I go to Maine and Nova Scotia twice per year, but it could easily be four times per year or more because of the increasingly close relationships we have with these people and the work God is doing among these congregations. To be quite honest, it is increasingly difficult for me to be away from my family for a nine-day stretch, especially without the use of my cell phone when I leave the country. However, as a family we know it is where God would has placed me for these times and we believe in the eternal fruit that He is producing through it, not only among the churches, but also in our own lives. So it is that, when someone asked me recently if I could stay longer, I replied that it is something we will need to pray about. :)
As is my custom, after finishing the services on Wednesday night, I get into the rental car and drive to Nova Scotia on Thursday. This time, we had a Thursday evening service at the Nazarene church in Truro. From there, we began the regular “marathon” weekend services in Lower Sackville, which took place May 8-10. We had tremendous times in every service, and we heard the testimony that we seem to regular hear after these times, “This was the best time yet.” Indeed, there was a real and powerful moving of the Holy Spirit through the Word in these services. You may have seen me mention before that this is a small congregation, but it is pretty amazing to see the spiritual “reach” that Jesus has through this small church through the impact on people and other congregations in Nova Scotia. After finishing the Sunday AM service, we made our customary trip one hour back up the road again to Truro to have the afternoon service with Upper Room Fellowship. I just love these congregations and people who just focus on Jesus and leave everything to Him. Upper Room Fellowship still meets in Pastor Terry Dryden’s garage and has the potluck fellowship afterward in their house, but they are in the process of possibility looking at a facility. What a wonderful time we had there as always, and you can see the video here if you like. After the service and potluck, we were on our way back down to Dartmouth for the evening service at the Nazarene church downtown there.
Eight days and thirteen sermons, in addition to five online classes, and hundreds of miles (or kilometers!) driven in a rental car. It was a happy reunion at home at Nashville International Airport after a 20-hour travel day. But our heart are full – full of love for the people of Maine and Nova Scotia, and full of joy for all Jesus continues to do in our lives as a family. What a journey it is with Him!
I would have never imagined that I would become so familiar with Smyrna, TN, a city northwest of Murfreesboro and southeast of Nashville. However, as I shared with the people in a service last weekend, Smyrna has becoming something like a “home away from” our home in Watertown, about 30 miles away. Over the past year, Carey and I have traveled to Smyrna every Thursday night (that we are not on the road to somewhere else) to meet there with our Civil Air Patrol Squadron. Also over this past year, we became friends with Pastor Tony Clemons at the Church of the Nazarene there and have been blessed to share some there. Then, I was invited to come at share April 24-26 at the Smyrna Free Methodist, where our old friend, Chris Curry, has been the pastor for the last few years. It is evident from both the church website and from visiting that this is a church that is being build upon the concept of responding to Jesus. I was encouraged to see this attitude in the weekend services as people came and responded. What an excitement there was among the people! After preaching in the services Friday night, Saturday night, and Sunday morning, I was additionally blessed to get to share in the Hispanic service on Sunday afternoon. Some of those who know us know that Trina and I have had a longtime love for Spanish, “the language of heaven,” as my former District Superintendent used to call it. Trina has always had an ear for it and is better at understanding it, while I have had a more natural tendency to find the words to speak it. In this we make a great team. What a joy it was to just converse among some of the people in limited Spanish before the service. I felt a courage from the Lord to just step out and try it more than I have. Raquel did a great job of translating for me during the sermon. Yet, even as she translated, I felt that courage and desire from the Lord rising up within me again. There was a key question that resonated throughout the message from 2 Timothy 1:6 that still rings in my heart today. “Come esta el fuego?” In English, “How’s the fire?” I am deeply grateful for the experience of being with the people of both congregations at Smyrna Free Methodist and how it stoked the fire in own heart again for dependency upon Jesus and what He desires to do in my life. And I might just need to study Spanish more this summer! :)
Evangelist, Teacher, Writer,
Husband, and Father