RSS

HISTORICAL ACCOUNT OF ROCKVILLE PRESBYTERIAN CHURCH NEAR CHARLESTON, SC

Rockville 05In my “Discoveries of the Past” series, one of my stops along my journey through the southern states was near Charleston, SC. I had a visit with a great guy and obvious dynamic, but laid-back pastor, Rev. Mark Hunt. Mark shepherds Rockville Presbyterian Church, a member church of the Evangelical Presbyterian Church denomination. He has pastored the church for over 12 years. Mark is the husband of Megan and the father of three children, Andrew, Benjamin and Rebecca. He and his family live a few walking minutes from the church and are very much a part of the community. We immediately struck a friendship at lunch and continued getting to know one another at dinner that same night. Between meals he gave my wife and me a tour of his church which sits in lush, swamp like scenery on Wadmalaw Island, just south of Charleston. Wadmalaw Island is about 10 miles long by 6 miles wide with a population of just over 2600 people. The island is just a couple of miles from the Atlantic Ocean, easily accessible by waterway. The church building is only a few steps to Bohicket Creek. Indeed, their property has a small section of waterfront that they use occasionally for sunrise services. As we walked to the water, we passed between a couple of homes that displayed the characteristics of homes built for hot summer heat. The church is also designed for such with high ceilings and large windows. The church is lacking a steeple because the one that was originally built was blown off during a storm sometime in the past. The church property hosts several large Live Oak trees which are obviously very old by their trunk sizes and the wide spread of their massive limbs. Mark pointed out an unusual sight of a cactus growing out of a limb, some 20 feet off the ground, of the giant oak which is in front of the church. The more recent Fellowship Hall and church offices are in a separate building behind the original 1850 church building.

Rockville Presbyterian Church, sprang from the Johns Island Church formed in 1710. Johns Island is another island adjacent to, and half encircling, Wadmalaw Island. Johns Island Presbyterian Church began as part of Reverend Archibald Stobo’s plan to create five Presbyterian churches in the rural areas of South Carolina. Notably, it is one of the oldest churches in the United States built from a wood frame. Johns Island Presbyterian underwent expansions in 1792 and 1823.

Rockville Presbyterian Church is one of only two churches in the Rockville Historic District. The Church is listed on the National Register which says the following about the Rockville historical district.Rockville 07

“Rockville, one of Charleston County’s oldest surviving summer resorts (ca 1824) is important architecturally, agriculturally, militarily and in the area of transportation and recreation. This summer community’s serene, slow-moving, lifestyle is reflected in its architecture and landscape. Although houses vary in sizes and degree of architectural importance, nearly all have spacious porches, raised foundations, and large central hallways designed for summer comfort and relaxation.

The buildings within Rockville’s Historic District have obvious visual unity. All are well ventilated to take full advantage of sea breezes. Several houses appear to have been year-round residences with architecture adapted for cold weather but still well-ventilated for summer use. The district also includes two churches. Live Oaks draped with Spanish moss and palmettos dominate the landscape and add to the quaint atmosphere of the community.”

A FLASH FROM THE PAST

Wadmalaw Island was landed upon by Captain Robert Sandford and the crew of the Berkeley Bay in mid-June 1666 after an excursion up the Bohicket Creek. It is believed that Sandford landed where Rockville, South Carolina now sits. On June 23, 1666, Captain and crew carried out the ritual of turf and twig, claiming the land for England and the Lords Proprietors.

In 1670, 148 colonists arrived and settled on the west bank of the Ashley (Kiawah) River. They survived the first four years of poor crop production through the generosity of natives who shared beans and corn. They later moved to what is now Charleston.

In more recent times, The Lipton Tea Company operated an experimental tea farm on Wadmalaw Island from 1960 until 1987, when it was sold to Mack Fleming and Bill Hall. These gentlemen converted the experimental farm into a working tea plantation. The Charleston Tea Plantation utilized a converted cotton picker and tobacco harvester to mechanically harvest the tea. The Charleston Tea Plantation sold tea mail order known as American Classic Tea and also produced Sam’s Choice Instant Tea, sold through Sam’s Clubs. American Classic Tea has been the official tea of the White House since 1987. In 2003, Bigelow Tea Company purchased the Charleston Tea Plantation and temporarily closed the plantation in order to renovate it. The plantation reopened in January 2006. Tours are now offered of this last remaining working tea farm in America. Wadmalaw now produces Firefly, a sweet tea flavored vodka. It is popular throughout the Southern United States because of its recognizable flavor and cultural significance.

TIMES OF WAR

The American Revolutionary War arrived on Johns Island in May of 1779 as a body of British troops under the command of General Augustine Prevost. General Prevost established a small force to remain on the island, headed by Lieutenant Colonel John Maitland. Under the command of Sir Henry Clinton, more troops landed on Seabrook Island, beginning February 11, 1780. Clinton’s goal was to cross Johns Island and James Island and lay siege to Charleston. Clinton’s army crossed the Stono River and set up temporary headquarters at Fenwick Hall. Moving to James Island, marching up the west bank of the Ashley River to Old Town Landing then marching south to Charleston, Clinton besieged the city. Charleston surrendered to British forces on May 12, 1780; the occupation lasted until December 1782.

