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By Ruth Gadberry
Hopefully those of you who thrive on hot, hot weather are enjoying Oklahoma summer weather about now. We’ve had some 100-plus degrees on the thermometer already and are expected to have more. We did get a couple of unexpected, but most welcome, showers during the past week. Saturday night late, about midnight when we least expected it we got some rain. Folks around Stringtown got about 1.5 inches of rain but out Redden way, JC only measured .6 in his rain gage. That’s okay; God knows what we need. Then Monday morning it got dark, the thunder rumbled, and rain fell. Not a lot; probably not enough to measure, but it was cool and nice and very welcome. Yes, of course it got hot later in the day but what do you expect in July?
There was a good attendance at worship services at Stringtown First Baptist Church. It’s hard to estimate how many were there when everyone is scattered out so much to observe the social distancing thing. You know, with every other row of chairs taken out of the sanctuary and put in the gym which was opened up for the occasion. It seemed that more people were wearing masks Sunday morning.
Services didn’t go exactly as Preacher Joey had planned. He had his sermon ready, and as occasionally happens. God and events changed it before he could preach it. Things happening, testimonies, etc. His sermon was gone with the wind and replaced with what God wanted him to preach on that particular Sunday morning. Everything went smoothly and was just right!
Preachers, you are all probably familiar with God changing your sermon occasionally. Fortunate is the church whose pastor allows God to do the directing!
By the way Preacher Joey, did anyone tell you about the hour and a half Bible study Wednesday night while you and Shelly were away on vacation?
No, the kids didn’t get to go to camp at Falls Creek this year, or even to KBA for the younger kids. The Covid-l9 thing took care of that. Activities for the kids will be starting up again in the form of VOLLEYBALL! A net was put up in the gym for just that purpose. The youth will play and then they will challenge the adults to a game. Who will you cheer for? The kids or the ‘old people’?
JC and Ruth, Beth and Ray went to the VA Hospital in Muskogee last Friday. The guys had regular checkups and JC was fitted for new glasses. Goodness! You’d think you were at a convention for robbers. The hospital is a big place and EVERYBODY was wearing masks!
Saturday evening was a fun time at the Barfield’s. Every year on the Saturday after July 4th they have a big celebration. Kenneth cooks enough meat for an army and everybody else brings food too. This year was very special in another way. Richard and Carol Wells were there and it had been many years since they had seen them. Richard was, at one time, their pastor at Kenwood Baptist Church in Dallas, Texas. Richard remembered that they came from their home in Florida to preach for the Kenwood pulpit committee on the weekend Jan and Kenneth got married. Goodness, that was a marriage, four kids and nine grandkids ago! Since then Richard and Carol have lived in a bunch of states, serving the Lord every place they went. He’s preached in numerous places, started a collage and a church and they’ve just kept busy with God’s work, family, and grandkids. They are living in Anna, Texas now but will be moving back to Mississippi, near their daughter and her family. Their three kids and their families are scattered out everywhere; Texas, Mississippi, and is it Alabama?
They shared many memories. Richard remembered Wes Barfield cooking armadillo for a bunch of people who gathered at the Barfield home after church one Sunday night. It was delicious and some of the group really enjoyed it – Until they found out what it was. They are a bit suspicious of anything Wes cooked after that experience.
Ruth remembers one of her first impressions of Richard. If someone was giving a Sunday School devotion, announcements, prayer requests or whatever, Richard always listened attentively. They had his full attention and it seemed as though it was the most important thing he could be doing – Listening. Whatever was being said might be as boring as a box of rocks but you’d never know it by watching Richard.
Preachers, and other people as well, you might take lessons from this. Listening attentively makes a much better impression than looking at your watch or phone, scribbling on your bulletin, yawning, looking bored, etc. For goodness sake, don’t check your e-mail or play games on your phone! Church members, listening attentively makes your pastor’s sermons much clearer. Guess what? It causes him to preach much better too!
There was lots of excitement at the Barfield’s in addition to the reunion between Richard, Carol, and a bunch of the long ago Kenwood family. Kids ran and played all over the place; in the water, in the yard, under the trees; everywhere. The two little raccoons in Jan’s rehab nursery ran and played with them. Occasionally they would climb up on someone they knew, like Kenneth, and snuggle around his neck. There were kittens there too, ready for adoption and kids were begging their parents to let them take a kitten home with them. A tiny baby deer followed Jan across the kitchen and dining room to the mud room where it would be safe from much of the noise and all of the kids. You probably never saw a baby deer any smaller than that little one. A game ranger brought her to Jan to bottle fed and, when it gets old enough, to release back into the wild.
