It had been five years. Yet, when we returned it seemed like we had never left. I held a Gospel Meeting with the Roan’s Creek Church of Christ in Clarksburg, Tennessee. My whole family got to attend the meeting. It was a wonderful week for us.
The Roan’s Creek church traces its history back to 1825. I hold the distinction of being their first full-time minister. I originally started on a five-month trial period from August of 1998 to January 1999. I passed the trial and would begin working full-time with the church after getting married in January of 2000. I started dating and married Amanda during my time at Roan’s Creek. We left Roan’s Creek in August of 2002 to pursue going to Asuncion, Paraguay with a mission team. That didn’t work out for us, but thankfully we ended up in Mayfield, Kentucky where we have been ever since.
We showed the kids our first home. We stayed at Natchez Trace park by Pin Oak lake. We used to go out to this site regularly to ride bikes, walk, and let our dog Rebel run free. It was a time of reflection and refreshment for us. A break from the busy schedule of home, home-school, and farm chores.
Here is a list of thoughts I had during the meeting:
- I am grateful the elders in 1998 took a chance on me. I wasn’t much of a preacher yet. One lady reflected on the first sermon I preached as feeling sorry for me, because I was so nervous and shaking. But they tried me and my life is different today because of the experience I had with Roan’s Creek. The older I get and now understand better what I probably looked like as a young 22 year old to these seasoned elders, I am thankful for their love and the risk they took.
- I am grateful for faithful brethren. It is so encouraging to return almost exactly to the date 15 years later and see so many of the same faces faithful in the Lord’s work. These are dear friends who mean so much to us. Of course, numerous ones have passed, some have become unfaithful, new ones have come, but it is so encouraging to see the “old faithfuls.” Faithfulness is special and should not be taken for granted.
- I am grateful for the early years with Amanda. Kids are great and a middle-aged stable life with a house and farm are nice, but sometimes we miss the simple bliss of the early years. I enjoy going back to FHU and Roan’s Creek area because they are special spots for our courtship and marriage. It is where we fell in love! We had wonderful times growing up together and learning what it means to be married and be adults. The brethren at Roan’s Creek were great to us as a young couple.
- I am grateful for Mark and Lori Simons. I am so grateful that God brought Mark and Lori to the work at Roan’s Creek as we were leaving. They have done a tremendous job with the church. They are special friends and very respected servants of God. The growth, stability, and continued success of Roan’s Creek is due in large part to their wise, hard-working, and dedicated efforts. I am thankful he has continued a legacy of preaching the Word of God in love and truth.
- I am grateful my wife and kids can go to gospel meetings with me. Going to a gospel meeting is a special thing for our family. It isn’t easy, as it requires lots of packing and leaving home, but it is so worth it. My kids especially love going to Roan’s Creek. A big reason for this is the tremendous home-cooking you get every day of the meeting. The family enjoys meeting new people and add so much to my work. Brooke had the quote of the trip when she said late Sunday night, when I asked her about my sermon, “Dad it is a good thing we are the only ones that follow you around, because you preach the same thing every gospel meeting.” I got a kick out of her quote and hope they will have fond memories of attending meetings with Dad. Being that I preached on heaven and hell Sunday which prompted Brooke’s statement, I really hope that repetition causes it to go down deep into their hearts.
Thus, we left Roan’s Creek once again grateful for the opportunity to return to one of our homes. It was just like home should be–familiar, good food, warm embraces, God-centered, and sad goodbyes. Lord willing, we will do it again in four years Roan’s Creek!