|Welcome to Lewis Co, Missouri!|
It's typically spoken, referring to the many old-enough-to-retire farmers who are still farming. They refuse to sell the farm and move to greener, err...work-free pastures. They are Williamstown tough!
It is true. James excels at nursing home minsitry and not long after we moved here, he commented on the lack of men in the nursing home. There simply aren't many of them residing there. Why? Because they all die on the tractor, then their sweet wife will sell the farm and move into assisted living or whatnot. They are Williamstown tough!
But it's not just the men. Ladies, too! Aunt Maxine, at age 95, still lives at home alone and don't you dare mention the nursing home. Mrs. Mable, at age 83, just now stopped mowing her own yard. Mary Ann, age 70, helps her husband Jim, age 74, work the farm every single day: feeding cows, driving tractors, bailing hay, whatever needs to be done.
|Hudson feeding a bucket calf with Mary Ann|
Norman has suffered with chronic back pain for years. Doctors basically refused to do surgery due to his age and have had him on an ever-increasing dose of pain meds. Just less than a month ago, he finally talked his doctor into doing surgery. Guess what they found when they opened him up? He had a broken back! He had been walking around, farming no less, with a broken back for years! A broken back people! He is Williamstown tough!
But this toughness does not stop with work ethic and physicality. It also has spiritual implications. We're learning that agrarian cultures are very independent and often agnostic. You'd think working with nature would be led to an understanding of God. But the truth has been exchanged for a lie and so many of our neighbors are simply not interested in hearing about Jesus or his church. They are do-it-yourself people who honestly feel they can earn their way to heaven with their ethics. It is heartbreaking.
|Looking down State Hwy E in Williamstown - all abandoned buildings|
|Corn, corn everywhere|
|Providence Baptist Church|
We have decent numbers at our church. We average around 30 for Sunday School and 40 for church, which is impressive in a community of less than 100 people. But there are so many here that don't know Jesus and don't care. Perhaps because it is a small town and we've had the chance to meet every single person, multiple times, in our almost 3 years - our heart breaks for our neighbors who are lost and dying. We know and love these people.
Pray for Williamstown. Pray for our community - that they will not be so "tough" but be humble enough to admit their need for a Savior. Pray for us as we minister to them, that we will point them to the Creator of all things, the One True God who is not impressed with their toughness
but desires their faith and trust.