The men’s ministry at Gum Branch Baptist Church on Saturday hosted its eighth annual Wild Game Feed. Scores of men and boys gorged themselves on venison sausage, venison chili, fried quail, fried fish, roasted wild hog and roasted wild turkey, as well as a plethora of country vegetable dishes provided by the women of the church, who also served desserts and drinks.
The fellowship hall saw no shortage of camouflage hats, shirts or trousers worn by the male guests. The ladies were much easier to spot because they wore fluorescent-orange hunting vests.
“Our men’s ministry used to take kids on fishing trips every year,” explained men’s ministry member Steve Welborn. “We decided to have a wild-game dinner to try to get the boys’ dads to come. It was something we hoped would give us a chance to reach them. It worked out really well. We have repeat customers every year.”
Welborn said he and the other men’s ministry members cooked all the wild game, and the church ladies provided the side dishes and desserts. He said the men started cooking at 8 a.m. to prepare for the 6 p.m. feast. Tickets for the event were $10. Proceeds from the ticket sales helped pay for the cost of the food and the door prizes.
The prizes included an air rifle, a fish-fry kit, a dozen or more hunting hats, camouflage blankets, binoculars, a jerky maker/dehydrator, pocket knives and wildlife prints. A special door-prize drawing for a Benelli 12-gauge shotgun was held after the guest speaker’s remarks.
Men’s ministry director Ken Lowe introduced the guest speaker, Winston Barlow, founder of C. MO’s Kids. Barlow said his Kingsland-based organization’s goal is to enrich the lives of boys, particularly those with special needs, those who are handicapped or terminally ill and those who don’t have father figures. The organization provides “life-changing” outdoor adventures that are both fun and empowering, including hunting, fishing and camping. Its motto is “Empowering kids one adventure at a time.”
“I’ve been to a lot of wildlife dinners, but y’all have the most choices of any I’ve ever been to,” Barlow said as he thanked the men and women for the feast. “I want to thank all of Gum Branch Baptist Church for what you do.”
Barlow called several boys on the stage with him and asked whether they knew how to call a turkey. They shook their heads. He explained how a “tom” turkey sleeps in the treetops. When it awakens, it makes a sort of purring call, Barlow said, imitating the subtle call without a box or mouth call. He demonstrated how to duplicate the sound of a turkey coming out of its roost by flapping his hunting cap on his leg. This time, he got the boys to do the same.
He imitated the call of an owl and a crow, both of which, he said, are disliked by tom turkeys. He asked the boys, all 8 to 10 years old, if they knew why male turkeys make “gobble” calls. They didn’t know, so he asked whether any of them had girlfriends. They shook their heads; at least two boys blushed.
Barlow demonstrated a mouth call and a “friction” turkey call, then he allowed the boys to scratch the slate surface of the call. He then turned his attention to the grown men.
He said the turkey is like mankind in some ways. Hunters lure a turkey into responding to a fake call and turkey decoys. In the same way, he said, Satan lures people into responding to the fake call of the wild. Like the turkey, responding to this temptation only leads to ruin.
Barlow preached a short sermon about life’s temptations and signs of the times, which he said indicate the world is seeing its last days. He concluded by telling the men they need to be spiritual leaders in their homes, churches and communities. It is time for all Christians to be bold soldiers for Christ, he said.
After Barlow’s remarks and a prayer, the final door prize was drawn. Bobby Brady won the Benelli shotgun.