Our last trip to the South lasted over three weeks and was filled with much ministering, fellowshipping, and traveling. (Of course!) We were in seven churches in Florida, one in Alabama, two in Arkansas, and one in Missouri, Mississippi, and Tennessee.
Down to Florida
In Florida, our stops were at Redemption Baptist in Winter Haven, Colony Baptist in Ellenton, Colonial Baptist in Bradenton, Liberty Baptist in Sarasota, Landmark Baptist in Haines City, West Gate Baptist in Tampa, and Victory Baptist in Milton. What a blessing it was to see familiar faces and pastors who have remained faithful throughout the years. We enjoyed catching up with them and seeing the work that God has done in their ministries in recent days.
Along the way we were able to catch up with the Freemans (friends of the family) in Nokomis, where we spent two days. They are friends of Dad and Mom and have helped our family in many ways over the years. As well, we were able to visit with Lauren Potter, another friend of the family. Lauren works at Pensacola Christian College, and she allowed us to stay in her apartment on the campus.
Up to Alabama
Next, it was on to Troy, Alabama and God's Way Baptist. Apparently, the Lord's way for us during our stay there was to get the flu bug that was going around. It hit Monica on Sunday evening, after the busy day of singing and ministering. Then it was Jessica....and then it was Joanna. Yep, right on through the ranks. At least it didn't last long, and we had a nice place to relax and recover.
Out to Arkansas
March 11, 2010, will be a day long remembered. That was the day we awoke at 4 am, packed the car, and headed out from Pensacola, FL, to De Queen, AR. It was an eleven-hour trip and we tried to keep our stops to a minimum. We made it on time and were able to get through the service with some measure of coherence. (Needless to say, the map wasn't clearly in sight when the meeting was scheduled, but we will try to forget that oversight.) All in a day's work, ya know. Pillow and blanket looked mighty good that night.
While still in AR, we were able to stay one night with Bro. Buddy Blunkall and his family in Hot Springs. They have invited us to come if we were ever in the area, and finally, we were in the area. We reminisced about the "Good Ole' Days" at Camp Berean in Rockford, IL. Unfortunately, our schedule didn't allow for a stop at Champion Baptist College, but we have heard many good reports about Gospel Light Baptist and Pastor Eric Capaci's ministry. (Last time we were there, they didn't even have the college or new buildings.)
We moved on to Harrison, AR, and the Ozark Baptist Church. Pastor George Smith and the church members were very gracious to us this Sunday. We were the first guests in their new missions quarters, and we were impressed with the way they have furnished the place. They held services in their new auditorium (which was almost completed), and are anxious to move in soon. It was refreshing to minister to this church. They had a potluck dinner and another afternoon service. Pastor Smith arranged for us to sing at another church in the pm. We headed up to West Branson, MO, and sang at the Talking Rock Road Bapt. Church. Pastor Delbert Davis was very kind to let us minister to his people on such short notice.
Over to Mississippi
Pastor Don Sculley and his family took us to an official Southern eatin' place this evening before church. We filled up on some fish and then headed back to the church to get ready for the service. Grace Bible Baptist in Corinth was receptive and we had some time of fellowship with various members and visitors afterwards.
On to Tennessee
The last leg of our Southern trip was in the shadow of the beautiful Smoky Mountains in Sevierville, TN. Pastor Aaron Swain and Victory Bapt. were quite friendly and accommodating on this Wednesday evening. We saw a few friends from Crown College and other areas nearby, and we enjoyed catching up with a friend, Rhonda Setser, who put us up for the night in one of the condos her family owns. We certainly hope to visit the area again real soon. It was just a lovely spot.
And back at home...
It took almost a week to recover from our scurrying all over the place the last month. We were thankful for the Lord's Hand guiding us along the way, for His safety in our travels, for His blessing in our ministering, and for His love and care for us through the kind people we met on our journey.
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