A friend recently asked me if I had any collections when I was a kid. A better question would have probably been, what did I not collect when I was a kid.

As a child who was out of shape for many years and struggled with self-image issues, I turned to amassing collections. You name it, I collected it: rocks, coins, pocket watches, Beanie Babies, G.I. Joes -- the list is lengthy. Perhaps my favorite collection, however, is still growing. I have collected shark’s teeth in a glass Dr. Pepper bottle since I was in middle school.

Apart from not having aching knees, one of my favorite childhood memories is combing the beach for hours on end looking for shark’s teeth. I have preferred techniques and territories along the Grand Strand. Few activities rival a slow summertime Sunday afternoon strolling along the shore hunting these often-overlooked antique specks in the sand. However, it is one of the past times I plan on when given the opportunity.

One thing I have been learning, however, is that God has a way of disturbing our plans, even the ones we eagerly anticipate, for his greater purposes. Recently, my family planned a camping trip at the state park, so I set aside an afternoon for a late trip to the beach. I had everything I needed: sandals, a Frisbee, and a bag for the shark’s teeth I anticipated discovering. Once I arrived at the campground, I drove my family over in our golf cart and promptly buried the key as deep in the pocket of my gym shorts as possible. In the back of my mind a thought whispered, “This will not end well.” But I had never lost anything valuable at the beach, so I ignored the thought. It was a bad move.

After walking well over a mile down the coast, the tide began to rise, and the sun set behind the dunes. It was time to turn around. When we got within a hundred yards of our chairs, a flood of disappointment washed over my mind as I dug my hand into my pockets only to find a sandwich bag of tiny teeth and nothing to crank our stranded golf cart. In childlike glee, I had yanked the bag out of my pocket at some point and tossed the key into the shifting sands that were quickly slipping into the surf.

In a panic, I turned and ran -- well, that may be generous -- I power walked down the beach tracing my steps to the best of my ability. In desperation I walked farther than we did, turned and came back, combed every shelf of shells I could remember stooping to study along the way. In those moments, I prayed. I asked God for help, for eyes to see that which I was missing, a small speck of silver on a shimmering coastal sunset shore.

After an hour, as I was beginning to lose hope, an older gentleman approached me, asked me what I was doing. His friend and Frisbee partner shuffled over to join in. I explained the situation, showed them roughly what I was searching for, and settled in for a longer conversation. I had time to talk since I figured I wouldn’t find the key. In those moments, I felt the Lord do something remarkable. It wasn’t so much that I shared deeply of the beautiful things that Christ has done for me, but rather that I simply explained that I am a pastor and listened to their thoughts on Jesus and his Church. In those listening moments, the Lord was teaching me how vastly vital it is to listen to Him while he’s speaking and teaching. These souls were worth infinitely more than this golf cart key.

In the end, I never found the key. I probably passed over scores of shark’s teeth along the strip. I was faced with the walk of shame back to my parents to explain that I had lost their personal property and that their golf cart would have to remain stranded. That afternoon was uncomfortable, unplanned. Had I had my preferences, I would have experienced little if not none of that. However, I am thankful that Jesus’ purposes are bigger than our preferences. He fills our days with holy interruptions intended to wake us up to the fact that we were never sovereign, and that our understanding of what is good is impoverished at best. Today, friends, amid the frustrations and fumbles, know that by grace through faith in Christ our every blunder is turned to blessing. Nothing is wasted in God’s economy. That is good news.

CAP’s anniversary

Churches Assisting People (CAP) invites the public to join in a community celebration of their 35th anniversary of helping needy people in our area. This will take place on Sept. 18 from 12-4 p.m. at Thompson Farm, 100 Brickyard Plantation in Conway.

This is a free event to thank the churches and the community for their support and prayers for the past 35 years. There will be food, a petting zoo, corn maze, cake walk, entertainment and a special guest. For information on CAP, call 843-488-2277.

Conway, Loris, Aynor and Western Horry

■ Loris First United Methodist Church, 3507 Broad St., has a blessing box in the church and it is available each Friday from 4:30 p.m.-6:30 p.m. This box contains nonperishable food items and individuals in need are encouraged to come to the church at those times. Also, if you would like to donate items, please place them in the box.

■ Dogwood Hill Baptist Church, 1040 Mt. Zion Road in Loris, has a food pantry on the third Saturday of each month from 8 a.m.-10 a.m.

■ Salem Baptist Church, 4008 Salem Road in Aynor, opens its food bank on the second and fourth Wednesday of each month from 9 a.m. until noon. The mission: “We serve Christ when we serve people.”

Call (843) 347-5168 or go online to www.stjamesconway.org.

■ Thompson Farm is hosting a “Hometown Heroes Weekend” benefitting Help4Kids with a food drive!

Please help us feed our “pumpkins!”

We need volunteers to collect donated food items and talk about Help4Kids at this event!

