I always love it when an older minister submits a story reminding us of God's faithfulness as he delights to work in the church. Below is such a story, a guest post from Robert McFarland, who was ordained a minister in the Reformed Presbyterian Church of North America nearly 60 years ago. He served pastorates in Rose Point (PA), Park City, Quinter, and Topeka (KS). He also served as the RPCNA’s Director of Educational Services and Youth Ministry, and the Midwest Presbytery’s Regional Home Missionary. He has been married to Georgia for 60 years, and they have three children, seven grandchildren, and one great grandson.
As we have opportunity let us do good to everyone and especially to those who are of the household of faith." -Galatians 6:10
About 8:00 on a warm summer evening in Western Kansas, the telephone rang and a dear lady, a member of our congregation, was eager to pass on some information to me. I had been pastor of our congregation in the small community of Quinter, Kansas, for several years. She knew of my interest in young people, and asked me if I knew that a group of about 60 Christian college students from Taylor University in Indiana was staying in our high school gym for the night. They were spending that night sleeping on the wrestling mats and enjoying the opportunity to stretch their muscles after riding their bikes that day over 50 miles across the Kansas prairie.
Wandering Wheels, a group of college students, was at that time under the leadership of Taylor University football coach Bob Davenport – an All American football player from UCLA. I had heard of Bob Davenport, for his playing days at UCLA were the same years I was putting on the football uniform at Geneva College. So I rode my bike over to the high school to see how they were getting along. I introduced myself as pastor of the local Reformed Presbyterian Church and asked Coach Davenport how the day was going.
Bob shook my hand, smiled, and said “Thanks for asking, Pastor! We have a problem. Our supply truck was driving across Kansas today in 100 degree heat, and we were unaware that the large container of butter had melted, turned over and poured all over our breakfast supplies. We have to feed some hungry young men breakfast at 6:30 a.m. tomorrow and we have no supplies.”
I reminded myself that, in our small community, no stores were open after the 6:00 p.m. whistle sounded from the water tower. But as I looked at the tired, suntanned riders, who had just finished bicycling over 50 miles across Kansas, I could see they needed help. Their destination of the Pacific Coast included another long ride the next day.
I told Coach Davenport if they could all be at the Reformed Presbyterian Church at 6:30 a.m. the next morning there would be breakfast: scrambled eggs, sausage, etc. He said, “Boys, we have just had an answer to prayer!” And in the high school parking lot, surrounded by the young men and their bicycles, he prayed to the Lord a prayer of thanksgiving.
The end of summer daylight was barely with me as I hurried home. I told my wife about their problem and the promise that I had made to them. Although her first response was “You said what?!!”, she dropped all she was doing and we went to the telephone.
The Church of the Brethren agreed to furnish sausage, all that we needed.
The Dunkard Brethren offered to make biscuits, enough for seconds.
The Methodists agreed to help prepare.
Waldo McBurney brought honey from his fresh supply.
The Roman Catholic (who managed the IGA grocery) agreed to open the store and bring us all the eggs we needed – no charge! As well as allowing us to purchase our milk and juice.
Oh, and did I mention, that when our high school girls heard of the need to serve the young men their food, we had more volunteers than we needed.
So from 5:30 a.m. the next morning we worked to set up tables and the cooks were busy getting the food ready. At 6:30, 55 hungry, tanned bicycle riders pulled into our church yard. At 7:30, after a full breakfast, quite a crowd had gathered outside the church to see the group before they left. The young men sang and shared their testimonies. By 8:00 they rode off to the honking of horns and cheers. A community of people had been blessed in serving. In his goodbye to me, Bob Davenport said, “These boys will never forget this church and community. You know, I believe Jesus Christ Himself has been left out of many church’s blessing because Jesus had not been placed on the church calendar.”
But now “The Rest of the Story”.
Move ahead several years...I was a visiting preacher at Southside Reformed Presbyterian Church of Indianapolis and was invited to be a guest in one of the elder's homes. As I introduced myself, I mentioned that I lived in Quinter, Kansas. My host said, “I was riding on a bicycle with Wandering Wheels from Taylor University, and we went through Quinter.” He said that the riders talked for days about that church that fed them breakfast with no warning - their first introduction to a Reformed Presbyterian Church. He said that because of that breakfast and the fellowship of those preparing it, he and his wife later made the contact with the Southside Reformed Presbyterian Church. They raised their family in that congregation and, in due season, their son entered the Gospel ministry and now serves as a Reformed Presbyterian pastor.
Some might say that a hot breakfast was not worth the late hours and extra work of those in Quinter. "Let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up. So then, as we have opportunity, let us do good to everyone, and especially to those who are of the household of faith" (Galatians 6:9, 10).