Friday, May 31, 2013

Father and Son...Rewind

Sandy and I have been in vocational ministry our entire adult life. She was nineteen, and I was twenty-one when we married on September 10, 1977.

In Waterville, Maine, and then Ellsworth, Maine we were on staff at two fledgling church plants.

In 1983 we sold our home in Ellsworth, Maine, and moved to Presque Isle, Maine, in Aroostook County. We were commissioned to pick up the pieces of a failed church plant there. Starting in the living room of the old farm house we lived in, we had less than a dozen people (that would include Sandy, Justin, Josh, and me) in our first gathering. After a slow first winter the church began to grow exponentially.

When we opened the doors to our new building, two years later, there were three hundred people attending regularly.


Justin and I just spent a father-and-son weekend together in Maine. Our plan was to work on the cabin, cutting up fire wood, and burning brush. One of the days it rained so hard that we couldn't do anything outside. Justin said, "Dad, let's go up to Presque Isle!" Three hours later we were parked outside the church. The property looked really good, but the old farmhouse, that was once our home, was gone. We took a picture of Justin grinning and hunched up against the rain on the very spot where its foundation once stood.

For about thirty minutes we defied the rain and walked the property while talking about old times. New Life Baptist Church is surrounded by hundreds of acres of potato fields. Between the vast stretches of tilled ground and lines of potato rows there are strips of wooded areas. Those oasis' are the habitat of the largest snowshoe rabbits you have ever seen. Believe it or not, the boys at our school (first through fourth grade) used to bring their shotguns to our house. I would lock up the guns and later, after school, I would take them hunting for snowshoe rabbits. There were immeasurable safety standards in place, and it was truly a part of their education. We never failed to return to base camp without the boys dragging a couple of the big white rabbits behind them. There was a family in the church with eight children, and they loved the gift of our bounty!

No one was at the church, so we went further north to Caribou and drove by some places that were our old haunts. After a while we headed back to Presque Isle. Once again, we pulled into the church parking lot, but this time there was a pick-up truck parked in the yard. We knocked on the door, but no answered. Then we began walking the perimeter of the building and peering into the windows to see if any one was there. Once we got around to the back of the building we knocked on another door; the door opened. The first words out of my mouth were, "Hey, I know you!" I introduced Justin to John Kennedy. From around the corner, and to our left, his wife, Jane appeared. I had married them when I was their pastor! John, Jane, and their son, Ryan are still faithfully involved in the work.

Just another serendipitous event from the hand of the Giver. Hopefully, we will be returning to the County, for a reunion with a lot more of our friends from the Crown of Maine!


  1. Soooo cool. Crazy memories. Thanks for sharing. Do you remember the potato-spray-laced drinking water in from your well? about those two-car garage church services? Wow. The journey continues.

  2. I remember it well! Yes, the journey and adventure continues!

  3. Rocky---
    I also remember the day Meagan was born---first day of spring in 1988---and you had to drive up in a blizzard to preach the Sunday evening service!! Oh, the things we do for friends!!