75 acres of farmland without a crop: “We sowed it down last year,” said David Ginn, the man who owns them. “It’s been dedicated to the Lord.”
From the sky, this land looks ordinary. But in the sky, the most extraordinary thing is about to happen. Aug. 21 is the Great American Total Solar Eclipse: the most historic celestial event the United States has ever seen. It begins in Oregon and ends in South Carolina. 80 percent of Americans live within 600 miles of totality and—for those who don’t—a partial eclipse will shadow the whole of North America.
And near the point of greatest eclipse, where the world will be at its darkest? David Ginn’s farm in Christian County, Kentucky.
From Aug. 19 through Aug. 21, those 75 cleared acres will host SolQuest, an old-time tent revival. Organized by HR Ministries, a multi-denominational prison outreach, SolQuest is taking the eclipse as a chance to show how the God who moves moons and planets is moving in Kentucky.
Ask Ginn why the point of greatest eclipse is in Christian County, and he has one answer: “For such a time as this is all I can tell you. I don’t know why He’s doing it; all we know is He’s doing it and it’s something only he can do, only He can cause. And I do know—well, just from what I’ve been told—it’s hard for me to imagine people coming from all over the world, but those that are coming—the enthusiasts—this is the spot they desire, where it’s the greatest alignment, and that’s what we have here.”
These “enthusiasts” Ginn mentions are citizen scientists, eclipse-chasers—any of the 25,000 to 50,000 tourists local government anticipates will come see the eclipse. The first of these guests emailed Hopkinsville-Christian County Convention & Visitors Bureau Executive Director Cheryl Cook around ten years ago, asking about accommodations. That single email started countywide buzz on how to best prepare.
Then two years ago, the City of Hopkinsville—Christian County’s seat—started hosting town halls to logistically get ready and to help locals get the most from the event.
“The main focus of what I heard was how the city and the county could profit from this—and that’s fine, there’s nothing wrong with that,” Ginn said. “But it was just so obvious from the very beginning, and Becky and I talked about it—my wife—and it was just very plain from the very beginning the Lord laid on our hearts—and it wasn’t audible, I didn’t hear, He didn’t speak aloud to me—but the Spirit said, ‘Honor me with this and watch what I’ll do.’”
If a revival begins with murmurs of the Spirit, then change on earth begins with small, single steps of obedience. “The more you seek the Lord,” Ginn says, “the more He reveals Himself to you and His will and what He’s got going on.”
And reveal the way, He has. Ginn volunteers with HR Ministries’ death row outreach, and at the time the eclipse was announced, the group had recently begun organizing family activity days for inmates. While praying over the idea of SolQuest, Ginn talked with a man at the county jail who shared that missionary friends outside the US had received prophecy of revival starting “in the middle of the United States, in this little state called Kentucky.”
Next, a Christian group from the nearby town of Benton approached Ginn at the state penitentiary, sharing how missionaries had contacted them with prophecy “about revival starting, a great revival in this land starting in Kentucky...It was gonna start in our land, it was gonna start in Kentucky.”
And so the more Ginn prayed, the more he felt the Spirit guide him.
As he continues, Ginn’s journey seems reminiscent of Moses, who was hesitant to answer God’s call because he was “slow of speech.” “The more I study and pursue the Lord, the more I realize how little I know,” Ginn says, “I’m a very slow learner,” sharing how 10 years ago, he started working more on his personal witness. (Coincidentally, that’s also when Cook received the email.)
Ginn insists that dedicating 75 acres of fertile ground to God is not remarkable. “This is nothing more than our reasonable service. This is no big thing, some great grand thing we’re doing. This is nothing but our reasonable service...He owns it all anyway. He gives us our very next breath and we couldn’t do nothing without Him, so this is—this is just a reasonable thing to do.”
While setting up the interview for this article, Ginn asks more than once if there isn’t someone else we’d rather interview. Granted, 76% of Kentuckians identify as Christian and, at least once a week, 43% feel a sense of wonder at how the universe is made. In addition to SolQuest, eclipse-Sunday church services are planned at nearby Christian Way Farm and Burdoc Farms. Yet only one man has physically set aside land in a Leviticus 27, old-fashioned tithing kind of way.
“It’s all His anyway,” Ginn responds. “He owns the cattle on a thousand hills, so it’s all His.”
As the sun sets on those hills, though, none of this is about the land. It has never been about the land. And while it may seem as though the story you’re reading is about David Ginn or the humility of a Kentucky farmer who’ll sacrifice profits by fallowing cropland, Ginn will be the first to tell you it is not:
“There’s gonna be every kind of belief imaginable and unbelief people will have who come to this. And that’s the exact ones we want to come! This isn’t about pleasing or serving other Christians. It’s about Christians serving a lost and dying world and being a witness for them. And when they come on the ground, to realize there’s something different about this. They may not realize right off what’s going on or what that is, but it’s gonna be the power of the Lord and the Holy Spirit in a mighty way there. There’s no doubt in my mind.”
If there is ever a period when man has been known to doubt, it has been when he found himself alone in the dark. During a total solar eclipse, the world becomes the blackest it has ever been or ever will be. It’s even darker than at night since, at night, the moon reflects sunbeams back to earth. But during a total eclipse, the moon completely blocks the sun, so no light makes it to the earth at all. Horses lay down; birds stop singing. In the dark and in the still, we physically experience a sensory expression of what the three Marys felt at an empty tomb: Like all the light had gone out of the world.
If ever a celestial event were prime for a person’s salvation moment, it may be when Jehovah Jirah, who is mighty to save, reveals the sun again.
As for the human element in showing the light to those 25,000-50,000 guests, SolQuest will provide free camping and free parking. Of course there’s the evangelical preaching and Christian music acts you’d expect from any tent revival. And since August in Kentucky is hot, free water will be on hand for attendees as well as anyone stuck in traffic. As for living water, Gideons in attendance will distribute more than 1,000 Bibles.
Terena Bell is a writer, journalist and entrepreneur. Reach her editor at 270-887-3243 or firstname.lastname@example.org.