In 1996 while driving down an old country road, I drove past the Old Gardeau Community Church; located about 3 1/5 miles from Sizerville State Park. As I drove by this old church; which had been closed for about 6 years, I told the Lord how awful it was that this aged church was shut down!
Later that same night, a feisty old lady by the name of Arlene Walker, called me out of the blue! Arlene was a tough lady with a heart of gold. She called me and this is what she said; “Hello, this is Arlene Walker, me and a bunch of us old ladies wants to get the Gardeau Church opened again and heard you were a preacher now. Will you come up here and open this church?”
WOW! I told her I would consider it and get back to her. After she hung up, I told the Lord; “well that was quick!” After a little more prayer and talking it over with Sherri, we decided to go forward and open the old church.
The church needed a great deal of work; so we all dug in and cleaned the bugs, bats, and mice out, the best we could, and we started holding services there . . . oh, the stories that this old church could tell!
After several years, we decided the church could use a paint job; so I took on the project. I got a pressure washer and took all the old paint off of the church; it was a pretty big job. I primed the entire structure, and then proceeded to paint everything!
When it was all done; I stood back and admired the work . . . it turned out pretty nice, even if I do say somyself! Getting a little “puffed up” over how nice thechurch looked; God decided it was time to deflate me a bit.
One Sunday, a few weeks after the paint job was done, as I was getting ready to close up the church and head home, I noticed a gentleman drive up in a car and get out, heading over to the church. I could see that he was carrying a camcorder and a clipboard. My head started to swell with pride; clearly, he was here to do a story on the old church and how beautiful it looked now!
As I floated my ego out the door to greet this man, he came over to me, shook my hand, and asked me if I was the pastor. Beaming, I told him I was, and then he pointed across the road toward a valley and asked me if that was Parker Run. Confused by his question a bit; I told him that it was indeed Parker Run.
The man then turned to me and handed me his business card. He told me that he was here to investigate a Bigfoot sighting! WHAT! Bigfoot here? I looked at the business card; “Pennsylvania Bigfoot Society, Timblin, Pa.”
He went on to say that a good Christian man owned a camp up there and he reported seeing a Bigfoot recently. I thought to myself; “That a good Christian man may have been seriously backslidden up there with some Jack Daniels and maybe saw a black bear . . . but a Bigfoot . . . Come On!”
This gentleman asked if anyone reported seeing a Bigfoot in the area. I told him that no one had mentioned anything to me about seeing a Bigfoot anywhere around these parts.
Now I did tell him that my son and I had hiked up Parker Run recently, which we did, and that the only thing we saw up there were a large population of beavers. About 3 miles up it looked like a Lincoln log factory; with beaver dams all over the place.
The man turned around quickly and with excitement in his voice, said “no way!” I said, “Yep, lots of beavers up there.” The man looked me squarely in the eyes and with conviction told me that beaver was Bigfoot’s favorite food!
I thought I was going to die! It was all I could do to keep from losing it. The man jotted down a few things, thanked me for the info and off he went.
Ego effectively deflated . . . And who said God does not have a sense of humor!
For many years I carried that business card in my wallet and I would pull it out occasionally and share it with fellow pastors saying . . . “You know you pastor a country church, when . . .
Hope this one made you smile!
A joyful heart is good medicine, But a broken spirit dries up the bones.
Copyright © Faith Upside Down