The Press-Dispatch

July 21, 2021

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The Press-Dispatch Wednesday, July 21, 2021 A-3 LOCAL Call: 812-354-8500 Email: or bring in a hard copy: 820 E. Poplar Street, Petersburg 905 Vincennes Ave., Petersburg ©2021 Carrier. All Rights Reserved. 1 Based on AHRI sound level data for competitive products as of 12/19 2 Based on Bryant testing. 3 Limited-time offer. Terms apply. Using variable-speed technology, the Evolution™ 26 Air Conditioner is one of the most advanced, efficient and quiet systems available. To learn how it can optimize your comfort, schedule an appointment today. Up to 50% quieter than competition 1 Over-the-air software updates Up to 400% better humidity control 2 Bryant. Whatever It Takes. ® Evolution™ Air Purifier included with purchase. 3 W H AT E V E R L I V E I N A D VA N C E D C O M F O R T. happens, NEWS BRIEFS Community outdoor Fun Night July 24 Living Faith Church International is hosting a free Com- munity Outdoor Fun Night on Saturday, July 24 at the church (601 S. 9th Street, Petersburg). Events will start at 7 p.m. There will be food, kids' games, cornhole, an out- door movie and fireworks. Everyone is invited to attend. Free back-to-school haircuts, school supplies July 25 Students from The Salon Professional Academy will be providing free haircuts from 2 to 5 p.m. on Sunday, July 25 at the Steve Frederick Memorial Building located at 402 E. Illinois Street in Petersburg. All work performed will be supervised by professors. Backpacks with school supplies will also be available in limited quantities. VFW to have vendor fair and car show August 14 The Petersburg Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 3587 is hosting a vendor fair and car/bike show on Saturday, Au- gust 14, from noon until 4 p.m. Food will be sold by the VFW Auxiliary during the fair. Vendor tables are $25, and $ 30 if electric service is need- ed. The car/bike show entry is $20 per unit, with trophies for first and second place winners selected by people's choice. For more information, call 812-354-9653 after 1 p.m. Rain date is August 28. Hamilton pursued God on his terms, finally found Him on God's terms By Andy Heuring Petersburg Church of the Nazarene pastor Steve Ham- ilton has seen almost every- thing from abject mountain poverty to big city wealth and riots. He has sought God on his terms before finally find- ing God on God's terms. It didn't happen overnight. It happened through a series of events, including hearing a voice as clear as day. Hamilton is the grandson of a West Virginia coal min- er, who lived in a coal mine settlement, got paid with coal mine currency that could on- ly be spent at the coal mine store. A fter living that life, his grandfather forbade Ham- ilton's father from working in the mines. So he did what he knew, which was auto mechanics, while still living deep in the heart of the West Virginia mountains. They lived in St. Albans, near Charleston, W. Va. "He was the original mo- bile mechanic," said Hamil- ton of his father. His father would put the most common- ly needed parts in the trunk of his vehicle and then drive around the mountains look- ing for broken down vehicles in need of help. "He was the kind of guy who could pop the hood of a car and say this is what is wrong with it. He was always right."He would fix a car right on the roadside. "That is how he tried to feed eight kids," said Hamilton. Often, he had to use the bar- ter system to get paid, some- times with a ham or a couple of chickens. "The hills of West Virginia is not a great place to make a living." Hamilton said poverty in his small town was worse than many of the places in A frica they show on television. Eventually, his father took a job building engines with Ford Motor Company in Detroit. He moved the family to Highland Park, Mich., which is a com- munity in Detroit. "Our standard of living was night and day different. We went from having nothing to having everything. It was a culture shock for us." A fter a few years living in the big city, the race ri- ots of the 60s hit. Hamilton watched as the city literal- ly burned down around him. The fires came within half a block of his family's home. "The only thing that saved us was we were across the street from the church." He said the fire was coming down the street, but the fire depart- ment was stationed to protect the church and the protection extended across the street to their home. Hamilton's father decided life in the city was too dan- gerous for his family, so they moved out into the country and he started a mechanic shop. Again, Hamilton saw big changes. Moving from the big city to the country again was culture shock. Except this time it was caused by go- ing from the big city to a small town with one flashing yel- low light. "To go from the big city to the country was more traumatic. Culture shock was pretty strong, but I embraced it and I loved it. Being able to go to the woods was great." He embraced the rural life as a teen, but about the time he graduated, the car indus- try was going through crisis in the late 70s and early 80s. The economy around Detroit crashed with the auto indus- try, as they moved many of their operations from Detroit to Mexico. Hamilton decided he would pursue a career in the military as a way to get away from the poor economy. He served 20 years in the Air Force from 1980 to 2000. He served in Serbia and Kosovo, as well as in Honduras. "I