This week was the beginning of a very busy 2-week stretch for us. We had the opportunity to visit the First Baptist Church of Spartansburg, PA, not far from Corry, where we were for week eight. We met the Gutberlets at church first thing Sunday morning. As we walked into the sanctuary we saw that they were preparing for VBS in a couple weeks. The theme this year was “Rev It Up, Full Throttle for God.” They had a veritable stadium drawn up around the sanctuary. I joked that I had never presented in front of so many people. There were at least several thousand comic characters in attendance.
Anyway, we had a great time with the folks from Spartansburg. Spartansburg seemed to be a typical small-town blue-collar community. Pastor Gutberlet decided to have an afternoon service with a potluck lunch rather than an evening service, so once again we found out what great cooks Baptists are. 🙂 After the services we were greatly encouraged by an older gentleman in the church who had sat in the back of the church because of his wheelchair. We asked him if he could hear us okay, and he said he heard more than he would have if he had stayed home. In a day when so many people are making excuses to stay home we were glad to hear this gentleman who wanted to be in church under the teaching of the Word.
We were able to sit down with the Gutberlets after the services of the day and have a great conversation about ministry. I know I have said it before, but it is an encouragement every week to get fresh perspectives on ministry philosophy and see how specific cultures affect philosophy.
We were headed down to North Carolina for a couple weeks, so after we left Spartansburg we stayed with the Roofners in Waynesburg, down in southern PA. If you remember, we visited them during Week Ten of deputation. We had a great time touching base with them again. The Roofners were babysitting their grandchildren, so we got to see them for a little bit as well. It was really neat to have built relationships with them so we could swing by and impose and it not be a huge imposition on them.
We spent the next week and a half or so in North Carolina visiting our sending church, Maranatha Baptist Church. We had a great time visiting friends and family. It was a good time of refreshment and encouragement (though I caught a cold at the end of the trip because of our busy-ness).