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birdie tableREBECCA –
I was convinced that if there was one person who would never accept Jesus, it was Birdie. So, when Birdie asked:“Why do you read your Bible?” I realized a remarkable truth: God trusts me with my friend’s eternal soul!
Rebecca turned to me and answered: “Because my Bible tells me that Jesus is the only way to be saved.”
I thought that sealed the deal! I was not expecting what Birdie said next!
“I don’t believe there is just one way. People have a right to their own opinions.”
That holy moment suddenly turned into a spiritual battle. No one had ever challenged my faith. So, as I sometimes do, I defaulted to 1-part spiritual / 3-parts Rebecca: “Well, it doesn’t matter what you think! You can have all the opinions you want. But Jesus is still the only way to get to Heaven!”
I had grown up in a Christian home. My grandmother taught me the church catechism. I was even baptized on Mother’s Day.
catechismThis is the little New Testament that Birdie was awarded as a small child, after she was able to successfully answer all her church catechism questions, which her Granny so faithfully taught her. Though it wasn't her salvation, it was the foundation laid. Often it is the one who reaps the harvest who gets great credit on this earth but someone has to sow the seed.
But things took a sharp turn south in my life. By the time I was a sophomore in high school, I was a well-established troublemaker. In an attempt to redeem my rebel soul, my Aunt Etoile (A-twah) paid my way into a church camp as my high school graduation gift!
“Are you serious!!?  Most graduates get cash!" I thought.
I would have paid cash not to have to go! I threw an unholy tantrum but my dear mom threatened to ground me for life.
As fate would have it, at church camp I found even more rebels who had been bribed to come. It wasn’t long before the camp pastor discovered there were sinners in the camp. He pointed us out on the back row and said GahhhhhhD knew what we were doing and GahhhhhhD knew which of us was going to Heaven and which to Hell.
Afterwards I said to him: “So, it’s already been determined if I’m going to Heaven or Hell and there’s nothing I can do about it? He said: “Yes!” I turned around and left.
“If I’m going to hell anyway, what does it matter?”
I knew nothing about Birdie’s church camp experience when I stepped into this spiritual hornet’s nest! She threw questions at me left and right, challenging everything I believed. I have no idea what all I told her, but, I figure, it couldn’t have been as bad as what that camp pastor said!!
 pay phone
On the hard questions Rebecca would run to the dormitory hall phone and call her sister.
No such thing as unlimited talk, text and data! It was the original pay-as-you-go plan! Fifty cents every call! … Laundry money!
This went on until the next time I went home.
Birdie had a car. And, oddly enough, we only lived twenty-minutes apart. So the next time she drove home, we rode together. On the way, I asked if she would go to church with me. My brother-in-law, Joe Brown, pastored Friendship Baptist Church, located halfway between our homes.
That Sunday I agreed to meet Rebecca. I would wait for her at the turn.
virginia highwayNotice the car parked on the left. On the left side of that car there are two roads. The far left road is the original road. It cut sharply to the left. The turn to go to the church, immediately before it, cut sharply to the right. Birdie was waiting to meet Rebecca to go to church at the sharp right turn. Her orange Nova was parked just to the right of the church sign you see in this photo.  
It was raining. Before I got to the turn, I topped a hill on the winding country road and there was a car in front of me. When I touched my brakes, they didn’t work! I was about to rear-end the car but my brakes wouldn't work. I swerved around the car and began stomping the brakes.
I was waiting and in my rear view mirror when suddenly I saw Rebecca's car go into a spin. She went off the road, through a stop sign and into a field.
I thought I was okay – until daddy saw the car. If it wasn’t bad enough, he was a highway design engineer and had to replace the stop sign!
I got out of church that day!
So then I had to talk her into going again. The next time Preacher Joe told the meaning of the Lord’s Supper.
virginia highway2Here is the stop sign! The hump of ground wasn't there when Rebecca made her landing. It actually dropped off several feet into a large steel farming gate, where the fence now is.BIRDIE –
I had taken the Lord’s Supper many times. But this time … I started crying. When they passed the bread I put it in my pocket. I didn’t take the juice.
After church Birdie was furious. "Don’t ever ask me to go to church again! I don’t cry!” And ... she left.
Months passed. It was Christmas break.
My sister, Teresa, put on a Christmas play at the church. She asked if I would come and bring Birdie.
I was not going back to church! Rebecca insisted: “It’s just a Christmas play!” So, I asked, “Will the preacher give an invitation?”
 “Not at a Christmas play!!”
It was December 23rd.
Twas the night, before the night before Christmas.
I went.
I saw.
I heard.
And yes, Preacher Joe did give an invitation.
I lied.
friendship baptist churchFriendship Baptist Church


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