Friday, July 11, 2014

The Church in (the) Wildwood

There’s an old gospel song entitled "The Church in the Wildwood." I was recently the weekend guest of Wildwood Baptist Church in Village Mills, Texas. The church is in a unique gated community two hours west of Houston and about one hour east of Beaumont.  It was originally begun by six Baptist laymen, requiring that a Baptist church be established there, hence the Wildwood Baptist Church.

I was invited by the pastor, Bro. Jimmy Linn, to go to Wildwood to speak to the widows from their church and surrounding churches and others who had experienced a great loss.
Pastor Jimmy and his wife, Cristi, picked me up at the Houston airport and then drove back to Village Mills. We stopped along the way and ate a delicious lunch of Mexican food. 

A lovely lady, Lavon Dunham, who was also a widow, was my hostess for the weekend.
I was a guest in her home, which is on a beautiful lake. She fixed breakfast each morning. We ate oatmeal with delicious fruit two mornings and waffles on another, served with delicious blueberries, strawberries and bananas.

Lavon was also in charge of the luncheon on Saturday. About 100 people were in attendance.
The decorations featured angels with beautiful green and purple ribbon.  
A delicious lunch of fruit, chicken salad and potato straws with miniature cheesecakes was served.

Billy Emfinger, with his outstanding tenor voice, sang several favorite gospels which included, “His Eye Is on the Sparrow,” “The Lighthouse,” and “The Lord’s Prayer.”
 He sat at our table along with Lavon, the pastor and his wife, Cristi. 

I shared about the sufficiency of our great God in all kinds of trouble, including the loss of one’s mate, if we would know, believe and claim His precious promises.
I was so blessed by receiving a note of thanks from a 15 year old young woman who wrote that she was so blessed, even though she was not a widow.  Afterwards I signed copies of my book, Grace for the Widow, which the church made available.  

On the way “home” we stopped by the home of the former pastor, Don Mitchel. who is still a member of the church. He attended the luncheon. Here he is with one of the members of the church.
His wife, Wanda, had had some minor surgery and was not able to attend the luncheon, so we had a nice visit with them and their grown daughter, Charlotte. After taking a nap the pastor took me for a tour of the community, which consisted of about 1,000 people. He knew where all of his members and others lived. We stopped by to visit briefly with “Miss Jeanette,” who is 93 years old and not able to attend church any longer. I enjoyed my visit so much!

The next morning was Sunday so I visited Lavon’s Sunday class with about eight other lovely ladies. The teacher was Jimmie Dunn and the lesson was on “The Selfishness of Pride,” from the book of Ezekiel, the 28th Chapter. I enjoyed being in this class so much!

Then we gathered in Wildwood’s lovely worship center. It turned out that they sang my all time favorite song, “There’ Something About That Name.”  The pastor had asked me to share briefly about my life with Adrian and how God had been with me since he has been in heaven.  They all received me like I was a member of their family. I was so blessed!  

After church anyone who wished to go along was invited to ride in the church van and travel about 20 miles away to The Pickett House in Woodville, a small neighboring community. About 15 people attended the “country cooking” luncheon served family style. A big platter of fried chicken and heaping bowls of mashed potatoes, turnip greens, green beans, chicken and dumplings and slaw were served. We then loaded back on the van and were driven by Anita Walton, the pastor’s secretary, back to the church where we got our cars and drove back “home” to Lavon’s house.

I took a Sunday afternoon nap and then Lavon and I enjoyed a relaxing evening visiting in the swing on the front porch. The pastor and his wife came by for a delightful visit before we went to bed. We didn’t stay up late because we had to get up at 5 a.m. to make the two hour trip to Houston the next morning. Lavon drove me to the airport, along with her friend, Carolyn Jackson, for my 10:10 a.m. flight back home to Memphis. Indeed, it was the end to a lovely weekend to The Church in (the) Wildwood. I will never forget these wonderful, godly people who took me in and treated me like family.

