Part 2 - A Little Piece of Heaven
Part 2 - our visit to a Black Church
At the close of the evening the Pastor got up on the platform and announced – no word of a lie – that he noticed that they had a couple of visitors in the congregation tonight (we definitely stuck out in the crowd). My friend turned to look at me with a deer caught in a headlight kind of eyes. He went on to say that when God sends visitors He always sends them with a message for the church and he invited us to stand and give a few words.
Well my friend at this point was sliding under the row of chairs in front of us, I told her it would be fine and I found myself standing up and praying hard in my head to know what to say.
I told them that we were down from Canada to attend the Women of Faith Conference in Charlotte and had found their church in the phone book. I praised the youth for their part in the service saying that we had teens at home and appreciated the service immensely. I don’t remember much else and I know it was nothing profound and I am sure it was nothing those wonderful folks would remember, but we sure would remember them….
When the service ended we found ourselves surrounded on all sides by the church members, hugging us, shaking our hands and welcoming us in a fashion I have never seen before. It was unreal, we felt so welcome and loved and then it happened…
I got a tap on the shoulder and I was told that the Pastor and the First Lady would like to see us at the front of the church. My attention stuck on the “First Lady” phrase but up to the front we went.
Standing there were several gentlemen and the Pastor – I do not know if we actually got to meet the First Lady.
“How much did it cost you to come to our church in the taxi?” was what the Pastor wanted to know.
I put up my hand to decline and tried to say something but I was very firmly interrupted.
“How much did it cost you to come to our church in the taxi?” he repeated. I looked over into his firm eyes and knew that it was not really a question or suggestion, he wanted to know.
“Twenty dollars,” I replied.
“You will be reimbursed for the twenty dollars that it cost you and you will both be taken out for a meal and given a ride back to your hotel. You will be provided with phone numbers of some of the church members so that should you have any trouble of any kind while in Charlotte you can call us for assistance,” was the Pastors astounding statement.
I stood there rocked to my very core and stunned, unsure of what to say or how to respond, other than mutter a very humbled, “thank you.”
I had never come across this kind of generosity before and I knew this was not a wealthy church; many of the congregation was not working due to the recession in the States. Yet it was probably one of the richest places in love I have ever come across.
The love that we felt from this group of amazing people is beyond words. We knew we were in the presence of God’s true ambassadors – they loved the way God would – unselfishly.
We indeed were taken out for supper by a very gracious lady and her daughter and then given a ride back to our hotel. We were given three phone numbers to call at any time day or night if we ran into any difficulties in our travels there.
We arrived back to our hotel safely and with the warmth of a love we both had never felt before engulfing us. I think fondly on this little church today and often – what would this world be like if we all loved like this – unselfishly?
“By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another." John 13:35
You may be led to believe that “racism” is over in the south after reading this – these two little white gals from Canada learned differently on our trip down there – it is still looming over the south today. It explained the taxi driver’s hesitation at letting us off at the church. The fact that this little church loved and welcomed us – the white folks – in the manner they did, well my friends – we had found a little piece of heaven right there in Charlotte, North Carolina that day.