Students were allowed to continue working for the seminary for six months following graduation. A few months passed, and I was beginning to worry. Then a strange thing happened. I was awakened by a phone call from a lady named Ann West. She was the church secretary at Bethany Baptist Church in Sturgis, Kentucky. She said that their pulpit committee had been going through several resumes and that there was unanimous agreement to invite me to "try out." I remember laughing out loud when she said why she was calling, and I explained to her that being a pastor was my fourth choice. She said that their church was about to split over the speaking in tongues, and because I was a member of a Baptist church that was also charismatic, they felt I could help them. I agreed to come speak, but I did not want to be a pastor. She was determined, and so I went. I preached my sermon using two main themes: Forbid not the speaking in tongues; Do not use your liberty if it offends your brother. I guess both factions heard only the part that supported their view, because the committee unanimously decided I was their man. Go figure!
When I returned home, I told my wife what they had said, and she responded by saying she would not move. We had been married nearly the entire time I was in the Navy, and she was tired of moving. We had finally settled in her home town, and she wasn't budging. I don't know why, but I had felt it was the Lord's will that I accept the offer. I was totally depressed, and I went to take a nap. A few hours later, I awoke and heard, "You go and let her come on the weekends." At the time, I believed it was something I had thought; I did not know from where the "thought" had come, but I really liked it. When I told my wife, she was furious, and said there was no way she was going. About fifteen minutes passed, and she came and said she had thought about it, and she thought it might work. I was so relieved! I called Ann and told her our plans, and asked her to run it by the committee. She called back about an hour later saying they were all in agreement with our arrangement. God was truly blessing us.
The following day, I was walking across campus and met Kevin Cosby, a fellow student, and now Pastor of St. Stephen Baptist Church in Louisville and Jeffersonville. As I told him what had happened, all of a sudden I realized that what I had "heard" was not my own thought, but was the Lord speaking to me. I realized that the statement was in the second person, and no one thinks in the second person! It wasn't "I'll go ...." It was "you go...." It was God telling me to go pastor a little country church in the middle of nowhere.
In less than a month, Judy told me she thought we should sell our house and that she should move to Sturgis. I had said nothing to her about doing that; she felt it was what the Lord wanted her to do. I was ecstatic! Everything went extremely well. I felt the Lord's anointing, souls were being ministered to, and a few were even saved. I spent the next two years preaching, baptizing, and officiating at funerals, but I spent most of my time visiting with folks. Then it all changed. To be continued, Lord willing.