Well, there’s a first time for everything, and this weekend was the first time I’ve ever tried to do a full weekend of ministry in the middle of a Level Two snow emergency.
Now, for those of you down south who may not know about this whole snow thing, a Level One means “try to stay of the roads, now, it’s getting slick!” Level Two = “stay off the roads unless you have a darn good reason for needing to be out there and call your boss and make sure they’re going to make you come in.” Level Three means “the police will arrest you if you’re out in this unless you are trying to get to the hospital because you’re missing a limb or something.” I may be paraphrasing. But they really will arrest you at Level 3 – no joke.
So, this past weekend I drove out to St. Clairsville, OH on Friday. I was going to be back with the Evangelical Friends Church there, a wonderful church I was with last year as well. It’s on the far east side of the state, next stop, WV, and that is where all the lovely Appalachian mountains start which also means hills and turns and lots of drop-offs next to the roadsides. Friday was completely clear. I did a sound check and headed to the hotel. We had a bright and early start the next day when I would be doing a full three-session retreat for the women and then speaking and leading worship on the Saturday night worship service. Sunday I was doing the sermon and some special music on all three worship services.
Well, we knew it was supposed to start snowing so we gave ourselves extra time to drive back to the church. Boy did we need it. It was crazy when we woke up. We got to the church and about 1/3 of the women registered were there – the rest simply couldn’t get in and I couldn’t blame them. We went on with it anyway, and it snowed all day long. The church is full of windows and I felt like we were in a snow globe. By about 2, we were at a Level 2 snow emergency, and they were debating a 3. We finished the women’s event, and then the big question was whether they would still have Saturday night’s service. In the end, they cancelled, for which I was truly grateful. If it had turned into a 3 while we were there, we were all sleeping on the floor at the church, and I was so happy to drive those unfamiliar roads back to the hotel in the daylight!
It took us about 45 minutes to drive 5 miles to the hotel. We parked, walked across the street to have dinner and went to bed early so we could make sure to be back at church in the morning before it was over. This church normally has about 600 people at each of their three services every Sunday. At the first service I think we had 40 or 50. I couldn’t believe we got there ourselves!
In the end, I was so glad to be back at this church which has such an amazing heart for the Lord, and they were so kind to me. Even if we didn’t have many people, God’s Word still went out and we know that never returns void! But I will be super happy for spring to come – this has been a crazy winter!!