A new pastor and his family had their faith put to the test by burglaries and health issues shortly after moving to Jackson County to serve at Brownstown Christian Church.

“The first two days of being here, our storage unit was broken into,” the Rev. Mitchell McIntyre said. “Then two or three days later, it was broken into again, and the week after that, I went to the hospital with PVCs.”

What the Seymour man had experienced was premature ventricular contractions at his sister-in-law’s graduation, and his heart was beating off rhythm and continues to do so, he said.

“The stress of the move and the thefts might have brought it on,” said Elisha McIntyre, the pastor’s wife. “He had no problems prior to moving here. We are hoping that he will be taken off of the meds when his heartbeat is regulated again.”

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The McIntyres’ storage unit in Seymour was broken into, and nothing has been recovered so far, but they are hoping that their items will be returned.

“The biggest thing that was taken was Elisha’s hope chest, which was given to her by her mother,” Mitchell said. “There’s a security picture that shows it up on top of a car, and then the thief drove off with it at 9 a.m. on a Sunday morning.”

Other items also were stolen, but the large cedar chest had sentimental value to Elisha. When her grandparents were married 60 years ago, her grandfather had it made for her grandmother, who passed away before Elisha ever got to meet her.

“Our son, Titus, has had the best attitude about the break-in and the thieves,” Mitchell said. “After it happened, he said we just need to pray for them.”

The McIntyre family moved to Jackson County around the beginning of May from Paris, Kentucky, just outside of Lexington. It’s about 2½ hours from Brownstown.

“The interim preacher at Brownstown Christian Church, Phil LaMaster, was a friend of mine and had been like a mentor to me for the last couple of years,” Mitchell said. “He mentioned to me that they were looking for a preacher and suggested I pray about it, and that’s how it started.”

At first, the couple didn’t think that’s where God wanted them to go, but they tried to be obedient by fasting and praying, and God kept opening doors.

“This process started back in October 2016, and we didn’t come here until May, so it’s been a long process,” Mitchell said. “Years ago, LaMaster used to be a preacher in Scottsburg and still lives there. He’s a good guy. We felt like it was an opportunity God had given us.”

Elisha described their journey to Jackson County as a very step-by-step walk of faith because when they started the process, they didn’t know where it would lead.

“We didn’t know this is where we’d be coming to,” Elisha said. “Each step we prayed through, and each step God directed, and I think that’s one of the most important ways to follow God.”

The McIntyres have two sons, Titus, 5, and Micah, 3, and they have been adjusting well to the move. They miss old friends, but they are excited about new places and meeting new people, and they’re excited about the new church, Elisha said.

“Titus was homeschooled this last year. We are taking it year by year to see what is best,” she said. “He just finished kindergarten and is excited to be starting first grade in the fall, while Micah will be starting preschool.”

Elisha also was homeschooled as a child and said that factor was an absolute influence in deciding to homeschool her own children.

“I was homeschooled from kindergarten through Grade 12, and I loved the experience,” she said. “I had a very well-rounded education and social circle and had many opportunities to explore my personal interests.”

Elisha’s family was very family-oriented and continues to be a close family now. She loves how she is able to offer her children a similar educational experience, she said.

“It’s awesome to stay home with the kids while still being able to help out with family finances, and it gets me out a little bit, too,” she said. “I joined Plexus over two years ago when the products began improving my health dramatically, and they’ve continued to do so.”

Elisha enjoys the blessing of helping others feel amazing, too. Plexus is a health and wellness company that has designed its supplements to go after the root of problems, including energy, mood, anxiety, weight and many more, she said.

“Right now, we are renting an apartment in Seymour,” she said. “We closed on our house in Kentucky a couple of weeks ago, and so we’ve been looking for a house here more anxiously now.”

Mitchell said he knew at age 11 that ministry was something for him, but his parents were divorced when he was 12, and that’s when he walked away from God.

When he was about 18, he started to refocus on ministry and went back to church. Then at 19, he enrolled in Louisville Bible College, where he met Elisha. They both graduated from there in 2008 with a degree in sacred literature, which means they had a Bible and general studies degree.

