It all started while I was walking to Church one day, a young nine year old boy named Billy Ray asked me where I was going. I said “ To church, do you want to go?” We sat up in the balcony at Pritchard Memorial Baptist Church. The next week he brought a friend. The next week his friend brought a friend and so on and so on.
As time went on we bought a 8 passenger van that I would fill with so many kids it’s a wonder I didn’t get in trouble. I will always remember Kamari sitting in between the seats because he was the smallest. We moved on to a 15 passenger van with the same results. When people ask me how many kids came to church that day my answer is usually, “I don’t know” because there are more kids than seat belts.
Over the years we have added many activities including a club house where we meet after church for fun and Bible study. We also have a mentoring program, Christmas party, Easter dress up, summer Bible studies and weekend activities to reward good behavior. At church we are involved in Youth, Royal Ambassadors, Girls in Action, Basketball and Camp Ridgecrest
Our goal goes beyond sharing the gospel of Jesus Christ to as many kids as we can. Our mission is to demonstrate a way of life that is missing in so many families today by setting an example for others to follow, by showing our kids that there is a far better way of living than trying to look at reality through drugs and alcohol. That love is not found through sex and violence. It is found through a personally relationship through Jesus Christ because things worth living for come through Him.
When I was a kid my dad had to make me get out of bed to go to church. These kids start calling me the day before and early Sunday morning. They say, “Al, come get me first.” I am not a trained minister or even a teacher but I’ve learned to recognize love when I see it. These kids have a love for Christ, a love for learning and a love for me that I have found nowhere else As long as they keep calling, no matter how tired I am, I will keep coming to get them.
There is no greater miracle on this earth than someone accepting Christ as their Savior. You look at the odds and you have to admit it is a long shot. The average of these kids accepting Christ, being Baptist and continuing to go to church is amazing. It is about 70 percent. This is a tremendous testimony to Pritchard because it is a massive undertaking for the Pastors, the Sunday school teachers, the RA – GA – Youth leaders, the Mentors that sit with the kids on Sunday, the Counselors and Directors at camp, the Basketball Coaches and many others who take these kids under their wings and share Jesus Christ with them. To all of you I am truly grateful, and I would like to thank you for all the love you have shown us over the years we have come to Pritchard.