When we gathered together as a congregation to worship the Lord at Rock Church (Tarboro, North Carolina), no one even thought about leaving the service early. God’s abiding presence would come. A visible cloud of glory would actually descend and rest over our assembly, revealing the manifest glory of God. I distinctly remember hearing extra instruments being played; instruments our simple orchestra didn’t have. Violins, cellos, and harps were played in sync with those at hand. A heavenly choir would also join their voices as we stood in His presence. It sends chills down my spine even now as I think about it.
There were no smoke machines or disco lights in those days. Instead, there was a 30-minute prayer service available for all those who wanted to prepare their hearts for the main service. Ours was just a simple country church located in the middle of the countryside. Our building was actually a barbecue restaurant before it was purchased. It was prophesied, however, that our church would become a table in the wilderness. That prophecy was fulfilled when Rock Church received an overflow of youth who drove thirty miles from East Carolina University in Greenville to see what God was doing in that place. Two of those college-age people were Prit and myself. We, along with many others, were swept up in the revival that was taking place. Little did we know that we would meet, marry and be launched to the mission field from this little church. We were just two hungry souls looking for more of God.
Thirty-one years later, we are raising up churches and schools of our own and maintaining a Bible institute from which many have graduated. Souls are being rescued and disciples are being grounded in God’s Word. Leaders are also being trained up to pastor and raise up the next generation. We’re feeding hungry children and lifting a burden off their families. There are no smoke screens, only a dirt floor and a tin roof which is always in need of repair. But the glory comes down here too, another overflow from our time spent at the little church in the wilderness. I thank God today for such a wonderful heritage and a pastor who could not speak of Haiti without weeping. Somehow, this little congregation always kept world missions at the forefront.
Prit and I taught in the church’s school (Rock Christian Academy). Every month, it seemed we were having to trust the Lord just to help us pay our bills and put food on the table. At times, we would leave a church service only to find bags of groceries in the back of Prit’s pickup. God always provided, even though they were tough times. Little did we dream that one day we would be praying monthly for thousands of dollars to sustain this ministry. Yet, here we are.
Thank you, Pastors Jim and Chris Oborne for preparing us for a ministry that exceeds anything we could have imagined. Thank you for teaching us deep truths from God’s Word. Thank you also, for being willing to plant us into another vineyard when it was time to say goodbye. We’ll never forget the little church in Tarboro and the table in the wilderness. Although pastors have come and gone, Rock Church remains one of our leading supporting churches.