A weekend Pro Am Archery competition led two local men to a closer relationship with Jesus, when one friend suffered a huge misfortune. Sampson residents Tony Baldwin and Monty Mesimer planned to attend and participate in a Pro Am Archery competition in Gordon, Ga. Although the two men were not traveling to the destination together, the Lord worked a miracle out between them.
Mesimer explained that he received a blessing from his Lord and Savior Jesus Christ on Wednesday, April 25.
“I was speaking with a friend, Tony Baldwin, about the upcoming Archery Shooters Association (ASA) Georgia Pro-Am. We talked briefly about the events and the trip itself, and Tony told me that this being my first Pro-Am would make it something I would never forget. We ended the conversation and the next day passed. On Friday morning, I hopped into my truck around 4:30 a.m. and headed out to meet up with my riding partners, Gary Martin and Dwayne Willard. That was the beginning of what truly turned into a true spiritual blessing for us all,” explained Mesimer.
They met at Martin’s house and began loading everything into the back of his truck and hurried to get on the road. Willard had entered the team shoot that afternoon, so the group did not want to be late.
“My friend Gary is a good Christian man and knows the scripture of the Bible well, so as we rode we discussed the meaning of the word Christian and just living for the Lord. We talked about God calling on us and trying to tell us things about the way we live and being able to recognize when he is speaking to us,” shared Mesimer.
As they drove and talked, Mesimer began thumbing through the 2012 ASA Tour Guide.
“When I saw an opening, I decided to talk about the shooting class in which Gary and I were entered, the open B class. I was really looking to see if we could use our own range finders on the known yardage day, and thankfully found the answer. I read it to Gary and then continued on looking through the guide,” stated Mesimer.
He came to a picture of the Ben Pearson Advantage bow and said that it resembled one that another friend of his recently had sold and that he would like to check it out and shoot it.
“We really paid no more attention to it and continued on, just discussing the Pro-Am and the people we might get to meet,” remarked Mesimer.
When the men arrived in South Carolina, they decided it was time to stop and eat breakfast. When they stopped, Mesimer noticed something that almost made his heart stop.
“I was hungry so I was the first one out, that’s when I noticed something that broke my heart. As I shut my door I looked toward the back of the truck and noticed that the truck tailgate was down. I immediately headed that way and once I got there I just put my hands on my head and stood speechless for a few moments. Dwayne joined me and I finally spoke up and said ‘Gary, this ain’t good, my bow case and your block target are gone,’” said Mesimer.
Mesimer shared that Wilard looked at him and made the statement “that he didn’t know how I was being so calm that he would have lost it.” He responded by ooking at him and saying, “Who am I supposed to blame Dwayne, you, because the tailgate was down or Gary because he drove fast?” Mesimer went on to state that there was no one to blame because they had all been in a hurry and no one bothered to check the tailgate.
The group rushed through the meal and jumped back in the truck to retrace their route. Martin got on the phone and called his son-in-law and got him to start out the same way they did and see if he could see anything.
“We drove pretty fast, trying not to lose too much time. The whole time all of us had our eyes glued to the median in search of anything that resembled a bow case or that block target. We rode and our discussion turned from the Pro-Am to the point where we might have lost the stuff out of the back of the truck. I was really trying to keep positive thoughts in my head, but once we met up with Gary’s son-in-law and he said he hadn’t seen anything, I knew that I was pretty much out of luck. Gary just looked over at me and told me that I had a choice, I could either go back and mope around all weekend or I could go with them and have a good time. I thought about it for a moment and said let’s go,” explained Mesimer
He and his friends tallied up the value of the equipment they had lost and it came to somewhere between $2,220 and $2,500. Insurance would not help because Mesimer did not have the serial numbers.
After stopping to refuel, he explained that Martin started up another conversation about God and Christianity.
“Gary told me that God was talking to me right now. I spoke up and said that I didn’t understand because it seemed like the people who didn’t deserve money and good fortune always seemed to have plenty of it and that I had to struggle all the time. A moment later Nancy sent me another text and I told her briefly what had happened and then Gary lit in to me pretty good about I was thinking about me and not the big picture: that God had blessed me and He was sending me a message now about the way I was living my life. We carried on the discussion a little while longer and then I kind of just let the subject drop because I was already hurting enough just knowing what I had lost,” expressed Monty.
As the men traveled on to their destination, Mesimer’s phone rang. It was Tony Baldwin asking how the guys were doing and where they were. The heart-broken Mesmier shared his misfortune and Baldwin expressed his regret for what had happened.
Just as the three were arriving at their hotel, his phone rang again. It was Tony again.
Mesimer could not believe what Baldwin was sharing with him.
“Tony had a tone of urgency in his voice as he explained he had found someone that would loan me a bow for the weekend. I was skeptical but Gary reminded me again that God was trying to tell me something,” said Mesimer.
As soon as the men arrived at Fort Gordon, and getting through the gate after a brief delay, they rushed to his team shoot and Mesimer and Martin set out to find the Pearson area that Baldwin had told him about. Mesimer was thinking that even if he did get a bow he would not have the time to get it set up and ready to compete.
“As we were walking around, we met a guy and I told him who I was and he immediately said, ‘Oh you’re the one who lost his bow, you need to talk to Chris,’” he explained.
The man walked away and returned a few seconds later with a guy who introduced himself to Mesimer, giving his name as Chris Stokes. As they talked briefly about what had happened, Stokes told him he had a bow Monty could use.
“I said I would really appreciate it. What happened next blew me away, and at that moment my life changed. Chris stepped up into the Pearson Archery trailer and came back out with a blaze orange and camouflage bow with black limbs. It was the Pearson Advantage bow … the exact model bow, except for the color, that I saw while thumbing through the tour guide, the one I said that I would like try out! I couldn’t believe it, but I didn’t say anything,” expressed Mesimer.
He was able then to practice with the bow and Stokes, along with Todd White, another person from Pearson Archery, helped him get the bow set up.
“While on the range I couldn’t help but tell everyone what had happened and how great all of the guys with Pearson Archery had been to me,” said Mesimer.
“When everything was all said and done on Sunday, I had gone out and shot a good score on Saturday and a little better on Sunday. I was nowhere near winning the event but I was truly the overall winner by the time I left my first ASA Pro-Am event. I had been truly blessed by God Almighty and what I had lost doesn’t even come close to what I had gained. From the moment when Tony spoke the words that Jesus Christ had intended for me to hear, this would be something I would never forget, to Gary telling me that God was speaking to me. For putting me in the hands of Chris Stokes and him letting me use his bow and equipment and having enough trust in me to return it, I can’t begin to tell you how blessed I truly am,” stated Mesimer.
Baldwin stated that this experience was one of true fellowship and caring for one another. “I was so impressed with the men at Pearson Archery and their caring about someone they had never met. They went way above and beyond to help a fellowman. This is part of what we as Christian bow shooter believe and we now have the true life experience to tell about,” remarked Tony.
“When I look back on the weekend of April 25, I am in awe of how Jesus placed me with wonderful Christian men and women to talk with and offer help that allowed me to participate in the tournament. It has been a life-changing experience for me. As I stated earlier, I tell my story to anyone who will listen because my daily walk with the Lord is closer and sweeter than I could ever imagine. Not only will he do this for me, but for all who welcome Him into their hearts and believe. Step out and take that leap of faith with Jesus and you, too, will have a story to tell,” asserted Mesimer.