I am preaching for Gene and Cheryl Lavalle here in Athens, Georgia (home of the Georgia Bulldogs). This will be my last revival as an evangelist. On my recent trip with Joan to the Northwest we talked about our future. I have been enjoying doing “the work of an evangelist”, but still thought about going overseas one more time. When we came back from Zambia I had entertained the idea of going to a Muslim nation, where we would start a school since we wouldn’t be able to start a church. Joan for that reason and the fact that it has been a desire of her heart started attending classes at Yavapai. So, on the trip we talked about the timeline of our future stacked against my age. Originally we had planned on me doing this until July 2010. We decided if we were going to do it one more time we should move our time schedule forward. We talked about going to Croatia. I presented the idea to Pastor Mitchell with the idea of leaving in 2009, giving me a year to learn some of the language. He was more concerned about placing some pastors with experience in a couple of churches. I let him know I would be available if he couldn’t find anyone else. I went home and talked to Joan and the next day went back and told Pastor Mitchell we were making ourselves available. He gave me a couple of choices with one of them being Sparta, Illinois. They announced the change Friday night of conference.
I had preached in Sparta before when Chuck Haynes was the pastor. That church had sent Chuck to Zambia to preach for us in Mazabuka. I enjoyed the church. The Saturday before conference our air conditioning in the house went out. I called Marvin who got the owner of a repair company out to the house that July 5th. He brought along his father in law who was an older man. I went out to the truck where he was waiting for his son to see if he wanted a coke or water. He was fine. We began talking. He’s from a small town in Oklahoma. I told him I would be moving to a small town in Southern Illinois. Let him know I was a going to pastor a church there. He started talking about his small church of older saints and their new pastor. He had a sparkle in his eye as he described the new pastor’s illustrated sermons and his successful efforts to bring young people into the church. Well we had a great talk and I gave him a copy of "James Tembo, Detective" to give to his pastor. The reason I share this story is that I believe it was just one of the ways God gives little encouragements to people who set out to do something for Him. I know it gave me confidence.
I am fighting a spirit of melancholy as I preach my last sermon tonight. Joan and Audra are packing back in Prescott. We will finish packing, load a truck on Saturday, and leave Prescott Monday the 21st and arrive in Sparta Thursday July 24th. Looking forward to see what God will do.