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Couple takes horseback ministry coast to coast

Tim and Lynn Tuggle with their horses in Lincolnton on Saturday.

Tim and Lynn Tuggle with their horses in Lincolnton on Saturday.

ANNIE BLACKBURN
Staff Writer

Tim and Lynn Tuggle have no home address.
In fact, in 2010, they sold all of their possessions. They packed up their rescue horses, what little money they had and began a three year, nine month and 19 day journey that would take them from their previous home in California to Emerald Isle, travelling from the West Coast to the East in a response to a call that Tim says the good Lord put on his heart — to minister to people the way Jesus did, by keeping moving.
Partnering with Blazin’ Trails Cowboy Church in Lincolnton, the Tuggles joined Pastor Harvey Gates and several members of his congregation in an effort to continue the call of spreading the Gospel. With four riders on horseback and church members following on foot, they set out from the old Ford dealership on Main Street at 9:30 a.m. Saturday for what the church called Back in the Street – witnessing on horseback. While seeing horses in the downtown area may have been new for Lincoln County residents, especially when they are meant to help minister, it has become a way of life for the Tuggles.
Before embarking on what they feel was a genuine call from God, Lynn was a nurse and Tim was a contractor. But according to them, they felt less than satisfied with their lives.
“The good Lord put it on my heart that this was what we were supposed to do,” Tim said.
“We were in bondage to our stuff,” Lynn said.
Holding a three-day sale in their home, the Tuggles sold off everything they owned, not putting a price tag on anything, but instead placing a mission statement on their kitchen table about how the Lord called them to go as Jesus told His disciples to go.
Though some ranchers in Oklahoma recently donated a truck and a horse trailer, complete with living quarters, to the couple, they emphasized what a blessing having little to no possessions has been and how it has caused them to lean heavily on God’s promise to provide.
“You can have a $2 million home and a brand new truck and it can be a curse,” Tim said. “When we set out, we had $30 in our pocket and there was a church we were visiting. We weren’t speaking there, but we put that $30 in the offering plate and when the service was over, people would come up to us and hand us money, saying that God put it on their heart to give it to us.”
“He took the reins,” said Lynn from atop her Painted Quarter horse, Bobby.
Their travels have taken them to cities riddled with drugs, crime and prostitution and, always, the horses draw a crowd, allowing them to minister, spread the Gospel and pray for people that may otherwise have not come out to hear the message.
When asked what was next for their mission work, the couple made it clear that they had no plans of stopping. In the three months they’ve been in the area, partnering with other churches like Blazin’ Trails Cowboy Church, they’ve spoken at 11 schools and churches. Though they winter in different cities, the Tuggles always make it a point to continue the mission, stopping and ministering to people in the streets for days or weeks at a time. They have no set timeframe on how long they stay in a certain place nor do they have a budget on which to operate. Emphasizing that they are doing what the Lord called them to do, the couple never worries about where they will lay their heads at night or where the next meal will come from, only occupying their minds and hearts with the work at hand.
“He provides,” Tim said as he patted his horse and smiled up at his wife Lynn. “He provides.”

Image courtesy of Annie Blackburn / Lincoln Times-News

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