The first time I moved to Front Royal, VA it was due to a company transfer. (All together I transferred sixteen times in twenty-four years). After settling in Front Royal I volunteered a lot of time to what was then a new ministry, Fishnet Ministries, Inc. Fishnet produces Christian teaching and music festivals at their Front Royal location. In three years I transferred once more and did not get to work with Fishnet again until after I retired (was paid to leave).
From March through August 1993 I commuted each weekend from my home in Ohio to Front Royal in order to volunteer with the ministry again. That was when I met Margaret who was working full-time for the ministry as Secretary to the President, Larry Andes. The Lord put Margaret and me together, with help from our mutual friend Donna Ralls (Larry’s sister-in-law and one of my coworkers when I first lived in Front Royal), and we were married that August.
I “bartered” for Margaret by agreeing to work full-time with the ministry for one year in exchange for her. Larry agreed. (I figured one year was a bargain versus the Biblical seven years plus it did not involve any sheep. I also checked first and found out that Margaret’s older sister was already married.) Margaret and I continued to work at Fishnet another fourteen months and then the Lord moved us on to other ministries.
Last Saturday Fishnet held a 35 year reunion. We drove down Friday night and were “adopted” by Donna Ralls and her husband, Bill. They let us stay at their house. (That is where I had stayed during my weekends in 1993). We had a blessed visit with Bill and Donna.
We were at Fishnet all day Saturday for meals, fellowship, worship and praise. The day’s activities included watching videos of ministry activities throughout the 35 years. There were also times for attendees to share favorite ministry stories. Sunday morning we returned for the morning church service. Bill and Donna then took us to lunch at Cracker Barrel in Front Royal before we headed home.
All in all it was a great weekend. What a blessing to fellowship and worship with old friends. Darrell Dement, who led the worship and praise sessions, is an anointed musician. Saturday night, after the sessions were over, no one wanted to leave and we continued singing and praising for another hour. The Holy Spirit was ministering to each of us.
The main entrance to the Fishnet Ministries offices and the Fishnet Christian Center church.
The weather was gorgeous Saturday!
Memorabilia from past events
Pastor Larry Andes
Margaret, Jane and Jim “Dad” Stevens (Larry’s in-laws and Donna’s parents)
Darrell Dement, who motorcycled all the way from Florida,
led worship and praise Saturday and Sunday
There were lunch and diner buffets for our meals
We had a “Fishnet” cake for desert after diner.
The restaurant where we had lunch Sunday afternoon.
(Rich Hosea, this picture is for you).
Donna Ralls and Margaret on the restaurant porch.
Bill, Donna, Margaret, and me at lunch Sunday
In His name,
Chaplain Sam Houchins