Thieves got away with a key piece of equipment from a Sequatchie County tent revival earlier this week-- the tent. Ministry leaders are excited to report the tent's been found on the side of the road unharmed. They hope that's because the culprit saw our story and felt remorse.
The tent is back up, all the chairs in place, and the community gathered for a cookout celebration and revival to rejoice in its return. The tent revival is on Cartwright Loop on the Sequatchie County side of Whitwell. The theft shocked the neighborhood Monday.
"The Lord let the devil take the tent, but he didn't let him keep it and that's good," Messiah's Bondservant Ministries' William Dick said.
It's a much different sight in the Cartwright neighborhood of Sequatchie County from Monday when the revival tent was nowhere to be found, crosses, chairs and the podium knocked over. Bibles were on the ground.
"I was called and told it was gone. It's kind of devastating," Dick said.
Messiah's Bondservant Ministries has hosted tent revivals throughout the Tennessee Valley for six years without any problems. Leaders say after setting up there last week, they started receiving threats from residents who weren't happy about it. Although, neighbors Channel 3 talked to were upset about the theft.
"There are people out there that'll do anything. They stoop this low, that's bad," neighbor Patrick Kelley said.
"We probably had our largest numbers the night we had service under open air without the tent," Dick said.
Pastor William Dick reported the theft to the Sequatchie County Sheriff's Office. The tent is worth $3,000, plus hundreds in stolen extension cords, rope and a lighting fixture. He was thrilled when it was found on the side of Daus Mountain Road undamaged Tuesday.
"That's wonderful he saw it. We went and picked it up and put it back up and it's in pretty good shape," Dick said.
Pastor Dick thinks whoever stole it, returned it there after realizing their wrongdoing. His highest hope is that they attend the revival.
"Jesus loves them. It's the love of Jesus that brought me to him," Dick said.
Pastor Dick says they've had about 50 people attend the revival each night. They still had it even after the tent was stolen, but say it's perfect timing that it returned when the rain came. The revival starts at 6:30 Central Time. They plan to host the revival every night until further notice.