Bloody Creek signDuring the Civil War, The Battle of Bloody Bridge, also known as Burden’s Causeway, occurred on Johns Island in July 1864. This battle was the largest battle on Johns Island during the Civil War. In July of 1864, the Confederates still defending Charleston had control of James Island and Johns Island. On July 2, 1864, Brigadier General John Hatch’s Union troops landed in Legareville and Rockville of Johns Island. Hatch wanted to cross Johns Island, then cross the Stono River and lay siege to James Island. Hatch’s idea was to march up and take Johns Island, then move across the Stono River and take James Island. The Union troops marched about 4 miles across Seabrook to Haulover Cut, which separated Seabrook Island from Johns Island, only to find out the bridge had been burned. After a new bridge was completed, they crossed the bridge and camp for the night. The march up Johns Island continued on July 3rd. The intense heat caused the troops to move only a few miles per day. The Union troops met the Confederate troops where the creek turns into swamp. On July 6th, the Confederates opened fire on the Union camps from James Island in the morning. The Union troops were just opposite Confederate Battery Pringle on James Island, and had occupied a strong position on Burdens Causeway at a small bridge oh the main road that crossed the marsh. In front of them the Confederates holding the high ground at Waterloo Plantation. That small bridge would be forever known as “Bloody Bridge.” Through the three-day battle, involving brave attacks, fierce defense and counter-attacks, around 2,000 South Carolina soldiers held off a Union force of roughly 8,000 men. On July 10th, Confederate scouts discovered that the Union had evacuated the island overnight, going aboard their transports and burning a large quantity of commissary stores. Reported losses were 11 killed and 71 wounded for the Union forces and the Confederates suffered 37 killed and 91 wounded. (from Wikipedia and www.battleofchas.com)

One legend has it that the Confederates used the steeple of Rockville Church as a watch tower, looking for Union ships on the waterway.

A WAR OF A DIFFERENT TYPE – TAKING A STAND FOR THE TRUTH

Rockville was the first church to seek dismissal from Charleston Atlantic Presbytery and had to overcome a drawn-out process and accusations made against Pastor Mark Hunt, but the congregation’s resolve was rewarded. Rockville Presbyterian Church, was eventually released from the Presbyterian Church (USA) and has affiliated with the Evangelical Presbyterian Church (EPC).

As reported by the Presbyterian Layman:

Rockville’s decision to seek a new denominational home more in line with its theological position was two-fold. It centered around the authority of Scripture and its interpretation, and the Lordship of Jesus Christ. “It was real simple,” Hunt declared. “Those were the two issues we found to be compelling and important to us. We felt a line had been crossed by the larger church in regard to those issues.” Hunt said joining the EPC was a matter of properly aligning Rockville’s beliefs with those of like-minded Christians. “We felt misaligned. Our values and the vision of our congregation were not in line with those of the national denomination, and we couldn’t be as effective with what we wanted to do and be as a church,” he explained. “The EPC resonated well with us. When we looked in the mirror, what we saw doctrinally was the EPC and felt it was a pretty good reflection of who we are.”

Rockville 03I am glad to say that Rockville is now counted among our EPC churches. The EPC denomination is a family of churches, reformed and Presbyterian, defined by shared core values and bonded by the fellowship of the Holy Spirit. The EPC is a church family centered upon the good news of what God has done for the world through His Son, Jesus Christ. With about 125 members, Rockville Presbyterian Church, her pastor and her congregation are great additions to the EPC family. It was truly a pleasure to meet and visit with Mark and Rockville EPC. I love making new friendships, especially those that have the flavor of lasting a lifetime.

If you ever in the area of Charleston on a Sunday morning, make time drive out into the low country and worship at Rockville EPC. They are located at 2479 Sea Island Yacht Club Road Wadmalaw Island, SC 29487.

Check back later as I continue to relate some more stories from other churches I have visited.

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on March 25, 2015 in Historical Places, Travels

 

Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

DISCOVERIES OF THE PAST

DISCOVERIES OF THE PAST

During the month of January, my wife and I traveled through the Southeast U.S. to visit some of the Evangelical Presbyterian Churches to share our World Outreach ministry needs and objectives. In three weeks we drove 3200 miles through 7 states and had meetings in over a dozen cities. Generally when we travel we especially love to take time to visit historical sites, historical districts in old cities and history museums along our route. Sometimes we will even go out-of-our-way to seek historical and informative sites to visit. This trip was no exception.

I LOVE TO VISIT HISTORY

Tonto Ruins 1

Tonto National Monument – Arizona

Over the years our travels have taken us to a variety of places marking Native American dwellings, early settlers to America, Revolutionary War sites, Civil War sites and a number of museums and sites commemorating past events. We’ve been known to stop at every historical marker in Natchez Trace 2route turning a two hour drive into three or four hours! One of our favorite drives is along the Natchez Trace, a 444-mile drive from Nashville, TN to Natchez, MS through exceptional scenery and 10,000 years of North American history. Travels west have taken us to ancient Indian dwellings in Arizona and New Mexico, legendary places like Tombstone (yes, there really is a boot hill cemetery) and abandoned ghost towns in California, Arizona and New Mexico. In Eastern ventures we have loved walking the streets of older cities like Williamsburg, Savannah or Charleston and reading the markers on the notable homes and buildings. We have toured Revolutionary War locations like Kings Mountain, Cowpens and Yorktown. We have visited Civil War sites such as Shiloh, Vicksburg, Kennesaw Mountain, and Appomattox. Even in many small towns across America, we have often parked in the town square and simply walked around the square to read the various signs and markers and discover the unique history of the community. One such small town was Covington, TN where they do indeed still have a statue of the Ten Commandments in front of the courthouse!

