Submitted by George Merritt

TROY, Alabama (BNc) — Ben McAlister is a Christian known and respected by his brethren throughout several counties in Southeast Alabama. He recently sat down with George and Wanda Merritt at a restaurant in Troy, anxious to share his good news.

For some time, his livelihood has come via working on an oil rig in the Gulf Coast of Louisiana.  He had been praying for a different type work closer to home.  In fact, he had decided to turn in his notice and come back home, trusting he would find some employment.

He works on one of the older and smaller platforms with about fifty other men.  During breaks, he commonly goes off to himself and reads the Bible.

One day, a fellow worker approached Ben and asked if he would teach him more about the Bible.  A few days later, another man asked the boss for permission to have a Bible class with Ben as their teacher. At last report, Ben’s class each Sunday and Wednesday night is being attended by eight to twelve workers.  One has approached him stating:  “I have a wife and children. Will you teach me what the Bible says about being a better husband and father?”  Another, who is new there, confided in Ben, telling him that he had done time in prison but had been baptized by a preacher from the church of Christ who visited that prison.

Needless to say, Ben is a much fulfilled Christian these days, knowing that God is using him mightily on this unusual stage.  Ordinarily, the expression “Fire on an Oil Rig” would denote disaster.  In this case, however, we reference the constructive fire of God’s word.  “Is not My word like a fire? says the Lord…” (Jer. 23:29)?

Late Note: Ben related a couple of the men are asking more questions about baptism.  He has made arrangements with a congregation in Louisiana where they come and go to use its baptistery when that time comes.