Last Tuesday I gave the eulogy at the memorial service of Charles Perlos. The church was packed, every seat into the overflow. Charles is the man who renovated Bittersweet Farm, took it off the market, and saved it for us, and held my $1,000.00 down payment check until closing so we could have the place. The story is one that I will never tire of telling. I am literally writing about book about it so you will have to wait to hear the full and amazing story. Keep an eye open for details to come.
I also drove to Indiana for the funeral of a pastor with whom I used to work, Pastor Larry Whiteford. On Friday and Saturday I preached at Camp Selah to Teens and toured Crossroads Farm in Hillsdale County. Yesterday I was back in the Bethel pulpit. I like to keep busy.
Camp Selah is directed by Mark and Shelly Emmons. Tyler and Denae Tracey are on full-time staff there, too. I spoke for the Teen Winter Camp. It was a sweet group of teens and they listened carefully to every word. We had a little time for some conversations with some of the teens. The food was great. They had solid leaders/counselors and a great little band. The teens participated wholeheartedly in worship. I loved my time with them. Speaking and hanging out with people and talking about the things of the Lord is my “sweet spot.”
I dove home Saturday night. My car (DannyBoy/Grenfell) and my heart were warm. It’s an hour of pretty countryside between Selah and Bittersweet Farm. I arrived home in time for some time with the family and a full night’s sleep.
Crossroads Farm Youth Ministry
Saturday I drove over to Crossroads Farm. I met Doug Routledge and we chatted for a couple hours while he showed me around “The Shed,” their student ministry building. The quality of the facility and Doug’s stories of the teens impacted there moved me to tears. Bethel Church has been a supporter of Crossroads Farm from the beginning.
Crossroads runs a Sunday night program for teens from area rural churches. The teens are also invited into small groups for further discipleship and follow up. Doug and Dawn are involved in training other youth workers from the area and in other places in the country. They have a branch now in Kalkaska, Michigan and one ready to open in Ohio, and another in the U.P.
It’s thrilling to see ministries here in our state that are being used of God to connect with young people in a time that is growing increasingly hostile or at least indifferent to the work of God.
The day I walked through there was not a thing out of place, not a scrap of paper on the floor. There were no corny “youth posters” on the wall. There were no out of date youth curriculums cluttering the shelves. There were no dirty windows. There were no dusty floors. Everything was done with excellence and with teens in mind.
It moved me to tears to walk into the “Barnyard” and see where the teens assemble to sing and hear Doug preach every Sunday night.