And yes, now to catch you up on our Southern Tour--which has fast fallen behind us. Unlike the other trips we have taken this fall, this one was not as full in schedule as far as meetings go. But we've kept ourselves out of trouble for the most part...I think.
Sunday, November 1: Faith Baptist Church was starting their Harvest Party when we arrived Saturday evening. We joined in the food and fellowship. Dad and Mom were with us on this particular part of our journey. They have been able to come with us for a few meetings this year. People have asked us many times where they are and how they're doing when we travel these days. It seems that their example is still reaching out to many. We sang both morning and evening services and Dad preached in the evening service.
The following day, Dad and Mom returned home and the 3 of us went on to visit with our cousin, Amy Long, her husband, Chris, and their daughter, Mercy. Janna Marshall (Amy's sister) had ridden down with us on Saturday, and we all enjoyed catching up with each other. Chris and Amy have a beautiful home and are very gracious guests. Visiting them is always refreshing and encouraging. We hit some second-hand stores with Amy, watched some of the Duggar Family DVDs, got to know Mercy better, and just had fun jawing about everything.
As we didn't have a Wednesday night scheduled, we set out for home on Tuesday.
Sunday, November 8, 2009: It was kinda crazy, but we turned around this weekend and went back down to Virginia to "officially" start our Southern Tour. The trip was longer this time, but we did arrive safely. Pastor Warren Skinner and his wife met us at the church and we tested out the P.A. system the church uses. After this duty was finished, we set off to find some sustenance. With great difficulty we arrived at Wendy's. (After several turns that proved misleading.) It was there that some more blunders were made, and instead of the two sandwiches and one chili we ordered, we left with four sandwiches and one chili, amidst other necessities. It was with great thankfulness that we obtained our bedding for the evening.
Diamond Springs Baptist Church was a blessing to minister to the following day. We sang all day and had some fellowship with Pastor Skinner and his wife at Golden Corral. He told us that the news of the shootings at Fort Hood certainly had had their effect on the military in this area. Pastor Skinner and the church have a great burden for those serving our country.
We had a good service this evening. At the end, the church presented us with a GPS...we were quite speechless, as we had been wanting to get one for a while now. Yes, we've been roaming the countryside without one...three ladies, and only a conventional map and Google directions. Now, things should be a bit easier. Needless to say, we were quite thankful. Pastor Skinner also gave us an extra computer, another answer to prayer! He invited us to stay and eat and fellowship with the teens and College & Career after the service. Their church was a delight to be with, and their giving spirit touched our hearts.
Monday-Tuesday, November 9-10: With a couple days open in the schedule, we had planned to visit with some friends of ours who were vacationing at the Outer Banks. The Clopper Family kindly allowed us to slip in a few days of fun with them. We took a late night walk on the beach, tried to slide down the dunes (unsuccessfully, I'll add), did some second-hand shopping, ate, talked, and stayed up late. (Sounds like one big PJ party!) We had hosted the Cloppers and some of their friends at our home this summer, and it was fun to catch up with them. The weather turned a bit nasty and there was some kind of sickness sweeping the crew, but we had a great time. (Hey, thanks again for letting us crash your vacation, Cloppers!)
Wednesday, November 11: We drove all day in relentless rain to get to Walkertown, North Carolina, this evening. Hurricane Ida was making herself known and it was a bit draining to travel. Thank the Lord we made it in one piece!
We've been with Bro. Bobby Roberson in several meetings here and there. He had invited us to come if we were ever in the area, but sadly, he was not here this week. We missed seeing him, but the Gospel Light Baptist Church family was very welcoming. They took us to eat before dinner. We sang and testified in their mid-week service tonight. The following day, a staff member and his family took us to eat for lunch. They allowed us to stay several extra days in one of the houses the church owns and we were very appreciative.
Sunday, November 15: We arrived in Sylva, North Carolina, at the Victory Baptist Church on Saturday afternoon. Bro. Buddy Driggers, the youth pastor and his wife and family helped us set up and then took us out for a great meal afterwards. Our lodging for the week was unbelievable....a cute little A-frame cabin out in the woods. It reminded us a bit of home and so we felt quite comfortable.
Sunday was full of activity. We had not had time to test the sound the evening before, so we were a bit rushed this morning. We managed to get things in tune as well as warming up the old vocal chords before heading to separate classes. We had been asked to give our testimonies and acquaint the church with the history of our family's ministry. Joanna spoke to the adults, Jessica to the singles, and Monica to the teens. Then we sang in the Worship hour. Pastor and Mrs. Bennie Bagwell invited us to their home for the noon meal. We enjoyed the fellowship with them, as well as two other single girls from the church. We found out that Mrs. Bagwell is a sister to Deborah Wynne, the wife of Missionary Kevin Wynne. We had fun relating our travels to Mexico City and our memorable times with the Wynne family.
The evening service was a blessing as we sang and answered a few more questions about our family. We met the Neely Family for the first time--a sweet family who have recorded in the same studio we have in Greenville, South Carolina. (Bro. Gary Emory is the engineer.) We ate a quick bite at Wendy's with a family from Victory before heading to our little cabin.
Monday-Friday, November 16-20: This week we stayed at the White Plains Baptist Church in Mt. Airy, North Carolina. Pastor Bill Tucker was not here this week, but his daughter-in-law, Teresa Tucker, was our faithful guide. She made sure we were settled in the mobile home on the church property (complete with snacks and treats from the ladies in the church) and that we were shown around the various buildings so we would know where things were...the most important thing being the connection to the internet!
One night we locked up the mobile home and went over to the school library to get some work done online. (For some reason the key would not work, but we thought we had the key we needed...so we went ahead and locked the door.) We finished up our work and headed back to the mobile home. Alas, the key would not work in the door. After calling Mrs. Tucker and one of the janitors, we waited for Mrs. Tucker to bring another key to us. That one was tried out, only to prove unsuccessful in opening the door. It finally dawned on us that the key we needed was inside the locked mobile home! We eventually had to settle down for the night in our clothes in another prophet's chamber and wait till mornin' to get another key. Whew. That episode sure had everyone talking! Somehow the word got out and we couldn't live it down.
On Wednesday evening we sang quite a bit and gave testimonies. The church members seemed receptive and we even joined in on the choir specials. The rest of the week (besides our usual practice times, financial course, and business work) was spent doing a class for the school choir, playing instruments one evening with some of the church members, eating lunch with the school, taking a squad car tour of Mt. Airy (also known as "Mayberry", where Andy Griffith lived), singing at the Saturday bus breakfast and then visiting a bus route, and fellowshipping with Mrs. Tucker. What a full, but fun week!
Sunday, November 22: The last stop on our Southern Trip was in Roanoke, Virginia, at Bible Baptist Church. Pstor Tim York and the church took good care of us and responded well to our ministry. We headed home on Monday, with the car packed to the gills and our hearts full of the memories we had made along the way.
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