Acts 7:31-32 New King James Version (NKJV)
The voice of the Lord came to him, 32 saying, ‘I am the God of your fathers…
If I’m going to talk about my fathers I must go back as far as I can. My Great, Great Grandfather on my Dad’s side of the family was named James Jackson Stewart. Jackson was a Civil War veteran and the Pastor of Fairview Church of God here in Sprott, Alabama until his death in 1915 at the age of 87. He was also known to plant churches on Indian reservations. God had sent him to the Native Americans. After the Civil War he lived in a log cabin on land owned by the Coley family, down by the Cahaba River.
My Dad, William Otha Hopper, said Jackson built the cabin in 1865. The cabin was made from heart of pine logs, which last forever. It eventually was abandoned and fell into disrepair but many of the logs were still there into the 1990’s. My Dad approached O.D. Hartley who owned the land and asked if he could take the logs and “do something” with them. Mr. Hartley approved so the logs were moved to the end of my Dad’s driveway. I can still remember coming for a visit and finding my dad had taken the logs and made a small structure, even putting a tin roof over it (SEE PICTURE).
Using a two-sided axe, he prepared the newer logs by removing the bark, just the way they did in the 1800’s. Or he learned it watching his father before him who was a lumberjack. That’s my grandfather’s 2 man saw on the front of the cabin. Getting back to my dad, he was an amazing man. He was incredibly creative with peerless integrity. Taking no short cuts and doing it the old way was just like him; to make it as authentic as possible. He also took wood from old corn cribs and barns in the area that would match the logs well, and added two bedrooms, a kitchen, and a bathroom. He ran a water line from his well and then added electricity. He even added a gas log fireplace in the original room, which became the den, and added a large deck across the back. Perry County has since marked the old cabin as a historical landmark. I named it the “Jackson Cabin,” after my Great, Great Grandfather.
I always believed my Dad was doing more than just restoring an old cabin. Since Jackson Stewart preached the gospel of Jesus Christ, I felt the restoration of the cabin was also a restoration of my family’s Christian heritage. Jackson had been sent to the Native Americans and now I’m sent to the Latino Americans. Both people groups have been persecuted severely for totally different reasons but God loves them both dearly.
I opened my property, including the Jackson Cabin, as Patria House in 2013. I also started my website www.patriahouse.org and started writing in my old Cabin like my father had when I was a child. Patria is a Greek word used three times in the New Testament (Luke 2:4, Acts 3:25, Ephesians 3:15) and translated as “lineage, kindred or family.” The word speaks specifically of paternal descent. It refers to a group of families, a whole race or nation of people. Ephesians 3:14-15 says, “For this reason I bow my knees to the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, 15 from whom the whole family in heaven and earth is named.” It is my passion to see the Holy Spirit touch the lives of people here as only He can. My Great, Great Grandfather would appreciate that and so would my Dad who returned to his faith before his death in 2005. We are part of the whole family of God in heaven and in earth. May His Kingdom come and His will be done in Patria House as it is in Heaven. Amen..