Thursday, March 13, 2014

Pilgrimage Home


This week I traveled with my parents and my husband to the city of my birth, Baltimore, Maryland.  A dear aunt had passed away and we were all able to go up for the funeral.  It was a sad time, but also good to be with family that I had not seen for some time.  After our arrival we were informed that the family would all be going over to a church for a meal together before the viewing hours at the funeral home.

Rescued from an old church that was being torn down if I recall correctly.

I was overjoyed to find out that the church was none other than the church where we had gone as a family when I was a girl.  Each time I have been able to go to Baltimore I have been able to go by the church, except on my last furlough.

After the meal, I asked to walk around the church building.  In the sanctuary I was happy to see the old stained glass window that the church was given some years ago and to find the pew plaque with my uncle and grandmother's names.

Presented by Mr. Leon and Mrs. Agnes Mullennax

I fondly recalled the way the people would bow down on their knees at their pews to pray.  I was able to go back into the room where a visiting pastor who did the stories for VBS one year called children who wanted to accept Jesus as their Savior to meet and talk with him.  I was one who bowed down in front of the choir pews, no longer there, to make my decision.


Back in the church basement, I was able to talk for a while with my uncle who had been a member of the church for many years.  He gave me quite a rundown on the history of the church over the years.  Sadly the church which once had an overflowing Sunday School with some 300 students, now has about only 15 actual members.  We chose not to deal on the negative and went on to appreciate together a conversation about the aging churches of today, the decline in firm doctrinal stands of many churches, and even the changing style of music of most churches.

Add In 1998, we took a photo of our family, just us and our two oldest at that time, on these very steps.
 At lunch the next day, we were all invited to lunch with the retired pastor of the church.  He and his wife had come for the funeral.  Our chit-chat was light-hearted about the pastor's many grandchildren and retirement life in Florida.  We all shared photos of our children and we told a little about our work in Brazil.  I felt very honored to be able to meet again the man who had been pastor when I was saved as a little girl.

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I know that people move on and things change, but it was sad to see the little church in its current state.  Once a relative asked before Byron and I left for Brazil, "Why are they going there, when there is so much need right here in Baltimore?"  Indeed there is a great need.  Romans 10:14 reminds us: How then shall they call on Him in whom they have not believed? And how shall they believe in Him of whom they have not heard? And how shall they hear without a preacher? 

Should Byron and I have stayed in the States and worked in needy churches right here at home?  No.
Luke 16:29 explains that many have the gospel already as the person was reminded in the story of the rich man and Lazarus:  "Abraham said to him, ‘They have Moses and the prophets; let them hear them.’"

What's the answer to the question of part of my conversation with my uncle about the aging churches of today?  Perhaps retired missionaries who come back to the States for medical reasons should consider such a work as this!  May God help the many old empty churches across America.  Maybe some who gave up on these little churches should consider going back as lay missionaries with their young families to help in the work.  I don't know the answers but I have searched my heart and know God's will for my life at this time.  John 4:35  " Behold, I say to you, lift up your eyes and look at the foreign misson fields, for they are already white for harvest!"

5 comments:

  1. Sorry to hear about your aunt... but how special is that, that you could go back and visit there! It is indeed very sad to see the condition of many once-thriving churches...

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  2. Hey! I enjoyed reading about this special adventure. Looks like I might be able to post on your blogs again! Trying it right now. I love you and your family. Thank you for staying in touch.

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  3. This was the church where my family went, I was only a baby.I remember as I slowly climbed the stairs the many times I was reminded don't run in Church! The room we ate in on Tuseday night was our main CYC room where Daddy and I worked for many years.My mind went back to many of the children that we saw saved.Daddy drove the bus for all the services and I thought where are those children now ? My heart still cries for some of those I remember like Peanut and his family and others.I too remember my Mommy saying why why are you going to Roanoke? We need you here but we left and came and started CYC in the church at Jordantown where we saw it grow.I am where God moved me,from the city to the rolling hills.

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    Replies
    1. Thanks for the note, Mom! I remember Peanut and CYC.

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  4. Thanks for the message and its very inspiring. God Bless! the family international

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