Carmen and I want to thank you for your faithful prayers that strengthened and sustained us while in the States these past three months. Our Delta flight landed in Durham, North Carolina, on Tuesday, May 29; and I was privileged to preach at Fellowship Baptist Church for the Wednesday night service. Stephen Shook leads the music there, and it was a wonderful treat to begin our summer with Stephen and Becky and their family for several days. Then on Sunday, we were with Jon Shook and the Bailey’s Grove Baptist Church family, where I was able to teach Sunday school and preach two Sunday morning services. We were also with several other supporting churches and with our sending church, Liberty Baptist Church in Pigeon Forge, Tennessee. When we are in Tennessee, we have a standing invitation to stay with our gracious friends, Joe and Jackie Gilson. We were also in my home church, Tabernacle Baptist Church, in Hickory, North Carolina. A lifelong friend, Brenda Powell, always has an open door for us.
While in my hometown, I took the time to fulfill a desire of many years. When I was very young, my mother, three sisters, and I walked to church every Sunday until I was in the seventh grade. I knew every crack in the sidewalks of that 45-minute walk. For 63 years, I have wanted to retrace those steps . . . so, I did! Standing where the old house used to be, I “walked to church” (now a warehouse), and back “home.” Then I walked from “home” to my elementary school (now government housing), which I attended for six years, and then to downtown Hickory—just as our family had done every Saturday for groceries, shopping, and sandwich and dessert at the corner drugstore—THEN, back home! Needless to say, “Precious memories, how they linger!”
The highlight of our trip was four days at a large mountain cabin in Tennessee with all of our children and most of their families. Amber’s and Elizabeth’s families came from Indiana; Mark, Jon, Stephen, and Rebecca and families were with us from North Carolina; and Tim’s family (except for sweet Missy) flew in from Thailand. It was a “dream world” experience!! Matthew Bosje was greatly missed, but he was having a wonderful time in Thailand, helping with the team there. One evening we enjoyed a cookout at Metcalf Bottoms in Wears Valley. Surprisingly, Matthew Settle showed up, wanting to be baptized in the river. All 30+ of us piled into our cars and went up the road to “the Baptizing Hole”! We all sang and prayed together and listened to Matt’s testimony. Then . . . into the cold creek, he and I went (another lifetime memory to treasure)!
We have been back in Thailand for two weeks. Carmen and I missed the ministry here and are so blessed to be with our church family once again! Because of heavy flooding in Myanmar (Burma), our faithful staff member Starr and his wife and sister have traveled there to distribute food, medicines, and other needed things and to preach the Gospel. During our staff meeting on Tuesday, he called to share that 170 people have been saved so far.
A simple outline for the Christian life is Saved-Sure-Surrendered-Serving. Success in life is knowing and doing the will of God (Jude 20-22).
Randy and Carmen Shook