Thursday, January 29, 2009

Broadus X - DPP

I was attending Bible College at Trinity Bible Institute in Jamestown, North Dakota, and had completed my Sophomore year. The Institute had just closed a deal to buy the Ellendale Branch of the University of North Dakota, and decided to move the school to Ellendale. Audrey and I rented an insect infested house in Ellendale to hold it for the the fall semester. Then we went on a tour holding children's crusades. One of the places we held a crusade was a Hill City, SD. We were there during the Rapid City flood. Pastor Ron Masters lost two of his children in the flood, and almost lost his own life. Miles City, MT is another place we held a children's crusade. Pastor Gradey Chenny asked us if we would be interested in starting a new church in Broadus. We were.

After meeting with the presbyters at Hungry Horse, MT we were assigned to begin this new church. We drove from Hungry Horse to Broadus and rented a house. We went back to Jamestown, loaded all our things into a four foot by six foot Uhaul trailer and moved to Broadus. We moved into our house. Then we were warned that this was not a very good house in the winter, so we rented the house from Mr. Rogers and shared it with the skunks.

The first several weeks were tough going. We were assured that there was a core of people who wanted this new church. But none of them ever showed for services, or even contacted us. We were pretty discouraged and lonesome. Then one Sunday, two children from across the street came to Sunday School. That's all we had for about the next four weeks. Then, all at once people began to attend and our front room church filled up. We were elated. But there is always someone to spoil the fun.

One day we were visiting the Grants. The Grants were not faithful attenders. While there Mrs. Grant told me a story about someone who had come to the town years earlier, but he couldn't make friends because he was so different from the rest. She called him a DPP. Some might call him a DP, or displaced person. I caught the drift. The story was her way of telling me that I was a displaced person. Her message cut to the soul. I wouldn't believe it at the time. Why would God send a DP to a mission field? Why would district presbyters add their approval?

Many years later, looking back, I can see many of the elements Mrs. Grant probably saw. I was a Minnesota boy that grew up in a small city. I wore city fashions and had the haircut of the day. Most of us remember the Beatles. My only suit was a double breasted brown polyester jacket with brass buttons. I wore bell bottom dress pants and wingtip shoes. I topped this off with a paisley necktie. I looked like a blonde mop-headed Beatle. I didn't know what western cut clothes were. 

The people who attended the church wore western cut suits, cowboy hats, cowboy boots, and bolo ties. Others wore bibbed overalls with greasy pliers hanging out of the pockets. And others wore blue jeans and flannel or denim shirts. I had no idea what Rocky Mountain Oysters were. I declined to eat them because I told them I didn't like oysters.... and.... I didn't. I still don't. 

Needless to say, there was a big divide in our cultures. I liked their way of life but I definitely was not one of them. Perhaps I was a DP. That just shows you that God can use whoever He wants to accomplish his purpose. There is still an Assembly of God church in Broadus. The initial group that I met with was the beginning. I am not listed as the founding pastor, but I was there at the beginning. Today, they meet in a building just south of Broadus. I do not know how many attend. But this DP has moved on. 

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