I often inform people of the fact that all my 'full-time' preaching for various congregations has been in Alabama, except for 2 years of foreign mission work. They will usually inquire as to which 'foreign country'. I will reply, "Savannah, Georgia". You see, I was born in the small town of Trion, Georgia which is located about 35 miles south of Chattanooga, Tennessee amongst the ridges and, not far from, Lookout Mountain. This 'hillbilly's' view of any size body of water would have been Blue Pond and the Chattooga River (not the one in NE Georgia). It was a thrill to see the Atlantic Ocean, to watch large ships travel up the Savannah River to Port Wentworth to load and unload their cargo. Ah, seafood, especially shrimp, was in abundance. We moved there in 1959 and you could buy mid-size shrimp for .39 cents per pound!
We did not live in the part of the city of Savannah where there were beautiful homes and historic places to visit. I was amused that one congregation had the name of Bull Street Church of Christ. Due to a multitude of church problems, it was a discouraging 2 years. We did make many friends during our time in Savannah, but the best thing we received while living there was our beautiful daughter, Angela, who along with Tim and Joel made us a family of five.
Almost a Burial In Water But No Resurrection
Talmadge Jenkins was 6 feet plus tall in height. I was still a novice in baptizing people. The baptistery in the church was made of concrete as many were in that time period. By experience over the years, I have learned where to place an individual in the baptistery so there will be no possibility of a head injury. Nowadays, the baptisteries are so large you can almost swim in them. Well, I had not placed this tall individual where I should have, and that would have been nearer to the opposite end of the baptistery where I was going to lay him backwards into the water. As I was laying him down into the water I quickly observed that his head was going to hit the concrete end. However, I was able to pull him toward me and his head barely missed the edge by my laying him down in the corner of the baptistery. With his help, I resurrected him from the watery grave of baptism. If things had been different, I could imagine Talmadge approaching the pearly gates and being asked if he had ever been baptized, and him answering in this fashion, "Yes, in fact, that was the last thing I remember."
When Do I Get To Preach?
He was a friend of one of our families in the congregation. An excellent song leader, the brethren asked him to lead the singing during our worship assembly on that Sunday morning. His song book was different from the ones we were using. You see, it was in Braille. This brother was blind but that did not hinder him from using his God given ability to lead congregational singing in fine fashion.
The custom was that one would lead three songs and then a brother would lead us in prayer. Following the prayer, another song would be sung and then I would bring the morning's lesson. Not this Sunday. After the prayer, our good brother led another song and then another one while I stood behind the pulpit ready, but wait, there's another song to be sung. That was perhaps the shortest sermon I had preached at the Garden City church, and I would suppose that the brethren loved it. We still needed to partake of the Lord's Supper before we were dismissed with prayer. While I was somewhat embarrassed while standing and waiting for the opportunity to speak, I would have never criticized my dear brother in Christ leading us in some beautiful hymns.
Where Did You Get That Name?
Our pediatrician was a fine doctor and a gentleman. Perhaps one of the best you could find in the state of Georgia and in the city of Savannah. We trusted him in his care of our two young sons. One day he stated to Virginia that he knew where we got the name Joel, and then asked where we got the name Timothy. You see, our doctor was Jewish.
Why Another Blog?
Over the years I have had various experiences in working with people. Some humorous and some not so humorous. If you know me personally, you know I enjoy a good, clean joke. In fact, some will say that it 'sounds like a Raymond joke' when they hear a particular kind.
True humor to me, is that which happens unplanned and unrehearsed. I believe that has contributed to my sanity over the 56+ years of preaching and working with the brethren. To try and have a positive attitude in life, to retain the pleasant and good memories of years past helps one physically, emotionally, and mentally. We read in Proverbs 15:13, "A merry heart makes a cheerful countenance, but by sorrow of the heart the spirit is broken". Again in 17:22, "A merry heart does good, like medicine. But a broken spirit dries the bones".
I do "love life" (1 Peter 3:10). God is truly my "refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble" (Psalm 45:1). I enjoy an "abundant life" because of Jesus Christ, who gave His life for me (John 10:10). I hope you find the following remembrances enjoyable and entertaining.