Bob Richardson needed more time.
The southeast Georgia pastor was on his way to the airport after the Southern Baptist Convention Annual meeting in New Orleans and had roughly five minutes to fulfill a promise he had made to a young lady at church to visit her grandparents while he was in Louisiana in hopes of introducing them to Christ.
Five minutes just wouldn’t be enough time for such an important mission.
Then a notification popped into Richardson’s phone letting him know that storms in the area had delayed his flight by an hour and a half, more than enough time for a sit down with Charles and Mary Ann Cooke.
Richardson, senior pastor at Altamaha Baptist Church in Jesup, saw God’s hand in the delay.
Richardson, accompanied by his student pastor, Josh Richards, talked with the Cookes, ages 78 and 79, at their home in the New Orleans suburb of St. Rose on the east bank of the Mississippi River.
Eternity was on their minds. They had met with the local funeral home director a month before to make their final arrangements. They had even ordered boxes for their ashes.
“Let’s just sum everything up,” Richardson said to them. “You’ve made great physical preparations for your death, but you’re not spiritually prepared to die. God has kept you here for a reason so that two strangers would come to your house from Jesup, Georgia, to share Jesus with you.”
Richardson explained the plan of salvation to the Cookes, walking them through pertinent scriptures. Everything clicked, and they prayed to receive Christ.
‘Weight lifted off’
Their granddaughter, Cheyenne Moseley of Odum, Georgia, who had requested the visit, was still rejoicing two weeks later.
“Words cannot express how happy I am, how much of a weight has been lifted off me,” she said, joyful tears streaming. “Looking at it in hindsight, I can see how everything worked out in God’s timing.”
The Lord has been blessing Richardson’s ministry at Altamaha, which has baptized 25 new believers since January.
“I’ve never seen such a move of the Spirit,” he said. “We even had two men come forward to get saved during the Lord’s supper a couple of months ago.”
Richardson said he typically begins gospel conversations with a question: If you could ask for anything, what would it be? He did that with the Cookes.
“I wish there was a way I could live forever,” Richardson remembered Mr. Cooke saying.
“I have been so sick,” Mrs. Cooke said. “I wish there was a way I could have perfect health.”
“That’s when I was able to tell them how they could have perfect health and live forever,” Richardson said.