I stayed two years, two months, two weeks, two days, and too long as the pastor of Bethany Baptist Church. And while I have many good memories and a few good friends from the experience, I wouldn't want to do it all again. The Lord had me there for a purpose, and if for no other reason, He placed me there to discover a little more about my salvation being pure grace. I made mistakes and I often failed to accept "my sheep" as a ministry rather than a burden. Looking back, there was a whole lot more about which to celebrate that there was to regret, and for that I am thankful. I was happy to leave, but I was sad at the same time.
Upon returning to Southern Indiana, we settled in Charlestown because that was the only place we could find for our mobile home. The church had given us the down payment, and they also paid for us to move it when we left. We had been members of Graceland Baptist Church in New Albany before leaving for Sturgis, but neither of us felt led to return when we got back. I really do not know why. We began searching for a church, and on the first Sunday of our search, we passed a little independent church along the highway. As soon as we had passed it, I told Judy that I felt the Lord wanted us to turn around and go there. She agreed and I had to go a ways before I could find a turn lane. On the way back, we also had to go passed the church to find another place to turn. We have been members ever since. The founding pastor was a wonderful old country preacher, and we love him the first time we heard him.
At one of the services, I asked for prayer to find where God wanted me to work. When I sat back down, a fellow tapped me on the shoulder and said to see him after the service. He told me of a Christian School in Louisville that urgently needed a teacher. They hired me on the spot, and I spent the next nine years teaching Bible, Science, History, English, and tutored in Math. Early on, they were needing a principal, and offered me the position. I lasted for a year and a half before the "politics" of the job got to me. I was happy to return to teaching. For reasons I choose not to discuss, the school was steadily losing enrollment. When I had been Principal, our numbers were in excess of five hundred fifty, but it seemed we lost about fifty a year after I resigned. By the end of my ninth year, I was no longer needed, and once again, looking for a job.
A lady from the church said that the middle school where she worked needed someone for in-school suspensions. Again, I was hired on the spot, and continued for five years until my health prevented me from working any longer. So, at the age of sixty-four, I thought my working days were over. In fact, I thought my life itself was over. I had congestive heart failure and severe spinal degeneration, that was bad enough, but it was not long before my son-in-law rushed me to the hospital for shortness of breath. I did not know what it was, but when they told me I had several blood clots in my lungs, I thought "oh, is that all." I had no idea how close I was to spending eternity with Jesus. I was hospitalized for four days, and it seemed like the entire family came to town to pay their last respects. I didn't actually feel all that bad, but there they were. To be continued.