Tuesday, December 6, 2011


McKinney, Texas

This is a growing city north of Dallas that Sandy and I visited recently. The Wright family has moved there to start a new church.

Here is Randall and Collette with Joshua, Rebekah, and Leah on their pet cow.

This is their house.

This is the Wrights in the lobby of their church.

Just kidding on all three of the pictures above.
The cow is one of the sculptures in Dallas of a herd of cows.
The house is where they filmed some of the tv show Dallas.
The church lobby is in a local megachurch. Maybe someday...

But for now... they meet on Sunday mornings in a local school.

Here is the room before church started.

Technology is great when it works. It wasn't working that day. Randall and Josh are trying to figure it out.

Randall did a good job preaching that day.
You could tell he enjoys preaching.

He also enjoys relaxing at home watching an Alabama football game.

We had a great time with the whole family. Randall and the folks there have a great opportunily as McKinney continues to boom. (They have more restaurants than anyplace I've ever been) Looking forward to good things happening in the new church there!

Amarillo, Texas

It was a short flight from Dallas to Amarillo to visit Jeff and Sondra Cates in Canyon.

Here is a picture of them from another visit we made. They are standing in front of Palo Duro Canyon (second largest in the US). Hence the name Canyon.

Here is the church building - only about a year old.

This is the inside of the church looking toward the front. How many churches do you know of that have a saddle on the wall?

This is the baptistry located in the closet. Yes, it does look like a horse watering trough.

They have a shed on the property that is the official Man Cave. No women allowed.

Every Monday night, the men get together in the Man Cave and cook supper. We had ribeye steaks the night I was there. Good stuff!

Here are the 17 guys from that night. Great bunch of nice guys!

We enjoyed seeing Jeff and Sondra. Jeff is a man's man, but also is a thinker. The Cates are doing a great job building a church in Canyon!

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Mid-Atlantic Trip

October is a great time to visit the mid-atlantic part of our country. The weather is nice and the leaves are beautiful. Sandy and I recently drove through this area visiting church planters. Living out of a suitcase isn't always glamorous, but it is great seeing friends.

Our first stop was Glenville, West Virginia to see Kenneth and Shirley Cooper. Of course, we went out to eat together. Their daughter, Molly, went with us.

The Coopers have been busy fixing up their church building and showed us the renovations. We got a picture of them in a SS room.

They own a farm with some horses. It is beautiful country there!

We drove on up to Greensburg, Pennsylvania (near Pittsburgh) to see Tom and Pam Jones and Nate and Jenna Altom. After much work, the building they renovated is looking nice. They have been seeing God move in people's lives lately.

Here is Pam Jones and her 3 daughters singing. They are good!

Nate Altom has been preaching a sermon series on Heaven and Hell. He had the stage backdrop decorated for his series. I liked a question he had there - "Do you know what the Bible says or are you just guessing?" I admire Nate for even tackling the subject of Hell when so many avoid it. He did a great job!

On Sunday afternoon, everyone gathered for a baptism in a swimming pool. I always love to see baptisms.

Later on, Tom relaxed and played in the floor with his grandson, Paxton.

A couple of hours drive took us up to Erie, PA. Daryl Grimes is starting a church there. The family has moved to Erie and Daryl almost has all his support raised. The Grimes have 3 children - Charity, Luke, and Isaiah (all 3 are nice and respectful)

Here is a picture of Daryl and Michelle on Presque Isle with the city of Erie on the opposite shore.

This is Daryl and me in front of the Commodore Perry monument. He is the one who said, "We have met the enemy and they are ours."

Michelle and Sandy in front of a lighthouse.

Daryl plans on monthly services starting on November 20 and a launch of weekly services in the spring.

Driving from Erie to York, PA, we saw so much beautiful fall foliage.

In York, we got to see Allen and Jenny Hall (and Allison) and Tim and Jessica Hodges. Renovation on their church is about complete and they are making progress. We always have a great time with these folks.

I forgot to take pictures at church, but I did remember at the restaurant. I really like eating together and this is my favorite restaurant ever - Shady Maple.