JANUARY TRIPBoot Hill Sign

During our January trip, we managed to visit a couple of new places for us:

A visit with Myrtle Grove Presbyterian Church (EPC) took us to Wilmington, NC.

“As pleasant and delectable to behold, as is possible to imagine…” is how Giovanni da Verrazano described the Cape Fear region to the French King Francis I after he reportedly became the first European to explore the region back in 1524.

The port city of Wilmington, NC, located between the Atlantic Ocean and the Cape Fear River, was settled in the 1720s. Wilmington’s commercial importance as a major port afforded it a critical role in opposition to the British in the years leading up to the Revolution. Additionally, the city was home to outspoken political leaders who influenced and led the resistance movement in North Carolina. The foremost of these was Wilmington resident Cornelius Harnett, who served in the General Assembly at the time, where he rallied opposition to the Sugar Act in 1764. When the British Parliament passed the Stamp Act the following year, designed to raise revenue for the King with another tax, Wilmington was the center of a series of demonstrations and acts of civil disobedience against it, ultimately resulting in the repeal of the Stamp Act by Parliament in 1766.

During the Civil War, Wilmington was one of the most important points of entry for supplies for the entire Confederate States. Its port traded cotton and tobacco in exchange for foreign goods, such as munitions, clothing and foodstuffs. These cargoes were transferred to railroad cars and sent from the city throughout the Confederacy. This nourished both the southern states in general and specifically General Robert E. Lee’s forces in Virginia. The trade was dependent on the British smugglers and their blockade runner ships, called so because they had to avoid the Union’s imposed maritime barricade. After three small engagements (see Fort Anderson below) along the Cape Fear River, Wilmington was captured by Union forces in the Battle of Wilmington in February 1865, cutting off a valuable resource for Confederate supplies.

WilmingtonWilmington is also the permanent home of the WWII battleship USS North Carolina. We could see her birthed across the river from our motel room. Just outside the motel back door, we could access the one-mile long Riverwalk that runs along the river with lots of historical markers, eateries and the Coast Guard port for the USCGC cutter Diligence. One block off the river was the historic downtown area where we saw a number of old homes, enjoyed a couple of adult beverages and ate dinner.

Before leaving the Wilmington area we stopped for a short visit at the old Brunswick Town Historical District.

St Phillips Church Ruins

St. Philip’s Church: Construction began in 1754, but was not completed until 1768. It took only one day to be destroyed by the British army.

The Brunswick Town Historic District contains the ruins of 18th-century commercial and residential colonial homes, the St. Philip’s Church Ruins, Fort Anderson, and Russellborough, the former governor’s mansion. Brunswick Town, settled in 1726, was a major pre-Revolutionary port razed by British troops in 1776 and never rebuilt.

During the Civil War, Fort Anderson was constructed atop the old town site, and served as part of the Cape Fear River defenses below Wilmington. An anonymous artilleryman of Company E, 36th North Carolina Regiment gave the following report for The Wilmington Journal on May28, 1863:

“We have at length, by the sweat of our brows, and the power of our Fort Andersonbone and muscle, completed one of the most formidable batteries in the Southern Confederacy. Guided and sustained by the energy and perseverance of Major [John J.] Hedrick, commanding (who is a good commander and a gentleman to boot), we have put up a work which will compare favorably with any work of its kind in the county, and now only want certain additions to our armament to feel confident of being able to defy all Yankeedom to reach Wilmington by this route. We have, up to this time, done our full duty in building fortifications for the defense of Wilmington, as well as for the protection of our homes and firesides, our wives and children, and of most of all near and dear to us. If the enemy should ever approach us here, we intend to give him a warm reception. With the help of God, we intend to stand by our guns until the last man falls, or gain the victory.”

Well, after all that confidence, in February 1865, Union forces positioned to attack Fort Anderson. Federals attacked from the land and river. After three days of fighting, the Confederates evacuated the fort in the cover of night. The union forces attacked the next day to find the fort abandoned. So much for all the “until the last man falls” bragging!

During our January trip we also had the chance to revisit Savannah, GA, Charleston, SC, Corinth, MS and Vicksburg, MS. It’s always a treat to visit these historic cities where we seem to always discover something interesting every time we are there.

A HISTORICAL CHURCH TOUR WAS UNEXPECTED

What we did not anticipate on this trip was the number of churches that we visited that turned out to be historical testimonials as well as the home of our EPC congregations. While many of the churches we visited have colorful histories, I particularly want to share the stories of five of the churches.Rockville 08

Now I am NOT a historian in any fashion but I do like to share stories. Over the next weeks or so, I will add to Reflections several individual stories of EPC churches in or near Charleston, SC; Charlotte, NC; Huntsville, AL; Corinth, MS; and Vicksburg, MS. I found the accounts of these churches fascinating for not only the historical content but also for the resolve and devotion of the churches. Most of the church history is from the church websites sprinkled with some area history that I have researched and blended into the telling. I will also include photos that I have taken as well as some historical images. I hope you will come back to Reflections and read along and learn not just about the church’s history but also a little about the area where they reside. some of the stories will be on the longer side. In fact, one of them will be in two parts. They will be laced with links to interesting sites and stories that I hope you will want to follow to get deeper into the stories. If you are part of the EPC I think you will enjoy learning about other churches in our denomination. If you are not a part of the EPC, I hope you will enjoy simply learning about history and the life and times of people of the past.