Out by the fence they were shooting guns, experimenting with different guns, etc. One guest brought a .50 caliber something or other he had just bought. Someone reported that it was Jaci who was enjoying shooting that gun. That wasn’t surprising.
Then they shot the cannons. Their cannonballs were actually bowling balls and you could actually see them fly through the air.
Ah, the fireworks! Great job Jay! As always. The fireball at the close of the presentation was amazing! On their way home, JC and Ruth, Beth and Ray watched a display of God’s fireworks. His grand finale was RAIN!
Roy and Kathy missed the fun. They were busy getting a house ready for Ann to move into. It’s been vacant for a long time and, of course, needs cleaning and minor repairs and all that stuff to make it livable. Did we tell you that Ann Layton is moving back to Redden? She has been away for a long time. Since you graduated from high school isn’t it Ann? The Oklahoma City area has been her home for a long time now but she is ready to come home. She will be near her brothers and sisters again and that’s something to look forward to.
What about her job? It’s in Oklahoma City. Well, Ann will have the best of both worlds. She will be back at home in the country, just a stone’s throw from where she grew up. She will still have the job she has worked at for many years. See, she’ll work two days one week; Monday and Tuesday. The next week she will work Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday. She will do the rest of her work from her new home. Phones and computers can be a great help sometimes! They’ll make it possible for her to come home! When she goes back to the City for her work days she can stay with her daughter and get in some Grandma time. You can’t beat that!
Well, so far the red pepper Ray put around the honeysuckle bushes he set out for Ruth is working. At least the dry sticks that are supposed to turn into beautiful bushes haven’t been dug up again. They still just look like dry sticks but maybe one of these days… The climbing rose bush he set out for her is beginning to get some tiny little green leaves. Thanks heaps Ray! A son-in-law is such a helpful creature! He even comes out and waters the bushes! You just can’t beat that.
The coronavirus rages on. The controversy about it rages on as well. Is it really as serious as they’d like us to believe? Do we really need to wear masks, wash our hands more often, stay at home, practice social distancing; the whole thing? Or, are we doing enough by doing those things? Can we do more? What will happen when kids go back to school? When everything is opened up completely again?
The doctors at the VA Hospital really think Ray had a form of coronavirus last fall after he came home from a softball tournament in Peru. Several other people involved in the tournament were sick as well. That was before there was a virus called Corona and it didn’t even have a number.
Last fall Ray went to the hospital, TMC, with a high fever. Everyday his temperature went up to 104.5. They would pack him in ice to get his temperature down and then the chills would come. They never did determine what the problem was. Beth stayed with him at the hospital but never contacted whatever it was that he had. JC and Ruth didn’t see him in the hospital but were with him a lot when he was home. They didn’t get sick. The doctors, nurses, and hospital staff didn’t wear masks and they didn’t get it. Was it a form of the virus? Is it highly contagious? Not very contagious? There sure is a lot about it that we don’t know yet.
Other people are convinced that they, too, have had the coronavirus but recovered without being hospitalized or knowing just what their problem was. They were told that it was not the flu but no one seemed to know what it was. So, what should we do?
Neighbors came again Saturday morning, bearing more fresh garden produce. Ruth shared some of it with her daughter, Jan, when she went to the July 4th on July 11th celebration. Beth reported that she and Ray discovered a bag of fresh garden produce hung on their gate, from their neighbor. Neighbors are wonderful!
There is a revival going on in Africa! Moses reports that hundreds of people are being saved. Stringtown First Baptist Church has a part in that ministry. People from our area have gone to Africa on mission trips for many years. Moses, the pastor they work with, has visited our church more than once. Our church sends him money every three months for his ministry. Those people have NOTHING, compared to people here. God is there and they are turning to Him in great numbers.
Ruth just finished reading a book, listening to it on her talking book. The United States of Trump or something like that. It was written by Bill O’Reilly. She learned a lot about President Trump. Will she still vote for him after reading the book? You bet! Definitely!
Every new day is a gift from God, use it wisely.