Chapter Forty Six
Herb and Cliff met with Ted’ army and others for prayer and planning at 1:00 p.m. Monday afternoon. Diane handled the morning calls with Jean as offers from around the country came pouring in. Most were regular people wondering how they could help in their individual way. Then she had to set the phone aside in wonder. Now that was a strange offer. A 60 member choir? Where would we put an additional 60 people along with their equipment? Come on people, let’s get real here.
Another call came in that Diane put over to Herb. It unsettled herb a bit. Cora and Ed Nante, along with Gladys and Inner Anson, demanded a meeting right away. These good people represented the older, more conservative set in church. They’d been here since before Herb and Diane started their ministry. Their grandparents were charter members generations ago as the church found its beginning. Herb mentioned the matter as the team came together for prayer. I don’t know about this. The tingle in my back tells me to watch out, but of what?
The church sanctuary was emptied and at least basically cleaned up by the time the Monday afternoon meeting began by the industry of several unknown volunteers from Tent City. Most of these injured could be worked into the multi-purpose building for better care. Herb shook each hand and thanked the crew for the time and sweat. They in turn declared that it was the least they could do to help. The church basement continued to serve as nursery facility for the very young.
Ralph and Elise brought in Ted’ army, well fed and rested, and cleaner. “Ted made sure everyone knew of the hospitality. “Man oh man, so beyond. We’re gonna adopt Elise as official mom for us.”
Herb and Diane welcomed each group as they arrived with growing apprehension. The roadblocks were cued in about the coming event, but the sight of heavily armed guards didn’t help the tone of the meeting.
Promptly at 2:00 p.m. Herb opened in prayer, thanking God for bringing lost souls to Him from darkness and asking guidance for the day’ agenda. Cora and Gladys were quick to ask to speak. Herb raised an eyebrow at their tone. Hmmm, usually I don’t hear a peep from these ladies, wonder what’s up?
Looking at Herb with an intense glare, Cora started, barely able to speak clearly through her obvious anger. “We need to speak to you about the changes around here. How can we afford to keep going like this? What about, ‘these people’? We’re not used to, ‘this kind of people’, around here.”
Gladys broke in, her eyes narrowing and pointing her finger. “We’re not used to having an armed guard stop us and search our cars before we can come to our own church! And call that church? We couldn’t use our own building! It’s filled up with, you know, ‘those people’. We’ve always had our own worship service in our own building since before you were here. This used to be our comfortable country church. Now look what you’ve done. Oh, what a mess you’ve made. We should send these people away. Let the government or some other agency take these people off our hands. They have people for this kind of thing. Don’t you see the danger in all this?”
Cora broke in as Gladys ran out of breath. “Yes, an’ besides. We could never afford all of this. You know, our parents went through the depression. We know how people lost everything! We don’t have much money and thanks to you, we’ll lose what we have here too! We want to keep everything the same. Pretty soon, these people’, will have different ideas and will be telling us what to do!”
Both Cora and Gladys sat down with arms crossed and stern looks pasted on their faces.
Herb and Diane exchanged amazed looks. Diane was close to tears. Ted’ army looked at each other in question. Having no formal church background, this approach was new to them.
Elise, Ralph at her side, gently started an answer. “Cora, you and Gladys and your families have been here longer than any of us, that’s true. Over the years both of you and I have shared many committee assignments together. Remember now, how many times we prayed for revival, for people turning from darkness to His Light?
Gladys, you knew my parents the best. They were here a long time too. Do you remember how inspired she was about teaching Sunday School? I remember all of you tenderly teaching our children, taking time for each one, loving them, helping them to see that each of them is special to God.
Well, I think God answered our prayers for revival, all at once! God gave us a whole basement full of mothers and children that need to experience His Love. Sunday we witnessed a revival that none of us had ever seen. Do you remember the old style tent meetings so popular when we were young? Isn’t this kind of like those were? I understand more than 150 people accepted Christ yesterday! That’s far more than we saw back then. I think God’s given us opportunity to do what we all prayed for all those years.”
Gladys and Cora didn’t like her response, getting puffier and angrier by the minute. Dragging their husbands in tow, they collectively stood up and marched out for good. The meeting was at a standstill.