“A lot of doubt and confusion during my teenage years helped me to share with people who maybe don’t have a church background and are trying to figure out who Jesus is,” he said, “I have always known I wanted to help people but didn’t know God’s plan.”

He said his wife really wanted to be a missionary, but then she met him, and he became her mission project, and she has been preaching to him ever since, he said.

“Before moving here, I was the senior and lead minister for almost five years at Bedford Acres Christian Church in Paris, Kentucky,” Mitchell said. “I was the youth pastor there before that, and then transitioned into the lead role.”

Tony Wesner, an elder at Brownstown Christian Church, said the congregation members are receiving the McIntyres with open arms and love.

Their first couple weeks were really rough, Wesner said.

“Then he had some heart issues, probably brought on by stress. He is a young, dynamic individual that I feel will be good for all of Jackson County,” Wesner said. “Even though their first few weeks were met with some trials, they are happy to be here.”

The church was without a lead pastor for about nine months. Wesner said the previous minister, Brian Richard, did a great job but felt he was being called back to a previous church that was declining and also was closer to family.

“Mitchell was referred to us by a well-known minister named Phil LaMaster, who councils and encourages young ministers,” Wesner said. “We hope to be able to connect more with all demographics and reach out with love and the good news of Jesus to the community around and beyond.”

The McIntyres filled in at the youth ministry recently when the music minister was gone. Mitchell played guitar, and Elisha led music, but normally, he tries to just concentrate on his job as the pastor, he said.

“We had a youth band at church back in Kentucky, and we’ve always been involved in music to some degree,” the pastor said. “I’ve played guitar and bass and have been the sound guy. I learned it all and have been playing since college and started getting serious about it at 20 or 21.”

He believes if you can’t get loving God and loving people right, it won’t matter if you follow traditions or rituals. His thinking is, when he goes to McDonald’s, how can he show God’s love there, or at the gym or anywhere he goes.

“Galatians 5:6 really sums up what we’re supposed to do, and the only thing that counts is faith expressing itself through love,” he said. “So to me, it’s all about expressing your faith through love and how we can all show love to people wherever we are.”

He said oftentimes, people think God’s not going to use them because they are not Billy Graham or Charles Stanley.

“The thing is, God uses ordinary people to accomplish extraordinary things,” he said.

If you go

VBX (Vacation Bible X-treme) is from 6 to 8:30 p.m. July 17 to 21 at Brownstown Christian Church.

Registration forms need to be completed and returned to the church office in person or by mail no later than July 9 to Brownstown Christian Church, 703 W. Spring St., Brownstown, IN 47220.

Information: 812-358-4172

The McIntyre File

Who: The Rev. Mitchell McIntyre

Hometown: Stanton, Kentucky

Education: Graduate of Powell County (Ky.) High School in 2002; Louisville Bible College graduate 2008

Hobbies/interests: Spending time with family, playing golf and watching movies

Skills: Playing guitar and bass

Quotes: “We will be married nine years on September 1. We were married on Labor Day, and it’s been work ever since.”

“I am a diehard Kentucky Wildcats fan, but I don’t know if you should print that lol.”

Who: Elisha McIntyre

Hometown: New Salisbury/Georgetown

Education: Homeschooled, graduating in 2003; Louisville Bible College graduate 2008

Hobbies/interests: Spending time with family, listening to contemporary Christian music, learning about healthy living and reading a good book

Skills: Singing and playing the piano for 10 years, and teaching piano for seven to eight years in the past

Quote: “I knew God wanted us to be here, and I am from southern Indiana, so it’s exciting to be here.

Who: Children Titus, 5, and Micah McIntyre, 3

Interests: Used to be into “Paw Patrol;” now, they enjoy superheroes on “Justice League”

Quotes: Titus, “All the superheroes are my favorite.” Micah, “My favorite superhero is Superman.” Both tell their mom she is Wonder Woman.