part of that family-orientated church, we were standing on the shoulders of the giants who preceded us."

Relocating to Massachusetts has always been about missions to the Tuckers. As Elton wisely explained, "When you turn inward, you start to struggle." With no family close by, the church became their family. A family that would rely on each other, serve each other, and reach out into the community for the sake of Jesus Christ. The Tuckers found themselves in the midst of an exciting time for Southern Baptists as the work grew at an unprecedented rate. Elton served on the first building committee as the Baptist Convention of New England formed and built offices in Northborough, Massachusetts. Lu Linda travelled around the region training preschool leaders in new churches. From a small family of interconnected churches, the Kingdom of Christ spread to all corners of New England.

Integral to the Tucker’s missional purpose in New England was a passion for incorporating their faith into the marketplace. As Elton explains, "The workplace is a continuation of who we are. We’re believers. If you’re a believer, you act like it. Don’t go to work and act like something different." A career was always more than a place to earn money and pay for vacations. The Tuckers saw it as an opportunity to rub shoulders with others who needed to know about Christ. Just as God calls pastors to full-time ministry, the Tuckers were called to full-time marketplace ministry.

Lu Linda remembers, "If we’re working that hard to get there, it must matter."

The Tuckers continue to serve their long-time family at First Baptist Church of Sudbury. They have, with others, diligently prayed for years that the church would become predominately comprised of New Englanders. Every Sunday, they see that prayer fulfilled as New Englanders come from the community to worship the name of Jesus Christ. Although they have no plans to leave New England, the church can look back and see the fruit of the sacrificial and steadfast faith that the Tuckers brought with them. Their legacy of pointing to Jesus in all areas of life will continue to manifest itself in the generations to come.

"So do not fear, for I am with you;
do not be dismayed, for I am your God.

I will strengthen you and help you;
I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.

Be exalted in your strength, Lord;
We will sing and praise your might."

Isaiah 41:10