Actually, the first church where the Harters pastored was at the Church of God located on the corner of McConnell & Smith Streets in Alger, Ohio. It was a beautiful little white frame church with a two-story parsonage on the corner.
Previously during the summer months, Melvin Roberta who were still utilizing their bus in evangelistic work, had held a seven-day revival at the church. Kenny & Dolly Cain where the pastors at the time.
It was actually somewhat of a strange revival, not so much relating with the people, but actually with the existing pastor, Kenny Cain. There was a sign across the top of the platform in the church that read, PAY YOUR TITHES, and in the bottom of the offering plate was actually a picture of Pastor Cain.
The Harters knew the Cains from Bible College. Kenny & Dolly lived across the hallway in the old Providence Hall facility, which was initially constructed in the 1940s. It was a cheap place for Bible College married students to live while attending Lee College and preparing for the ministry.
Kenny only enrolled at the Bible College for less than a year and appeared to be more interested in obtaining a church to pastor than he was in his studies and classes. Many times he spent more of his time in printing promotional literature than he did in attending his classes at Bible College. However, Kenny & Dolly were a very sweet couple and very likeable. And even though Kenny missed attending many of his classes, the Cains became good friends with the Harters and they had many good times together.
One such event was the time when Kenny (missing another class) was home printing special literature for the promotion of his ministry. The Harters went back at the end of the class session to say hello. When Kenny answered the door (Dolly not being home due to her working a job), he stated that he had been printing some posters for his ministry. The posters had his pictures consisting of various ages on them. He was protective of touching the posters since they were still wet and not quite dry. So there were many of the dry ones stacked on his kitchen table. Meanwhile, Kenny said he was offered two churches and was praying about which one to accept. Roberta wanted to have some fun. Uh O, Melvin knew that meant trouble ahead!
Providence Hall had a prayer room located in the attic or what you may call the third floor of the building. Evidentally, someone in the past recognized the need to have a place where residents could spend time with God in prayer and with certain construction skills, had created a Prayer Room in the attic of the building. However, a person could step outside the Prayer Room and be standing on the joist boards that cross the building.
Roberta wanted to have some fun and play God. Melvin told her not to do so, but she was determined to give Kenny an answer as to which of the two churches he should take. She stepped out onto the joist boards crossing the attic and was where she thought just above Kenny and Dolly's apartment because she could hear the old printing machine still printing Kenny's posters.
She began to prophecy. "Kenny, this is the Lord." And about this time, her foot slipped on the board and her legs went through the drywall ceiling of the Cain's apartment. The only thing that saved her from going completely through the ceiling was her ability to catch one of the joist boards with her arm. Melvin was able to help get her out.
Just as Roberta went through the ceiling of the Cain's apartment, Dolly was arriving home. It seemed that just as Dolly opened the door of her apartment, the incident occurred. Dolly cried out, "What in the world is going on?" Kenny's immediate reaction was, "I don't know anything about it." Meanwhile Roberta, while clinging to the board exclaimed, "It's me Dolly. Roberta."
Some years later Providence Hall was demolished to make way for a new buiding. However, if it was still standing today, you could go back to that apartment and discover several of Kenny's posters plastered to the ceiling where Roberta had made a hole falling through it while prophesing.
After that incident, everyone in the old building stated to Roberta, "Come and visit us, but use the front door please!" Everyone had a big laugh.
Regarding Melvin? It was the usual husband response, "I told you so."
Several years later, the Harters are conducting revival services for the Cains at their pastorate at the Church of God in Alger, OH. After one particular night of revival service, the Harters retired to bed and prepared to go to sleep when all of a sudden they heard a strange voice declaring, "I won't come out!"
There were no heat vents in the upstairs bedrooms, only open vents in the floor permitted any heat to enter the room. Kenny had an old A A Allen record entitled, "I Am Lucifer." He put the speaker up to the ceiling vent and began to play a portion of the record where some demon was declaring he would not come out. Boy, did that wake the Harters! so in the midst of conducting revival services, there was a good time of fellowship as well.
There were about 60 people in attendance of the revival each night. And it seemed to be a good revival, many people were blessed with the singing of the Harters and Melvin's preaching.
But the revival was over, the Harters were back at their old apartment wondering what God wanted them to do. They were on their knees in prayer when the telephone that rested on the floor and had not been disconnected yet, rang. It was Rev. Raymond Crowley on the telephone telling Melvin that he still felt the the Lord would have the Harters to come to Alger and pastor the Church of God.
What else can a person do? The Harters believe that the Christian's life is guided by God. Whenever a Christian has dedicated his/her life to God by surrendering oneself totally over to the will of God, then whatever occurs in a person's life is under the total control of God.
Rev. Crowley assisted financially in the Harters relocating to Alger. In just a week or so, the Harters moved into the parsonage and began to pastor the Church of God in Alger, Ohio.