was a peace time warrior. I had to deal with inspections and polished boots. These guys today deal with war," said Hamilton. During young adulthood, Hamilton had an accident that severed a toe and part of his foot. "When you have a trau- matic incident, it causes you to reflect on life. I wondered if that accident hadn't just maimed me, but killed me, where would I be? Would I be in heaven or hell? " "That accident was a cata- lyst for me to reevaluate my re- lationship with God. Over the next few years, I continued to grow in my faith. I realized God was calling me to more and that he had been calling me to more for a very long time," said Hamilton. A fter getting out of the mil- itary, he landed in Indianapo- lis and was working for a tele- phone tech support center in downtown. He worked the eve- ning shift and typically got off work at about 10 :30 p.m. He typically parked about five blocks away and took a shut- tle to his car. But this night in 2001, he missed the shuttle. As he was walking through the dark parking lot, a little be- fore 11 p.m., to get to where he parked his new Goldwing motorcycle under an overpass, "Everyone else was gone. The parking lot was empty. I heard a voice as clearly as we are talking now," said Hamilton. It told him to put his hel- met on. "I kind of panicked a little. It is 11 p.m. and in downtown In- dy in July. I thought, am I go- ing to get beat up out here? " So he got on his motorcycle, turned the headlight on and rode around in a circle, shin- ing the headlight out across the parking lot. But no one was there. "As I left the parking lot, this calm came over me. I felt or sensed everything was go- ing to be okay." A few miles down the road, on his way home, a woman failed to stop at a stop sign. He crashed into her vehicle and flew off the motorcycle. "I landed head first on the road. Had it not been for my helmet ,I would have died that night." His head survived, but his wrist was shattered, as well as bones in his right hand. So after that, he got the sense the Lord was telling him he needed to choose. "Was I going to walk away from God or was I going to follow him? He was confronting me with am I going to answer my call." He said he got a new pastor and he talked with him. His pastor "led me through the sinner's prayer. I got saved. He baptized me and I accept- ed Jesus Christ as my Lord and Savior." Hamilton's call into the min- istry was also a process. "I went through about five years of denying that God wanted me to pastor. I spent quite a bit of time trying to serve the church in every other role. I kept making myself too busy filling my life with tasks and other responsibilities." He said he ran the sound system and the projection sys- tem. "I was that guy if some- thing needed done, they would call me and I would help them get it done. God just keep nudging me and prodding me to serve him in a different ca- pacity." "Finally, one day I remem- ber just breaking down and I turned to prayer. I asked the Lord, 'What do I need to do? ' I had tried to compro- mise with the Lord and make a deal with him. He wanted me to surrender and do what he wanted me to do. I was in our bedroom and went out on our back porch. I surrendered to him on our back porch. I said, 'if you want me to do this, will you make a way where I was unable to make a way? ' I told him I would serve in any ca- pacity or any way he wanted me to serve." "I asked him to give me strength and to give me an assurance and that is what he did." Hamilton got up from that prayer and called his pastor. "He said he had a cancella- tion, and I could come in and talk to him right now. I got in my vehicle and called my wife while I was on my way to the church." His wife told him if that is what he has to do, she would support him. "When I arrived at the church, I prayed God would in- ject his will upon the situation and my pastor would be recep- tive to the conversation I need- ed to have with him." "When I went in to talk to him, he affirmed my call. He said had been sensing it, too. He set up a meeting with the church board. Many of the members said they had sensed it as well." They issued Hamilton a lo- cal license. "I called the col- lege to get the right paper- work and next thing I know, I was enrolled in Indiana Wes- leyan." "In Church of the Nazarene, we like to talk about our entire sanctification. That happened in the church parking lot when I stopped and prayed before meeting with my pastor. I just totally surrendered my heart and everything to God. I said he could have it all. I wasn't going to do like a lot of people who want to compartmental- ize God in their life. I had to stop living with reservation. I wasn't going to do things with my time any more. I was go- ing to follow him in his time." "When I did that, this calm came over me and sense of . . . I have described it as a swarming presence. I felt the Joye and Steven Hamilton READER GUIDE Subscriptions: Change of address: subscribers changing addresses will please give old address as well as new one along with phone number. We cannot guarantee prompt change unless this is done. 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(USPS 205-620) Contact us: Phone: ..........................................................................812-354-8500 Fax: .............................................................................. 812-354-2014 See HAMILTON on page 6

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