Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Adjusting to Life in Petersburg

Note: The following article has been submitted for publication in this week's Petersburg Observer.

I want to say thank you to the community of Petersburg for welcoming our family into town. You have received us warmly and have helped us settle in. Wish I had room to tell you how the First Baptist Church has gone out of their way to make our move smooth. We are grateful for the kindness and love they’ve shown us already.

I’ll also say that the school administrators and teachers have been helpful in getting our boys transitioned into a new school. I hope it’s OK to send a special shout out to Mr. Kesler at PORTA Central. He and I are both products of Robinson High School from the 80’s – long hair, short basketball shorts and all. Go Maroons!

Other local pastors and just plain old everyday people have also dropped by or sent a note in the mail to welcome us. Even Petersburg’s “Citizen of the Year” brought over some food on the day we moved in. I think it was Judy’s casserole that sealed the nomination.

On top of all that, Petersburg, you truly have a beautiful town. The picturesque view that greets traffic coming in from the east is nothing short of brilliant.

We’ve been here since mid-August and have enjoyed the various events, activities and businesses Petersburg offers. Compared to the rural farming village from which we came, we’re actually quite impressed with such a smorgasborg of eating options in town. The nearest Pizza Hut or Dairy Queen was about 20 miles away. The nearest Leo’s Pizza or Gillmore’s was about 230 miles, so it’s like we’re big city all of sudden here. Sure beats the QuikMart gas station sandwich – no offense to Casey’s or Ayerco.

By the way, I knew we were arriving in the world when I saw on the Petersburg First Baptist Church website that they were located “one block west of the only stoplight in town.” The only lights in our entire county were the flashing stop sign at the crossroads, and the strobe light flickering from one of the taverns on Saturday nights.

Now, before all the warm and fuzzies fade, I think it’s important to mention the name of the town from which we moved. It’s Ridgway. While that may be of no significance to most readers, some of you have already recognized the connection and that’s why your brow has furrowed and your upper lip is snarled.

Honestly, I wasn’t there in 1973, and I had nothing to do with the fact that the Ridgway Eagles defeated Petersburg PORTA 85-79 in the state basketball tournament. So please don’t hold that against me. I am bound however by the folks in Ridgway to be sure to let you know that they said “Hi.”

Seriously, that was almost 40 years ago. You have gotten over it, haven’t you? If you ever do go to Ridgway, be sure to see the large painted mural on the side of the old grocery store building reminding its residents and visitors alike of their 1973 championship season.

So anyway, thanks for giving us a kind reception into Petersburg. I truly believe the Lord has brought us here for a purpose, and that somehow He’ll use us to glorify His name, to strengthen His church, and to reach our neighbors and the nations with the gospel of Jesus Christ.

If you’re looking for a church home, come see us at Petersburg First Baptist Church. Jesus calls His church “the light of the world” and compares her to a city on a hill that cannot be hidden. That’s who we are and want to continually live up to be. Join us for Sunday morning worship at 10:45. We’re pretty easy to find, just one block west of the only stoplight in town.