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Dr. Ray Pritchard Christian Blog and Commentary

A Month in Mississippi

  • Dr. Ray Pritchard
    Dr. Ray Pritchard is the president of Keep Believing Ministries, in Internet-based ministry serving Christians in 225 countries. He is the author of 29 books, including Stealth Attack, Fire and Rain, Credo, The ABCs of Christmas, The Healing Power of Forgiveness, An Anchor for the Soul and Why Did This Happen to Me? Ray and Marlene, his wife of 39 years, have three sons-Josh, Mark and Nick, two daughters-in-law--Leah and Vanessa, and four grandchildren grandsons: Knox, Eli, Penny and Violet. His hobbies include biking, surfing the Internet, and anything related to the Civil War.
  • 2005 Nov 19
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I got up a few minutes after six this morning because Jake was rumbling from his cage in the kitchen. Jake is my brother's one-year-old Labrador retriever. He is big, bouncy, energetic, rambunctious, playful, messy and very loud. Basically he's just like a little boy who wants to run and play and explore all day long. I took him outside where he immediately starting sniffing the leaves. He paused for a moment because we could hear dogs barking in the distance. When we walked to the deck in front of the cabin, we saw mist rising off the lake. A few minutes later I heard a gunshot, which reminded me that this is the first day of rifle season for deer hunting.

Just as I was typing that last paragraph, Jake started barking because a pickup truck pulled up on the gravel driveway behind the cabin. It was Dave Riley, one of Alan's friends, who came by to borrow the ATV. Turns out he was the one whose shot we heard a little while ago. He came out early this morning in search of deer. He was hunting on the other side of the lake, behind the conference center where they are plenty of deer, wild turkeys and a few wild pigs. He shot a six-point deer. He spotted one much later but couldn't get a clean shot. He just left with the ATV to go haul the deer out of the woods and put it in his pickup truck. Marlene asked him to bring the deer by so we could see it.

And that leads me to this. Yesterday marked the end of our first month in Mississippi. It seems a lot longer than that in many ways. Two months ago I had not yet preached my final message at Calvary. Now here we are in a cabin, in the woods, at the end of a gravel road, behind a cattle gate, by a country road that leads to another country road that leads to the Natchez Trace, a few miles north of Tupelo, Mississippi. And it's the first day of deer season in Mississippi and although it's not yet 9 AM, the first hunter had bagged his first deer.

We're not in Oak Park anymore.

Inquiring minds want to know, "How are you doing?" We get that a lot in the emails we receive. I could ramble for a quite a while (a gift I have, as my friends know full well) but I'll think I'll just say that we're doing fine. A few days ago Marlene commented that we didn't realize how totally exhausted we were and how much we needed to rest. It took the better part of a month for us to begin to unwind. Unwinding is not exactly my speciality (another fact my close friends know very well). I tend to get wound up and stay that way for a long time. But I'm finding ways to relax and enjoy life.

We've done a lot of reading in the last month, Marlene has worked on her knitting, and I've ridden my bike on the country roads, though not as much as I thought I would. And we've spent a lot of time together. You tend to do that when you're in a cabin together. And we've found out, not exactly to our surprise but certainly wiht pleasure, how much we enjoy being together. A year ago we determined that we wanted to minister together as a team in the future. I think this particular chapter of our journey is part of God's preparation to make that happen.

What else? I don't spend much time surfing the Internet (not nearly as much as before) because we're on dialup and it takes too long. So you get on, download your email, send your email, and you get off.

We like Mississippi just fine. It's a beautiful part of America and the people here are amazingly friendly. Everyone talks to everyone all the time. People stop you in the store to talk to you. They wave to you on the street. That's amazing, especially after moving from Chicago where if you start waving at strangers, you might get arrested.

On another level, I think the differences are sometimes overrated. If you go beneath the surface, people are the same everywhere, and you find good, decent folks in the Midwest, the South, and in every corner of the world.

So after one month in Mississippi, we're doing just fine. And thanks for all the cards and emails and words of encouragement. If you know you are where the Lord wants you to be, you have every reason to be at peace. And that's why we're glad to be here, in the cabin by the lake, on the first day of deer hunting season.

You can reach the author at  ray@keepbelieving.com. Click here to sign up for the free weekly email sermon.