I recently received this from Dennis Ellis, a missionary I met in Russia several years ago.
Katya and I want to thank you for your friendship, prayers and care for us. God has been so good to us to bring us through many difficult times. In the fire we have come face to face with Him Who is really what it is all about.
Recently, two very dear friends learned that I had preached at an old one room church located in Wears Valley, TN that they had looked at on their recent trip to visit us.
They then found and purchased a burnt engraved picture of that old church and gave it to us for our office. The church building is now a Historical Site and no longer is filled with the sounds of singing, praying and preaching that it did that Sunday on March 22, 1969.
Forty two years ago I drove my little VW Beetle to that one room church hidden in the Wears Valley. God showed up and we saw nearly every person in the church at the altar. It was a one room church where they pulled curtains together to make Sunday School rooms.
I wrote a note in my journal that they gave me $22.99 offering and ask me to come back in two weeks for the rest of my pay. I did so even though the trip was many hours of driving. They then gave me two chickens. May I add; two live chickens. You should have seen me driving on those dirt roads through the mountains with two live chickens in the back seat. Before I got back to campus, I believe that I would have given them back the $22.99 if they would have kept the two chickens. Just kidding.
While looking back in my old journal to find the date I had preached there I realized that I had been preaching since the spring of 1961. If I am figuring right that is 50 years. 50 years of telling folks about our wonderful Lord. You know I wouldn’t change a day of it. Even the heartaches or disappointments was really about Him. I have to say that, “The Longer I Serve Him, The Sweeter He Grows”.
I just wanted to share with you this special time for me and the realization that 50 years ago I said yes to the Lord and it has been an amazing journey that has lead us though out many countries and witnessed tens of thousands of folks come to know our precious Lord.
Please pray for us that we may continue to pursue serving Him until the Day He returns for His Church. Thank you for being a part of this journey.
Yours by His Wonderful Grace,