 
1 Comment

Posted by on March 11, 2015 in Historical Places, Travels

 

Tags: , , , , , , ,

EBOLA OUTBREAK CLOSES AFRICAN BIBLE COLLEGE IN LIBERIA

map-of-ebola-outbreak-in-guinea-sierra-leone-and-liberia-in-west-africaThree West Africa countries have been ravished by an outbreak of the Ebola virus; Guinea, Sierra Leone and Liberia. The death toll from the worst recorded Ebola outbreak in history has been blamed for 729 deaths in actually four West African countries this year… 339 in Guinea, 233 in Sierra Leone, 156 in Liberia and one in Nigeria. The numbers tragically continue to grow and Christian workers and institutions are not exempt from the disease’s impact. Recent reports by the World Health Organization say almost half of the 57 new deaths reported occurred in Liberia. Also in Liberia, authorities say 28 out of the 45 health workers who have contracted the disease so far have died. In Sierra Leone, among the deaths was that of the chief doctor treating Ebola, Dr. Sheik Humarr Khan.

A friend of mine, Larry Brown, teaches at the African Bible College in Malawi, fortunately far from the center of the breakout. He sent me a notice he just got from Paul Chinchen, president of African Bible College [Liberia / Malawi / Uganda].

“Due to the Ebola crisis in Liberia, Sierra Leone & Guinea, African Bible Colleges has made the decision to postpone the fall opening of ABC University in Yekepa, Liberia.

At present our Liberian faculty and staff at the campus in Yekepa are at low risk. The ABC University is 200 miles from the Ebola outbreaks in Monrovia and Lofa County. Meanwhile the 6 American and Canadian missionary staff who were scheduled to be at the college this fall are all stateside for the summer.

The Ebola crisis in West Africa is the worst in history. More people have died than in all other Ebola outbreaks combined. The U.S Government has withdrawn all of its Peace Corps staff from the region, SIM is evacuating 60 missionaries from the three countries — as have Samaritans Purse and COTN. Meanwhile the President of Sierra Leone (where some of our ABC students come from) has closed all schools and government offices. In Liberia the President has stopped all public gatherings, closed all land border crossings, and at least three airlines have stopped flights to Monrovia, including Delta Airlines.

Please be in diligent prayer for the two missionaries who contracted Ebola at the SIM/ELWA Hospital in Monrovia – (our ABC Monrovia Guest House is located on the same SIM compound). Both Dr Kent Brantly (Samaritans Purse) & Nancy Writebol (SIM) were working with Ebola patients when they became ill. They are at a very critical stage right now and your prayers are urgently needed.

ABC will make the decision when to reopen the campus in Yekepa when the Ebola crisis is under control. Meanwhile our mission has started work on literature that will be printed, translated and distributed by our ABC staff in Liberia that will educate local people on the virus, and how to prevent or control future outbreaks.”

Fox News reported (online, 7/31) about the workers that ABC President Chinchen mentions, and the seriousness of the Ebola disease.

Two gravely ill American medical workers in Liberia who were infected with the Ebola virus are said to be in stable condition as the humanitarian organization Samaritan’s Purse works to bring them back to the U.S. for treatment.

Dr. Kent Brantly, the second American stricken by the disease, yesterday was offered an experimental serum but only one dose was provided. “Dr. Brantly asked that it be given to Nancy Writebol,” a nurse working with him who also infected, Franklin Graham, president of Samaritan’s Purse said in a press release. “However, Dr. Brantly received a unit of blood from a 14-year-old boy who had survived Ebola because of Dr. Brantly’s care. The young boy and his family wanted to be able to help the doctor that saved his life.”

Samaritan’s Purse is working with the government to bring Brantly and Writebol back to the U.S. for treatment. Graham told Fox News that all agreements are in place and that he hopes they will be on a specially-equipped aircraft back home in a few days. He also noted that the plane will likely have to make a stop for refueling.

With regards to the experimental serum and blood treatment administered to two American patients, Frieden said the CDC does not know the details of what was given. The CDC have not found any evidence that any treatments are effective against Ebola.

“There are no proven treatments, no proven vaccines and there is not likely to be one for at least a year, even in the best case scenario,” he said.

The Ebola outbreak in West Africa is worsening and is the largest known in history and it will take at least 3-6 months, if everything goes well, to manage the outbreak, Frieden noted.

“It’s not going to be quick, it’s not going to be easy, but we know what to do,” he said. “This is a marathon, not a sprint.”

African Bible College In Liberia Has Seen Tough Times Before…

The first African Bible College campus was opened in 1978 in the West African country of Liberia by Jack and Nell Chinchen. In December of 1989, the civil war began in Liberia.  The Liberian Civil War claimed the lives of more than 200,000 Liberians (one out of every 17 people in the country) and sent a million refugees into camps in neighboring countries. And then in 1999 the Second Liberian Civil War broke out which further disrupted the operation of ABS.

ABC Liberia managed to stay open on and off during the early years of the war, but in 1992 the college was forced to close down completely for the next 16 years. In November of 2008, after two years of clearing brush and complete renovation of staff houses, dormitories, classrooms, offices and dining hall, the college was once again up and running.

