John 10:10b “I came so they can have real and eternal life, more and better life than they ever dreamed of.”
I sipped my iced tea and nestled into the big green chair. I had just finished a week-long fast, and a time of diligent prayer to seek God for the future of our ministry, Best Life.
My friend, Kathleen Sogge, had called me so excited about the Bible verse that God had shared with her for Best Life….only it was the same scripture that He had given me weeks before, but in a different translation. She didn’t know that. How interesting, I thought. Affirmation, and God getting our attention.
I had read it and questioned God by saying, “What does this mean? What does this have to do with Best Life Ministries?” I re-read it out loud, Isaiah 58:12 “Your people will rebuild the ancient ruins and will raise up the age-old foundations; You will be called Repairer of broken walls and Restorer of streets with dwellings.”
For the past few months, God had been pressing into my spirit that it was time for a headquarters for the ministry. The Spirit had prompted me to drive the highway outside of our home and pray for revival…for the hearts of women to be drawn to Bible Study and deeper relationship with Christ. I didn’t question God, but continued to pray as I would drive. But where would we meet?
My husband, Farmer Dean, and I began our search. Throughout our small hometown of Benson we looked and found nothing. We went to the neighboring towns and couldn’t afford anything. And I knew this one thing for sure: I was to pray for an entry way, a room large enough for women to sit and listen to teaching, and an office. I was to remain faithful. I continued my prayer.
Dean and I met with the town board that owned the old schoolhouse across the road from us, but when we got into the building, I felt God tell me “No, My vision is too big for the building.”
Over the next couple of weeks, two of our farmer-grandpa-neighbors called us. They felt God prompting them that we were to look for an old church. What!? Where could we possibly find an old church? Dean and I talked about it at 8:30 p.m. on a Tuesday night while driving home from town. Where was there an old church? How could we ever afford it?
At 8:30 on Wednesday morning, 12 hours later, my husband called me from town. He was elated….and somewhat in shock. “You’ll never believe what’s on the front page of the paper today!” “What?” I asked. “A church from 1900, for sale on Craigslist,” he answered. “How much?” I asked. “$1.00,” he exclaimed. “WHAT!!!” I shouted.
I threw on my sandals, jumped in my car and drove like the wind to get there. But I worried that if it was like many of the old churches that I had loved throughout the years, it would be tiny and have the sanctuary, but that would be it. After all, pastors from the early 1900’s would study at their home libraries….they didn’t have offices.
I arrived at the church. I’ll never forget it as long as I’m alive. The day was bright and sunny, the sky a rich blue with beautiful painted white fluffy clouds that streaked across the skyline where the steeple stood, high above the old church. I stopped. I waited. I looked up at God and said, “You are amazing.” Some little birds called back and forth, while the breeze swept my hair across my face. I pulled open the big white doors and stepped inside the entry way.
The rich aromas of years gone by filled my nostrils. I took in a deep breath and looked at the tall ceiling with the ornate tin, glanced across the sanctuary at the old oak pews, the piano, the organ and the colored glass windows.
Next, I stepped to the side of the sanctuary in an extra area that could be used for an office, and I said to God, “This is it. I’m home.” I remember telling the kind man that was showing me the church, “I want it. When do you want your dollar?”
I didn’t even stop to think about the cost of moving it; the details of anything….I just knew…it was God’s hand moving.
There are times in life when we’re on what I like to call “The Moving Sidewalk Syndrome.” God has you in one of those places where you can’t stop, you can’t get off, and you just ride the ride. This was it now!
When Farmer Dean arrived later that afternoon, he looked at me and said, “Oh, my goodness, Kathy….this is exactly what you prayed for!” But, you know the real truth? This was bigger and better than anything I could have ever imagined!
As we walked out the front doors and turned to look at this big beautiful church, I looked down at the large gray stones that were holding it up. They were the church’s original foundation. Those rocks were laid in 1900 and had stood the years of time. And God gently, ever so quietly, brought back to my memory the verse…. “….your people will raise up the age-old foundations.”
At the end of this month, my people are raising up the church and it will be moved the twenty-one miles to our grove, where it will continue to serve in ministry.
For God’s timing….we are elated. That a church would sit empty for 32 years, and God would prompt me to look for a headquarters, and would prompt the board to sell the church for $1.00 at this time, plus prompt two sweet neighbors to call us, without knowing what the other suggested, and to have it be better than anything we ever hoped or dreamed….is our God. The Great I Am. The Great and Mighty, Everlasting God.
It’s better than I ever dreamed.