This was another really busy week for us. We began in Eastern NY, on the other side of Syracuse, visiting Bible Baptist Church of New Hartford. We drove through some areas that had been hit hard by the most recent two hurricanes. There has been a lot of flood damage done in Eastern NY and PA. Anyway, we had the chance to meet Pastor Hanback and his family, as well as the church family at Bible Baptist. Everyone at the church was very friendly and we had a great time with them. We got in on Saturday night and found fellow football-lovers (what a blessing!), so we chatted about where our Lord has brought us as we watched some College Football. It was a wonderful evening. We even got some basketball in! Pastor Hanback has two sons, Derek and Nathan. They both enjoy a good game of basketball, so I had a blast with them.
We stayed the night with a gracious lady from the church, Mrs. Schmidt. She and her late husband were both artists, and also avid outdoors folks, so we had a great time admiring some great decorations and hearing stories. Sunday morning we were able to present our ministry with the church family. It was exciting to hear about what a diverse community Bible Baptist is ministering to. In fact, there were Haitians in the church family.
Sunday afternoon we had lunch with another gentleman from the church and his wife, and watched football (Steelers lost. 😦 ) Anyway, the folks we had lunch with were retired, but he was just saved a few years ago. It was really neat to hear his testimony and see how God had been working in his heart for so long, convicting him and drawing him to Himself.
Sunday night we enjoyed a campfire sing-spiration with the church. And we squeezed in one more game of basketball. 🙂 Monday morning, though, we hit the road for Southern PA. This week was the PARBC Fall Conference. Dr. Marty Marriott, President of Maranatha Baptist Bible College was the guest speaker. The conference lasted from Monday to Wednesday. It was a really good time of fellowship with many of the pastors from the PARBC. Many of the pastors there we have either already visited, or we will be visiting sometime in the next year. Pastor Kistler, a pastor from Pittsburgh, was a particular encouragement to me. Emily was likewise encouraged by Mrs. Marriott, Dr. Marty’s wife. They and some of the other ladies all went out shopping at one point during the day on Tuesday. They acted like they had fun, so we’ll take their word for it. 🙂
The area of Southern PA which we were in had been hit hard by the floods last week. In fact, we almost couldn’t figure out how to get to our hotel, there were so many roads and bridges out! (We stayed in Gettysburg, by the way.)
Wednesday night we went up to Bethel Bible Church in Berwick, PA, which we had visited in March. This was about 2.5 hours north of Hanover, where the conference had been held. Even up here there was a lot of damage from the floods. In fact, this area was hit harder than Hanover had been. While in Hanover a few driveways and roads were washed out, we went to the Berwick area and found whole houses had been destroyed. Thursday morning we drove up the road a few miles to Shickshinny to help with some cleanup. I was surprised by what we found. I spent the morning helping a deacon from the church in Shickshinny gut his house. Water had been up at least 6 or 7 feet high in the main floor of his 2-story home. The basement had been flooded, and the water just kept rising! We were tearing out paneling, plaster, and slats in the living room, and the water line behind the wall was amazing. There was mud everywhere. Be praying for the folks in Shickshinny and all over central NY. One Pastor from Towanda told me someone from his church had their foundation washed away, and the house was gone, just like that. There is a lot of damage. But the churches are really reaching out and helping, bringing meals to families who are cleaning up, gathering clothes, food, and living items, and serving as the hands of Christ to a lot of suffering and (suddenly) homeless people. Pray that God will draw folks to Himself through all this tragedy.
We got home Thursday evening from PA, worn out and ready for a rest! But it was a good week.