For the first time in a long time, Shannon and I worshipped together at First Baptist Church in Bangs, Texas this past Sunday. This is the church where we worshipped in high school. This is the church to which both my parents and Shannon’s parents belong. This is where we were married in June of 1972. Most of my trips back to FBC Bangs have been times when I have been a guest evangelist. They have graciously allowed me to be their evangelist five times over the years since 1974. On other occasions I have spoken at special events in the church and in the community. As time goes on there are more and more people there who have never met us. My father, who passed away in 1998, was loved and respected there and many of his younger friends walked up to me to share memories of blessings of days gone by. He served the Lord by service as a deacon, frequently as chairman. He also served as treasurer for nearly twenty years. As a businessman, he was known for his generosity and counsel to the community. Owning a service station in a small town in those days was almost like having a ministry all your own. People came by for encouragement, help, and advice constantly. There is something sacred about learning of how God uses our lives to touch others. It has to be God because none of us are good enough or gifted enough to make such a difference. Shannon’s father is also greatly respected because of the many hours he has freely given to work on the buildings there. He is an avid student of Scripture and a man of prayer. One of the leaders told me that he had saved the church over one hundred thousand dollars through his efforts. My mom has been very involved in ministry there. She has chaired committees, taught classes, and ministered to countless needs. Shannon’s mom has taught bible study at one time and is well known in the community. The church is unusually strong for a small town. There is a large youth group, a strong choir, and a good children’s ministry. A deacon who was once the band director in Bangs brought the message. I was in stage band in high school and greatly loved this particular director. It was wonderful to hear him teach and bear witness.
Late that afternoon after visiting with our families, we went out to the 160 acre ranch that our family owns there. Our two oldest grandsons were with us and marvelled at the size of the place and the cattle that were grazing there. At present we lease the land, but someday I may put some livestock on it. In my youth, I fed and tended cattle, built fences, and walked pastures on this ranch and one other that was sold years ago. We sometimes forget that where we have come from and what we have experienced helps us better understand who we are. We also can help others understand us by sharing from our hearts. I hope by reading this you have a little better grasp of this West Texas preacher who is doing mission work in the Austin area.