For many outdoorsmen and women, a weekend hunting trip is simply a chance to get some fresh air and hopefully a fresh kill. But for Larry Moyer, a preacher and avid hunter, hunting is a spiritual experience — an opportunity to take in and be one with God's creations.
Moyer, who founded EvanTell to spread his evangelical beliefs, will share his views on religion and hunting during Ridgewood Bible Church's fifth annual Sportsman's Night Out on Jan. 28.
The gathering will include some two dozen exhibits, a chili meal and about 100 door prizes, including the grand prize, a Thompson Center Triumph muzzleloader rifle.
In his second turn as guest speaker at the church's Sportsman's Night Out, Moyer will discuss his experiences hunting grizzly bears in the Canadian Rockies.
"(When hunting) you're in the middle of creation. You can't be in the middle of creation without seeing the Creator. It makes you conscious there is a God," Moyer said.
Though animal sympathizers might argue one could be amongst creations without killing them, Moyer says the act of hunting forces a person to slow down and become attentive to the most minute details of "God's creations." For him, hunting is a kind of meditation.
"All that helps with thinking about the Lord and the Creator," he said. "You tend to look at things more carefully."
His quests for spirituality in hunting have taken him across the globe, from the plains of Namibia to the Canadian Rockies. Through these excursions he has bagged a number of trophy animals, including elk, moose, bear and deer. During his safaris, he successfully hunted zebra, springbok, kudu, warthog and oryx (a type of antelope).
Past speakers at Sportsman's Night Out include Phil Robertson, the star of the reality TV series "Duck Dynasty." Pastor Mike Foster said the church decided to bring back Moyer due to the strength of his previous address in 2015.
"He's better than any sportsman or hunting guy I've ever heard of," Foster said.
While Foster admits he himself is not a sportsman, he understands hunting is popular among local residents and why many see it as a spiritual experience.
"With the outdoors, there's an easy connection to our creator and some of our teachings," he said.
Ridgewood church leaders are hoping to reach more sportspeople and draw them to the teachings of the gospel. For much the same reason, the church also hosts annual flag football and three-on-three basketball tournaments.
"We are just looking to broaden our reach with people who are interested in this," Foster said. "Any event that we do we do with a purpose. As a church, our purpose is to follow Jesus together."
"We hope these events bless and inspire the outdoor enthusiasts in our region," he added.
Door prizes for Sportsman's Night Out were donated by local businesses and others.
Sportsman's Night Out will be ongoing from 5 to 8 p.m. Jan. 28 at the church, 7073 Ridge Road. Tickets cost $5 and can be purchased at the door or in advance by calling 434-5774.
Exhibitors who would like a presence at the event should also call 434-5774 for details.
For more information, visit ridgewoodbible.org
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