By Mike Bush
St. Louis (KSDK)- On the road of faith, Robert Thurman believes in going the extra mile.
"I feel blessed just to have the privilege of communicating on behalf of God. To open up his word, " he explained.
Thurman is the pastor at Grace Bible Fellowship in St. Louis. Though he's been here less than a year, he seems to have found a home.
"His heart, his mind, his spirit. We have already started to meld and knit together, " says church elder Joseph Graf.
"Although I've been in church my whole life, I learn something new every Sunday, " added congregant Donna Reinhart.
Thurman's journey to St. Louis was a long one. In fact, it's a journey he's still making every week.
"I'm here in North Carolina, Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday, " explained Thurman.
The Pastor actually lives in Gibsonville, North Carolina. Every Wednesday evening, he says good-bye to his wife and young son gets in his car and drives to work. In St. Louis!
"The guys at the place where I change my oil know me by name, " he laughs.
He accepted the St. Louis job last year with the hope of quickly selling his home but that didn't happen.
"I thought I might do this for four or five weeks and it's been 7 months, " he grimaced.
If you're doing the math, that's about an 800 mile commute. Each way. The Pastor says he's put 45,000 miles on his used BMW just since Christmas.
"Most people think that Im crazy and you know sometimes I wonder, " says Thurman.
All those hours in the car gives you time for solitude and prayer. You not only watch what happens as the country rolls by but you sometimes wonder, what just happened.
"Coming home in a snow storm on the West Virginia turnpike, " he recalled, "I saw a large animal, as large as any big deer or cow but I have no idea what animal that was."
Pastor Thurman believes he was called to St. Louis, so he and his family must pass this test of patience
"As you get older, really to be effective you plant roots somewhere and stay a long, long time, " says Thurman.
If nothing else, he seems to be sending a message of dedication to his congregation.
"Look at what Rob's doing. Look at how he's stepped up to the plate to serve, what more can I do?, " says Graf.
After Sunday services in St. Louis, it's time for Pastor Thurman to get in the car and head back to North Carolina. Another long trip made just a little shorter knowing that in whatever direction he goes, he's always heading home.