Early October we ventured to Mississippi with one church "officially" on the calendar. That we knew the Lord could do great and mighty things was our motivation to "just do it". Now that we are back at home, we marvel at the way he "just did it"!
There is a special kind of hospitality these southern churches possess. They loved on us over coffee and a scrapbook of the history of the church, or the telling and retelling of where they were during Katrina, and how their little church banded together and was a beacon of light and hope in their community. These all played a major role in making ties that bind. One evening we thoroughly enjoyed the company of a young pastor, his wife and their young child... all the while trying to get our order right from Wendy's. We decided to just talk, as we may never know if we got what was paid for! Another evening was spent in the fellowship hall with many of the members, just chatting and getting acquainted. As we would leave, we would frantically try to exchange email and cell # to make sure we could continue communicating. Even though there will be miles separating us, we will be connected thanks to the Lord... and technology!
When all was said and done, there was only one service out of the potential 14 that we were not at a church to present the ministry. Every Sunday am, pm, or Wednesday night we were there, Dan had a whole service to preach, or several minutes to give testimony and show our video. Our kids loved the different churches and the pastors from each for many unique reasons. While we were not able to really invest a lot of time with each church, we still made great friends.
The one evening we weren't officially scheduled, we were able to go to a great church as "regular people". We are thrilled to have gotten to know the Pastor and his wife a little better, and consider them true friends and people we respect greatly. He was a missionary to the Philippines, and now has taken a church in Ocean Springs, MS. They are a thriving church with a passion for God and the Great Commission. The church is collectively participating in a discipleship program with the vision to then bring it to the one-on-one level. They will have great blessings poured on them for their faithfulness to God, and their willingness to Live The Gospel.
There is an amazing bond in the Body of Christ. I am sure many of you have experienced meeting someone for the first time, and after getting to know each other briefly there is an acknowledging that if proximity wasn't an issue, there would be regular coffee dates and Bible Studies together! We have made great and lasting friendships with people all over southern MS and are so blessed. This is definitely one of the perks of deputation! Just one of the good gifts our Heavenly Father knows how to give!
We look forward to returning to the south. We know there will be at least one more journey there... but in all likely hood... SEVERAL!