I Will Wait On You, Lord

October 24, 2023

ATHENS, TEX. – It was in 1979 under Billy E. Wright, the youth director at the time, that the Southwest Region’s singles’ ministries had its origin. Even though the ministry has had other coordinators, Vera Ragland has been at the helm for the last 15 years. One of the features of the ministry is the recently held annual Labor Day Weekend Retreat at Lone Star Camp. The executive body chose as its theme with its corresponding song “I Will Wait on You, Lord.” It tapped Daniel Charles, pastor of the Sharon Seventh-day Adventist Church in Tyler, Tex. and the Emmanuel Seventh-day Adventist Church in Marshall, Tex., along with Wesley McNorton of the Monroe Macedonia and Winnsboro-Maranatha Seventh-day Adventist Churches in Louisiana. Each is realizing his first congregational assignment. 

Over the course of the retreat which began on Friday night and ended on Labor Day, a total of 45 singles registered for the event. Charles brought with him 17-year-old musician, Jay Linthicum, who, along with drummer Tim Porter of Little Rock, Ark., provided our instrumental accompaniment. The daily gatherings held their share of seminars with topics having been submitted by singles from the various conference churches, instrumental and vocal music, prayer, praise and testimonies and even some moments of levity. 

Activities began with Friday’s predicted, but anticipated haystack dinner, prepared by Lulleither Massiah and her culinary crew. From there it was off to the James Black Youth Facility where the various services would be held. Charles’ “Singles Living and Sharing the Gospel” began the series of seminars. Sabbath followed with McNorton’s “Courting vs. Dating: When Is One Ready?” Because no singles’ conference-wide event is complete without a community outreach, following lunch, our processional gathered at Family Peace Project Women’s Shelter where, because of a death in the director’s family, in her absence, we could not meet with the residents but unloaded our generous supply of “wish list” items, including gift cards for the children and adults housed there. “Speed Dating: The Risk of Moving Too Fast,” presented by our own Icye Walker, closed the evening. 

Charles’ seminar, “Living God’s Organized Life,” was our Sunday seminar. Following testimonies and reflections, we were free for the water activities. Table games and some basketball brought the day to a close. On Monday morning, we headed to the gym for the last seminar, McNorton’s “Who Am I in My Singleness?” and the realization that another Singles’ Labor Day Retreat had come to a close. Then, we bid each other and Lone Star Camp farewell until we meet in Oklahoma City in December for our Singles’ Enrichment Weekend. We praise God for Wright’s vision and for Ragland’s leadership. 

By Evelyn Edwards