While I was Away… part 3

I’ve asked myself a number of times why it is that people move from the city to the country, after all, in spite of the noise and congestion of a city, there are quite a few amenities and conveniences that can’t really be found anywhere else. Here’s one that’s important to me… The Los Angeles Dodgers never play their games out in the countryside near a town you’ve never heard of.

Out in the country, there isn’t even a Trader Joe’s: How can you live without that?

It’s becoming clear to me that there are a great many reasons people have moved to our little community in the middle of nowhere. One thing we don’t have around here is church, that is, unless you want to drive a long way to get there. That’s really not such a problem, but from long distance, it isn’t so easy to be involved in the church community from 30 or 40 miles away.

A lot of people miss that.

Not everyone moves out this far just because they’ve always wanted to be in the country, like I have. A fair percentage have left town because they have been hurt in some way and don’t want to be around a lot of people, at least for a time. Some have even been hurt by a church.

I wasn’t here too long before I came to realize that there were people here who had been hoping and even praying for a church right here in the neighborhood. At Christmas, the lady who lives behind us, over that famous hedge, hosted a time for reflection, reading of the Christmas story from the Gospels, a few songs and prayer in the clubhouse. Having been invited for Christmas Eve, we went…

Afterward there was mingling and conversation, and for no particular reason other than I knew I should do this, I asked if anyone might be interested if there was a Bible study. The response was immediate: that would be an answer to prayer, so losing all common sense, I asked what about a regular service on Sundays.

Same response; the only problem was that there wasn’t anyone who could lead the study or service.

Then I lost all control and told them that I could do it.

We began the study group, really a small group study, right after the holidays were over, and our first Sunday service began last week. I’ve been quite amazed thus far at how receptive people have been to this, and how universal the notion is that we don’t need formality, traditions or human restraints, just relationship with our Lord. Mind you our group is quite diverse doctrinally in terms of backgrounds…

As I reflect on the whole thing, we have an amazing opportunity to share Christ with our neighbors here, after all, nobody is a stranger for very long in a small community in a remote location, and it seems that we are all clear that what people need from us is not a great sales pitch or a good speech, but simply for them to see God at work in our lives. As a result, in each of our 2 studies a week, since the first week in January, save one, and in our first service last week, we have had at least one new person in the group.

What an amazing God we have!

About Don Merritt

A long time teacher and writer, Don hopes to share his varied life's experiences in a different way with a Christian perspective.
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16 Responses to While I was Away… part 3

  1. Bette Cox says:

    Love it! Love your new photo too… Father God has an amazing way of matching needs with His resources. 🙂 🙂

  2. God bless you for spreading the good news of Jesus and discipling of others.

  3. Lena Rae says:

    Well…now we know why you moved. Must be super exciting to start a new church!

  4. Pingback: While I was Away… part 3 — TLP – QuietMomentsWithGod

  5. I can imagine God saying to Himself – ‘Here’s an empty space, now who should I send? I know, I’ll send Don. He’s just the person!’ Love it, Don. Isn’t God just wonderful the way He works and fits us into spaces we never even imagined there was a space? May He bless you richly as you serve Him in this way and stand in the gap for Him. I am excited to hear how He is going to grow your community through your answering His call.

  6. I am looking forward to seeing your photos of the week in your new town!

  7. Brian Casey says:

    What’s so discouraging about this (and I say this with tongue in cheek) is that I resonate with pretty much all of it, right up to the part where things started working out. I’m in a spiritual wasteland and hoping for opportunities like the one you’ve described. It came, for a while — with people of different religious backgrounds meeting, studying more seriously than some of them had studied before. Then two of the people left. Left everything good in their lives, as far as I can see. God may still be “up to “something, but it’s a wasteland again, for the moment.

    • Don Merritt says:

      I’m sorry to hear that Brian. These things are seldom easy to figure out while they are happening but I’ve found, and maybe you will too, that God has a way of working things out, if we are open enough to just let Him do His thing.
      In any case, I sure hope things clear up for you very soon.

  8. pipermac5 says:

    You have begun an exciting journey. May God prosper this work as you faithfully proclaim His word among your neighbors.

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