Where: Thompson Farm, 100 Brickyard Place, Conway

When: Sept. 25 and 26

Myrtle Beach /The Coast

■ You are invited to the following services and activities at The Well by The Sea, 211 Forestbrook Road:

Something NEW: The Deep Dive, questions and answers live-streamed; you may submit questions about God, the Bible, the Christian life, spiritual things and so on. All honest, respectful questions are welcome. Add your questions to the queue by submitting them to deacondebhamilton@gmail.com. Then tune in to The Deep Dive on Facebook Live every Wednesday at 6 p.m. Go to The Well By The Sea’s Facebook page and click “Like”. You will be notified when the show starts.

Also, at the Well By The Sea: In-person Bible study/discussion group on the “9 Supernatural Gifts of the Holy Spirit” on Mondays at 11 a.m. (no cost, no RSVP, masks required).

An in-person (or Zoom) weekly bereavement/loss support group meets every Sunday at 6:30 p.m. Email debhamilton56@gmail.com.

In-person hangout for young adults (ages 18-30); every Saturday at 7 p.m. Come for a free meal and planned activity. Email personalityprism@gmail.com.

The Well by the Sea Annual Fall Festival:

Sept. 18 from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Food - Music - Bazaar - Games - Children’s Activities

This is a fun event for the entire community. All are welcome to come!

Food – Fresh BBQ and a variety of homemade goodies for purchase to eat at tables or to take home.

Bake Sale – Homemade bakery goodies for purchase, already made for you to take home.

Bazaar/yard sale – Tables loaded for browsing with donated timeless treasures for sale: toys, clothing, small appliances, craft items, furniture, vacuums and many more items too numerous to list here.

Music – throughout the day with some live bands.

Fun games & children’s activities – throughout the day with small prizes to winners.

Get out of the house. Bring the entire family. There will be something for everyone!

■ Father Anthony Montesinos Columbiettes Auxiliary No. 5086 of St. Andrew Catholic Church, 503 37th Ave. North, is looking for crafters for a holiday bazaar to be held Nov. 13 from 9 a.m. until 3 p.m. in the Community Life Center. Call (908) 938-1433 or email patriciamartelli57@gmail.com.

■ The Socastee Pantry is now open and serving. This food pantry will be located at A Father’s House, 4513 U.S. 17 Bypass in Myrtle Beach. Hours are Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday, 10 a.m.-2 p.m. and Saturday 7 a.m.-10 a.m.

The pantry is sponsored by Faith Outreach Ministries and operated by local veterans. It will provide much-needed food and necessities to the needy in our community. Call (843) 474-9900 or visit www.faithoutreachministries-gs.org.

■ Temple Emanu-El by the Sea, 406 65th Ave., North, Myrtle Beach: (843) 449-5552. Conservative Rabbi Avi Perets.

To go

www.mbsynagogue.org

“Anyone who is fully vaccinated can participate in indoor and outdoor activities with wearing a mask (except while being seated) and physical distancing.”

Call: (843) 449-5552

Hebrew School Registration

Sept. 19, 10 a.m.

Rosen Center

Pizza Party Sukkah Decorating

Steffi Nathan Scholarship Fund

Open to all Jewish College students. Applications

available in the temple office.

Fostering Hope

Sisterhood is once again collecting socks and Underwear (any age/any size) for Fostering Hope.

*High Holiday Services will be held at The Dunes Club

Erev Yom Kippur (Kol Nidre) Sept. 15, 6:30 p.m.

Yom Kippur: Sept. 16, 9 a.m.

Private Devotion at 5 p.m., Mincha & Neilah Services at 6 p.m.

Sukkot, Sept. 21-22

Simchat Torah Celebration

Sept. 28 at 7 p.m.

■ Faith Church on S.C. 90 in Little River sponsors Celebrate Recovery on Tuesdays at 6 p.m.

■ Together in Christ has a Wednesday Zoom prayer meeting from noon-12:30 p.m. each week. Prayer changes everything and you are invited to pray with the mid-week group. Email hgprayer@sccoast.net.

■ St. Michael’s Catholic Church, 542 Cypress Ave., Murrells Inlet, has a life chain every first Sunday at 12:30 p.m. on U.S. 17 Business near the church driveway. You are invited to participate in this event. (Bring a chair if not able to stand for the hour.) Contact Joanne Bennett at (614) 313-8425 or email Joanne.bennett55@ gmail.com.

■ Myrtle Beach Christian Church, 1226 Burcale Road, opens its thrift store each week, Monday-Saturday from 9 a.m. until 1 p.m. You are encouraged to come out and browse and buy and, in so doing, you’ll be supporting this community outreach. Call (843) 236-1121.

■ Temple Shalom, 4023 Belle Terre Blvd., invites you to Shabbat services each Saturday at 10:30 a.m. and 7:30 p.m. Call (843) 903-6634 or go online to templeshalommyrtlebeach.net.

■ Christ the Servant Lutheran Church will hold its Fall Flea Market again.

Tables are available for a $15 donation.

The church is at 2105 U.S. 501 E., Conway, across from HGTC/CCU.

Call (843) 457-3547 for a registration form.

10 a.m.-noon, noon-2 p.m., 2 p.m.-4 p.m., 4 p.m.-6 p.m.

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