Saints in Sturgis, Mississippi Suffer for Christ: Update for Winter 1991-92
West Columbia, Texas
The plight of the saints meeting in Sturgis, Mississippi has been described in two articles published during the summer of 1991. The deed for this small church's building and property had been kept in the name of the larger Lee Blvd. church in nearby Starkville, a liberal church. The Sturgis church had earlier been placed under the oversight of Lee Blvd. but had learned the truth about the autonomy of the local church and requested that the deed to their property be turned over to them, in keeping with the Scriptures. Instead, Lee Blvd. offered to sell the Sturgis church their own property (!). Rather than go to law, Sturgis obtained the help of brother Thomas D. Keenum, Sr. (an elder and a lawyer) of Booneville in an effort to meet Lee Blvd. on middle ground by offering about half of the $35,000.00 which Lee Blvd. demanded. But while these negotiations were in process, the Lee Blvd. elders signed the Sturgis deed over to the Hwy. 82 church in Starkville. The Hwy. 82 church then offered to sell the Sturgis church their own property (N), but while Sturgis was in the process of raising the $17,000.00 agreed upon, Hwy. 82 sold the property to a denomination for $2,000.00 more (!!!).
The saints in Sturgis lost their property but not their faith in God. They have continued to meet and to worship the Lord in an abandoned service station and bus stop. In the meantime, the response of brethren all around the country to our previous appeals for help in getting a new meeting house for the Sturgis church has been most encouraging. About $20,000.00 has been given by individual Christians to the building Fund. Brother David Haley, an architect in Dallas, Texas, donated his efforts to prepare a set of building plans. Bobby Holmes visited the Sturgis brethren in October of 1991 and found them in good spirits. They approved the building plans. David McCarter of the Sturgis church and Bobby Holmes located an excellent piece of property which the owner was willing to sell for $2,400.00.
The Strugis brethren plan to press forward step by step with the help of God and faithful brethren. The land has been surveyed, a title search done, and other legal work completed to get a clear deed in the name of the church in Sturgis. Brother Keenum is donating his time and legal expertise to complete those steps. Brother Clark Buzbee, evangelist for the sound church in Starkville, has made himself available to help in every way he can. The foundation of the building along with the plumbing and septic tank will be contracted out; brother Buzbee will look after that phase of the work. Brother David McCarter and others at Sturgis will take care of such things as getting a water line from across the road onto the property, getting a culvert in place to allow access to the property, and getting the dozer work done.
As soon as possible, a week will be set aside this spring to construct the building with the help of volunteers who wish to contribute their talents, time, and abilities. By the time this report appears in print, or shortly thereafter, the week will have been selected. Those who are interested in participating should contact Bobby Holmes (214-227-1119 or 298-4466) or Ron Halbrook (409-345-3818 or 345-2501).
The Strugis brethren not only thank God for sustaining them in the midst of their trials but also wish to thank brethren far and wide for the prayers, moral support, and the money which have been offered on their behalf. By diligently shopping around on bids and estimates, and taking into account donated labor, it will be possible to complete the new Sturgis meeting house if another $5,000.00 can be raised. Please remember that these brethren are doing everything possible to help themselves and are not asking us to do anything which they can do for themselves. Though very poor financially, they are rich in faith and willing to suffer and make every sacrifice possible to obey the Lord. They have already demonstrated that godly and faithful character by the things which they have endured.
Those who wish to help financially in completing this effort, already so near to completion, may send donations to Sturgis Church of Christ Building Fund, P.O. Box 418, Booneville, Miss. 38829. Your contribution will be tax deductible. More importantly, it will be blessed by God and will result in many thanksgivings unto his throne in heaven.
Guardian of Truth XXXVI: 8, p. 234