Thirteen questions and answers . . .
1) Where were you this weekend? Marlene and I spoke at Harvey Cedars Bible Conference in New Jersey.
2) How did it go? We definitely enjoyed ourselves. One man came up at the end of the final session and said, “Every year this conference is special, but this year has been special times special.” Marlene and I did a team speaking approach where we both were at the pulpit, sharing together in each session, in a back-and-forth, conversational style. A number of people commented on how much they enjoyed that approach.
3) Do you plan to do that team speaking more often? We hope so. We enjoy speaking together, and the people love hearing Marlene. We both agree that we’re not “marriage speakers.” Our messages center around encouragement and helping people keep believing—the heart of our ministry.
4) How was your trip back? Exhausting because we missed our connection in Atlanta due to mechanical problems on an earlier flight that caused the pilots to show up late. When we got to Atlanta, we had 15 minutes to get off the plane, sprint to the train, ride to another terminal, and sprint to the very end. On the train Marlene met a young man who is a student at Mississippi State University who was trying to catch the same flight to Columbus, MS. She told him that even though we were Ole Miss fans, we would cheer for Mississippi State if he would run ahead and get them to hold the plane for us. I overheard that conversation and told her she should never make an offer like that. Turned out that it was for naught because they closed the flight two minutes before we got there. So we made our way to the Delta Help Desk where Marlene got reservations for a flight today plus hotel rooms plus a meal voucher plus she also got $200 in travel vouchers. Stranded travelers, take note. She got the vouchers only because she specifically asked for them.
We made it to the hotel (without our luggage, of course), checked in, had a meal, and went to bed. This morning we put on the same clothes, and feeling moderately grungy, went back to the airport. We flew to Columbus where we picked up our car and drove to Tupelo, arriving at home 25 hours after leaving Harvey Cedars. So we’re pretty tired tonight.
Stuff like this happens when you travel, and I’m surprised it hasn’t happened to us before.
5) How is the ministry going? We’re certainly staying busy. We have one more big trip left this year. From November 13-23 we’ll be in Chicago, Hudson, FL and Columbus, OH.
6) Does the travel get tiring? Yes.
7) What are you working on this week? First, we’re getting ready for the big Chicago-area Keep Believing Open House on November 15. Then I’m working on my class notes on Daniel for Word of Life Bible Institute Florida, November 18-21.
8) How are the ministry finances going? So far we’re tracking a little bit behind last year but not by much.
9) Are you still riding your bike? Yes. I try to ride every day that we’re in Tupelo. So far I’m a little over 900 miles for the year. Hoping for a big finish that will put me over 1200 miles for the year.
10) Who keeps your basset hounds when you travel? We take Dudley and Gary over to my brother Alan’s house where they stay with his two labs, Jake and Bo. The bassets are always worn out whenever we pick them up.
11) What’s coming soon at KBM? We’re working on the Keep Believing China website that will offer my sermons in Chinese. And we hope to duplicate that in many other languages. We plan to add video to the website soon. And Marlene will be starting her own blog.
12) As you think about Keep Believing Ministries, what is your own vision? I believe God is using KBM to build an online community of people around the world who come to this website because they share the same vision—to help people keep believing in Jesus. We are a ministry of equipping and encouragement. The heart of our ministry is not my speaking in various places. That’s just the most visible part. Everything we do starts right on this website. We intend to keep at it by providing resources for pastors and Christian workers around the world, by writing and speaking and teaching, and by partnering with other ministries because we can some things more effectively when we do them together.
13) Do you have a five-year plan? No, it’s more like a three-month plan. I’m pretty clear about what we’re doing between now and the end of the year. We’re trying to stay flexible and nimble—one of my favorite words—so we can respond as the Lord opens new doors for us.