Friday, July 10, 2015
Medicine Park, Oklahoma is a beautiful little community about twenty miles from my home town of Lawton.
I started preaching there while I was still in High School.
The church met in a little cobblestone school building down by the creek.
Every Sunday I would teach a Bible Class. And then step up onto the school stage and lead the singing, read Scripture and pray. After that I would preach for about twenty-five minutes.
When I first started preaching there we had eleven members. The church grew slowly. But it did grow. As soon as a person confessed their faith in Christ we baptized them. In the warm part of the year we went to one of the beautiful lakes close by. In the winter months we drove into one of the Lawton church buildings and used their baptistery.
When it was time for me to leave for Abilene Christian College the church had grown to thirty-five members.
This little group of Christians hated to see me go but they were happy for me that I could continue my education and prepare to better preach the gospel.
On my last Sunday we had a little going away party. It was a pot-luck. That's what churches did back then. As we said our last good-byes they all gathered around to hug me and then a dear, old, gentleman pressed an envelope into my hand and walked away with tears in his eyes.
The envelope had money in it. Not much. But probably a sacrifice for most.
I went to Abilene Christian. I graduated with a major in Bible and a minor in speech.
What touched me the most when I opened that envelope was not the bills (although I needed them the most) but the change. Somebody---maybe a child or a widow, didn't have much but wanted to give. That was fifty-nine years ago but I get misty eyed every time I think about it---and that is often.
I loved that little church. I love the Lord's church every where. Always have. Always will.