We began the year by driving from Roswell, Georgia to Lehigh Acres, Florida. We spent the week with Pastor Terry Vance and the friends of Gunnery Road Baptist Church.  His daughters, Katie and Jackie, worked at Northland Camp during the years I was the director, and we’ve had a wonderful relationship over the years with this dear family.

The first long drive of the semester began on Thursday, January 10th. We spent the following day in rest and setup, but that night Pastor Vance took us out on his pontoon boat and we got to go out spear fishing — we had a blast! The high point of the evening was watching my wife and Jessica Sasek tumble head first into the water when the boat came to a sudden stop. We caught plenty of fish that night and it will be a memory we will keep for a long time.

The Lord gave us a very special week at Gunnery Road Baptist Church and we had good attendance every night. Wednesday was a special family night and many visitors came to this service. The church actually has a special ministry of kindergarten/child-care, and teachers like Jackie Vance have developed many relationships with young mothers and families through this part of their ministry. Some of these folks attended the church during our Family Fun Night and had a wonderful time! Afterwards, I preached a gospel message and 3 adults and 1 teen responded to the invitation to receive Christ. Thursday night we held a Cola War and had a good number of teens attend with 4 responding to the invitation. We closed out the week with another great crowd at our Irish Sacred Concert and again had a positive response to the Gospel. Following that service, something happened that in 28 years of evangelism has never occurred. In order to inspire his congregation to be active about inviting folks to the Irish concert, the pastor had challenged me to an arm wrestling match earlier in the week…and, what was I to do, but accept! Unfortunately, Pastor Vance was a former wrestler and is still very strong. To say the least, I was beaten fair and square, but at least the people enjoyed it and got a good laugh! I sure don’t expect that to happen again in my lifetime. In the end, I am very grateful for the faithful ministry of Pastor Terry Vance and family.

Check out photos from the week HERE!