18 credits. That’s not to bad. I loved the challenge and I wanted to see what I could do and by the strength of God I was not disappointed. On top of everything I also had to prepare one sermon every week. My mind was so busy my days felt like hours and my hours felt like seconds. Next I know it I’m flying on a plane beside a man who decided he wanted no business with the Gospel.
In my portfolio that the teachers check, it had my address and where I was interested in serving. By divine grace the last Church that registered was in Clyde NY. A town not to far from where I live and it was in the North East an audience I am familiar with.
I flew into Syracuse late Saturday night and was greeted by the Senior Pastor and a member of the Church. We drove out to the small town of Clyde and they situated me in for the night after I got to meet a few other members of the Church. It was a long night but it was a longer morning. My first sermon . . . stomach is in my throat and my heart is in my mouth but when I got up there it was like an entirely different person. The closest experience I could describe it would be like the minutes leading up to a race. Expect you have butterflies in your stomach and when the gun goes off the experience becomes quit transcendent. “Am I really doing this right now?” One question I had no time to ask while telling the people to stand as we read the Scripture passage I had prepared for them.
I closed with a call to surrender your lives to Christ. This was a similar calling done for all five sermons that I preached that week. Repent and Believe! It was an awesome week. They needed someone to lead for the worship one night too and they figured why not let Josiah do it. I fell in love with the people and they loved me too (thank goodness). Their hospitality is like nothing I have ever known. For those five short days I was a member of the Church, a simple preacher, and a brother to the families I meet. God worked mightily in that week. People were getting renewed and on fire for God again.
Leaving was not easy. There was so much work to be done that I really just wanted to stay there and not go back to school. A young member and good friend of mine now went out and shared the Gospel with me to the people in the area and we ran into a boy who knew nothing about Jesus or the Gospel. “What’s a Jesus? What is the Gospel?” My heart was broken. I gave him my Bible and told him about God’s great mercy for him and how he died for everyone. He made no confession of faith but how could I leave now.
I flew back to Texas at the end of the break. School was starting in two days and my ministry was forever changed. God has called me to preach. There was not a day that went by that I forgot about Clyde. I continue to pray for them and I looked forward to seeing them again.
School got out and I get back ready and excited to see my friends again. My schedule was insanely busy but I finally got to go out and see them again this last week of June. It was as if I never even left. They warmly embraced me at the door and immediately we picked up where I left off. God is continuing the work of the revival out in Clyde through other ministry’s that will be helping Clyde Baptist Church to tell their community about the Gospel. It is amazing how much that little church is doing. I have been encourage, strengthen and nourished by their partnership in Christ that we have. I could not think of a better way to spend my spring break then to feel the force of God work among these humble people. To God be the Glory and may He increase and I decrease!