My 13-year-old son, Christopher, and I left early Sunday morning to embark on our 2 hour drive to Beaverdam. We enjoyed our time together and I was very happy to be able to share this with him. After driving for over an hour, we turned onto Route 1. Once we exited off Route 1, we journeyed on several back roads. I jokingly told my son, “Now, I know why Penny gave me her cell phone number”. It seemed that we were driving into nowhere.
We were running a little early, but I wanted to make sure that we made it for the 11:00 service. I assumed when we got there that Sunday school would still be in session. As we arrived at our destination and I took in the scenery around me, I was certain we had arrived at the wrong location. The church I was looking at, though very quaint, was desolate with no one in sight. I could describe it as what one would envision of a small “country church’. It had the feel of being antique, and the lack of life made it even moreso. My son and I decided to drive a few miles past this church as surely the church we were supposed to attend had to be a bit further up the road.
As we traveled for more than a few miles, it dawned on me that the small, empty church we had passed was, indeed, where we were supposed to be. I, therefore, turned our vehicle around and proceeded to return to the church. When we got back to our original place of arrival, we were approximately 30 or more minutes early. We decided to park in the lot and wait. When I say “lot”, I am afraid you are envisioning just the opposite of what it was. There were no designated parking spaces. Only a few trees and some open space. We selected a nice shade tree and relaxed.
About 15 minutes after we parked, I saw a truck pull in and proceed to the church. A man got out and proceeded to open the door, sweep the steps and sideway off, and, then, carry some trash out. I thought to myself, “Ok, this must be the right place. At least, we have signs of activity now”. As my son and I continued to wait, a few additional cars pulled into the church. After a bit of hesitation, my son and I decided to go in. Lo and behold, it was the cutest little church I had ever had the pleasure of being in. On top of that, I soon discovered that 4 or 5 of the women who I had met at the retreat were also in attendance. I would soon find out that they each attended this church. The ambiance in the church was so peaceful and welcoming. The people made you feel right at home, though maybe only 20 would be in attendance for the service. I would also come away knowing that Penny actually had preached at this church for 17 years until God called her elsewhere.
Penny began her service with music. She is a very talented lady. Amongst all her other abilities, Penny also plays the guitar. She and 2 ladies from her ministry would bring us music that was both sincere and uplifting. Once they began to sing, you could feel the presence of the Holy Spirit in your midst. The small, but devoted, congregation came to life in a supernatural way. I felt more alive in that small church, then, I have at times in much larger churches of today.
Just as I had anticipated, Penny’s sermon did not fail to deliver. She is the most down-to-earth, tell-it-like-it-is preacher I have ever had the opportunity to encounter in my 14 years of walking with the Lord. Even my 13-year-old son grew teary eyed during parts of the message. Penny has a way of delivering a message that speaks directly to your heart, and at times, I felt as if she were speaking directly to me. She gave me just the right message for the things that I have been struggling with. God truly spoke to me using Penny as a vessel that is both willing and obedient to deliver. I came away from that church feeling uplifted and encouraged. I thank God for people such as Penny that have devoted their lives to reaching others and who truly does it all FOR HIS GLORY!!!