During that first month in October, we saw several families return to New Life. Hester Hitchcock, Floyd and Eleanor Cunningham, part of the Skidgel family. We also had several visitors.
Floyd began to measure attendance by the number of cars in the tiny parking space -- a long, potholed, dirt driveway where cars parked end-to-end. Our record as we entered November was 14 automobiles.
We needed to complete the conversion of the garage into a chapel of sorts. To do so, we would need to put a sub-floor on top of the concrete slab that had so many cracks it resembled a spider's web. The walls of the garage sat on a single row of hollow concrete blocks; we would need to fill them with insulation to reduce the draftiness from the arctic weather trying to find a way inside. A ten inch platform was planned to elevate the pulpit area; we wanted the garage to feel a little more like a sanctuary. The windows behind the pulpit area needed to be replaced. The exterior of the garage-turned-chapel, was a mix and match of different sidings. We would also need a drop ceiling to cover the exposed wooden rafters. Drop lights were strung across the rafters; we would need new lighting.
To complete that little punch list, we would need to take a big step of faith. The congregation of New Life was not a collection of the Rich and Famous. We were still struggling to keep the lights on and the mortgage paid!
Someone had given me Dalton Skovil's name. Dalton was a believer and a builder. He also owned a hardware and building supplies business. Dalton met me at the "church" and gave me some good advice, a pat on the back, and a generous supply of free building materials.
With zero cash, Charlie and I began to put in the sub floor. As we laid out pressure treated 2 X 6, and began to frame in the floor, I asked Charlie to stop and pray with me. We desperately needed $1,400.00 now! At that point, Charlie was not one to pray out loud, so I began to pray asking God to supply this need for cash.
Within seconds after we finished praying, I received a phone call. It was John Linnehan from Ellsworth. On the other end of the phone John said, "I just got done praying with my two sons. I told them that we had $1,400.00 dollars to give to a mission project. I asked them what they thought the Lord would have us do. They told me to see if Pastor Shorey needed it in Presque Isle." Then John asked, "Do you need it?"
Did I need it? You bet I did!
I was a young pastor. I believe God was letting me know that the mission of New Life Baptist Church was as important as that of any cathedral or mega church -- anywhere!
This was another link in the chain of events which revealed the goodness and glory of God.