New Life Church
Beverly and I started our first ministry together at New Life Church under Pastor Ron Pollard. The church took care of getting us moved and had an apartment all ready for us with a promise of a steady income and food provided by the members.
Beverly had finished Bible college and I only took three semesters of the six offered. Later, after our internship was over I returned to college and finished the other three semesters for a diploma in missions.
We arrived in Aberdeen as newly graduated college students with great hopes to be used of
God. The people in the church greeted us with a welcome dinner, and we were given the keys
to an apartment that the church would provide. Thank God it was furnished because we had no furniture of our own.
I was leading the song service, doing odd stuff around the church, going door to door with
Bev, and Bev and I worked with the youth. At night we would go to the streets of Aberdeen
and minister to the prostitutes, drug users and pushers, drunks and soldiers stationed there
and whoever the Lord would lead us to. We felt that we were doing well, and had several
people coming to church that never attended before. The kids loved us and we loved them
and we always tried to have cookies and milk or hot cocoa or something for them and also
for all the kids we ministered to in the local neighborhood.
There was a little girl named Sandy who was about eight years old, and she didn't want to trust anyone and tried to be tough, but we would have her in our apartment and just love her and give her cookies and a drink or whatever we had. She got to feel comfortable with us, and we could tell her about the Lord. She listened and seemed interested so we asked her to come to church with us. That night she went and the preacher was powerful and gave a salvation invitation. Sandy went forward and asked the Lord to forgive her and save her. We were so thrilled to see her happy like never before! She was so different, and stopped fighting with everyone. She would sit and read to her sister at night, and then a tragic accident happened. Her and a young boy, her friend were playing, and he accidentally hit her in the head with a baseball bat. She was rushed to the doctor and he said she would be alright and sent her home. She was reading to her sister that night as she always did, and suddenly she just keeled over and died. The blow to her head was worse than the doctor thought. That was one month after she gave
her heart and life to Jesus! We were sad to lose her, but rejoicing because we knew she was
safe in the arms of the Lord forever. Hallelujah! Just think! One month to get right with God! It was all she had, and we are eternally grateful she did!
A tragic incident happened there that taught a valuable lesson about ministry. A woman who
was distressed called her pastor and she was in tears when he arrived at the door. She also was wearing a see through gown with little else on underneath. The pastor still went into the trailer
with her and became so caught up in her grief that he moved to the couch beside her to comfort her. It didn't take long until the right desire to help turned to lust and because of that the pastor
left his family and ministry with the woman, and two families and a ministry were effectively destroyed. The very important lesson in this was that no man in ministry should ever counsel a woman alone but should take his wife or some other man or woman with him. Being a Christian
in ministry doesn't give anyone immunity from temptation.
We received our first check from the church after a while, and then just as suddenly the church stopped paying us. They didn't feel right about taking our apartment away from us but they didn't give us any money either. We continued to minister and believed God would take care of us if
we would remained faithful. We also lost our food donations from the church but some of the members felt bad about what was being done and would come to our apartment with food when they could. The neighbors, I believe weren't even Christians for the most part but had become
our friends, began to help provide for us even though we didn't tell them our situation that I can remember. We found it sad that the non-Christians were the ones treating us as the Christians should have.
One thing that we believed was a problem with the church was that the pastor had full control of everything and was not accountable to anyone in the church. We don't know if the church had a board of directors or not, but we had no other recourse if we wanted to go to someone besides the pastor for anything. Some time after we left we learned that the pastor and his wife divorced and he left the church. I never found out if he just left on his own free will or was asked to leave after his family broke up.
Another problem was that the church members were never trained in greeting new people and showing interest in visitors so the people we got to come there would not return after a short time, probably because they didn't feel welcomed.
We don't know if that church still exists or not. There is a New Life Church of God there now, and I believe that church was an affiliate of the Church of God because the meeting we took Sandy to had a Church of God minister doing the preaching. I'm not absolutely sure about that though.
We never understood why the support was withdrawn from us, and we never got another check from the church that I remember, because I decided that I would return to Bible college and finish the last three semesters. Praise the Lord! Bev and I both finished Bible college with honors and then we were ready to go to another ministry and serve the Lord. That ministry was the Indianapolis Teen Challenge Center.