The leadership of the church need your prayers. I'm glad that we could give you a little bit more of who they are and what they want most from the church. The idea of interviewing the deacons was actually started back in 2003, when I interviewed Ray Turner, the chairman of the deacons at that time. This is the article giving his testimony from the July 2013 newsletter. The audio can be found here. A testimony is a powerful thing. Be prepared to give yours.
My parents were very active in the church, particularly my mother. My mother brought me to church before I was born, and after I was born I still came to church. I always enjoyed it, when you come to church there is a different atmosphere. People seem to be happier (most of the time) when they are in the presence of the Lord.
I remember when I was a youngster, we had summertime revivals. We didn't have any air conditioning or electricity, but we had preaching. We had a preacher from Roanoke, I can't remember his name, but he was a "Hellfire and Brimstone" preacher. He didn't mince words, he said what he needed to. I can still see him now, getting so wrapped up that he'd walk the pews with such enthusiasm trying to get his point across! He didn't want anyone to miss what he was saying. Today, it seems we need everything to be perfectly said, and short. People have lost their attention span, and have no forgiveness if something isn't said in a perfect way so that it doesn't offend. Our preacher back when I was young, Mr. Petite; his short sermon was an hour long! He could sometimes go for two or three hours. Well, I went forward on Friday night during that summer revival. It was raining, a bad night, but wonderful. I was baptized in a creek that had been dammed up to provide a temporary pond over at Ray and Clarence Stinnette's.
The church has been the core of my existence. I have been in the church my entire life! There have been ups and downs, but I wouldn't take nothing for it. Yes, God has been good to me. When I finished high school in 1942, I had three things that I wanted. I wanted to become a farmer, I wanted to marry a good Christian girl, and I wanted to raise a family. And all those things have happened. God has been so good to me! Even the rough times teach us to enjoy the good times.
I still don't know whether I have done what God wanted for me, at one point I felt the call to become a preacher. I was married, with young children, trying to run a farm for my dad who was an invalid, so I didn't do it. It still haunts me, what my life would be like if I had followed that call. But I don't worry. I know where I'm going. Why worry? I still get concerned about things, but Jesus is coming back! I'm going to be with him. I'm looking forward to that. God is so good to us, if we'll let him be.