By Karen Willoughby, UI Connections Staff Writer
WHITE BIRD Idaho – This scenic village four hours north of Boise has a population of 88. Yet between 30 and 40 people attend Sunday morning services at Pleasant View Baptist Church.
That’s up from the seven who called Randy Myers as pastor in October 2019.
“Then Covid came in March [2020,]” Myers told UI Connections. “That slowed things somewhat, but the Lord has blessed us. We’ve had a number saved and baptized, and a number of new people because of Covid.”
Pleasant View Baptist also started a weekday Christian school this fall, despite no money, no building, and no teacher until just before the school year started.
“It was not possible for us to do it,” Myers said. “God works in so many different ways. We just have to be available and pray all the time, all the time. Pray without ceasing.”
Schoolchildren in White Bird are bused to school in Grangeville, 18 miles north, and Myers didn’t like what he was hearing about school board decisions there related to library books and gender diversity.
“Last year the high school approved and placed a litter box in the girls’ bathroom because a girl identified as a cat,” Myers said.
“I didn’t know how to do it, [start a school] didn’t know where, didn’t know when we’d get a teacher. And we didn’t know how to finance it. We started praying about it.
“I went to a Gideons’ banquet, and asked, ‘Would you guys pray with us about a Christian school?’ A pastor across the table asked me, ‘What salary would you need for a teacher?’ I said, ‘I guess $1,000 a month for 9 months. He thought a minute and said, ‘I can give you that for a school year.’ I called him the next morning to make sure I heard him right.”
Myers told that to the Pleasant View congregation. A location for the school came next. The White Bird church seats about 60 people, and there are only two small classrooms. Someone suggested the former White Bird two-room schoolhouse, now being used as a recreation center.
“I went to a monthly meeting and asked if the Rec board would be open to us using the building for a school,” Myers said. “They said, ‘Sure, and we won’t charge you anything.’
“That was the second thing we needed for a school. We get to use one of the rooms, and we pay for utilities.
“Now we needed a teacher,” the pastor continued. “It was June and we needed to start in August. We’re praying and praying and praying.”
The last week in July, Pleasant View Baptist hosted a fundraising meeting for a woman who wanted to do ministry in the Czech Republic. A couple came from Grangeville to hear her, and during the fellowship that followed, the couple heard about the plans for a school and the need for a teacher.
“I’m a certified teacher,” said the woman from Grangeville. “I’d like to do it.”
Pleasant View Christian School has four students this year: one in first grade, two in third and one in sixth, “because we started late,” Myers said. He anticipates several more students next year if for no other reason than White Bird students catch the bus at 6:30 a.m. and don’t get home until 4:30 p.m., a 10-hour day for youngsters.
“We’ve got the school board going, the finances going, and we’re ready for the next school year,” the pastor continued. “Everything’s functioning and everything is doing well. The Lord is blessing everything.”
Myers turned 79 last month. He’s ready to retire (for the second time) and move to Leoma, Tenn., where he and his wife Sue have been given the no-cost (except for utilities) use of a spacious house. But he didn’t want to leave until a new pastor had been called.
Some churches spend two years or more to find a new pastor. This one, however, came just as easily as did the school.
“My God is so awesome,” Myers said.
Bill Horn, longtime pastor of First Baptist Church in Clearwater, died from Covid in 2020. The church has been looking for a pastor ever since. Don Starn, a member of the search committee, recently called a reference for a prospective pastor for Clearwater, and passed on to Myers the name of the reference: John Morris of Alamagordo, N.M.
Pleasant View members called Morris and his wife Trish in late January; they plan to move to White Bird in late February. His first Sunday preaching is to be Feb. 4.