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Approximately nine years ago, the Rev. Raymond P. Faulkner decided to build a house … not a run-of-the-mill house, one designed and drawn on blueprints by a professional. Nor did he want it built by professionals.
He wanted to build the dream house of wife Mollie and daughter Priscilla, with the emphasis on “home,” not “house,” a “home that love built.”
A minister, not a professional carpenter, he set about to accomplish the self-appointed task.
This is not an unusual wish for a devoted husband and father, but he wanted to literally build it himself, from start to finish, which also may not be too uncommon.
But having faith in the abilities God has given him, he did build a beautiful and unique home, with the help of Priscilla.
But, to the relief of everyone, he did hire professionals to roof the two-story home, not because he couldn’t have done the work himself, but because Rev. Faulkner was in his mid-70s and had suffered a heart attack and also fought a battle with cancer, both while building the house.
Those who know him are not surprised at him facing, coping with and overcoming obstacles in his path, as he has met and cleared hurdles, including an early childhood affliction with epilepsy and a calling to preach when his family did not attend church.
The Faulkners graciously consented to share their beautiful Vernon home, and story thereof, as a testimony to their faith and God’s goodness.
In the beginning…
Rev. Faulkner’s life experiences are stranger than fiction, and demonstrate his deep-rooted faith in God.
Raymond Faulkner was born in Lexington, Ky., 79 years ago. At an early age, he was told by his Baptist grandmother that that he was going to be a preacher.
“She said, ‘God has something special for you. You’re going to be a preacher,’” Rev. Faulkner said.
This seemed unlikely, because his family did not attend church or Sunday school, and he was afflicted with epilepsy for which – in those days – medication and treatment were not adequately effective.
His grandmother lived to see him become a preacher. He evangelized for 25 years, preaching in all but two of the United States. He is in his 20th year of serving as minister to the Apostolic Christian Church in Vernon.
“When I was 14,” Rev. Faulkner said, “I said, ‘If you’re God and you are real, then why don’t you heal me?’
“Two days later was I was struck by lightning and healed of epilepsy,“ he said. “I’ve never had another touch of it.
“We lived in the country and it was raining, and us boys were going to go out and play in the rain. Well, they all made it but me. The lightning struck me before I got there.
“The lightening hit the clothesline, and I was under the clothesline. The doctor said I wouldn’t have lived if they hadn’t left me lying out there in that rain,” he said.
“I then had rabies when I was 27 years old. A dog bit me, and it was 18 days before I realized what it had done, so it was too late then to do anything. They took me to Christian Hospital in East St. Louis to die. I was actually foaming at the mouth, and I was out of it.” The third day, he again experienced God’s healing touch and was able to go home.
Rev. Faulkner also remembered another close call. "I cut my throat with a chainsaw, and my shoes were blood-soaked. I went up to the office and said, ‘I just killed myself.’ They rushed me to the hospital and put pressure on it.
“They said they didn’t know what to do, because there was too big a gap. I told them to put a Band-Aid on it, and I went home. God healed it,” he said, “But it seemed like the devil was trying to get me out.”
…shared their story, all speaking in the charming Southern accent inherent to their home states, his being from Kentucky and the ladies from Louisiana.
Rev. Faulkner lost his first wife to cancer, leaving him with three children. Mollie, who lived in Louisiana, lost her first husband to a heart attack, also leaving her with three children.
Priscilla was 17 years old when they married 16 years ago and, although she still loves the memory of her father, she now regards Raymond as her dad, and Raymond looks on her as his daughter.
A very close-knit family, they share many skills, gifts and talents. He is an accomplished artist, furniture-maker, electrician, cabinet-maker, plumber, interior decorator, carpenter, songwriter and wood-worker, as the family’s surroundings testify. He also used to fly a plane.
Priscilla worked alongside him in building the house, painting, etc. She is also a gifted musician and singer. She plays several instruments by ear, including the piano, dulcimer, keyboard, guitar and drums. She has recorded a CD on which she sings and plays the keyboard, and she wrote some of the lyrics.
Mollie sews, crochets, bakes and cooks, supports and encourages them in all of their endeavors. The family also includes several dogs and cats, which they have adopted.
But, most importantly…
True to his grandmother’s prophesy, Raymond became a preacher. He has served as pastor at the Apostolic Christian Church for 20 years, after many years as an evangelist.
“I was called to evangelism,” he said, “and I loved it. I would still like to go back to evangelism.”
And with his track record for the Lord, he just might do it!
Next week: The Faulkners’ story will continue with “The House That Love Built,” as we visit their unique Vernon home that reflects their personalities, priorities and a few of their favorite things. The home was seven years in the making, from Raymond’s first idea to build their dream home to the beautiful finished product today.