Melvine, Greg, and I were privileged to attend the Friday night camp meeting service and heard the visiting evangelist Tonde Bolanta preach. There was an excellent attendance, and we saw many of our old friends from the years gone by when we were a vital part of the Alabama Conference. We did not attend the business session of the conference on Saturday, but stayed over to hear Presiding Bishop Doug Beacham preach on Sunday morning. He preached a masterful sermon on "Faith."
We, i. e., Greg drove us south on Monday. We drove by the old River Springs Camp Grounds that has been purchased by another entity. It is not the same, and can never be the same as it was in many years gone by for our youth camps, camp meetings, conferences, and other special events.
We saw the brick home that was once owned by the Rev. Mr. I. H. Presley, the father of Jackson, Mood, and Charles. We have enjoyed many dinner meals in that home when I was the pastor of Brownville P. H. Church.
Then, we headed on to Conecuh County and the Brownville Community. Some of it has deteriorated, while there are a number of new homes and beautiful farm lands with cattle. We saw our old wood frame church, not in the best of repair, but still standing. I think it is no longer Pentecostal Holiness. The parsonage was abandoned, shrubbery had grown up, trees were fallen. However, the grave yard that I had made a major project looked great with centipede grass that was well kept. We set in motion a committee to provide perpetual care of the cemetery. Sickness and death are very important to country people, and God enabled us to seize upon that concern to renovate the cemetery following the burial of Mrs. Newton, the first funeral I ever had. Mamie and Holmes Presley helped me cut the grass and get things in order to bury Mrs. Newton. It was that experience that motivated me to do something special for that wonderful community of God's people.
As a result of that one project that involved a number of people, I was privileged to lead Mac Williams, Sr. to the Lord. God did a great work in his life. I waited for the right time to lead him in the sinner's prayer in his home on US 31 Highway.
We drove to Evergreen where Greg was born on June 29, 1964, at the Evergreen Hospital. Melvine taught at the Evergreen High School because I only earned $35 a week, plus parsonage, electrical and water (a well). I had to pay my gas expenses to visit my congregation out of that $35. However, the people brought us fresh produce, chickens, beef, pork when they slaughtered the cattle. We never went lacking. I was a free lance writer for the Evergreen Courant, chaplain to the Kawaiis Club, and Civil Air Patrol, and an Army Reserve Medical Group in Birmingham, and spoke on WBLO Radio from time to time.
We traveled to Mobile where I had worked twice as a young man: once for the Southern Railroad in 1952, and later at the Toulminville P. H. Church in the summer of 1957, following a missions trip to Pinar del Rio, Cuba for two weeks. I wanted to see it all again and allow Melvine and Greg to see where God had led me as a young man. Mobile is not the same as when I worked there. A lot of the city is run down. There appears to be a lot of poverty.
We traveled to Daphne, Fair Hope, and Gulf Shores and down to Orange Beach, an Alabama Beach. It is absolutely beautiful but at the same time very expensive. We drove back home through Pensacola, Dothan, and spent the night in Columbus, GA at Hampton Inn on our way back to Winder, GA.
We are glad to be home. We are tired, but got up Sunday morning and attended Sunday school and morning worship. Chris Maxwell preached for us this morning. His sermon topic was "Rescue Mission" based on Galatians 1:3-5:
3 Grace and peace to you from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ, 4
Who gave Himself for our sins to rescue us from the present evil age, according to the will of our God and Father, 5 to Whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen.
Chris Maxwell will be preaching for us for the next two more Sundays. He is an exciting preacher, and people love his sermons and ministry.