Just last month, but thirty-six (36) years ago, I was the Evangelist at the Central Church of Christ in Davenport, IA, and we held a tent meeting that August. I walked around the seven acres owned by the Central Church, which at that time was a vacant field, and prayed that God would do an awesome work under that tent. It was under that tent I met Gary Lambrecht. He hung back at the end of one of our nightly services and had questions about the sermon I had just preached (using a flannel board and flannel graphs to illustrate). After a discussion of this lesson Gary requested to be baptized. The next night his wife Zoe was also baptized. Gary later came to Harding University and got a degree in Bible. He now preaches for the Baytown Church in Tampa, FL.
Little did I know that almost thirty (30) years later Gary and Zoe and the Bay Area Church of Christ would connect with my family in a most dramatic and powerful way. Wes, the youngest of four children, got on drugs at a very early age and remained on drugs for almost ten years. As parents, Geraldine and I, thought we would never know peace as we struggled with Wes, but the day came when an opportunity presented itself for us to ask our friends in Florida if Wes could leave us and be ministered to by the Bay Area Church. That decision proved fruitful. Wes was "born of water and Spirit" on Father's Day in 2004, wound up doing a one year internship with the Campus Ministry in Tampa and then came back to Harding where he got a Ministry degree in 2008. While in Tampa God provided Wes with a wife, Airiel. They now have three sweet, sweet children and expect a fourth in January 2012. Wes ministers with the Lake Merced Church of Christ in San Francisco, CA and is taking some courses with the FullerTheological Seminary.
Our God is an awesome God. Connect the dots. In 1975 there was a tent meeting where Gary & Zoe Lambrecht became Christians. In 1980 Wes was born. In 2004 God used this dedicated, Godly couple (along with others at the Baytown Church of Christ) to lead Wes to the LORD.
Now, for the prayer request.
I have been invited back to Davenport to work with and speak to the congregation for a week in October. This congregation has experienced decline for the last several years. Back in the 70's well over 200 met regularly at Central. This continued into the 90's. In Iowa, a state with less than 50 congregations of the Church of Christ, Central was referred to as the "Big Church." Now there are only 70 or so in attendance on Sunday. That is a drop from 140 less than three years ago.
Please pray that God will be glorified in and through the Central Church of Christ in Davenport, IA. I will be praying that God will work through me to be a blessing.
I make this request knowing that sometimes God's answers are twenty to thirty or more years in the making!