Greensburg Daily News, Greensburg, IN

February 15, 2014

A positive minute: Southern exposure

By Dr. Michael Layne
Daily News

---- — Coping with a Winter like we’ve had this year, causes me to pause and remember my time in Texas.

To be sure, winter in North Texas can be cold and icy also, but the season is shorter. However, I did spend time in the Coastal Bend area and really enjoyed the weather in Corpus Christi. I remember looking out the window one morning in the middle of the winter season to see a robin flying around. I thought, “Spring is upon us.” Then I realized this may well be where the robins spend their winter.

In 1971, I was invited to go with a minister into Mexico to visit with a pastor and minister at the church. I was excited about the opportunity and gladly accepted the invitation.

We drove over to Del Rio, Texas and crossed over the bridge to Ciada Acuna, Mexico and drove about 25 miles South. We soon arrived at a ranchito which had a population of about 200 people.

We went directly to the pastor’s house. We were greeted by the pastor’s wife who was glad to see us and invited us into their home.

Once I entered the house and observed this “parsonage,” I can tell you that I have not complained about any of the parsonages we have lived in.

The house was built out of adobe brick, river cane roof and a dirt floor. It was a single room with two full size beds, one chest of drawers, a picnic table and a small wood burning stove which the lady prepared the meal on.

Soon after our arrival, the pastor and his four sons arrived from having caught some fish. They cleaned the fish and handed them to his wife and she prepared the fish with a cornmeal breading. After she fried the fish, she then took a couple of green tomatoes and rolled them around in the hot grease, then added some small peppers; when they had browned to her liking she mashed the veggies into a salsa.

I must tell you this was my first experience with a habenero pepper. I was not the same after that little experience. We all gathered around the table, said grace and I must tell you that I really enjoyed the meal.

Following the meal we walked down the road to their church which was built with concrete blocks, concrete floor and a metal roof. They believed that God’s house needed to be better than what they were living in.

The congregation gathered and we had a worship service. I preached to this full house of people who were so glad that an “Anglo” would take the time to travel to their humble community and spend time with them.

I felt honored that they had invited me. It was an experience I shall never forget. I would later become a senior pastor of a parich with two congregations, one a Hispanic and the other an Anglo. It was a great experience.

Maybe God may call you to go somewhere out of the ordinary to minister. Be sensitive to the call. Amigos, Que dios te bendiga. Tienen una gran semana. (Friends, God bless you. Have a great week.)

The Most Rev. Michael Layne, PhD, ThD can be reached at 812-614-2160 or