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Preaching in the Wilderness

Preaching in the Wilderness


I’d like to introduce your to Tim and Jill Anderson.


We recently vacationed in northern Michigan. Before we left, we did an internet search for congregations we could worship with during our stay there. We also sent a few e-mails to make sure our information was correct. We ended up meeting with a tiny church in Cedarville on the upper peninsula of Michigan. There we met Tim and Jill Anderson. 


The Upper Peninsula church

Until four years ago, there were no churches of Christ in that region of Michigan. The Andersons had vacationed in the region a few times and saw the need for a church. They began the work with just the two of them, gradually making contacts and starting studies. Though the area is sparsely populated, there are people there in need of the gospel. The church is still tiny -- they have converted a few, though some have fallen away. About a year ago they obtained a small building from a group of Lutherans who were closing down a dwindling congregation. Though the group is so small, and such situations could be discouraging, Tim and Jill were a great encouragement to us and illustrated, in living form, the qualities of those who are devoted to teaching the lost.



Not only did Tim and Jill welcome us to worship, they invited us into their home. Because we had e-mailed them we would be there on a particular Sunday, they were prepared to receive us. They also invited another couple who happened to be there the same day. We were treated to an excellent meal and very enjoyable conversation. Such hospitality was evidently their common practice. Being so isolated, they relished every opportunity they had to spend with others of like faith. They truly embraced the admonition to “entertain strangers” (Hebrews 13:2).



When Tim and Jill moved to the area their first priority was to become good members of the community. Tim talks to everyone. Whether it is the neighbor across the road, or the Amish farmer who’ll take some old chickens for stewing, Tim is quick to start up a conversation. He looks for opportunities to help others and makes it clear what he is here to do. When it came time to get a mortgage on the church building -- something they weren’t sure they could get -- the banker made it clear that the character and reputation Tim and Jill had developed in the community over three years helped get the loan approved.



Tim is not a perfectly polished speaker or Bible class teacher, but he has qualities that are indispensable in teaching the lost -- zeal, knowledge, and love for people. He works tirelessly preparing sermons and Bible class material. He and Jill have three different Bible classes in public libraries across the peninsula with any who are willing to join. Tim runs a Bible information booth at the county fair, maintains the church website, schedules gospel meetings and singings, and much more. Tim and Jill are perpetually looking for and making new contacts for Bible studies.


Self Sacrifice

Tim has not been a preacher most of his life. He is a retired truck driver for UPS. Before moving to Michigan, he was an elder at the church in Valparaiso, Indiana. Rather than settle down near their children and grandchildren, Tim and Jill decided to spend their retirement teaching the lost in the wilds of upper Michigan. They have sacrificed their time, their energy, their comfort, and often their money to attempt to save the lost in their chosen community. Why did they choose to leave a well-established church to go where there was no church at all? They went because they saw the need.


Preaching in the Wilderness

We need more Andersons in this world. Not everyone needs to move to some remote part of the country where the church is nearly non-existent. We are in a spiritual wilderness no matter where we live. There are so many souls around us that need the truth. We can become complacent because the church where we worship is large, well-established, and seemingly strong. But this isn’t about building a large or strong church. This is about seeking and saving the lost.