By Jerry Love, Director of Planned Giving
Logged into my childhood memories is a place that still brings a smile and a warm feeling – Saint Rest Baptist Church on the White Lightning Road.
It is a quaint red-brick, two-story church about halfway between Vienna and Homer on LA Hwy 146.
The building itself is interesting with the sanctuary sitting atop a partial-basement bottom floor that housed classrooms and a fellowship hall.
The pews were made from 1-by-4 lumber cut at my granddad’s sawmill. Before cushions were added, a wrong move meant a pinched bottom from those pew slats. The church also came complete with a “ghost” in the cemetery and a “boogie-man” in the dungeon (closet) under the stairs.
But what I remember most about those days were the people. Every Sunday and Wednesday, they faithfully gathered to worship and pray. Another thing I remember was that almost everyone was related to someone else in the church which made for one big family of believers.
Here are a few who come to mind:
– Aunt Alvice with a beautiful smooth-as-silk, lilting voice – I didn’t know then that she had a Southern drawl, it was just the way she talked – could tell a Bible story to a room of squirmy kids like no one else.
She could pray like praying was meant to be – a conversation with Jesus as if he were standing next to you — and when she said, “Come here, hon,” you knew a perfume and powder infused hug was coming.
— “Aunt” Lucille loved us all with a tough love that was evident. Lucille was not really my aunt, just a relative several times removed. No matter. I recall hearing her voice carry down the hallway as she corralled the Young People’s Training Union class.
She could take on any of the older boys and make them behave… and learn! She also never turned down an opportunity to speak her mind in a business meeting; and, could she ever organize a VBS processional. In those days we lined up outside with our class and it was a “Lucille-given-privilege” to carry a flag or the Bible.
Uncle “Biggett” – his real name was Burl, and I have no idea where the nickname came from — was always there. Through most of my younger years – and his later years – he was virtually deaf. Yet, there he was, faithfully attending.
I remember one time, when the pastor called on him to close a service in prayer, seeing his diminutive wife reach up and tug on his sleeve. He bent his tall frame close and Aunt Manny yelled “The preacher asked you to pray.”
Then, at an advanced age, Uncle Biggett found a Shreveport doctor who put tubes in his ears and drained away the fluid that had been trapped for years. Burl was a new man, smiling and chatting with folks comfortably for the first time; and, he remained faithful in his attendance, only now he could hear the preacher when he called on him to pray.
There are so many others I could name.
Most have passed away; a few are still here with us. All of this family of believers at Saint Rest created a LEGACY that impacted my life and lives of so many others.
Giving was also part of their Legacy.
I never saw their checkbooks or bank accounts or tithing records so how do I know they gave?
Because that little country congregation continues to thrive today
Dr. Randy Ray currently has the privilege each Sunday of standing in the pulpit of this little red brick church called Saint Rest Baptist Church on the White Lightning Road and proclaiming the Good News of Jesus Christ.
For over 160 years a long line of preachers and faithful members have invested themselves spiritually, physically, emotionally and financially to share the Gospel with the surrounding community.
Give. Serve. Invest yourself.
Create a legacy of faith and giving that others may know Christ.