Wednesday, July 09, 2014

The Southern Baptist Convention 2014

I have attended the S. B. C. every year since 1958—a total of 56 years. Even since Adrian has been in heaven I have gone to the Convention.
A good friend, Elizabeth Griffin, went with me a couple of times. Then several times one of my sons, Steve or David, has gone with me. This year no one from back home was able to go with me, and I thought, “Maybe it’s time to stop going to the Convention.”

However, a young pastor that I have met and unofficially “adopted” as one of my preacher boys, Bro. Travis  Farris, called to ask if I were going. He said that I could “hang out” with him and his wife, Jess.
He got a reservation for me over the phone and helped get a reservation at the hotel where they were staying.  So I went!

I’m not in the habit of missing church, but I had to leave on Sunday. I had a long layover in the Atlanta airport, but was able to have lunch during that time.

In the airport I ran into Pastor Johnny Hunt from the First Baptist Church of Woodstock, Georgia and spoke with him.  He loved my husband. As we were boarding he said, “Come with me, “ and he gave me his better seat, which was so gracious.

I finally arrived in Baltimore, Maryland, the city where the Convention was held. I had reservations on the SUPER SHUTTLE that took me to my hotel, where I met my young friends, Pastor Travis and Jess! I was seated in the front seat next to the driver on the shuttle and was able to witness to him. I found out that he was from Kenya and said that he knew Jesus personally. It was such a joy talking to him.

I got in too late to attend the Pastors’ Conference that evening. We had not eaten supper so we ate in our hotel’s dining room. I had French onion soup, which I dearly love.  I was tired after a long day of travel, so we said goodnight.

We made sure that we got to the Pastors Conference the next morning to hear Johnny Hunt preach a stirring message on reaching the lost for Christ. He is such a wonderful example of sharing Christ on a personal basis.

For lunch I attended the Ministers’ Wives Executive Committee Luncheon.
There were about 25 ladies there—this year’s officers, the future officers and any past presidents of which I was one. This is always a lovely occasion of fellowship and a little business transaction. Here are pictures of the pretty centerpiece on my table and the delicious, decadent dessert.  


One of the ladies I was able to visit with was Dr. Rhonda Kelley, wife of Dr. Chuck Kelley, the president of New Orleans Baptist Seminary, where Adrian graduated in January in 1958. 
That evening I attended the dinner for the past presidents and their wives, hosted by the current president and his wife, Fred and Elizabeth Luter.  
It is such a blessing as we fellowship and share what God is currently doing in our lives. James and Teresa Merritt picked me up at my hotel and escorted me to the dinner. The food was delicious but was too much to eat it all. It was so good to see friends I only see once a year.  

I then walked over to the Pastors Conference with James and Teresa. We heard challenging and heart stirring messages. We arrived too late to hear Rick Warren’s message, God’s Glory in Difficult Times. I purchased the CD and listened when I got back home. What a blessing to hear how God had reached out and touched the lives of Rick and his wife, Kay, after the suicide of their son.  

On Tuesday Jess and I attended the Ministers Wives Conference, which was a lovely affair. Well known Bible teacher, Priscilla Shirer, was the featured speaker.  The theme was “God Is Able.’’ We were all blessed by her down-to-earth message about Simon Peter fishing all night and coming up empty. She challenged each of us to look to Jesus if we are serving Him and not be discouraged. She went on to say, “the sovereignty of God means, He’s got it in His hands,” In other words, He’s Able, He’s got it!  
It had been a wonderful convention. Also, I had seen a number of old friends, who had previously been on the staff at Bellevue—Ken Whitten and his wife, Ginny (who are now pastor and wife at Idlewild Baptist Church in Tampa, Florida, Keith and Beretta Cochran, (who was a little boy when we first came to Bellevue and now a very tall man) who are now pastor and wife in Mississippi, Randy and Melanie Redd, who is now the chief financial officer at Mid-America Baptist Seminary, and David Wooten, who now serves with Lifeline Children Services in an adoption ministry. Here we are in the display area at his booth. I could not name all the people I spoke to who knew Adrian and had been blessed by his ministry.

