Starting Out-EC Chron

In July of 1958, on a Wednesday night, I answered God’s call to preach. The next Sunday, in First Baptist Church, in Anchorage, I made my decision public. The next day, I sold my interest in Chron Motor Company. The following Friday, Dr. L.A. Watson, head of our Baptist Work in Alaska, asked me to preach the next Sunday at FBC, Seward, Alaska. Mrs. Watson offered to keep our children for Sunday.

Jo and I got up early and made the long drive. We arrived at the church as the morning service was starting. The rain had also started! As I stood to preach my first sermon, I felt a dark, damp gloom filling the room! The ten people seated in front of me reminded me more of a mortuary than a church! I couldn’t understand it! I was excited! I wanted to preach God’s Word and feel Him move in that place!

I can’t recall a word I said to those dear saints. My message was short. After a closing prayer, the people filed out without saying a word!

Jo, Roy Moore and I drove around town until we found a small cafe open. After lunch we visited a dear pastor in the local hospital. After the visit, Jo and I drove back to the church and spent the afternoon sitting in our auto watching the rain come down like Niagara Falls!

The six members that came back that night seemed to appreciate my brief message.

The long dark drive home was both cold and wet. Jo didn’t say much, but she was thinking! Years later, she confessed that my first two sermons caused some doubt about my calling to preach! She was also wondering if this was what she had to look forward to as a preacher’s wife!