2008 Essays — 2nd Place The Word of God: Preaching with My Papaw by Bethany Adams

People are crying and waving their hands ecstatically through the air. Some are standing and saying, “Praise the Lord,” or “Amen.” They listen and watch closely as their pastor preaches the word of God. After a while he is so enthralled-like always-he had to wipe the sweat and tears that run down his face. He claps his hands and stomps his feet. He walks up and down the aisle looking into everyone’s intent faces. He only pauses for a split second to catch his breath. This is my papaw at work, doing what he loves: preaching.

My papaw, James B. Adams, grew up in a large family. He has eight brothers and a sister. His dad had been a preacher for most of his life and his mother a teacher. In 1967, my great-grandpa Louis Adams started building the basement of the Community Chapel Church in Eckerty, Indiana. Because he did not live far from the church, it was not a hassle to get there. After having church services there for four years, he built the sanctuary on top. Two of his sons helped him build the church using their own money. The church has a capacity that exceeds 100 people. Besides being a preacher, my great-grandpa worked as a carpenter and a stone mason. Many of the fireplaces around our counties were actually built by him. He also helped build the first communication towers in the county.

The Community Chapel Church was not the first church he had ever built. In 1957, he built and established his first church in Cowan, Kentucky. They named the church the Cowan Chapel Church of the Living God. Grandpa Louis started preaching and became pastor of Cowan Chapel Church in 1957. He also preached at Community Chapel Church in 1967. He continued preaching until 1992. When his health became too bad, he could not carry on with his 38 years of preaching. For as long as 20 years he traveled over 700 miles every month to and from his church in Kentucky.

Before this time, in July of 1968, my papaw was baptized. He was so scared of the water because two times before that he almost drowned. He knew it was an essential part of his life so he did it. A few years after that in 1972, God called upon my papaw to be a preacher. He has been one for 36 years and has loved every minute of it. As a boy, he always loved to hear preaching and admired the men who were destined to preach. He especially admired what his dad had been doing for so many years.

I love what my papaw does because he tells people about the great God we have and that his is able to save souls. The good thing about him to is that he loves what he does as well. He loves to show people that God is the higher power and through him, we can make Heaven our home. Even though his dad was a preacher for 38 years, he did not persuade him to become a preacher. He said, “While I loved and admired my dad’s preaching I was not influenced by it. It was God who called me to preach his word. My dad was an excellent role model and helped me overcome many obstacles.

“When I stand before a congregation and deliver the message God has given me, there is a great joy in me to see the people rejoicing. I know that they too feel the same joy, freedom, and love that I do,” he told me.

Our church, The Community Chapel, is different from all of the other churches I have been to. When you get to the church, you sit down and wait for somebody to ring the bell. When the bell is rung, you get up and shake everyone’s hand. After shaking everyone’s hand, the preacher or my papaw, says it is time to pray. If you want, you could go to the front and kneel, or you can stay at your seat. This goes on until everyone is done praying. After this, we get up and sing songs. That is my favorite part because I love to sing. The final thing we do is listen to the preaching and then pray. I also love this part because I get to see my papaw at work. Many people think going to church is a waste of time, but I think it is a valuable time. I get to spend more time with my family and God.

My family truly believes in God and the messages he sends to us. Years ago, Grandpa Louis, Papaw Barry, and Uncle Steven, went to Kentucky. They were digging up ginseng on a mountain. While they were climbing the mountain, my papaw stopped, to look off the edge. All of a sudden he heard a scream, looked up, and saw his son fall right past him. Steven had fallen off the 50 to 60 foot cliff, or so he thought. There was only a tiny pine tree about the size of your thumb off the edge of the cliff. Papaw looked down and saw Steven holding on to the tree. He then pulled his son to safety. At home at this time Sister Mabel was feeling something bad in her gut. Steven’s name kept going through her head, and she kept praying for him. We all believe that God was sending Sister Mabel a message. He told her something bad was going to happen to Steven; so she prayed and prayed until the bad feeling went away.

To conclude this essay, I would like to say that I really do love what my papaw does. I admire him immensely and hope to one day be a great person as he is. I love to watch him preach the Word of God to everyone. I know that everyone is so proud of him and loves him very much. I am his biggest fan, but still his little girl. I will always remember what he has taught me about God and living right. I love him very much and always will.

This is a poem written by my great-grandma, Lorraine Adams in 1962. I would like to dedicate it to my papaw. This is only one of hundreds of other poems she has written. She had a beautiful talent and this is a very beautiful poem.

My Grandfather
Away back in the eighteen hundreds
Our hills un-marred by man
Saw pure mountain streams go singing by
A blessing to the pioneers of our land.

With forests of virgin timber
Great, towering trees, kings of the land
With a rich, black giant beneath their feet
A future source of wealth for the mountain man.

Among these hills a young man dwelt
And he bought a tract of land
With axe and saw he felled great trees
He squared each log by hand.

One by one he hewed the logs to mark
His broad axe falling true and strong
His finished work was a house well built
One that would weather many a storm.

There he raised his family of daughters and sons
Was a friend and neighbor to everyone
So revered for his kindly ways
He was an “Uncle Jim” to all the young.

Though he and his family all left their life
By the way we all must go
His house still stands as a memoriam for those
Who came and went thru its doors.

My memories of him are good to hold
I can see him ‘neath an old apple tree
Like a saint, with his flowing white hair and a beard,
With his Bible spread open upon his knees.

Our grand-father was a worthy one
Though poor by standards of man
He lived his life by the Golden Rule
And held to his Master’s hand.

Integrity like his and other men
Molded this great nation of ours
Without it, my friend, we can never win
For it’s the righteousness of God that bringeth forth power.