On last Sunday the Hemley Rd. church in Bayou La Batre passed a mile stone that many did not expect. At 2:00 p.m. they had a celebration and dedication of their permanent home. Against great odds and in the face of opposition from within and without, the little flock has persevered in prayer and service and they now have a facility with great potential, much of the rehab work has been done, and they are debt free.
People traveled from as far away as Los Angeles, California to come share the great victory and celebrate what God has done. On Sunday morning I taught the adult Bible class and challenged them to remember that the race of faith is a marathon, not a sprint. One of the greatest qualities of one who would please the Lord is patient endurance. Learning to walk in step with the Holy Spirit, and when necessary, to simply wait upon God are much needed disciplines.
Bro’ John McCord, pulpit minister of the ElCampo, Texas church of Christ preached, reminding us of the past and casting a vision for the future. He characterized the members of the Hemley Rd. church as “Sold out, over committed, junkies for Jesus” whose mission is to confront their community with the claims of Jesus while serving their physical needs. Two of ElCampo’s elders were there as well.
After the great service there was a spread to die for, (or because of). Big fat bay shrimp prepared in different ways, and almost everything one could want for a great feast. The fellowship was amazing!
In the afternoon World Radio Director Bro’ Ken Bolden opened the time of dedication, celebration, and thanksgiving. One after another, elders, preachers, and those who have generously given to the work in Bayou La Batre spoke words of encouragement and challenge and several of the men prayed simple, humble prayers, asking God to keep His hand on the work and to continue to supply every need. Next to the last speaker was a leader at Hemley Rd. Bro’ Billy Spaulding gave a very moving and inspired talk answering the question “Have I ever seen Jesus?” As he told of the many times he had seen Christ in others who had come to Bayou La Batre to serve those who had lost so much he was so overcome with emotion he had to pause before he could continue. Billy Spauling is one of those “Salt and Light” men for whom I, and everyone who knows him, hold the deepest respect and trust him completely to always do the right thing.
I closed the meeting giving honor to Daphnie German without whom the work would have died long ago, and to my wife Carol whom I often lovingly call “The Little General”. Just as in Paul’s ministry, faith filled women with pit bull perseverance, and unconditional love in their hearts, are just as valuable to ministry as any man can hope to be.
There are perhaps 2 or 3 pews of teens who are there every time the doors are open. What great potential!There have been 3 baptisms in the last few weeks! What a great bunch of Christians who see no limit to what God can do. Praise God for the folks at Hemley Rd. church of Christ in Bayou La Batre, Alabama.
If you know a preacher who is Christ centered and grace oriented and can support himself for several months please contact me. The church desperately needs a preacher full time to come along and help them.
Grace to you,