Over 200 people attending the 9th Annual Wild Game Dinner hosted by Craig Valley Gospel Fellowship.

Pam Dudding-Burch Contributing writer

As soon as people drove in, it was obvious that there was a major event in the making. Very little parking was left on the grounds a half an hour before it started and people were everywhere.

Entering the porch, greetings from stranger to stranger made people feel right at home. Ladies greeted you at the door with the option to make a donation for the meal, but also with smiles and information about the many other things that took place inside.

The sweet tunes of yesteryears filled the room, as musicians playing the banjo, autoharp and steel guitar seemed like they were at home on their front porch. Songs like, ‘The Lighthouse’ seemed to set the tone of ease, while other favorite songs like ‘I’ll Fly Away’ caused peoples feet to automatically start tapping on the floor to the familiar tune.

Later in the evening, some folks in the crowd joined the group to play and sing the popular songs, ‘I Saw the Light’ and ‘Will the Circle be Unbroken’.

The intermingling of ‘how ya been?’ ‘good to see you!’ and ‘hadn’t seen you in a coon’s age!’ created a warm atmosphere of friendship. From toddlers to the elderly walking with canes, it was an event for the entire family.

Jay Law, Pastor of Craig Valley Gospel Fellowship, telling his story about how a son became a man and thanking all for attending.

There were raffles and more raffles to choose from as well as a 50/50 drawing. The main raffles included a Stihl Chainsaw, a Thompson Center Impact Muzzle loader, a Ruger 270 rifle, a quilt, a basket of lotions and accessories, a Miss Kitty fishing pole and many more. Also, homemade peanut butter balls, coconut balls and other goodies were available for the purchase.

“The funniest thing up there was when my son Jeremiah started auctioning off all that stuff,” Pastor Law shared. “I didn’t even know he could talk that fast!” Jeremiah seemed a bit shy when he was asked to do the auction. However, within 5 seconds of being asked, he started shouting out as fast as many ‘old time auctioneers’. Many items sold, including a handmade knife with an elk horn handle and steel blade that went for $120.00.

However, it was the ‘wild game’ that everyone seemed to have stopped in for. “I don’t miss this dinner!” one lady said. “We’ve been coming for seven years so far and don’t plan on stopping until they stop!” her husband added with a laugh.

In the kitchen, the aroma of delicious food made your mouth water and your tummy growl. “The men cook the meats and the women make all of the side dishes,” Dana Law Caldwell shared. “Everyone commits to making what they can and it all works out!”

Many took an early ‘gander’ by the tables filled with every vegetable imaginable, casseroles, rolls and homemade desserts. Still others, chatted with the men in the kitchen, trying to get a sneak peek of what was going to be served.

Once the line to eat started, there seemed to be many happy people. There were several wild game animals served. “A lot of preparation for this event.” Jay Law, Pastor of Craig Valley Gospel Fellowship Church said. “The Catawba Valley Bear hunters killed at least five bear that was cooked today!… and we have a mule deer, several white tails, 7 turkeys, 1 duck and a partridge in a pear tree!” he added with a laugh.

The wild game was served a variety of ways, from BBQ venison to Italian venison, BBQ bear meat and all the others. “They even threw in a couple of hogs!” one man said with a smile.


The wild game was served a variety of ways, from BBQ venison to Italian venison, BBQ bear meat and all the others. “They even threw in a couple of hogs!” one man said with a smile.

As more people walked through the line to get their food choices, more chatter seemed to permeate the air about how good everything was. One gentleman was explaining to his friends at the table about the “best turkey caller ever”. It was a Coke tab. He tried endlessly to make it make a sound as he blew on it at every angle, then grinned and called out, “Here, turkey, turkey, turkey!” as all laughed with him.

“I am very thankful for all of the wonderful people God has placed in our life over the past 9 years and we look forward to meeting new one’s every year,” Donna Law Webb shared.

“Our church is funded a lot by this wildlife dinner each year and I so appreciate the great sacrifice our members make every year,” Pastor Law said. “I am very proud of them.” He added that the church was totally paid for on June 12, 2010. “That was the day we held our first service and it’s a big thanks to these dinners.”

At the end of the evening, Pastor Law told a story about a dad who had asked his son if he was ready to become a man. The son jumped at the opportunity, saying, “Yes dad, I’m ready.” The son had heard this story many a time of how to become a man. The dad proceeded to help him gather his coat and hat, blindfolded his son and led him way out into the woods.

It was getting quite dark. They sat down on a big log. The dad proceeded to explain to his son that in order for him to become a man, that he had to stay out here all night, by himself, blindfolded. That was the ‘covenant’ and you couldn’t break it. The son knew the story well. He also knew that he couldn’t take the blindfold off, regardless of what he heard or how scared he would become.

He heard his dads steps get further away, but was concentrating more on the sounds that seemed much louder than he had ever heard before. Several times he reached up to yank the blindfold off, but caught himself. Coyotes, owls and other strange sounds seemed to be so close.

He was getting cold as the night wore on. He even questioned himself as to whether he could manage this task, or if he was ready to become a man. Yet, he stayed. Finally, he could feel the warmth of the sun on his face. His heart jumped and inside, he said, “Thank you Lord! I did it!” He thought… that was the longest night of my life!

He stood up and took the blindfold off. He turned and looked around and not far off sat his dad. His Dad had never left him alone; he had been there the whole time.

Pastor Law shared that sometimes in life, it seems dark, but Jesus is always there and all you have to do is to call upon His name. Law stressed to everyone that each person is important to God and each has a separate calling on his or her lives to do a particular thing.

He also invited anyone who didn’t have a home church to visit. “We’ll treat you so many ways, you’ll have to like one of them! It seemed there were as many pats on the backs and hugs as people left as there were coming in. “This is like a reunion to me!” Pastor Law shared. “Some of you I won’t get to see again until next year, but we look forward to it every year.”

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