Capri Connection: Church hosts surprise ceremony for pastor and his wife

Ann Hall

There is one thing for sure: Pastor Curt Ayers and his wife, Dreama, are loved by the members of Capri Christian Church.

Pete Kugler gives Pastor Curt Ayers a giant thank you card signed by many of the members of Capri Christian Church, along with a new set of golf clubs purchased with donations from the church membership.

This was evidenced by the tremendous turn out at a surprise recognition ceremony coordinated by Pete and Kris Kugler on July 15 to honor the Ayers for their 25 years of service to the church.

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The stories shared publicly by so many further provided proof of the love the members have for their leader and his wife. Pastor Ayers was given a new set of golf clubs, complete with cleats, balls and other accessories. Dreama was given a gift card to spend any way she sees fit. Funds for these small tokens of appreciation were given by the church members and others.

The Ayers are humble servants. They shy away from public recognition of their accomplishments, and they always attribute credit to all that is good to their Lord. This was the case when given a chance to speak after being recognized for their 25 years’ of service:

“I feel proud to be here,” Ayers said. “I thank Jesus for all that He has done in my life. In addition, if it were not for my good parents and my wife Dreama, I don’t know what my life would have been.”

Pictured are one of the 18 tables of Capri Christian Church members and their guests who attended a surprise appreciation celebration honoring Pastor Curt Ayers and his wife, Dreama.

Ayers and Dreama met in Ozark Bible College. Prior to coming to Capri Christian Church as pastor in 1992, Ayers had also served as a youth pastor and assistant pastor elsewhere.

Since the onset of the pastor's arrival, his message has been simple and clear, and can be summed up in a few short sentences that he has repeated over the years and woven into each of his sermons in relevant and story-like ways:

  • “We were put on this Earth to love God, love others, and serve both.”
  • “Stay in the Word, and pray about everything.”
  • “Tell others what Jesus has done for you.”
  • “Jesus cares about each one of us.”
  • “There is no other way for eternal life except through Jesus: tell others this.”

Simplicity and relevance are what most say they enjoy about his “preaching.” It is said that his sermons are more like teaching from life experiences, and are so clear and easy to understand.

“When we arrived at CCC, we had young children and were new in town, and the members of the church were so warm and loving to us,” Dreama said. “We have loved being here for 25 years, and are excited to see what is going to be happening here next.”

Kris Kugler gives Dreama Ayers a giant thank you card, and gift cards totaling $1,000 for her 25 years as the pastor’s wife.

The church has grown from a small cluster of 11 who met in one another’s homes to what it is today.

“In season there are about 800 who worship here each weekend,” Elder Vice-Chair, Dale Williamson said.

When asked what they liked most about their pastor, there was no hesitation in anyone’s response.

“Working with Curt for 11 years has been the second best education in my life, right under that of my father,” music pastor Steve Dawes said.

“I have worked with Pastor Ayers for five years,” youth pastor Tim Gardiner said. “He works so hard, and he sets a good example for our family.”

"I like his humor,” Laurel Williamson, 15-year-old granddaughter of Dale and Mary Williamson, said.

One such example is the story he shared in his latest sermon in which Ayers described how Jesus raised Lazarus from the dead: “Lazarus had been covered in spices and then wrapped up like a mummy. I’ve seen too many mummy stories, and I just can’t get the picture out of my head of Lazarus walking out of the tomb like the mummies in the movies,” he said with a chuckle as he demonstrated how this might look. The congregation laughed with him.

“Pastor Ayers treats our church like it’s truly God’s house by taking care of it and of His people,” church member Patty Irving said.

Ayers has been observed doing anything that needed to be done. No job is too menial for him.

“I’ve seen him unclogging toilets, scrubbing floors, vacuuming, cooking meatballs, peeling and making mashed potatoes, digging holes, handing out flyers, repairing broken windows, cooking hot dogs, moving furniture,” said numerous church members gathered at the ceremony.

Anita and Ted Mangels, and music pastor Steve Dawes and his wife, Tabatha, enjoy fried chicken and all the trimmings at the surprise appreciation celebration honoring Pastor Curt Ayers and his wife, Dreama.

“He is always there for you, and he preaches the truth,” Donna Battiste said.

One of the most humorous and tell-tale examples of how much Ayers cares about his flock was shared by Elder Tom Horton.

“One day when we were preparing for the big Easter Service under the tent. I arrived to help with set-up and found Pastor Ayers with a small bucket bending over, filling it up with water on the ground and carrying the water to a ditch," Horton said. "When asked, what he was doing, Ayers said he didn’t want people to get their feet wet, and the ground was wet after a heavy rain. I offered to get a pump. Ayers kept taking the water out one bucket at a time,."

In season,  Ayers preaches for four worship services each weekend; conducts 9 Bible Studies; councils; visits the sick; meets with the widows; participates in special functions; baptizes new members; marries couples; helps out at camp; and does a sundry of other services.

Dreama is also active, and has shared her talents in the music program, Sunday school, and children’s and women’s ministries.

“Thank you Dreama for sharing Curt with us,” Kris Kugler said. "And thank you, God, for bring Curt to Capri Christian Church; we just wanted Pastor Curt and Dreama to know how much we love them.”

With this said, there was scarcely a dry eye in the social hall.

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