Wednesday, June 26, 2013

The Seventh Day Adventist Church

This article was published in the June 26, 2013 issue of The Polk County Pulse.  The article was written by Michael Reisig.  I sat down for an interview with him last week.

The mission of the Seventh-Day Adventist Church on Fairgrounds Road in Mena is to make disciples of all the people, communicating the everlasting gospel in the context of the three angels' messages of Revelation 14:6-12, leading them to accept Jesus as their personal Savior, discipling them to serve Him, and preparing them for His soon coming.  The Seventh-Day Adventists believe particularly in the soon coming of Jesus Christ and that is essential to their philosophy. The history of the area church goes back over a century, to 1905, when it was first organized by Elder L. W. Feltner.

In 1957, the congregation purchased the old school building in Dallas Valley.  The church met there until 1990 when they moved to the current church building on Fairgrounds Road.  The construction was funded entirely by the congregation and was debt free at its completion.

The church has a pastor that serves several Seventh Day churches in the area, but the Head Elder of the church is Richie Lawry, who has been with the organization for over three decades.  Lawry grew up in Colorado, graduating from high school in 1973 and becoming involved in the auto repair industry.  He met his wife, Regina, in high school and they were married in 1975.

"My dad came to Mena to visit a friend and he liked it so much he ended up buying two houses," Lawry recalled.  "My wife and I visited here and liked it just as well so we moved here in 1981.  Shortly after settling here, I became involved with the Seventh-Day Adventist Church and have been with them ever since."

Within a few years Lawry became an elder and went on to become head elder in 2000.  "To me, and to us here, it is the worshiping of Jesus on the 7th day that binds us," Lawry explained.  "Jesus, when he attended the synagogue, went on the Sabbath.  I want to live my life by the 10 Commandments, and one of those is to worship God on the seventh day.  We are also a church that has a passion for missions and helping the community.  We have a soup kitchen each Tuesday from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m., and anyone and everyone is welcome to come by for a free meal.  We generally provide meals for over 130 people.

"We have also funded and helped build a church in San Pedro, Belize, and funded the building materials for 29 churches in Africa," Lawry continued.  "We work with a company that offers kits to build open-walled churches that can be framed in if desired.  The kits are delivered in large boxes and can be assembled in a day."

Lawry added that his is an extremely generous congregation, willing to help and to give, and although they are not generally a wealthy people, they always give from their hearts.

"If you'd like to see what the Seventh-Day Adventist philosophy is all about, we'd love to have you come out and visit with us and meet the people of our congregation," Lawry added.  "We meet on Saturday mornings from 9:30 a.m. to 12:00 p.m., which includes a Bible study period and a church service at 11 a.m., and as of July 1 we will be meeting on Wednesday evenings from 6:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. studying books of the Bible.

Tuesday, June 25, 2013


X is for Xenia. X is a very hard letter and I usually have to resort to a word with X in it instead of starting with X. I recently learned about a car built in 1938 called the Xenia Coupe. The car was built by Andre Dubonnet to show off his new independent suspension. He used a Hispano Suiza H6C chassis and modified it to include his enclosed coil spring suspension.

Hispano Suiza was a European manufacturer of the finest luxury cars up until 1936 when they turned from the manufacturing of cars to aviation engines.  The cars that they built in the 1930's were considered some of the finest in the world at the time.

For his creation, Xenia, Andre Dubonnet used a Hispano Suiza H6C chassis and chose Jaques Saoutchik to form the one of a kind body. The result was an avante-garde interpretation of the teardrop, and was different from any other cars of it's time. The Xenia's styling was inspired in part by art deco architecture.

Jaques Saoutchik was the founder of a top-class French coachbuilding company. In the 1930s the company became famous for their high quality and often extravagant designs. Here are a few of those designs.

The ABC Wednesday Meme is a fun way to see some great blogs.

Friday, June 21, 2013

Your GPS

When my son was a young boy he belonged to the DeQueen Pioneers Pathfinder Club, and I was a Pathfinder leader.  One weekend I took the Pathfinders on a backpacking trip.  We left in the evening and headed to Alexandria, Louisiana. We made it to Alexandria at about midnight.  There I took the eastbound exit off of the interstate instead of the westbound exit.  I wandered around Alexandria for an hour trying to find the right road.  By the time we found the campground it was 1:30 and we still had to pitch our tents.