…And The College Carries-On the Good Fight

The chief aim of African Bible College is to train Godly men and women for Christian leadership and service. The curriculum is designed to prepare the college’s graduates for Christian vocation. The degree is designed to be either terminal or preparatory for further education. Students are being trained for Christian leadership; consequently, the college desires students who are committed to God’s guidance and dedicated to the Lord’s service. ABC is distinctively a Bible college, and its courses are designed to hold to the highest academic standards. Its four-year program is of university standard, and the degree offered is parallel to the Bachelor of Arts degree awarded by other international universities and liberal arts colleges.

ABS is training Christian leaders that take their training to the world where they live. Today African Bible Colleges has nearly 800 graduates serving in a wide spectrum of Christian ministry from program production at TransWorld Radio, orphan care with Children of the Nations, leadership positions at Campus Crusade (Life Ministries), and HIV ministries with World Relief, to planting churches in the former communist stronghold of Mozambique. These are only a few of the places ABC graduates are making an impact and they are proving to be a key component in the evangelization and transformation of Africa.

Prayer Needs

1.  Pray for the people in Guinea, Sierra Leone and Liberia that are affected by Ebola either personally or by family members.
2.  Pray that African Bible College will be able to re-open soon so they can continue their work of preparing students.
3.  Pray that Dr. Kent Brantly and Nancy Writebol will survive their sickness and live-on to continue their mission in Africa.
4.  Pray that God will show His glory during this season of suffering in West Africa.

 

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on August 1, 2014 in World Christianity

 

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , ,

THIS MISSION TRIP COULD HAVE BEEN HIS LAST

THIS MISSION TRIP COULD HAVE BEEN HIS LAST

“During this time of intense prayer I did not ask that Carroll’s life or my life be spared, but that I would have the strength and courage to be faithful to the end, whatever that might be.” These words reflect a desperate prayer from Shirley as her husband, Carroll, was being attacked by a group of robbers when they broke into their temporary home, wielding machetes.

My friend Carroll stands just over 5 feet tall. He is in his 80’s now. He is a very gentle man of God. Talking to him one is immediately put at ease as he shares about his mission in life since retirement. No one would suspect the near death experience he endured that would have turned many people away from the call of taking the Word to remote parts of the globe. He had retired as a professor at the University of Tennessee to become associated with Worldwide Discipleship Association as a missionary. Even in his seventies, Carroll felt the desire and calling of God to reach out to unknown places and give hope and rest to unknown people. In recent years he and his wife have taken a number of short-term mission trips, some with their church, Cedar Springs EPC in Knoxville, to places such as Tanzania, Malawi, Kenya, Romania, Tuva (Russia), Myanmar and Peru. One of those trips to Tanzania in 2006 was nearly the last trip Carroll would take. Not because of getting older, but because of a vicious attack.

THEIR STORY

Carroll and Shirley had arrived in Tanzania safely and had met with some mission friends already on the ground. They had had meetings during the day and were resting comfortably at the mission compound, serving as their temporary home, that evening after dinner. The compound is surrounded by high walls and considered a safe-haven from such attacks. After dinner Shirley retreated to the bathroom area, where the lighting was the best, to read her book. Carroll went to the bedroom to rest. Suddenly, Shirley was shockingly distracted from her book when she heard a rough voice demand, “Give me your money!” She heard Carroll yell her name in a panicked voice as the assault on him began. Rather than rushing to his aid, which probably would have resulted in her being attacked as well, she turned to the Lord in frantic prayer. As she hid herself in a bathroom stall, she cried out to Jesus with prayers, “Jesus…Jesus…Jesus” and “Please help Carroll” and for herself, “Make me faithful to the end.” She thought for sure that after the attackers were finished with Carroll, she would be next.

As three men had broken into the dormitory, a table had turned over blocking direct attack from two of the men. The third man began beating Carroll on his head and shoulders with the side of a machete, demanding money. One swipe of the machete came full force with the blade. Carroll’s arm was sliced open on the underside from wrist to elbow. After his arm was cut, the attacker told Carroll to kneel. Holding his arm to staunch to flow of blood, Carroll looked in to the eyes of his attacker and proclaimed, “Jesus” with a command, “In the name of Jesus, I command you to leave.” One of the attackers cried, “Let’s get out of here.” Carroll felt the presence of the Holy Spirit fill the room and caused the three men to become frightened and flee. If Carroll had gone to his knees at the robbers demand, he probably would have suffered much worse. As it was he was bleeding profusely from his arm wound and was close to death from loss of blood. Meanwhile, Shirley had continued to pray and proclaiming Jesus as the victor and protector of their lives in time of trouble.

Though I walk in the midst of trouble, you preserve my life; you stretch out your hand against the wrath of my enemies, and your right hand delivers me.
Psalm 138:7

The thieves had left with no money and only a small tape recorder with, ironically, a worship tape inside.

Carroll was guided to their friend’s house in the compound by what he felt was “an angle on each side of him.” Upon hearing of the attack, several staff members went to the dormitory and rescued Shirley. A tourniquet was applied to Carroll’s arm but much too loosely so he had to continually hold his arm tightly to try to slow the bleeding. They stopped at the police station on the way to the hospital to report the attack. Seeing that the bleeding was not slowing, Shirley hurried the group on to the hospital. She saw that Carroll was getting weaker and closer to death and they filled out paperwork. As it turned out, a police accident report had to be presented to the hospital for treatment. She prayed words of life over Carroll all the way to the hospital.

