Thursday, October 28, 2010



“Lets run the ball a bit, then stop, drink some water and have a commercial,” he said in his thick South African accent. I never would have thought about meeting a South African family living in rural southeastern Indiana. Yet there I sat across the table from Walter Claussen at the Saturday evening chili potluck supper as we talked about the key differences between American football & rugby. Walter and his family are from Capetown, South Africa and have been attending the Dublin Gospel Mission in Dublin Indiana for the past year. Walter’s job brought him to Indiana and we were meeting them only a week before they returned to Capetown. We felt blessed that the timing worked out for us to cross paths. Hearing Walter speak brought up fond memories of my youth pastor, Ken Paynter, and his family who were also from South Africa near Johannesburg I believe.

It is always very interesting to me the connections that we make along our travels. In Canby, Oregon we met Gordon Elliott’s youth leaders. Then in Dublin, Indiana we met the Pastor and his wife, Steve and Sherry Cox, who attended Kentucky Mountain Bible College at the same time as Jerome VanKuiken, my Systematic Theology professor at Vennard College. Steve was in a singing group with Jerome.

I wish I could write out a biography on each of the great personalities we met at the Dublin Gospel Mission. The church is filled with warm hearts, good cooks, talented musicians, and people actively seeking after God. It was a real joy to visit around the tables at the chili supper Saturday Night and to share our story on Sunday morning. Dr. Bruce Moyer was in Dublin with us and was the revival speaker from Sunday through Wednesday evening. We weren't able to stay that whole time, but we are praying that hearts and lives were consecrated to the Lord through the messages shared.


After a great morning in Dublin we got on the road for a short one-hour drive up to Dunkirk. I (Bryan) know the Pastor, Josh Huggett, and his family from their time at Vennard College. We became good friends as we worked alongside each other in ministry at the Oskaloosa Evangelical Church. Josh was the associate pastor and I worked with the youth. It was really great to reconnect after a couple years apart. 

A group of about 30 people met at a home for a nice, informal time of sharing. We had pizza, apple cider, and great desserts and then met in the living room to play some PowerPoint games about Bolivia. This intimate setting sparked some good question and answer time and Molly and I really enjoyed sharing our lives with the people of Faith EC in Dunkirk.  After supper and our sharing time we gathered around the campfire in the back yard and made some s’mores with about the largest marshmallows I have ever seen. I felt like I had placed a volleyball on the end of my skewer. I have found that there is a true art to eating a s’more when one has a beard.

We had a Sunday with two wonderful times of sharing with two wonderful groups of people. There was one downfall in the day though… The Chicago Bears lost to the Seattle Seahawks. 

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