Sunday-Friday, July 29-August 3: It was another great week at the King James Bible Church near Terra Alta, West Virginia. Attendance was lower than it had been in recent years, but the spirit was still sweet. Pastor Billy Foster and his wife are always so kind and gracious and the church family takes such good care of us. Each of us must have gained at least five pounds with all the eating after the services!
Brother Eugene Rodriguez and Gilbert Perez came from New York City to be our "Amen" section. What an encouragement to see them remaining faithful for the Lord. One young girl and another lady were saved during the week. Visitors came from surrounding areas. We're thankful for this little church and for their support of our ministry.
Sunday, August 5: With an open Sunday on our way to Illinois, Pastor Steve Rich and the Hazelwood Baptist Church in Clayton, Indiana, allowed us to come on short notice.
A family in the church opened up their "summer" home for us. We arrived at the church on Saturday evening, hot, sticky, and whipped from a full day of driving without air-conditioning in the van. Pastor Rich led us over to our quarters. At first it looked like just a well-kept barn next to a little lake. Inside we found out that it was quite a different story. We were very thankful for our accommodations that night after a very long trip!
The Hazelwood Baptist Church has been a tremendous blessing to our family over the years. For four months during 1996, they were kind enough to let us park our vehicles at their church gym. Several men in the church were a great help in getting our bus in shape for travel in days past. It was wonderful to see all the good folks at Hazelwood again. The services went well. We ministered in Word and song. Fellowship was enjoyed with the Richs and the Porters at lunch on Sunday afternoon.
That evening after the service, Pastor Rich traded vans with us. We loaded up their church van and headed out, while he took our van to the shop to get the air-conditioning repaired. From his reports, we heard that what had happened in Connecticut was quite amazing. When the compressor blew out, it flung metal shavings all the way to the back of the vans' insides. A new compressor was required, as well as a new condensor and drier. The church paid for the new parts and the mechanic donated his time. They will probably never know how much we appreciated having our air-conditioning back in service! It is so exciting to watch God meet our needs through faithful people like Pastor Rich and the Hazelwood Baptist Church!
Monday-Sunday, August 6-12: Bible Baptist Church in Mt. Prospect, Illinois, was holding their annual campmeeting this week. We were privileged to be a part. We were glad to get to see Evangelist Mark Rogers and his family again. As well it was good to see Bro. Terrell Bear. It had been about three years since we had been with him last.
The Lord worked mightily in the services. During one morning session, Evangelist Mark McGaughey preached on "Who Will Fill Their Shoes?", and things sort of broke loose. People were praying together in small groups. What an encouragement to have folks coming up to us and thanking us for being faithful in the ministry. It came at a very needed time.
Our ministry has not been well received at many campmeetings over the years, perhaps because we are not your usual "campmeeting style" of music. This meeting was an exception, as we felt the Lord ministering through us. We desire that our music be filled with the Spirit of God and we want to always be careful to have Him leading and guiding us. Please pray that we will stay true in this day and age.
Dad was able to preach once this week. He enjoyed hearing the other preachers and reported that God had done a special work in his heart. Our whole family was blessed by being at Bible Baptist Church in Mt. Prospect, Illinois.
Monday-Tuesday, August 13-14: Matt had asked us in times past to stick around after or before a meeting at his church and spend a few days with him and his family. We finally planned for that in our schedule this week. We had a wonderful time relaxing, talking, exploring, and fellowshipping.
On Monday, we went to the Museum of Science and Industry in downtown Chicago. There was so much to see and do. We especially enjoyed seeing the only World War II German submarine in the U.S. A picnic lunch was consumed on the lawn, where we had found free parking.
The girls and Matt & Julie decided to try something a little more adventurous the next day. With Dad & Mom babysitting Timmy and Zach for them, they headed to Six Flags. The girls hadn't been on rides of this nature for several years, but it didn't take long to get back into it. (Except for one of them...who we won't mention.) Though Matt & Julie live such busy lives, we were thankful that they took time out of their schedule to spend a few days with us. We're thankful for their faithfulness to the Lord and for opening up their home to us during our stay.