I would have loved to have some way of knowing the right way to go to reach the campground.  I'm not the only one who has wished for such a device.  For centuries, navigators and explorers have longed for a system that would enable them to locate their position on the globe with the accuracy necessary to avoid tragedy and to reach their intended destinations.

The answer came about because of the Cold War.  U.S. scientists began working on the GPS system because of an Air Force requirement for a guidance system to be used with a proposed ICBM that would travel on a railroad system. On June 26, 1993, the U.S. Air Force launched a satellite into orbit, completing a network of 24 satellites known as the Global Positioning System, or GPS.

This satellite navigation system was intended for military use and therefore the signals were scrambled, limiting accuracy for civilian use.  On May 1, 2000, President Clinton announced that this scrambling would be turned off. Civilians were then able to use the GPS signals.  Soon there were accurate automotive navigation systems available.  Now smart phones come with GPS capability.

I like using my GPS; we have named her Tink. She tells me when to turn. She tells me what lane to be in. On our last trip to Houston to see our son she took us a new way and saved us half an hour.

So now that I have Tink to guide me, I never get lost.  I always know where to go.  Except---

When we first got Tink we were going to Shady Lake. Now I have been to Shady Lake a number of times, and I know how to get there. When Tink wanted me to turn off of my normal route I decided to see where she would take us. She took us on an adventure. She guided us to Shady Lake over forest service roads that hadn't been traveled on in a long time. There was grass growing in the road. We arrived safely at Shady Lake about an hour later than if we had traveled our normal route.

A couple of weeks ago we went to Dierks Lake to see our granddaughters compete in the Pathfinder Adventurer Cardboard Boat Race. Tink wanted us to leave the highway and travel across dirt roads. We declined. On our way home I was curious as to where she wanted to take us so we followed her advice. After travelling on forest service roads we were within just a few miles of the highway when we came to the Cossatot River bridge that was impassable because there was three feet of water flowing over it.

We had to turn around and go all the way back to Dierks Lake so we could take the paved roads. On our way back to the lake we followed Tink and were stymied three different times by locked gates across the roads.  After an hour we finally made our way back.

Sometimes exploring a new road can be quite an adventure. When you are traveling a rural Arkansas road you just don’t know where you will end up.  Sometimes even a GPS doesn't help.

Have you taken any wrong turns in your life?  Have you been on any wrong roads?  How do you know which road to take?

In Psalms 25:4, the Bible says, "Show me the path where I should walk, O LORD; point out the right road for me to follow".

That sounds like a GPS doesn't it.  God will point out the right road for us to follow.  You can trust him.  You might not always be able to trust your GPS, but you can always trust God.  No matter how knowledgeable you are, you aren't the best choice as navigator. Proverbs 14:12 tells us that, "there is a way that seems right to a man, but its end is the way of death".

The whole point of being a Christian is to have a knowledgeable navigator to guide us through this life to our eternal destination. Why would we decide not to listen to the best guide there is and use our own judgment instead?

Solomon explained it very well in Proverbs 20:24   “how can we understand the road we travel? It is the LORD who directs our steps.

The only reliable GPS for our spiritual life is God’s word.  The Bible gives us direction.  So many Christians I meet seem to want more than the Bible.  The old reliable Bible isn't enough for them and they want something new. Psalms 119:105 states, "Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path".  If David and Solomon understood that it was God’s Word that directs our steps why should we feel that there is not enough information in the Bible and feel the need to supplement it?

I hope that you know where you are going. Have you studied the map? Do you have your spiritual GPS? Do you use it?

I hope that you and I will be able to say what David said in Psalms 73:23-26. “Yet I still belong to you; you are holding my right hand. You will keep on guiding me with your counsel, leading me to a glorious destiny. I have no one in heaven but you; I desire you more than anything on earth. My health may fail, and my spirit may grow weak, but God remains the strength of my heart; he is mine forever”.

