Blog 119 for July 13, 2019
The past few days I have thought about friends as a priceless treasure. Bess and I have dear friends in all the churches we have pastored across America. We are located in two great places throughout the year. Through God’s providence, we are able to visit with so many of these wonderful people. In the Spring, Summer, and Fall everyone wants to visit the Smoky Mountains. In the winter the warm sunshine of Florida is calling. As a result of these two locations to call home each year, we are able to see and visit with friends.
A few days ago Jay and Pat Ahlemann came to visit with us here at our cabins. They pastor Restoration Fellowship Church in Strasbourg, Virginia. We have been dear friends for 52 years. They have followed us in two churches. We enjoyed precious time in our cabin talking about our journeys in the ministry.
Steve and Cindy Stutz have a wonderful cabin in Sevierville. They drive up often from Winter Haven to spend time in these mountains. Bess and I cherish the time we spend together. Steve is recovering from a physical challenge that impacted him a few days ago when we were together at Dollywood. We are praying for total healing for Steve.
Former college classmates, Gene, and Peggy King live nearby in Dandridge. Gene is a retired army chaplain. They have introduced us to a great place to eat catfish. Sometimes they come over to our cabin after a wonderful meal at Carver’s Applehouse Restaurant ten minutes from Majestic View. Two other retired Nazarene pastors, J. D., and Esther Bailey, now live in Wears Valley, not far from us. We enjoy their fellowship from time to time over a meal.
We are looking forward to several more friends that have booked the Snuggled-In cabin soon. The Hellers, Gary and Linda, and the Alfords, Wayne, and Joan are tremendous laymen from Indianapolis First Church where Bess and I pastored in the early 90s. Gary was a faithful member of the Indy First church board and Wayne was the Indiana State Director of the FBI. While I was at Lake Gibson Church he convinced me to have a security team and trained all of them.
Phil and Arveta Pitts from Indianapolis will be here for a visit. They remain faithful members of Indy First. Arveta was here with her first husband, Don, who has gone to heaven. He was a great friend of both Bess and me. Arveta can’t wait to come back again.
Dr. David and Nancy Goldston from Lakeland will be here in August. They were faithful supporters of our ministry at Lake Gibson and are now active in Restoration Fellowship Church.
Merrill and Eileen Ward from Franklin, Indiana will be here for the beautiful fall colors. They are faithful supporters of the ministry of Restoration Fellowship Church.
As you can see, Bess and I are richly favored with friends. We consider all of them to be treasures of God’s abundant blessings. Just think of this. There are many more that have already been here for a visit. And then I think of Jerry and Char Pyles from Minnesota. They came to Florida near the end of last Winter. We had a great visit and a meal together. They were wonderful members of Tidewater Central Church in Virginia Beach, Virginia, serving as bus pastors. As I finish writing about all of these dear friends, I realize that I am a very rich man!
God has really been good to me!
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