Groaning that called God on the Scene ) and even though everyone seemed to be working together now, we just wanted out.
We knew of a little group without a full time pastor in New Brunswick near Nova Scotia, and decided to take a trip there. We did ask the Lord to guide us, but it was with a "could You please let it be anywhere but here, Lord?"
We traveled to New Brunswick, met with the families there, and since we had just closed the deal on our house in Chatham, we started house hunting. We found a dilapidated clapboard mansion, just what I thought we needed, a place for us to fix up and display all my paintings. It was close to the busy Prince Edward Island bridge that had just been built, a great location, and I knew it would make a great house, gallery, and church combined.
Somehow my own thinking was back in control. The gallery business should have been buried long ago, (see Wrong Direction Part 1 and Part 2 and then Decision ) but the size of the house and the location just seemed to make sense.
The price was under $25,000 and our minister friend, the former pastor, had offered to lend us a mortgage if his trailer sold within the month.
Back in Chatham the little church was floundering without a pastor. Bruce had preached once or twice, but mostly they just met together and listened to taped messages. And then one Wednesday evening, just before the service, a stranger walked in.
Bruce was still at the back, and I was sitting in my usual spot in the second row when the deacon came to set up the tape recorder on the front seat. I couldn't believe it. I leaned forward. "Your not going to just play a tape when we have a visitor, are you?"
"What else can I do?" he shrugged.
"You could ask Bruce to preach," I whispered.
He looked up at me. "Do you really think he would do it on such short notice?"
My husband believed very strongly in the verse: "Be instant in season and out of season." He also knew that the Lord had promised him, "open your mouth and I will fill it." Yes, I knew he would be willing to preach.
My husband preached a powerful message that day. After the service we found out that the stranger was a backslidden preacher. The sermon hit its mark. The man kept coming.
But the church knew that we planned on leaving, and the deacon came over and begged Bruce to stay and be their pastor. We didn't want to stay. We had less than a month to vacate our house, and then we wanted to head for New Brunswick and the big house near the bridge. Those were our plans.
But the Lord had another plan for us. And Bruce began to be burdened for the church again. He only wanted to help them find another pastor. He agreed to pray about it. He told them he would fast and pray for fourteen days and see what the Lord would say.
The Lord did speak to him, and we knew that He wanted us to stay for a while. The trailer that the former pastor had for sale was sold during those fourteen days and would have provided the mortgage for the old house, but he didn't tell us until after Bruce knew he was supposed to stay. He was afraid Bruce would take the sale as an answer to leave for New Brunswick, and he did not want his little flock to be without a shepherd.
The Lord had a reason for keeping us there. Part of the reason was the stranger who had walked in that Wednesday evening. The next post will cover his story.
For the previous post (Father's Day) see: My Favorite Daddy