A highlight of the Convention was meeting ten-year-old Isaac Atkins of Cleveland, Tennessee who is the son of Pastor and Mrs. Eric Atkins of New Friendship Baptist Church near Chattanooga.  He wanted to tell me that he loved listening to my husband on the radio. I had my picture taken with him. 
Long time friend, Ronnie Floyd, was elected president of the Convention. He and his wife, Jeana, will be wonderful representatives of Southern Baptists.

One of my favorite reports is always from the International Mission Board. Tom Eliff, who has been president of the IMB for three years resigned. He gave a very stirring report about the revival going on in Cuba. He was deeply impacted by a trip to Cuba in 2013. He witnessed the elements of a spiritual transformation, which included prayer, hard work, and power of the Holy Spirit. Tom Eliff invited some of the Cuban pastors he met, such as Jose Enrique Peres, to speak to the SBC messengers, which touched everyone deeply, including me!

It was so good to meet up with Patty Howell (Mrs. Bill),
with whom I had spoken on the same program at a women’s conference at Hedgeville Baptist Church, Danville, Kentucky several years ago. This is the church where my young friends, Travis and Jess, serve. Patty has just published her first book, Shoes in the Bible and Walking with God. I’ve already read this excellent book. I recommend it to you. You can get it on Amazon.
My young friends, Bro. Travis and Jess, caught their plane the last evening of the Convention, which left me alone. On the way to the meeting I prayed out loud, “Lord, please help to meet someone with whom I could go to dinner." Soon after that, I ran into Craig and Selwyn Parker, who used on be on staff at Bellevue Baptist Church. So, I invited myself to have dinner with them. We had a marvelous meal and delightful fellowship.  God indeed cares about our every need. 

Sunday, June 08, 2014

Something to Crow About

What a unique and creative evening I spent recently at the 25th annual Deacons/ widows dinner at the Brownsville Baptist Church in Brownsville, Tennessee. Fred and Mary Gause came to pick me up and Joe and Kay Gibbs took me back home. Brownsville was just an hour from where I live. They drove me around their lovely town, which was filled with beautiful old homes and magnificent magnolia, which were in full bloom.

Around thirty widows gathered ahead of the dinner in the church parlor for punch and fellowship. At 6 p.m. sharp the deacons lined up outside the parlor and each deacon took a widow by the arm and escorted her to her table. Bro. Joe Gibbs, the chairman of the deacons, escorted me and we led the others into the dining room.

The theme for the evening was “Something to Crow About—Our Wonderful Widows.” Colorful roosters were used in the decorations. 
It seems that roosters are “in” this year for kitchen décor.  I was told that Hobby Lobby had lots of roosters with which to decorate. 

The fellowship was wonderful and the food was delicious. I sat at the table with Bro. Joe Gibbs, Jr., the chairman of the deacons and his wife, Kay, who had the idea for the rooster theme, Rev. and Mrs. Bob Connerley, the pastor and his lovely wife, Patsy and Rev. Grover Westover and his sweet wife.
 I loved the music, which was presented by Bro. Grover. 
He shared heart-felt songs about heaven and times of trouble.

I then presented a challenge to the widows to Look Up to their spiritual Husband, their Creator and redeemer, for their help and hope—to Look In to make sure they had grateful, praising hearts—free of bitternessand then to Look Out-- to help others who have broken hearts. 
I believe that everyone was blessed—focusing on our great and loving God. Also, what a blessing to meet new Christian friends!

I enjoyed visiting with these new friends after the program was over and going back into the kitchen where a mountain of dishes was being washed. A lovely lady had cooked the delicious dinner and was now going to clean up the kitchen with only one helper. I wanted to say thank you for making this dinner so special!

They were taking the decorations down, so I had my picture taken with some of the roosters.  
Kay Gibbs was the one who had the creative idea of the rooster décor. I sat by her at the dinner and she and her husband drove me back home. What a delightful evening! I hope we shall meet again. 
If not, I will see them all in heaven.

