Dear Church Member,
In 37 years of ministry, I have never been in the situation I have been in for the last eight weeks. It started with a hospital stay and viral pneumonia. My doctor told me I had a serious case of it and it would take several weeks to get over it. The last time I preached, I literally was grasping for air and could not breathe properly. Two weeks ago, I got another x-ray of my lungs. They said the pneumonia was almost gone, but I had an abnormality and needed a CT Scan of my lungs. I got the CT Scan last week and have an appointment with the pulmonologist, Dr. Meade on June 1. Meanwhile, my doctor wants me to work part time until we find out exactly what is going on with my lungs. I still have symptoms that prevent me from working full time. I still have some shortness of breath, wheezing and low energy level; but do not feel bad enough to stay home now. Staying at home has been one of the hardest challenges of my life. I have always worked and wanted to get back to my regular preaching and visiting schedule but my health right now will not allow it. Please pray that my doctors will get to the bottom of this and I can start my journey back to being healthy again.
Thank you so much for your patience and prayers during this long detour in what we call life. I hate not being at church and being able to do what God created me to do.
I greatly appreciate the phone calls and beautiful cards with such words of encouragement in them. First, I want to thank Bro. Steve Stewart who has had to step in and cover much of my preaching, visiting, and speaking schedule these past two months. We are so blessed to have such a Man of God to fill in for me and be such an awesome Worship Leader. I also want to thank Bro. Terry Russell, Bro. Scott Warren, Bro. Brandon Halsey and Bro. Paul Walker for preaching for me. It does my heart good to know that our church is in such wonderful hands in my absence. I want to thank Carla England for helping with so many details and calendar items while I have been out. She and Chuck are such a blessing to our office staff and do such a great job.
I have written several sermons and Bible studies while I have been out, and I am writing this article from home also. I truly want to be at church and working, but my body is telling me to go slow and just pace yourself. I have had to really remind myself of what Romans 8:28 means and apply it daily to my life right now. Our Deacons and Yokefellows prayed over and anointed me with oil this past Saturday night, so I believe with all my heart that God is going to heal me but he might use doctors to do it. Please keep the prayers coming, and believe with me that this too will pass and my health will be restored once again. I truly miss being at church and having fellowship with the awesome people of Rye Hill Baptist Church.
I talked with our project manager, Ronnie Keener, by phone last week. Things are really coming together with the building of our new Worship Center. The heat and air is all installed, the rough plumbing is in, the sprinkler system is in, the studs and sheetrock, are almost done, and they plan to pave the back (north) drive this week. Praise God, we are still on time and on budget with this wonderful addition to our church! Our treasurer, Juanita Culverson, also reported that we have not had to borrow as much money as we thought because you have been so faithful in giving to our church. The Finance Committee recommended we moved $50,000 to the Growth Fund because of the balance in our general account. Hallelujah! This is the second time this year that we have gotten to do this. Thank you, Jesus! We save so much in interest when we have an extra $100,000 to work with from the Growth Fund. From the bottom of my heart, THANK YOU so much for being such a giving people and a giving church!
Please remember to pray for our Children’s Camp and Youth Camp which will both take place the first full week of June. It is just how the schedule worked this summer. Also, please sign up to help with the food needs for both groups. I know this will be challenging with both camps at the same time, but you always come through and meet the needs of all our ministries. We always have several professions of faith and rededications at these camps, and we believe this year will be the same. Pray for Bro. Dale & Raye and Bro. Brandon & Courtney as these lead these events.
Bro. Steve started the Young Married Adult class last week. They are going to call themselves the “Homebuilders Class”. I love it. If you are a young married couple under 35 years of age, please consider coming to this wonderful class. If you know anyone in this age group, please invite them to attend. We are very excited about the potential of this new class.
A huge thanks to our Mission Leader, Bro. Scott Warren, who went to South Dakota and the Lakota Baptist Church to conduct a Leadership Conference this past weekend. We were both supposed to go, but because of my illness he stepped up and did the whole weekend by himself. When I talked with him he shared that 10 people were saved at the prison, and it was a very successful meeting with the church leaders. What a mighty God we serve! Thanks Bro. Scott for a job well done.
Summer is here, my sweet friends. Let me encourage you to take that much needed vacation time and enjoy it. But let me also encourage you to be faithful to God and His church the rest of the summer. Remember to INVITE and ENGAGE people with the gospel of Jesus Christ. I have learned these past two months not to take being able to go to church or my health for granted. Pray for the lost and the sick. I love each and everyone of you and look forward to being back full-time with you soon! My God bless you and your family.