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.|
***********************************************************************************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!"