Today I would like to comment on my somewhat lengthy travels to and from this year’s Winter Family Weekend, as a commentary on the first part of Zechariah 4:10: “Who despises the day of small things?” The reason why this particular verse is chosen as the theme of my travels will, I hope, be more obvious as the entry goes on. I should note as well that during my travels I was a guest and not the main participant of the story.
Travels To Louisville
First, it would be useful to examine a bit about my travels this year too Louisville. I rode in a van with some friends of mine from the local congregation, with whom I have traveled a few times before, and it is always an adventure given the competing demands of enjoying the scenery, lingering at bookstores or thrift stores or restaurants with free wi-fi connections and the demands of a schedule. I must admit that I am far more focused on a schedule than on wandering and lingering.
After leaving on Wednesday, December 22, the four of us stopped in Ocala, Florida, about 90 minutes to two hours north of where I live, to stay with the Winnie family. This retired couple had the difficult task of communicating with all of the brethren of that congregation to let them know that church services that Sabbath (which were handled by Mr. Ken Martin, our church’s pastor in South Georgia) would be at the same time and same location, despite the rebellious efforts of others. It is important in times of crisis to have leadership that is loyal and godly, as opposed to the other kind. After graciously enjoying the fine hospitality they provided for a late dinner (call it fourthmeal, if you will) and breakfast the next morning, we were off the next morning, seeking to find out what was going on in Latin America while we were on the road and also getting Mr. Martin in contact with the family in order to arrange church services on the Sabbath.
We then sought to go as far as we could to the north on Thursday, because we knew that we had to make it to Louisville early enough on Friday afternoon so that Mr. Veller could get to the airport and get down to Miami to give services on the Sabbath. We managed to make it just north of Nashville on Thursday and, with only one short and brief detour, made it to Louisville early on Friday afternoon, where I sought to talk loudly and enthusiastically with those people I knew there, as is my usual habit.
Travels From Louisville
The travels from Louisville were a little more lengthy, given the longer detours that were necessary to accomplish the tasks at hand. Nonetheless, the general point was the same. our goal upon leaving Louisville on Wednesday morning, December 29th, a task for which all of us were rather tired given our poor sleep the night before was to get to Macon by Wednesday night so we could stay with Mr. Ken Martin (see notes above) . Despite rush hour traffic in Atlanta and a bit of a late start, we managed to accomplish what we set out to do, mixing in listening to a couple of sermons (one excellent one by Mr. Bob Dick on the importance of accepting the rule of law as our standard for behavior, and one shockingly heretical one concerning Jesus Christ as a created “made” being by a former pastor, Mr. Arnold Hampton, which I understand he has since apologized for) with phone calls and reading and strategy.
Upon arriving at the Martin home in Macon, I was able to provide some spicy and serious conversation (as is my habit) and also manage, in the middle of the talking and relaxing, to read an entire book, which I took notes on as I read, as I did not wish to borrow it, not knowing when I would be in the area the next time to visit my family (some of whom attend his congregation) . After a pleasant night of sleep I got up, we had breakfast and a relaxing morning spent with more conversation and analysis, and then we were off to Tallahassee.
There were more phone calls about what was going on, attempts to plan the logistics of our journey, and a bit of a wild goose chase for crushed pecans, but we went the scenic route from Valdosta through Thomasville and then down to Tallahassee to visit a couple who are the parents of a friend of mine who will be a first-time father in a few months. There was a (somewhat) impromptu question and answer session for those members of the Tallahassee area who were not relatives of prominent rebels and who wanted to hear the honest truth about what was going on without spin or false accusations. The dinner and conversation went well, and after a fitful night of sleep it was time to be off again to return home before sundown, a mission which was accomplished with some time to spare.
Lessons From The Travels
A few lessons could be drawn from the travels. For one, the limits on what one person or party of people (in our case, a traveling party of four) could accomplish were tested in this journey, but it was gratifying all along the way to hear such good news about the truth being preached, about people remaining loyal, and about congregations thought ‘lost’ by some remaining mostly intact despite months (and perhaps even years) of efforts to subtly undermine their loyalty and also months and years of efforts made to silence those local members who spoke truth openly by seditious local ministers.
Another important lesson was the need to coordinate one’s strategy and develop a “rapid response team” of people who were well-versed in the facts, can answer questions clearly and intelligently (and accurately), and who can go out to trouble stops to put out fires set by reckless arsonists. Indeed, with a limited amount of marines and paratroopers (metaphorically speaking) who could be dropped in, it was found necessary to coordinate efforts as best as possible. To that end, I plan on helping to encourage my brethren in the Tampa Bay area in the morning and afternoon, which will require me to rest up and get up early. It’s worth it, though.
Sometimes the things we can do in life are only small things–a word of encouragement, thanks for fine hospitality, and a smile and a few words of wisdom to people who are well placed to respond to it and appreciate it. So long as we do the best we can with what we have available, we can get up the next morning and go off to battle again against our real enemies, with the knowledge that we are not alone and without aid, even though our strength and numbers may be small. And that is enough to fight valiantly and make it another day.