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Thankful for Faithful Pastors Like My Granddad

This time of year always reminds me of my grandfather, H. H. Powell. Everyone that knew him called him Buddy, and that was anyone he ever met. He served on Guam in the Navy during WWII and was drafted by the St. Louis Cardinals to play baseball. To play baseball for the Cardinals would have been a dream come true for him, but he gladly turned down the opportunity to marry my nanny. He loved his family and his hometown. Granddaddy Buddy ran a grocery store in Red Bank, South Carolina (not a town but a community) and to this day you may run into someone that bought food on credit during lean times and still owes granddad money although it has been 50 years.

My Grandfather was raised in church and was devoted to church life. He grew up in Red Bank Baptist Church in Lexington, South Carolina. This is the church that my father has been ministering to for almost 30 years. Granddaddy Buddy loved the Lord and served his church for most of his life, until the early 1970's. It was during those years that Granddaddy was called into the ministry. It was this call into the pulpit that would pull him away from the church that he loved so dearly. He was called to Old Samaria Baptist Church which was deep in the heart of Lexington County, the uttermost for some.

Old Samaria Baptist Church is a small church in the middle of a farming community. It is quite undistinguished to the look and simple in its style. It is not in the middle of the suburbs nor is it close to any coffee shop. At the time they were a congregation of about fifty people, and they had very little to offer any preacher. My granddaddy and Nanny drove for about an hour round trip to get there and never considered it a burden. For over 25 years they never failed to miss a Sunday morning or evening, or a Wednesday night prayer meeting. Granddad typed out his sermons on a typewriter and Nanny prepared her songs because she played the piano for the services, they loved the church and the church loved them. During those years the church grew, but it would never be anything huge. The Lord grew the church through the leadership of my granddad to love Christ more and to love each other more, and on many splendid occasions he would add one to their number by God's grace.

I think about my granddad this time of year because it was July 5, 1995, that he passed away in his backyard of a heart attack. He died on a Wednesday, so just days before he preached his last sermon to Old Samaria Baptist Church, and was preparing his next before the Lord took him home. "Precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of his saints." (Psalm 116:15) Just recently my Nanny celebrated her 86th birthday. Thankfully my family and I were able to be there in South Carolina to celebrate it with her. As I went into her house to wish her a happy birthday, I was greeted with a big hug. I handed her Levi, her newest great grandson, and she pointed out a big bouquet of flowers on the table. She was thankful. The flowers were from Old Samaria Baptist Church. You see, although Nanny has not attended there since my granddaddy passed, they have never missed her birthday. The card simply read, "Thank you for your ministry to us, We love you!"

I am not writing this because my granddaddy was anything special in this world, but because I am thankful. Thankful for the example my granddad left for me in the ministry. I also realize that our Convention is full of pastors just like him. These men are the backbone of who we are. These men do not get the publicity or the book contracts, nor do they have the large salaries or the great retirement packages. They simply take the small congregations and love them, preach to them, and minister to them until they die. Men who are faithful until death to the work of the Lord, and all because Christ is Worthy! Thank you Lord for men such as these! Thank you Lord for giving this young pastor men who followed you as an example!