Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Can faith move mountains? The Youngbloods are about to find out. AVAILABLE NOW!

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Can faith move mountains? The Youngbloods are about to find out.

Can faith move mountains? The Youngbloods are about to find out.
Henry Youngblood is determined to plant a new church in Buffalo Creek, despite seemingly insurmountable obstacles. Meanwhile, his pregnant wife worries about paying the bills. One daughter dreams of a college education she cannot afford, and the other wants nothing more than popularity. It will take a miracle for the Youngblood family’s dreams to come true.

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Copyright 2015© Carlene Havel
Ellen Youngblood kicked off her shoes and nestled into a corner of the sofa. With her husband at a meeting and her daughters doing their lessons, she looked forward to a rare evening of leisure time. She opened a squeaky end table drawer to retrieve a well-worn fashion magazine. Oh, to have the First Lady’s cool, elegant looks! Ellen absently touched her light brown tresses, neatly pulled into a bun. No, a pillbox hat needs a bouffant hairdo to look right. Ellen sighed. A new hairstyle wouldn’t give me Jackie Kennedy’s height. Or sense of style. And I’ll never be that slender. A pastor’s wife ought not to be so absorbed in fashion trends, anyway. The unexpected sound of footsteps on the porch interrupted Ellen’s thoughts.
She threw open the front door. “You’re home early. What happened?”
“The deacons voted down the land deal.” Henry Youngblood came inside and sat hunched forward on the sofa. His handsome face was devoid of all expression.
Ellen closed the door, but continued to stand at the threshold. “I thought they were all in favor.” She crossed the room and sat next to her husband. Putting an arm around him, she asked, “How could this happen?”
Henry exhaled and rubbed his face with both hands. “I don’t know. Brad Roberts did most of the talking.” He loosened his tie and rested his elbows on his knees, chin in hand. “Obviously there was another meeting—one I wasn’t invited to—before we got together tonight.”
Ellen listened to the sounds of pencils scratching in the dining room, hoping her teenaged daughters missed their father’s abrupt announcement. She rubbed Henry’s back, struggling to understand the situation. “What do the deacons want to do? Shop around for another piece of land?”
“They don’t want to do anything,” he said. “Sit tight. Take a wait and see attitude. Die on the vine.” Henry shrugged Ellen’s arm away and removed his suit coat. “I’m so sure it’s God’s will for us to build our new building in Buffalo Creek.” He turned to face his wife. “Where have I gone wrong?”
“Oh, honey. This isn’t your fault.” She picked up his jacket. “Do you want me to fix you something to eat?”
“No. I’m too upset to think about food right now.”
“Let me hang up your coat,” Ellen said. Henry followed her to their bedroom, where she put his jacket on a hanger and smoothed out the wrinkles. Henry never stayed long at the churches he pastored. The usual end of his employment came when conservative church leaders opposed her husband’s big plans. By now, the pattern was familiar. Henry would take on some small, half-dead church and double or triple the attendance within a year. With an overflowing sanctuary, he would begin to push for expansion or replacement of church facilities. The cost of Henry’s recommendations would spark heated controversy, and soon the Youngbloods packed up and moved on.
“Did the deacons ask for your resignation?” Ellen asked.
“They didn’t have to. I gave them notice on the spot.”
She patted his shoulder. “Maybe you should pray about this.”
“I have prayed,” Henry said. “There won’t be anything left of this neighborhood when that interstate highway cuts through here. God is leading us out to the suburbs, to Buffalo Creek. Where there’s no vision, the people perish, Ellen.”
“Did you ask how long we can stay in the parsonage?” She swept her eyes around the room. She would miss her latest home. It was their nicest house since Henry started preaching nine years and four churches ago. A spacious place with three big bedrooms didn’t come along every day.
“We didn’t talk about anything but the land,” Henry replied. “I gave them three months to call a new pastor. If they find someone sooner, that’s fine with me.”
“Maybe this will all work out after everyone has a chance to cool off,” Ellen said.
Henry drew his wife into an embrace and kissed her. “No. I’ve had it with these people. Tomorrow morning, we’ll start packing and get ready to move. Somewhere.”
“What do we tell the girls?” Ellen asked, turning her face to nestle a cheek against Henry’s chest.
“There’s nothing to tell until we figure out what I’m supposed to do next.”
Ellen sighed. “We can’t wait too long. People will ask questions Sunday, and the kids have to be prepared.” The church would probably not offer to pay Henry any kind of bonus or severance, and he would be too stubborn to ask. Thankful she had a little money put aside, Ellen hugged her husband tightly. This is obviously not the right evening to break the news I’m pregnant. There’s still time before I start to show.

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