Church planter: ‘So many memories at that small country church’

WINCHESTER, Tenn. (BNc) by Randy Short — Hulan, the song leader, apologized three or four times for leading the song. Each time I assured him it was a good thing and not to worry about it. “But I did not want to hurt anyone’s feelings.” he said.

I was scheduled to preach and present a report on my work in Brazil, last night, Aug. 10, 2014 at the New Center Grove church between Winchester and Tullahoma on the old highway.

Just 20 days earlier, I and my two sisters and four brothers had laid our mother to rest beside our father who had been laid there 27 years before.

My report was centered on a lesson from God’s Word about how Jesus is the same through time; he never changes and his message never changes (Hebrews 13:8; Matthew 24:35).

I wanted to thank the congregation for their expressions of sympathy they had made toward our family, and so I had a picture of mom in the presentation.

Weaving it into the lesson, I thought about how Mom had, over 60 years ago, heard about our unchanging Savior, heard that unchanging message, and had been baptized into Christ. That was already planned.

What wasn’t in my plan was that the song leader would lead the following song just prior to my getting up to speak. Do you know it?

Precious Memories

Precious memories, unseen angels
Sent from somewhere to my soul
How they linger ever near me
And the sacred past unfold

Chorus
Precious memories, how they linger
How they ever flood my soul
In the stillness of the midnight
Precious sacred scenes unfold

Precious father, loving mother
Fly across the lonely years
And old home scenes of my childhood
In fond memory appear

In the stillness of the midnight
Echoes from the past I hear
Old time singing, gladness bringing
From that lovely land somewhere

As I travel on life’s pathway
Know not what the years may hold
As I ponder, hope grows fonder
Precious memories flood my soul

Called to the front, I opened my mouth, and words only came out through sobs and with great difficulty. I looked at my wife Kathy who was there with me, and tears were running down her face. It got harder to speak.

So many memories at that small but huge-hearted country church. Mom and Dad, bodies laid out back in the cemetery, so many precious memories, but the memory more special still was that both had known that same changeless Savior that I call Lord. Both had heard that same message with those never-changing words that I had heard and all of us had obeyed.

Thank you, Jesus, that you never change. You are always the loving and kind Savior we know you to be. Thank you for your words eternal that we can read, understand and obey. Thank you for the precious memories.

Hulan, no need to apologize for singing that song.

Randy is a long-term missionary who has planted churches in Missouri and northeast Brazil.

Randal and his wife Vicki have lived and worked in Brazil since Nov. 1984. They have three children, two daughters-in-law, and four grandchildren. He likes to read novels in his back-porch hammock. http://randal.us

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1 Comment

  1. Elizabeth Fox

    Perhaps it was in God’s providence that the song leader led Precious Memories. I am sure that the congregation was really touched by what happened. They saw that even preachers have hearts that can be touched when they try to tell about their Precious Memories. May God bless you and your work as you continue to preach. The congregation there will never forget the love you have for your parents and the
    influence they had on your life. I wish all children had the kind of parents that you did.

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