When they arrived at the hospital, Shirley ran from the vehicle into the hospital and called for a doctor as loud as she could yell. He came immediately and followed her to the car where Carroll was still bleeding liberally and near to passing out completely. Carroll had blood all over him and the car and no one knew just how badly he was beaten or the extent of his injuries. The doctor did not begin treatment immediately but kept watching him. The nurse could not get an IV into Carroll’s vein and it took the doctor to get it inserted. He estimated that Carroll had lost about forty percent of his blood. His blood pressure was zero over zero, and it remained that way for several hours. The doctor stitched his arm but failed to repair the cut artery. During two days at the hospital, Christian friends brought meals to Carroll and Shirley since the hospital did not provide them. The hospital did what they could with limited supplies and resources. After leaving the hospital they arranged to immediately fly home arriving in Knoxville the next day. They immediately went to the University of Tennessee Hospital emergency room. They checked-out Carroll and seemed to think all was well and sent him home. A week later, he was back at the hospital with severe pain. They were going to send him home again except their daughter, a registered nurse, suspected something else was wrong and insisted they do some more tests. When a vascular surgeon saw the test results, he sent Carroll to surgery immediately. After cutting open his arm open from wrist to elbow and repairing the slashed artery, he stated that Carroll had compartment syndrome and came within two hours of losing his hand. Blood had been pooling in his arm with no place to go.

Carroll stayed in the hospital for eight more days with two more surgeries. Today, Carroll still has a little pain in his arm. When I talked with him he was upbeat, humorous and more than willing to share his story as well as show me the 12” scar that goes from wrist to elbow. Shirley concluded her testimony, “We are thankful that we are both alive and can continue to serve our Savior in Tanzania and other parts of the world as we follow the Lord’s leading for our lives.”

IF WE CAN JUST BE LIKE THEM

I reflect on this story not to cause alarm or fear from the tragedy of the events, but for the joy of the ongoing story. What an inspiration to meet a couple that have gone through so much yet joyfully risk it again to continue with their calling around the globe! I admire those that have taken up their cross in dangerous places and face persecution and possibly death every day. It’s not work one takes lightly or without reason. As written in my last blog, A New Mission Has Begun, my wife and I recently took vows while being commissioned as missionaries for World Outreach of the Evangelical Presbyterian Church (EPC). The last vow to which we said “I do,” was one of being willing to suffer and possibly die for the sake of the mission. While we are not going off to live in a remote part of the world, part of our ministry is to visit those places where EPC World Outreach missionaries are living and working. Some of those places are dangerous. I pray that we never have to face any physical peril in the mission field. But I also pray if we do have to face the danger we can meet the challenges with the faith, strength and tenacity that our friends Carroll and Shirley displayed in their time of trial as well as the many that have gone before us facing persecution and enduring all the inflictions for the cause of Christ. As Shirley proclaimed, I hope to “have the strength and courage to be faithful to the end, whatever that might be.”

“Therefore I endure everything for the sake of the elect that they also may obtain the salvation that is in Christ Jesus with eternal glory. The saying is trustworthy, for: If we have died with him, we will also live with him…” 
2 Timothy 2:10-11

 
1 Comment

Posted by on July 14, 2014 in Mission

 

Tags: , , ,

A NEW MISSION HAS BEGUN

As mentioned in my previous post, Changes Are in the Wind, changes have indeed taken place in my life. My wife and I were officially commissioned as World Outreach missionaries on June 19, 2014 and I have started a part-time business. The commissioning occurred during the Thursday evening worship service of the General Assembly of the Evangelical Presbyterian Church (EPC). That was a very busy week for us as we attended various gatherings for World Outreach and I also served as an assembly commissioner representing my church, Christ EPC in Houston.
Prior to and after the assembly we visited a number of churches to begin our campaign to raise funding for the work. We made several good stops in Jackson, MS, Chattanooga, TN, Corinth, MS, and Memphis, TN that have resulted in some support commitments and some maybe. We drove about 2300 miles during the two-week trip. Along the way we also played a little by hiking at Cloudland Canyon, a beautiful state park in north Georgia.

A MINISTRY FOR ALL

As the incredible World Outreach missionaries around the globe, and other servants that I meet, hear about and read about, spread the Word among the unreached, the Christian community needs to hear of the importance of the work, the stories of struggles and salvation, and the impact that they are making in His kingdom. It is our ministry to be an avenue that will connect the work of the missionaries to the ears and hearts of not only the EPC but to all believers that know the importance of the great commission. We will also be helping and relating the stories of the International Theological Education Network (ITEN) in efforts to develop and encourage indigenous leadership through partnerships with global seminaries. While I know that many of my readers are not of the EPC denomination, I do believe that the stories I will collect and relate will be of great interest to all, especially if you have a heart for international missions.
Our ministry amenities will include e-blast missionary stories, prayer e-blasts, speaking engagements, mission meeting presentations, mission gatherings, social media, this blog, a radio blog-talk program and whatever else needed to help connect interested people to missionaries in the field. And you don’t have to be a member of the EPC to be a part of the ministry. If you want to receive the material or participate in any of the gatherings, just let me know, you’re more than welcome! I will also serve on what is called the Mobilization Team; a team of individuals that are dedicated to serving our missionaries with consultation, care and encouragement, and help guide the efforts of World Outreach.

