Lawson writes . . . sharing thoughts and memories

May 1, 2010

The Church Tested — Part Two

Filed under: Uncategorized — lawsonjolly @ 5:44 am

(Read Part One, yesterday’s blog first.)

Our church excelled in a commitment to missions.  There was support of missions through giving and going.  A VW bus had been sent to Africa to aid a missionary family.  A mission trip to another state resulted in the planting of a new church.  Missions outreach locally employed creative methods at the county fair and other opportunities.  And the church was blessed to be the home base for many missionary families that were in orientation for overseas missions.  There were over forty families that would attend our church during their four-month program.

This mission spirit reached out to an area rehabilitation facility.  It was state owned and provided  rehab to young adults who had been injured in accidents or whose need was the result of some illness.  These individuals had difficulty being able to care for some of their personal needs.  Our men and women began to go one night a week to wash and set hair, teach make-up, and do anything that might encourage them.  There was an opportunity to share God’s love with them.  ” . . . I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these of mine, you did for me.”  (Matthew 25:40)

As a result of this ministry, the state asked our church if  they could bring these folks to our church.  They would provide transportation and encourage all that had interest to come.  Our church gladly responded.  As they began to come on Sunday mornings, there were some interruptions if the bus arrived a few minutes late.  Many in wheelchairs had to be brought to the front where there was adequate room.  One even came on a rolling stretcher and was brought to the front.  Others were on crutches, some were blind, and some had missing limbs, while others could manage on their own.  It was a thrilling moment as these young adults came to our church.

Of course, several of the patients were black.  Some in the church asked the question about what the church would do if one of them desired to join our church.  The response was that they would be welcomed as any other person.  These were years when churches had voted a policy about blacks coming into the church.  At this church, I had asked about the policy prior to accepting the call.  They had an open-door policy and it was in writing.

After several weeks, a young lady walked forward. She was black.  She had understood the gospel, and she acknowledged a saving faith in Jesus Christ.  I presented her to the congregation and there was the wonderful response of receiving her into the fellowship of the church.  The many missionaries in the service were so overjoyed that they could go to Africa and other places and speak of this event in America where segregation was  repulsive to other cultures.

There was true rejoicing as I indicated in my news article in yesterday’s blog.  As people left that morning, there was a spirit of joy.  Only one man had something derogatory to say.  Our follow-up to the young lady was exactly as for any other member.  Preparations were made for her baptism.

I wish I could tell you that the joy would continue.  But there is much more to this story.  The test of the church would continue.  The church had been victorious in the test of reaching out to all the patients at the rehabilitation center.  The church rose to the moment when tested of receiving this young lady into membership.

“I know, my God, that you test the heart and are pleased with integrity.”  (1 Chronicles 29:17)

Tomorrow’s blog will answer the question, “Did the church continue to respond in a Christian way to this challenge of the local culture?”

Lawson

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