The New Castle, Delaware church celebrated its 35th anniversary and we got to be there for it.

Right before I preached, I took a picture of the congregation.

3 former pastors and the present one - Jay Baines, me, Vergel Maness, and Wayne Hale.

The New Castle church was a Home Missions project. It mothered a church in Townsend, DE. That church in now mothering a church in Dover, DE. So New Castle is now a grandparent. I would love to see this happen more often.

On Sunday evening, we went to the Journey Church in Dover. Jay Baines is still pastoring Townsend while starting this new church. He preaches on Sunday morning in Townsend and then in Dover in the evening.

Here is a picture of Jay during the service.

They have a Journey Cafe before service. The chocolate chip cookies are delicious!

While driving from Delaware to Virginia, we stopped by my home church in Aberdeen, Maryland and saw the new pastor - Travis Shuck. Travis and Holly were a part of home mission churches in Wyoming and Colorado.

One more stop before heading home - to see Jason and Holly Weaver in Winchester, Virginia. Jason is still raising support, but we wanted to visit and say hi. I got the tour of the area including the high school where they hope to have Sunday services. They are a nice young couple and I'm excited about what God is going to do through them.

What a great trip we had! Thank you, God!

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Marquette, Michigan

Greg and Lea Floars are working in the upper peninsula of Michigan. It is a beautiful area with lots of trees. When the Sawyer Air Force base closed down, the government sold the houses and buildings there.
Greg and his church bought the former chapel and it is now their church building.

Sandy and I visited them this weekend.
Here is there auditorium before church started.

I got a picture of Greg looking studious in his office.
We took a lot of time there talking about plans for a new church they will be starting in the upper peninsula in the near future.

Here's Greg behind the pulpit. If the pulpit looks big, it is because it doubles as a baptistry.

Greg and Lea took us to a beautiful spot that overlooks Marquette and Lake Superior.

There's a sharp dropoff, so we can't back up too much.

We had a great time with Greg and Lea and the people there. There are lots of good stories about people have been saved and lives changed! Looking forward to see what else God is going to do in the UP of Michigan.

Friday, September 9, 2011

Heritage Trip

Each year the Home Missions Department sponsors two Heritage Trips. David Crowe plans these. They are a combination American heritage, FWB heritage, and visiting church planters.
On Labor Day weekend the Home Missions staff and their wives were joined by a group that visited Washington DC, West Virginia, and Virginia.

Here is Board member Bobby Shepherd with his wife, Juanita.

Here is Board member Bob Lewis with his wife, Brenda.

Board member Ron Parker was also there with his wife, Elaine, but I didn't get a good picture of them. It was good for our Board members to have a chance to visit home missionaries.

We toured Washington DC one day. There was a protest at the White House and our Director acted like he was a part of it.

Storer College in Harpers Ferry, West Virginia was started by Free Will Baptists after the Civil War. We visited there and David Crowe told us its history. I guess most of you know that David is very knowledgable about FWB history.

John Colby was a FWB evangelist in the early 1800s. We visited his grave in Norfolk, Virginia. Here is the Home Missions staff - David Crowe, Larry Powell, and Richard Atwood - in front of his grave.

On Sunday morning, we visited the new work in Suffolk, VA. David and Charity Sexton and Marc and Casie Neppl have converted a former funeral home into a church building. Looks great!

Here is David Sexton giving a tour.

The church was pretty full - attendance that day of 118.

Marc Neppl has been learning the guitar so he can play in church.

A ladies trio sang. That is Casie Neppl on the left and Charity Sexton on the right.

The church graciously provided lunch for us after service. It was delicious!

I had to get one last picture of David - just as his mouth was open.

We drove to Harrisonburg, VA for the Sunday night service there. Paul and Patty Collins welcomed us to their new church building. It looks great!

Paul gave a tour of the new building.

Before the service.

We are very excited about the two works in Virginia that we visited. God is working in both places and great things are happening!

It was a great trip, but we were worn out and ready to go home.

Here is the Powells and Crowes at the airport.

It is good to be back home - but Sandy and I leave tomorrow on another trip.