YOUR HELP IS NEEDED

But before we can begin this new work funding needs to be raised. As Jerry Reed sang in Smoky and the Bandit, “We have a long way to go and a short time to get there.” If you are so inclined to support us in our new venture, your help is needed and very much appreciated. We hope to begin our ministry work by September, 2014 but we cannot start until all of the funding is in place in actual cash and/or pledges. We are praying for a few larger donors in the $5000 – $10,000 range with the balance of the needs made by $85 to $100 monthly pledges from churches and individuals. Of course, any amount either one-time or monthly is greatly appreciated and helpful to the overall effort. Our “account” with World Outreach will receive all funds and distribute to us as needed for ministry expenses and eventually a regular paycheck with taxes, Social Security, insurance, etc. deducted.
Gifting can be done by check or online and are fully tax-deductible. Gifts by check can be made to the Evangelical Presbyterian Church (EPC) and designated for Dan & Helen Tidwell, fund #327, and mailed to the EPC office at 17197 N. Laurel Park Dr., Suite 567, Lavonia, MI 48152. Online giving is easy to do and available at www.epc.org. 1) Click GIVING. 2) Click on MISSIONARY SUPPORT. 3) Click on the DONATE TODAY button. 4) Click on the drop-down menu and choose MISSIONARY BY NAME. Second drop-down field will appear. 5) Click on the second drop-down field and find TIDWELL, Dan and Helen (327). 6) Fill-in amount of gift to right of drop-down menus and click ADD. 7) Fill-in your personal information. 8) Check if this is one-time or recurring gift and date to start. 9) Indicate method of payment, fill-in appropriate account information and authorize payment. When payment is processed you will see a transaction ID# and receive a receipt via email.

Rev. Dr. Greg Livingstone, World Outreach Senior Associate and Founder of Frontiers was kind to write about our work…

“The EPC family of churches is growing exponentially! So is our mission agency, World Outreach…both in sending teachers to strategic theological colleges in Africa, Asia, Europe and Latin America, and in our number of teams pioneering church planting among UNengaged Muslims from Siberia to Syria to Sumatra!
That translates into more staff needed to see that every one of those Bible colleges and church planting teams has sufficient missionaries and support. …and that demands a huge amount of communication! Thus the Lord raised up, in answer to our cries, wonderfully experienced and gifted, Dan Tidwell.  Please take three minutes to absorb the challenge we’ve given him.”

Regardless of financial support, we do ask for your prayers as we endeavor to follow this calling. Please pray that we can trust and live in the words of 2 Corinthians 9:8.

“And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work.”

A NEW BUSINESSTentmaker Business card

Until we are fully funded, I need to create income in some fashion. So I am falling back on my talents and experience by resurrecting a part-time graphic design business. The business, Tentmaker Graphic Design, will hopefully supply for our needs until ministry funding is raised and we begin collecting a salary again. Afterwards, it will help meet ministry needs that are unfunded. The business name, Tentmaker, is a reference from the Bible in Acts 18:1-3 about Paul’s desire to work as a tentmaker, along with Aquila and Priscilla, to support himself, as he could, while he proclaimed the Gospel. Likewise in 1 Thessalonians 2:9 and 2 Thessalonians 3:9 & 12, Paul wrote that his labor and toil were because he desired not be a burden to anyone and he encouraged people to work quietly and earn their own living.

So if you or your church/business has a need for some graphic design, or you know someone who does, please keep me in mind. Your needs will be met with expertise at a reasonable price and you will be supporting our ministry at the same time.
But enough about me.  My next post, which I have already finished, will bring me back to my purpose of this blog.  It is a moving story from a friend that shared it with me during the General Assembly. Be looking for it very soon.

 
1 Comment

Posted by on July 12, 2014 in Mission

 

Tags: , , , , , , ,

Changes Are In The Wind!

As much as I have loved serving the ministry of Overseas Council (OC) for the past six years, I have loved my church denomination, the Evangelical Presbyterian Church (EPC) even longer.  So while I am sad to soon be leaving the daily workings of OC, I am thrilled to be called to God’s work with World Outreach of the EPC.

On April 15, Dr. David Baer, president of OC, made this announcement, in part…

“Dan Tidwell, our Southern US Regional Director with OC’s Advancement Team, and his wife Helen, have accepted a call from the Evangelical Presbyterian Church as World Outreach missionaries.   Dan will continue to work in his current role with OC through May, 2014. I want to thank Dan and Helen for all they have done for OC since April, 2008, and I’m sure my voice is just one of many in the OC family that does so. We wish the Tidwells all the best in their new endeavor.  It will be exciting to serve as observers and cheerleaders of the things that will be accomplished for Christ’s Kingdom through Dan’s and Helen’s faithful service with World Outreach.”

I thank David for his kind words and depart OC and my many friends there, with love, to venture into a new ministry.

ON TO NEW BEGINNINGS

I am happy to report that I and my wife are now “on the rolls” of World Outreach as missionaries, working stateside! We will be officially installed at the EPC General Assembly in June in Knoxville.

I will have a split role with half of my time serving as the Communication Coordinator for WO and the other half of my time as an Associate with the International Theological Education Network (ITEN).

