My family and I have spent an entire year in what might be the sweetest place we've ever lived.  June of last year marked our first appointment in the delta and a new experience for us all. You've all been to a lot of trouble to help us feel at home. If home is where the heart is, then we are at home in Phillips County.

Much of what we've come to love is your natural way of being a community. The Marvell Main Street Festival-Levon Helm Downhome Jubilee was stupendous. Some of my friends from Paragould traveled to Phillips County to compete in the Cornhole Tournament but placed second to a couple of hometown boys. The Tri-County Fair was quite enjoyable too, notably since our baby-girl won her age division in the Miss Tri-County Fair Pageant. She was in her glory at Christmas when she wore her crown and sash riding in the Ram! She will never forget that parade.

Phillips County has enriched our lives with so many new relationships. Who would have dreamed that a trip to David Webb's Barbershop could be so informative or prove to be such an exceptional place to meet the community? Miss Carrie Webster is the go-to-gal to keep those of us with plenty of hair in beautiful style. Fuller's Beef has graced our table, we've burned Turner's Oil and experienced much the delicious fare offered at the Carousel. Bartlett Tire has kept Black Beauty (Sam and Penny's pet name for the Ram 1500) rolling down the road dependably. Discount Ag is our preferred purveyor for repairs, projects, and storage.

My kid's favorite Sunday lunch is Double Quik chicken. I've come to love EZ Mart breakfast biscuits, and BFT plate lunches. Whenever we are in the mood for a working man's burger and fries, Southern Outdoors is top drawer. Without a doubt, August Moon is Ms. Penny's favorite place for vegetable fried rice. My favorite is a toss-up between a fried chicken and the pot roast plate lunch. My first ever Mexican Shrimp Cocktail was at the Patio, now that's all I ever order.

Since we have a fourteen-year-old who's a novice driver, we learned a lot about the backroads in Phillips and Monroe counties. It is not at all uncommon for us to frequent Turner, Connell's Point, Poplar Grove, Holly Grove, Rondo, Aubrey, Hicks, Trenton, Blackton, Postelle, Elaine, Lakeside, and Lexa. With the help of some good friends, I've driven the High-road, the Low-road, and the White River Levee. One of life's greatest pleasures is to drive the backroads, surveying crops, looking for deer, waving at people we know, and dodging an occasional pothole. Our family has fished at Bear Creek Lake, Storm Creek Lake, and Old Town Lake. Donovan and I have hunted your fields, fished your ponds, and admired countless sunsets.

People show up all the time with tomatoes, corn, squash, green beans, and my personal favorite smoked pork butt. I never dreamed of spending more than ninety-nine cents on a bottle of barbecue sauce until I sampled Shadden's. You know I did not know where Cypress Corner or the Holy Grail, Jones Bar-be-que Diner, even was until one of my cross-county tours with Mr. Lannie Travis. I've yet to get there early enough to get some award-winning smoked meat, but it is on my bucket list. The Delta is the premier place for barbeque. Let me tell you all that Lee, Shelton, and Bruce are all seasoned hands with a smoker. I will likely need at least two or three more samples before I can even begin to decide who has the best pulled-pork.

Marvell Academy not only educates my kids, but they are also molding them into better, more compassionate people. We look forward to returning to school, football this fall, and basketball to follow. I hear rumors that we may have a budding cheerleader in our ranks as well.

Mostly what I love the most is the hardworking, kind-hearted, sweet southern charm that is the hallmark of Phillips County.  It feels like a match made in heaven to me.  Well, with the single exception of a mosquito population that has to be the proving ground for the next world-class insect repellent.

Jesus and his disciples were from small towns. Places like Capernaum, Nazareth, Bethsaida, and the green fields of Galilee. They, too, had a provincial drawl that set them apart as Galileans. While small towns are not the defining mark of God's people, there are certainly plenty of God's people still in small towns. It never ceases to amaze me that a few hundred people, many from the country, became a part of a move of God that changed the world. God is still in the business of changing lives communities, and the world, one person at a time, in places large and small. Living in Phillips County is not without its challenges, and it's far from perfect, but it's home. Thanks for having us, keep the faith, and may God continue to watch over and bless us all.

                                                                                                                                                                                    Pastor Kenny