Young at Heart: The Story of a Heart Transplant Recipient, by Doris Dresselhaus Menzies. Springfield, MO: Celebration Publishing, 2007.
Doris Dresselhaus Menzies has had two famous last names. Her husband, Dr. William W. Menzies, is one of the most highly-regarded educators in the Assemblies of God. Her cousin, Dr. Richard Dresselhaus, served as the long-time pastor of San Diego (CA) First Assembly of God and continues to serve as an executive presbyter of the Assemblies of God. Few people can claim to be related to one statesman of their caliber, much less two!
But Doris Menzies has her own story to tell. In Young at Heart: The Story of a Heart Transplant Recipient, Menzies recounted her testimony — from her Assemblies of God upbringing in Iowa, to her years in the ministry with her husband, to her roles as wife and mother, to her recent medical triumphs as a heart transplant recipient and as a cancer survivor.
Born on a frigid December day in 1932 on an Iowa farm, Doris was reared in the sturdy Willard and Beatrice Dresselhaus family. Her mother taught Sunday school, and her father was the Sunday school superintendent of the Decorah Assembly of God. Willard, a farmer, served as Farm Bureau president for Winneshiek County, was involved in local politics, and owned his own plane. Young at Heart challenges the assumption, held by certain historians, that early Pentecostals were disinherited or socially uninvolved.
Doris met Bill Menzies, her future husband, at Wheaton College in Wheaton, Illinois. Bill graduated in 1953 and accepted the pastorate of the little Assemblies of God church in Big Rapids, Michigan. They married soon after Doris’ 1955 graduation and settled into pastoral ministry.
Education became a way of life for the Menzies family. While pastoring, Bill completed his master’s degree from Wheaton College. He was invited to teach at Central Bible Institute in Springfield, Missouri in 1958. They criss-crossed the world, as Bill held teaching and administrative positions at Evangel College in Springfield, Missouri (now Evangel University), the Assemblies of God Graduate School in Springfield, Missouri (now Assemblies of God Theological Seminary), California Theological Seminary in Fresno, California, and Far East Advanced School of Theology in the Philippines (now Asia Pacific Theological Seminary). Bill, in the meantime, completed his Ph.D. at the University of Iowa. His dissertation became the benchmark history of the Assemblies of God, Anointed to Serve (GPH, 1971). In 1976, Doris earned her master’s degree from Drury University in Springfield, Missouri. The Menzies’ two sons, Glen and Robert, went on to earn their doctoral degrees and have become respected educators in the Assemblies of God.
Doris detailed these chapters in her life in Young at Heart. She documented in greatest detail the two most recent decades, sharing about their ministry in the Philippines and her successful heart transplant. Doris’ husband, Bill, also contributed one chapter to the book, providing an overview of their lives together from his perspective.
Dr. Robert Menzies summarizes the significance of Young at Heart:
“My mother’s story spans the globe, moving from a small farm in northern Iowa to remote mountains in the Philippines. It touches upon a wide range of emotions, describing joyful childhood years on the farm as well as tumultuous days struggling with a diseased heart while waiting for transplant surgery. Through it all, this inspiring story depicts the faith of a remarkable and courageous lady. As you read this thrilling account of one woman’s spiritual journey, you will be encouraged to face the storms of life with purpose and joy. You, too, may have a change of heart.”
Reviewed by Darrin J. Rodgers
Paperback, 135 pages, illustrated. $10.00 postpaid to U.S. addresses. Order from: Doris Menzies, 2087 S. Celebration Ave., Springfield, MO 65803. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org; Phone: 417-890-8979.