Church News


As many of you know, this year’s youth choir trip was especially difficult to plan. Josh and I met many times to figure out how to make this trip happen as we navigated through the challenges of 2020. After several adjustments to the plan and keeping a watch on the Covid data, we sometimes wondered if we should keep pushing through or just cancel the trip.

As of July 1, we only had one person who was willing to allow this group to come and serve. Tom Marler, a retired youth pastor in Fort Walton Beach and friend to Shane Monroe and Aundrea Scott, had work for us to do. Josh and I were so excited that we could proceed with the trip! The week before the trip, I was in constant communication with Tom, gathering details, deciding how to divide the group, and hoping we had enough projects to keep everyone busy and feeling productive. I also asked our chaperones to research a few extra projects, just in case. Patti Tidwell was able to use her connections with FBC Panama City to secure two projects for the Tuesday morning of the trip. Kendra Hall reached out to the Salvation Army of Fort Walton Beach to see if they needed help, but our time slots filled up quickly with FBCPB and Tom Marler. We were finally set.

The day before we leave on a trip is always a whirlwind. I went to the office, put together a tour booklet for the youth, and made sure we had everything we needed for the trip. I was so relieved to finally have a plan in place. I really love a plan! I left the office around 3:00, ran a few errands, and headed home to get packed for the trip. At 6:30 PM, I received a phone call from Tom Marler. Unfortunately, he was going to have to cancel all the projects we had planned for Tuesday afternoon and Wednesday. Tom felt so badly about it, but his wife had concerns about the virus and Tom being around a group of teenagers. Tom was so very disappointed, but I told him not to fret, we would be okay. As I was saying those words, I really had NO IDEA how it was all going to work out, but God already knew. He had been working all along, hearing the prayers of a faithful couple who needed help.

After finishing my phone call with Tom, I immediately called Kendra and asked her to reach out to the Salvation Army again to see if they could work us in for Tuesday afternoon and Wednesday. They said yes! Three weeks earlier, Lieutenants James and Abby Milner had arrived in Fort Walton Beach for their very first assignment after completing their training from the Salvation Army. In the midst of all of their other ministry responsibilities, they walked into an enormous warehouse and thrift store in disarray. They had so much to do, felt so overwhelmed, and had been praying for God to send help.

And did He ever! God answered their prayers by working through all of our crazy details to get our group of almost 50 volunteers there to get their store and warehouse in order. When we walked into the warehouse, we felt like we were in an episode of Hoarders. There was so much stuff! But these teenagers and adults were undaunted by the scope of the task before them. You should be so proud of how these youth served the Lord with hard work and cheerfulness.

Isn’t it wonderful to know that God hears us and answers our prayers? Isn’t it amazing how God was working through all the details to get our group to the Salvation Army? Praise the Lord! God is so good and faithful!

Pam Cooke

Youth Choir Director