Acts 16.9 "And a vision appeared to Paul in the night; There stood a man of Macedonia, and prayed him, saying, Come over into Macedonia, and help us."
I had been seeking God's will for service when I read the above scripture. As I went to prayer and asked God to open the door of opportunity, I had the blessed assurance that this prayer was to be shortly answered.
A couple of nights later, I went to sleep and had a dream. In this dream, the congregation of a small country church was holding a business meeting. They had recently been sent a new pastor, but his circuit prevented him from coming to preach every Sunday. The members of the church desired to hold services every Sunday but were without a preacher. In my vision, I recognized some of the members of the church who had already gone on to be with the Lord. One of them stood up and said, "Why don't we call Irvin and ask him to come preach every second and fourth Sunday?" The whole congregation agreed. I awoke from my vivid dream and the Lord spoke to me and said, "The dream is real, they'll call you to come preach so accept the mission."
I knew many members of the church...my brother-in-law, the Rev. Joe Thigpen, had been co-pastor there for 25 years. I had filled in for him several times and had helped keep up the cemetery for several years. The people there were good, kind-hearted folks who loved their community and their church. Many times when I was mowing the cemetery, one or more people would stop by to pay their respects to their dear departed ones. This was a great opportunity to minister to them and pray with the ones who were troubled. I've seen the Lord work in lives through this experience.
About two weeks after my dream, one of the church members called me and said, "We've had a meeting in the church and everybody is in agreement. If you could, would you come on the second and fourth Sundays and preach for us?" I replied, "Yes, the Lord has already revealed to me that my next mission would be preaching for you." I ministered there for four years and the Lord greatly blessed that little church, both spiritually and materially.
There is nothing like a little white country church set on a rolling hill that reminds you of the simple fact of the Christian faith. God is love. During my time there, several of the older members went on to be with the Lord. I had the privilege of preaching their funerals and I can still recall the sounds of their voices singing, "When they ring those golden bells for you and me."
Psalm 133.1 "Behold, how good and how pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity."