Wednesday, April 27, 2005

Just a While in Presque Isle

I am going to take a new path with the blog and share with you some of the memorable times we had in the first church where I served as Senior Pastor. I will be taking you to a place where snow is measured in feet, schools close for a month during harvest, and moose occasionally gaze through the church windows during services. All the stories I share will be true, but in some instances, names will be changed to protect the innocent and to shift blame for my stupid mistakes onto someone else!

My wife likes to quote Dickens when she thinks of Presque Isle: "It was the best of times, it was the worst of times." My memories are a bit more positive.

Take a walk with me down this new path...

In 1983 my wife Sandy and I made a trip to the northernmost county in the state of Maine, Aroostook County. We were looking for a little city named Presque Isle. It was early August. Much of the trip up Interstate 95 caused us to ask the question, "Does anyone live up here?" We traveled through vast stretches where we saw no houses, vehicles, or signs of civilization.

Several months earlier, I had gone to visit a pastor in the hospital. Like me, he was a church planter. This pastor had labored in Presque Isle since 1981, trying to plant a church. As he lay there in the hospital, he was a very sick and very discouraged man. As I stood there, praying over him, God was speaking to me, telling me to pick up the baton and take the next leg of the race for him.

Sandy and I drove into Presque Isle, looped around a few streets, then crossed a river, and headed further north to a city named Caribou. Once there, we stopped and got some information about the area. As I remember it, the top of the brochure said, "Aroostook County, The Crown of Maine." At that time of year, "The Crown" was encrusted with emeralds. We traveled through miles and miles of potato fields that were a beautiful emerald green.

We left Caribou and headed east on the Fort Fairfield road. Steadily we climbed to one of the higher elevations in the area. The sky was crystal clear that day and we could see for miles. We stopped the car and began to pray. We were seeking God, asking Him to confirm His direction for our lives.

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