"I think the thing I find most impressive today is the hunger of God's people for serious things. And I think pastors often get caught up in their daily labors and almost lose sight of how hungry the people are.  So the opportunity that Gilead provides to break away from that pattern and to catch a fresh vision of the hunger of the people is wonderful."

As with everyone who visits Gilead, Margaret Roberts mentioned the quiet, and the opportunity to seek God without the pressure of other responsibilities. However, the comments concerning the Autrys'  hospitality and selfless ministry to others were most revealing of all.

"Their brand of wonderful, gifted hospitality we don't often see," says Roberts.  "A lot of people love to entertain, but they're nervous. Lanny and Deborah, bless them, know how to extend a hand of fellowship and love that is very rare."

Roberts adds that pastors can find great encouragement in seeing people who are serving the Lord with no ulterior motives.  "The Autrys don't gain a thing; essentially, they sacrifice everything they have." He further asserts that very few pastors encounter that kind of person in their daily work. Instead, they usually deal with people who drain them.

"Lanny and Deborah have this great heart to pour into others and take nothing out themselves," Roberts concludes.  "They have no hidden agenda. They are there for the benefit of others."

For additional information, call Gilead at 662-234-4465, go online to www.gileadretreat.com or www.thepastorsfriend.org, or email gilead@direcway.com.

© Agape Press, 2004