  • World Outreach Communications Coordinator: I will be responsible for communicating and marketing the programs and mission efforts of World Outreach (WO) to the individuals, pastors and congregations of the Evangelical Presbyterian Church (EPC). The WO communications will be in the form of written communication, social media communication, multi-media presentations, website, public presentation and personal contact. The position will serve the EPC and WO in various capacities including church liaison, marketing, publications coordinator and WO ministry spokesman.
  • International Theological Education Network Associate: I will be speaking about ITEN to individuals, churches, and presbytery mission leaders , developing materials that promote ITEN, developing website information for ITEN, contacting foundations, churches, and individuals for development of financial support for the ITEN ministry. ITEN is a ministry track of EPC’s World Outreach focused on theological education and leadership training for nationals. Simply put, the purpose of ITEN is: ‘…to develop teachers among unreached peoples who will develop teachers among other unreached peoples.’ ITEN works in tandem with our track for church planting among unreached peoples, particularly Muslims.

I am excited about this opportunity and I have received some great endorsements and encouragement from those already serving World Outreach. Don Elliot, pastor of First Presbyterian Church in Corinth, MS, and World Outreach Committee member said,

“Dan Tidwell is going to give World Outreach in the EPC something it has not had before: the opportunity to tell the stories of our missionaries to every person in the pew. God is moving in World Outreach and Dan will help us see His work more clearly.”

George Carey, World Outreach Director, had these kind words to say, in part,

“I could not be more thrilled to endorse Dan as our new Communications Coordinator. I have known Dan for several years since being in my current position and have seen his consistent enthusiasm for communicating the truth that Jesus Christ came into the world to save sinners. He and Helen were unanimously, with great joy, approved by the EPC World Outreach Committee to become missionaries to help tell this awesome story that World Outreach has been entrusted with to spread around the world.”

BUT THE STORY CONTINUES

While the plans are made, I cannot officially embark on this venture until my ministry self-funding iWO Photo Cards complete.  So, I hope to be able to launch this ministry fully by September.  (If you’re moved to help in this endeavor your kindness would be most appreciated!)  It is with great joy that Helen and I embark on this ministry journey and we hope you will join us with prayer and blog reading as we follow God’s call in His kingdom work.  I will continue my blog but now with a new perspective as I travel both nationally and internationally for World Outreach. I will continue to tell the story of the global church with more opportunities to reflect on the people I meet, places I see and things that I hear.

EPC note: If you are a member of an EPC church, please pass this blog to others in
your church. I would love to visit your church and tell you more about WO and ITEN.

 

 

 
2 Comments

Posted by on April 17, 2014 in Mission, World Christianity

 

Tags: , , , ,

A Story From Iran

Every now and then I read and hear a story that really requires no introduction or set-up but just a strong recommendation to follow a link and see for yourself. This is one of those stories from the Overseas Council website. It was just posted a few days ago so it is time relevant and very moving.

A STORY OF TRUE COURAGE

Elam-LadanThe story is about Ladan, a courageous young woman that is Iranian born; raised in a Muslim family; called to Christ; and fearing arrest, left her homeland and fled to Turkey.

“It was there in Turkey that I felt the burden; a great a burden to go and tell people about Jesus. I was tasting the love of Jesus more, and also knowing Him more.”

To Ladan, to be Christian meant to take the Word seriously and return to her native country to share the Gospel with her countrymen.  She knew she would face persecution, possibly prison and maybe even death.  But nevertheless, she felt the call of God to share the Good News with lost people.

“Even with all my fears and worry, I felt I had to return to Iran, and give this message to my people.”

To learn about Ladan and hear her testimony in her own words in a 9 minute video, I highly encourage you to go to http://overseas.org/ladan-courageously-endures-prison-for-sharing-the-bible/You’ll be moved by her story as she truly reflects the words of Jesus in Luke 21:12-16.

But before all this, they will lay hands on you and persecute you. They will deliver you to synagogues and prisons, and you will be brought before kings and governors, and all on account of my name. This will result in your being witnesses to them.  But make up your mind not to worry beforehand how you will defend yourselves. For I will give you words and wisdom that none of your adversaries will be able to resist or contradict. You will be betrayed even by parents, brothers, relatives and friends, and they will put some of you to death.

THE HISTORICAL CHURCH IN IRAN

Iran is on the news much these days concerning nuclear power, economic sanctions, aggressive behavior and a host of stories of terrorism. We hear little about the Christians there despite the fact that Christians have occupied the area for centuries. According to Acts 2:9 there were Persians, Parthians and Medes among the gathering at Pentecost and heard the Apostles in their own language.  Many old churches remain in Iran from the early days of Christianity. The Church of St. Mary in northwestern Iran for example, is considered by some historians to be the second oldest church in Christendom after the Church of Bethlehem in the West Bank.
Today, only about 2% of the population is non-Muslim, and Christians are among the least minority. But the good news is that Christianity is reported to be the fastest growing religion in Iran. In 1976, the Christian population numbered 168,593 people, mostly Armenians. Due to the Iran-Iraq war in the 1980s and the dissolution of the Soviet Union in the 1990s, almost half of the Armenians migrated to the newly independent Republic of Armenia and Christian numbers decreased. However, the opposite trend has occurred since 2000, and the number of Christians with Iranian citizenship increased to 109,415 in 2006.*

*Some fact and figures obtained from wikipedia.org

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on March 19, 2014 in World Christianity

 

Tags: , , , , , , , ,

 
Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 430 other followers