Wednesday-Friday, August 15-17: From Chicago we headed northwest to Rockford and the Berean Baptist Church. This was our third visit this year with Berean and once again, we had a great time with youth pastor Mark Swanson and the Berean Youth. We spent a few days in a special Youth Revival. Dad preached with power. The Lord seemed to be working in many hearts and we trust there will be lasting fruit.
We spent an extra day in Rockford, borrowing the church offices to catch up on some business work. Progress was made on the CD that was recorded in May with the Berean Baptist Youth Group. As we write, it is even now at the duplicators, and Lord willing, will be available next month.
Sunday-Wednesday, August 19-22: On Saturday we headed to the Nashville area--Gallatin, to be exact. We met Pastor Frank Whitaker many years ago when he was attending Bro. Johnny Pope's church in Houston, Texas. Now he is a pastor himself with a wife, Kelly, and five children--Christian, Victoria, Ashley, Ethan, & Josiah.
Their church was holding its first Bible Conference, the theme being "Harvest Now for Heaven Tomorrow". During the week Dad preached quite a bit and we sang most of the services. Bro. Steve Grubbs and the Shenandoah Girls Haven were there two nights. They were a real blessing to us. Bro. Johnny Pope also came to preach for two nights. We hadn't been with him in a meeting for quite a while. From what the pastor told us, many of the church people needed the meeting and were strengthened to serve the Lord.
We had a few extra days to spare, so we spent some extra time with the Whitakers. They treated us quite royally with plenty of down-home meals, a few fancy restaurants, a stroll at the mall, and delicious ice cream. We had to make a stop at Gruhns music store in Nashville, and the girls had to stop at The Violin Shop, as well. It was fun to take a few days of rest.
The area was experiencing extreme heat and humidity. (Were we ever happy to have air-conditioning in our van!) They had not had any rain for a long while. On our last night there, we heard thunder rumbling just as we got back from the ice cream shop, "The Marble Slab". Most hurried into the house, but the pastor's wife and Jessica remained talking in the van.
It began to pour and Jessica saw the lights go out in the house. A boat at the side of the house started moving, and the van they were sitting in began rocking. It took a bit of doing, but they managed to get in the house safely, though not a little wet. Inside, the candles were out and more were being located. We ended up spending the evening by candlelight, singing and generally acting crazy. Just as it was time to hit the sack, the electricity came back on.
The threesome decided to take a short walk before bed. As they neared the end of the long driveway, Joanna noticed something was a little odd. They quickly realized that a large hollow tree had taken its final stand. Across the driveway it lay. What a startling sight!
It took some doing to get the tree cut up the next day, but the men did a great job. We enjoyed our stay near Nashville with the Whitakers. They were very gracious to allow us to occupy their home for an entire week.
Sunday, August 26: We were on our way to the Hillside Baptist Church in Hixson, Tennessee, and we still weren't sure where we were staying. Only once had Dad been able to contact Pastor Steve Cape, and that had been much earlier in the week. While we were still wondering what was wrong, Pastor Cape called. His oldest daughter had been in the hospital since Wednesday. She had had about 200 seizures and was still not ready to come home.
The church put us up in a nice hotel. (The girls loved the chocolate chip cookies available in the lobby.) Services were very uplifting. Dad preached in Sunday School and we sang all morning. The pastor and his family left right after the morning services so they could go to pick up their daughter at the hospital, who was pronounced well enough to come home. Amazingly, she came to the evening service and stood to give a testimony of thankfulness that she was able to come and meet us! The church seemed to really respond well to our ministry. Afterwards we fellowshipped with the pastor and his family at IHOP. They are carrying a tremendous burden and we tried to be a help.
The last of August found us at home after over three weeks of meetings--the longest we've been gone from home in a couple years. We are catching up on things...hitting the ground running...grateful for God's protection and provision...and always inspired by your prayers and support.
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