It’s wonderful, truly wonderful, that there are a number of congregations of ours who have not abandoned people in the countryside! In our rush to evangelize the cities (also worthy in itself) we’ve forgotten that people in the small villages and countryside need the Savior, too.
Many point to Paul’s apparent mission strategy of going to the cities, but they forget that the Holy Spirit had Matthew note that Jesus’s Sermon on the Mount (Mt 5-7) was out in the countryside, as well as His teaching and miracles of the feeding of the Five Thousand and the Four Thousand and the Kingdom Parables of chapter 13. He taught that He remains the Lord of the Sabbath in the midst of a wheat field in 12.1-8.
In today’s small villages, contrary to what big city folk seem to think, there are many sins and consequent sociological problems such as depression, loneliness, drug and alcohol addiction, consequent property crime, and all sorts of things that the Gospel can and does cure.
I’ve ministered in this context for 35 years here in Belle Center, after being in small-city (New Castle, PA) and country church (Rose Point RPC) ministry for five years.
Nature and Wildlife in Abundance
Well. What would entice you here to Belle Center? We have amazing wildlife. Turkeys that eat our apples, raspberries, and grapes. Deer and rabbits that maraud our vegetable garden. Squirrels and chipmunks that raid our field corn seed. And mice. Bald eagles over at nearby Indian Lake. Colorful and sonorous wild birds like warbling vireos and obnoxious blue jays. I hate blue jays. And, plenty of bugs and such. We have a fair number of Wild Mosquitos which help keep up the local bat, purple martin, and swallow populations. Lightning bugs this time of year. No ticks, because the local possum population is murder on them. No Domesticated Mosquitos, but we DO have chiggers! We also have skunks and local hog farms to perfume the summer zephyrs. And foxes. They help keep down the turkey fruit gourmets. And coyotes. Besides hogs, people around here produce chickens, beefs, a little bit of dairy, and a lot of sheep and both meat and dairy goats. Crops are (in approximate order) corn, soybeans, winter wheat, hay, and some oats for the local Amish horsepower. It’s very much like Winchester KS in “look and feel”. Ohio is the largest producer of winter wheat and sheep east of the Mississippi. Belle Center is also a center of Peonies and Lilacs. They help hugely in masking the skunks and hogs!
Job Opportunities Nearby
We’re about 60 miles northwest of Columbus. Pro – we’re only an hour or so from Columbus! Con – we’re only an hour or so from Columbus!
There is a fair bit of employment here from Honda and suppliers. Excellent hospital in Bellefontaine, our county seat and “big city” of 14,000. Belle Center itself is around 800. Bellefontaine has a surprising number of good restaurants for its size – local and chains. No Chick-fil-A, sadly. No Cracker Barrel, but we do have a Waffle House. Oh. Also. There’s All Season Recreation™ at Indian Lake and at Mad River Mountain – our local (really! Not kidding!) ski resort. “Ski Ohio” jokes aside, the highest point in the state is in Bellefontaine.
Phil Pockras, Belle Centre RP Church in Ohio