Monday, May 26, 2014

“My Great Delight” Spring Luncheon at Southern Seminary


Recently it was my great delight to speak at a lovely Spring Luncheon in Louisville, Kentucky. After a long, hard winter spring had come to Louisville. The azaleas, dogwood trees and redbuds were in full bloom and were magnificent.

It was predicted to rain on the day of the luncheon. I prayed that God would hold the rain long enough for the ladies to arrive dry, and He did!

“Hosted by Old Friends”

It was a real joy to be hosted by good friends, Selwyn and Craig Parker. Craig had seen over the finances at Bellevue while Adrian and I were there.  He has been the chief financial officer at Louisville for three years.  
They picked me up at the airport and we enjoyed a wonderful evening of fellowship over a delicious dinner.  We reminisced about happy memories.

“After Winter Spring Shall Come”

I took advantage of the season and spoke on the subject, “After Winter Spring Shall Come.” I compared the circumstances of our lives to these two seasons of the year. There were about 280 ladies in attendance. I asked each lady to anonymously write on a 3 x 5 card some time of trouble they were currently experiencing and or a time of trouble in the past. 

The cards were then collected and I drew out at random about a half dozen of them as illustrations that we all have been through, are going through, or will go through times of trouble in our lives. I took the cards home and take turns praying for these ladies. I don’t know their names but God does.

Song of Solomon 2:11 was my theme verse: For lo, the winter is past…the flowers appear on the earth, the time of the singing of birds is come…” I encouraged the women to “run into the arms of Jesus” in the winter experiences of their lives and to let Jesus warm and heal their troubled, broken hearts.

“Three Simple but Profound Solutions”

I offered three simple but profound solutions for spring to follow winter:
-1-  Look Up—to Jesus, the Living Word of God and to the Bible, the written Word of God.
-2-  Look In—to see if you have a bitter heart or a grateful, praising, singing heart.
-3-  Look Out—to find ways to minister to others who are hurting and to not waste your sorrows.

I told them that I did not ask them to do something that I had not done. I invited the ladies to join me at the feet of Jesus and lay their burdens down—and leave them there.

"Lovely Spring Decorations"

The round tables were decorated by ladies who were from different churches and ministries to illustrate the beauty of the springtime. Before the luncheon began I took a walking tour around the room to see the different “interpretations of spring.”  
What a wonderful idea and how beautiful! The luncheon, which consisted of quiche, fruit, rolls and dessert was delicious!

I sat by Mary Mohler, the wife of Dr. Al Mohler, the president of Southern Seminary.
What a delightful and extremely gifted “first lady!”

I was able to visit with many of the ladies after the luncheon. It was especially nice to see Tina Thompson, whose husband, Larry, had been on staff at Bellevue while we were there.  
I had my picture taken with several of the younger gals who wore spring hats to the event.
 It made me remember teenage days when hats and gloves were in style. I loved wearing them then.

"Delightful Tea with the Trustees’ Wives"

After the luncheon Mary invited me to visit informally with the wives of the trustees, who were meeting at the same time. The ladies asked random questions about my life as a pastor’s wife. They were given a copy of my book Chosen to Be a Minister’s Wife. A variety of delicious goodies were served with hot tea and coffee. I especially loved the scones.

"An Unexpected, but Nice Delay"

I was supposed to return home Monday evening. Mary discovered that I would get home very late due to a delay in my connecting flight. I decided instead to stay overnight and return early the next morning. It turned out very nice, however! I got to have supper and wonderful fellowship with Selwyn Parker. We then attended a dessert fellowship at the beautiful home of the president and his wife.

Selwyn told me that Mary loved to bake her own special selection of cakes for this event. There was German chocolate, fresh coconut, Italian cream, a white cake that Mary calls magnolia cake (a recipe from the Magnolia Bakery in New York), fresh apple cake with caramel icing, and strawberry shortcake. There were large bowls of ice cream, whipped cream and a bowl of fresh fruit.  I decided to indulge and had the delicious fresh coconut cake.  What an undertaking, but what a treat! 
I enjoyed visiting with various trustees and their spouses. One trustee brought his whole family. It was special to “bump into” Jim Henry, a pastor friend of Adrian’s whom he worked closely with on the “Peace Committee” of the Southern Baptist Convention.

