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Called to Reach a Community
CALHOUN, Ga.—In January land testifies that it is by the
of 2006, Howard Strickland divine work of the Holy Spirit
began a new pastorate, serving that God connected him with
as the senior pastor at the his- Sheriff Mitch Ralston. Subsequent
toric Crane Eater Community to Sheriff Ralston’s inauguration,
Church, established in 1914 in Pastor Strickland was sworn in as
Calhoun. Pastor Strickland came chaplain of the Gordon County
to his work here with a burden Sheriff’s Office. This appointment
for the community, and because as honorary captain is unique
Pastor Strickland
of this burden, he began serving because he serves not only the
(left) is sworn in
as chaplain at local hospitals as a sheriff deputies of Gordon Coun- as chaplain.
way to connect with families and ty but the jailers at the new
people who are hurting. detention facility as well. expressed his pride in the people prayer that we may continue
Gordon County is an area in Pastor Strickland says he is of his pastorate, saying, “It is an God’s work among His people
vital need of ministry. Here and humbled by such an opportunity honor to be the pastor of this and in the community.”
in the surrounding counties, and is thankful that his church prestigious church and to be Pastor Strickland and his wife,
methamphetamines destroy supports this endeavor. His desire part of its rich history.” He con- Jenny, along with their two chil-
hundreds of lives every year. is that God will make a way for tinued, “As we move forward dren, Nathan and Daniel, reside
Recently, Gordon County elected His people to reach their com- into the first phase of our new in Calhoun. For more informa-
a new sheriff, and Pastor Strick- munity for Christ. He also worship facility, it is our goal and tion, visit
Three Seconds From Death
left, which had a concrete barrier knew we had been literally
and barely enough room for a three seconds from death, but
car to get through. Our car then our vehicle moved without my
CLEVELAND, Tenn.— have expected what was about gently moved back into the lane help. Even if I had been prac-
On a wet, gloomy Saturday to occur. we had originally been traveling ticing missing a car coming
morning in east Tennessee, I was driving southbound at in. For those few seconds, I had toward me to avoid a head-on
my wife and I were on Inter- about 60 miles per hour. My absolutely no control of our vehi- crash, I don’t believe I would
state 75 traveling from Cleve- wife, Joyce, and I were discussing cle. Joyce and I know without a have been able to perfect the
land to Chattanooga. My my dad, reviewing his condition doubt that our guardian angel skill to make the kind of
father, a retired minister, was and wondering if he would be took control of our vehicle and maneuver our guardian angel
being discharged from the OK at his home alone after sus- steered us clear of death. We made for us that day.
hospital after being in an taining injuries in the accident. My wife and I both give
automobile accident. We were Suddenly, coming toward me God the praise for sparing our
on our way to transport him in my lane was an older-model lives on that wet, gloomy day
to his home in Chattanooga. station wagon going the wrong by allowing our guardian angel
As the mist slowly settled way. I just knew this was the end, to take control of our automo-
on the windshield, I became that we were only three seconds bile for those few decisive sec-
acutely aware of the slippery from death. Excitedly, in a raised onds. We know how it feels to
road and the dangerous dri- voice, I said, “Look out, babe!” be three seconds from death
ving conditions, but never in Within a matter of seconds
and be rescued by God’s
a thousand years would I our automobile veered to the
and Joyce
angel. —Hugh Hodges
28 EVANGEL • APR 2009
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