Tuesday, June 18, 2013


W is for Water.  As in too much water.  In our area on May 30th there were severe thunderstorms, tornadoes, and heavy rain.  My wife and I were on our way home from Little Rock when we encountered the storms. We stopped in Hot Springs and waited in a Walgreens store for about an hour until the Tornado Watch expired. As we traveled home we saw where a tornado had crossed Hwy 270. Crews had cut trees so that traffic could pass but power lines were still down.  We listened to the scanner and heard about tornadoes in our county. When we reached Mt. Ida we were under another tornado watch, so we stopped at the Dairyette to wait out the storm. I took this video of the heavy rain from the front door.

We arrived home safely, but not before seeing tornado damage near Oden.  The next day we learned that the heavy rains had caused flooding in the Y-city area and that there had been loss of life. In the early morning hours, Scott County Sheriff Cody Carpenter and Arkansas Game and Fish Officer Joel Campora lost their lives in the line of duty. Both men died attempting to save the lives of helpless people trapped in a flooded home.

Last weekend we drove up to Y-city and saw some of the damage that the flood caused.  A gas station was damaged and a church had floated off of it's foundation.

The May 30th flood was not the first time that I have been in close proximity to a flood that caused loss of life.

Thursday evening, June 10, 2010, I traveled to Glenwood to pick up a load of windshields. As I traveled I was watching the weather because there were supposed to be storms on the way. It was raining lightly but I had returned home before the it started raining harder. After I had made it home, the sky turned a green color and we were a bit nervous, but when we checked the TV and internet we found that we were not under any watches or warnings. Soon after I got to work Friday morning, My wife called me and told me that there had been terrible flooding at the Albert Pike Campground with many dead and many missing. The Caddo and Little Missouri Rivers had flooded during the night.

The Albert Pike Campground is located about 45 minutes from Mena over gravel roads deep in the heart of the Ouachita Mountains. Twenty people including eight children lost their lives in the flood caused by up to nine inches of rain that fell in the early morning hours, catching many campers at Albert Pike Campground off-guard.

The park is situated in a valley between two heavily forested hills, near the Little Missouri River. The "Little Missouri" usually has a water level that is so low, it looks more like a creek. People can easily wade across the river. That fateful night the Little Missouri got hit with 8 to 9" of rain within a very short period of time. The water level went from 3 feet to 23 feet from midnight to around 3:00am.

A U.S. Forest Service spokesman stated that it would have been impossible to warn everyone at a the Albert Pike campground that a flood was coming because cell phone service is spotty and there are no sirens in the sparsely populated area. Some parts of the valley are so steep and craggy that the only way out is to hike downstream. Any hikers who had taken cars to the campsites would have been blocked at low-water bridge crossings that are inundated when the rivers rise.

The raging torrent poured through the valley with such force that it peeled asphalt off roads and bark off trees. Cabins dotting the river banks were severely damaged. Mobile homes lay on their sides.

The first time that I was close to a tragic flash flood was on July 31, 1976, while we were living in Loveland, Colorado. A violent rainstorm sent a rampaging wall of water through Big Thompson Canyon. The massive flood killed 144 people. My wife and I along with my family had been picnicking along the banks of the Big Thompson River that afternoon. When it started to rain we packed up and drove home through heavy rain. We didn't know there had been a flood until the next morning.

Events such as these floods always bring questions to my mind. Why do these terrible things happen and why have I been spared? I don't have the answers as to why so many tragedies happen. I do know that ever since sin came into this world through Satan there have been terrible tragedies. I suppose that Adam and Eve asked "why" when Cain killed his brother Abel.

The only promise that a Christian has in this life is that there will be trouble. Our trouble free existence will be in Heaven where God will wipe away all tears.

Why do bad things happen? Because we live in a sinful world. I know that's not the kind of answer we like, but there is no better answer available.

I am eagerly looking forward to the day when "God will wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there will be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away".

The ABC Wednesday Meme is a fun way to see some great blogs.

Sunday, June 16, 2013

Happy Daddy's Day

Today is Daddy's 58th Father's Day.  I know because I have been around for every one of them.  I have spent most of my life working along side my Daddy.  Here is proof.  I learned the auto body trade very young.

How Long Have I Been Sanding

Through the years some of the things that I have learned from my Daddy are the importance of having God in your life, and how to work.  Here are some photos of Daddy working through the years.

30 Model A

Happy Daddy's day.  Some people have fathers, but I have always had a Daddy.