A “Tour” of the President’s Library

Near the end of the evening I asked if could tour President Mohler’s library that was downstairs. I had been there with Adrian some years previous. It is indeed something to behold! Shelves lined with multitudes of books. There are also many interesting items, ranging from an ancient manuscript of the Bible to a collection of model ships. Dr. Al is a fan of Winston Churchill and he had pictures and items that pertained to him.
Dr. Mohler is a prolific writer and his desk was piled high with books and miscellanea. Of course his computer was in a key place. He and Mary came down to his study and graciously showed me around. We had a picture taken together.

"My Trip Back Home"

We finally decided it was time to go back to my lovely suite, which was in the seminary hotel on campus. I took the seminary shuttle at 6:30 a.m. the next morning to the airport.  My trip back home went well and my son David was there to pick me up.

"My Reserved Seat on the Last Row of the Plane"

On one of my flights I sat on the very last row of the plane. God had reserved that seat just for me. I had a very interesting discussion with a young man who said that he was an atheist. He was not antagonistic but said that his logical mind couldn’t believe in God. I told him about my husband, Adrian, whom I lovingly called “Mr. Logic” and how he too could be logical and also believe in God.

Well, the plane landed and of course we were the last ones off. As I turned to say goodbye, I simply said, “If this older lady comes to your mind, remember that she told you how much God loves you!”  I had to leave him with God, trusting Him to bring someone else along to take him to the next step and I am praying to Jesus for salvation.

Sunday, December 01, 2013

The Church in the Cotton Patch

I was honored recently to speak at a special ladies’ meeting during the annual Bible Conference held at Unity Baptist Church in Ripley, Mississippi.  The pastor’s wife, Donna Barefield was the very gracious hostess for the ladies’ event.
 Their church is known as “the church in the cotton patch.”
I wanted to have my picture taken in the cotton patch, but because of the cold and wind decided against it. There was a beautiful flower arrangement with cotton balls interspersed in it. 
Around 300 ladies attended the ladies’ event.  I spoke on the topic “Becoming a Woman of Wisdom.”  Many pastors’ wives came from a multi-state region and I met many of their husbands at lunch.  It seemed like all of them knew and loved Adrian and wanted to tell me how he had impacted their lives.  The pastor, Brother Ronnie, came in at then end of the ladies’ session and presented me with a lovely framed collage of pictures of Adrian with these words of Adrian at the bottom, “You cannot obey God without your obedience spilling out in a blessing to all those around you.”
An extra special treat was to speak to Christen Dillard, granddaughter of Paul Stovall, who had been a deacon chairman at Bellevue.
She had been in the Children’s New Members’ Class that I taught for 34 years at Bellevue.  What a blessing to see that she is now a pastor’s wife at Dumas Baptist church in Dumas, Mississippi.

For twentyone years this church has hosted this conference and this year paid most of the expenses for 150 pastors, missionaries and wives to attend.  The ladies of the church cook and serve breakfast, lunch and supper from Monday through Wednesday.  When I was there for lunch it was like a giant potluck meal.  The food was delicious, made with loving hands.

Donna, the pastor’s wife, invited me back again next year.  How I look forward to going again to “the church in the cotton patch!”  Virgie Crutchfield, a widow friend of mine drove with me and helped watch for the correct directions to the church.  I loved having her along with me.  We agreed that this was a rare privilege and we would look forward to going again next year, the Lord willing.  We’ll meet you “in the cotton patch!”


The first two volumes in The Adrian Rogers Sermon Library—Genesis Volume I and Genesis Volume II-- were purchased by pastors who attended the Bible Conference.  Exodus will be released soon. You can order these Volumes through pastortraininginstitute.com  It will be a great blessing to your life.
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