Every place in which we have ever lived in has had its quirks. Our first pastorate was located in Texas near a town that boasted of being "Home of the world famous fruitcake." Later, we lived in Jonesboro, Arkansas and were next-door-neighbors to Andrew Golden, eleven year old school-shooter-sniper.
The strangest thing about the town we moved to five years ago (when accepting my husband's current pastorate) is that it is thought to be by the L*D*S the sight where Adam and Eve were banished after being evicted from the Garden of Eden and the gathering spot on Judgment Day. L*D*S families are moving to our tiny, rural town (population 1,800) by the droves from all over the nation.
And you can always spot them. Clean-cut and sharp, often with several children--they are some of the kindest people I've met since moving here. And in a town of 1,800, a new face always stands out.
Today at my son's band competition in a neighboring town, it happened again. A man with a soft, gentle voice and a glowing countenance introduced himself to me and thanked me for all of the work I did with our band kids. (I'm the president of our band booster organization.) I knew before we even exchanged dialog that he was "one of them." And he was. I asked him "So, what brought you to our town?" He never really answered my question, but did mention that some friends of his had told him what a wonderful place our town is to raise a family. And so, he sold his citrus farm in San Diego and relocated his family of eight. I have heard this same story (only with slightly different details) at least five or six times over the past year.
We don't have a McDonald's people. We don't have Wal-Mart. We only have one stoplight and one gas station. And they're moving here anyway. In five years, their church has grown from under 100 in attendance to over 400. Ironically, the other growing "church" in our town denies the existence of hell and teaches that h*m*se*uality should be affirmed by the church.
And so my heart is broken.
Concerning the first group-- How to evangelize a people who are so heavily steeped in error? I have come to care very deeply for many of these people, and I have no idea how to persuade them that Jehovah alone is Father, Son, and Holy Spirit; and that Jesus' sacrificial death is sufficient to bring forgiveness of sins?
Concerning the second group-- how to convince them of the fact that if one denies hell, he is denying the Word of God. If one denies hell, what need is there of Jesus' atoning work on the cross?
And so I pray that since God has sovereignly brought our family to this town, at this time in history, that He will use us for His glory to further His Kingdom. Pray for us when you think of us.