Deputation Travel Log: The Mountain City Flood
February 15th – 18th
Our first night of deputation:
After a long night and into the next day, laboring to repair the travel trailer door we were excited to get on the road. At this point, we were officially missionaries on full-time deputation. We left the evening of February 15th with the intention of reaching Georgia before stopping for rest. Deputation in all its great glory was realized as we parked and slept that first night in a Wal-Mart parking lot. Little could disturb our excitement, not the parking lot sweeper, nor the semi-trucks, not even the local sophisticates congregating there for nightly entertainment. The cultured nature of this entertainment included raised trucks, mud tires, and all-purpose-real-tree attire. This came soon after the GPS announced: “Welcome to Georgia.” Yet sleeping in a Wal-Mart parking lot has a whole new meaning when on deputation to serve the Lord, our hearts were content.
Nonetheless, we hopped in our camper exhausted, we slept well through the chilly night. The next day we completed the second half of the eight hour trip from Orlando, Florida to Mountain City, Tennessee. Of course, the morning sun would soon be interrupted by cold and endless rain. As we made our way northbound Kristin’s Dad was heading southbound on the same interstate system with the Eastland Baptist Church youth group. We coordinated a stop at the same exit and spent some time in fellowship together.
Sandy Florida to rocky top Tennessee:
The estimated elevation of Orlando, Florida is 82’. The estimated elevation of Mountain City, Tennessee is 2,814’. We covered 2,732’ in elevation and 641.9 miles of distance. We slowly made our way around the sharp curves, through the thick fog, and steadily climbing the steep mountain roads to Mountain City. Our trip was completed at around 6 that evening. The pastor of Mountain City Baptist Church arranged for us to park our camper at the home of Bob and Jeanie Jones. I never thought I would meet Bob Jones in person. Brother Bob and Sister Jeanie are the parents of Daniel Jones, the Pastor of Mountain City Baptist Church.
Weary from the days travel, we quickly got our travel trailer unhooked and setup. Our first goal is to get the electricity plugged in, at that point we can turn the heat or air-conditioning on as needed, then continue setup. When we arrived in Mountain City it was cold and rainy, so the heat was needed. A surprise came when the water was hooked up. We heard an initial bursting sound, then the noise of running water. Soon our floor was covered, it was a great welcome to Mountain City. The bulk of our water pipes are under the bed, we lifted the mattress and began searching for the source of the trouble. The pipes feeding the hot-water heater was the culprit. We shut the water off and dried the floors, but we were unable to turn the water back on until it was repaired. Bob and Jeanie Jones accommodated our lack the few days we were there. After a long day repairing the door, a long trip upward in elevation, this was not what we were hoping for. But once again, a broken pipe just seemed to be a sweeter experience on deputation, we were still excited to be serving the Lord together.
When the pipes burst, go to Subway:
Pastor Daniel Jones had invited us to dinner with his family at Subway that night. We were eager to fellowship with the Pastor of our first church on full-time deputation. With broken pipes lurking in our minds, we enjoyed our time with the Jones family. We found Mountain City Baptist to be a sweet assembly of believers diligent in service to their community. Pastor Daniel Jones is both a pastor and a doctor which we found interesting. As a Doctor, he works at the local nursing home part-time and as a Pastor he ministers there in his off time. We found him and his church to greatly enjoy that ministry. He further uses his medical skills in medical missions, through which he will be spending time with missionary Keith Stensaas in Uganda the summer of 2019. We found brother Jones to be a humble man with a servants heart, we were blessed to meet him, his family and Mountain City Baptist.
The following morning was the Lord’s day, it was time to go to church. I was excited about the opportunity given to us. This particular Sunday morning I taught Sunday School, presented our ministry and preached Sunday morning. I had begun studying through the book of Romans and would preach my first sermon on Romans 1:1. The topic and emphasis concerned Christian responsibility to serve Jesus Christ. The Lord blessed us that morning, Mountain City Baptist Church has been one of our faithful supporting churches since that time. The Lord is good.
Preaching Sunday night:
Mountain City’s blessings would not stop there. Pastor Daniel Jones made arrangements for me to preach at Evergreen Baptist Church that night. The people of these mountain churches still exhibit the character once foundational in American society. A character that is clearly missing when looking at our society today. Sunday night went well, the Lord greatly blessed us.
Arriving back at our camper, we worked with Pastor Jones to get our pipes fixed. He called a plumber in town and informed him we would be coming by the next day for assistance. Mountain City is not known for its access to home stores and shopping centers. The plumber is a Christian, so he was informed an African Missionary would be coming by. We removed the broken pipes so that we could show the plumber the problem. Arriving at his shop, we met an energetic couple known for their work ethic.
They were excited to tell us a funny story that occurred earlier that day. It seems after he was informed that missionaries from Africa would be coming by that he was on the lookout for any strangers that stopped into the store. They explained that before our arriving at their plumbing store an African-American man walked in. With their typical friendly and energetic manner, they approached the man asking him: “Are you the missionary from Africa?” With a confused look, the man replied: “No, I live just down the road.” The store owner apologized relentlessly, but we laughed as he told us the story.
We enjoyed spending some time with this couple in their store, they were such hard working people. They asked many questions about our ministry and they were excited to learn about Uganda. As husband and wife, they work together diligently in their chosen craft. We left them with the broken pipes, they created a whole new set up of strong high-quality parts. Back at the camper, the new pipes fit perfectly, and they have not caused any further trouble. Kristin and I were back on the road and off to our next missions conference destination.
Check back soon for the next Deputation Travel log.
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