Markers Along The Way – Part III – Hog Calls and Lawyers


On July 16, 2006, we had an amazing time at the Living Stones church about two miles away from the University of the Nations.  Unbeknownst to me at the time, much of it stemmed from a simple prayer of faith breathed by Tara at the beginning of the service.  Tara asked God to give us a tremendous relationship at church that morning.  I had no idea she was praying for that and I all too often don’t pray for such things. But the memory of this reminds me how important it is to seek God in every aspect of life, depending on Him and not on our own strength.

After the service, God led me to make a beeline to the pastor, Bill Barley. God had stirred my heart through the sermon, and I wanted more.  What I learned encouraged me greatly because it turned out that Bill had served as an attorney for 12 years in Florida before surrendering to God’s call to become a pastor. As he shared the story of his journey I definitely sensed that I was beginning one very much the same (having spent 10 years as an attorney prior to making this leap of faith). 

Living Stones sits on the ocean.  It is one-room, built of native rock, has no air conditioning, and is cooled simply by the ocean breezes blowing through the open windows, allowing those inside to enjoy God’s creative genius while worshipping.  They do two services and both are overflowing with people. His sermon this morning was out of Ephesians 1:15-23 and was about believing God’s promises and living them. Of particular note to both Tara and me, separately, was Hebrews 11:13-16, which say:

All these people were still living by faith when they died. They did not receive the things promised; they only saw them and welcomed them from a distance. And they admitted that they were aliens and strangers on earth. People who say such things show that they are looking for a country of their own. If they had been thinking of the country they had left, they would have had opportunity to return. Instead, they were longing for a “better country,” a heavenly one. Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God, for he has prepared a city for them.

I told the pastor where I was from (Fayetteville, Arkansas), and that his sermon, if for no one else in the room, was God’s word for my family that day. His being an attorney before going into the ministry and the sermon he preached alone was cool, but God had even more in store. I walked outside to get some of the fresh coffee and snacks they had prepared. I never got there, though, because……another man was inspired by the sermon and walked up to Bill right after I did.  As is customary in the Southern US, when he walked up he introduced himself and told Bill he was from Magnolia, Arkansas. Given that Bill had just met me, his first question was: 

“Are you here with Bryan?”

Of course, this gentleman from Magnolia, Arkansas had no idea who I was, but he was intrigued that some other guy came to a church in the middle of the Pacific, Big Island, Hawaii. So, the next thing I know I’m just starting to get some coffee outside and I hear “Wooooooo, pig!” For the uninitiated, that sound – woo pig – is a hog call, and hog calls are something we Arkansans do to cheer for our university sports teams.  You can watch one in the embedded You Tube video.  It didn’t really register the first time, but he does it again – “wooooooooo, pig, sooie!”  I suddenly realized that I’m not in Arkansas, I’m hearing a hog call, and most certainly someone else must be from Arkansas and know me…I turn and there’s this huge smiling face, arms extended, walking up to me.  “Hi, Bryan, I’m David Price, from Magnolia, Arkansas!”  Then, guess what?! Like myself and Bill Barley, David is an attorney. He and his wife, Wendy, and their two kids, Jacob and Nick, are there on vacation. They had just arrived on Thursday. They had no plans to go to church while on vacation, but David felt an urge to go Saturday night, and he quickly looked through the church directory and found Living Stones.  He had been looking for a Baptist church. As they glanced through the paper, David saw the advertisement for the Living Stones (a nondenominational church) and that the pastor was preaching on living God’s promises. It compelled him to go there.David and I talked for over an hour, prayed together, and he blessed us with our first donation.  The connections continued to be made because when I told him I grew up in Prairie Grove, Arkansas, he was blown away because his wife’s brother is the pastor of the church in Prairie Grove where I attended for about ten years. Not only had God answered Tara’s prayer for a relationship, he had given us more than one and had confirmed again that we were following His call, blessing us financially, spiritually, and emotionally. 

We exchanged all our contact information and I felt like we were life-long friends.  It was one of about 20 things God did miraculously in our lives during that first month (July 2006) after I quit my job and began our missionary journeys. It is humbling to think about because I know God moves like that all the time, but all too often I let the world choke out my ability to see it.


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