Thursday, May 8, 2008

The blind leading the blind.

Our church has recently finished (sort of) a new auditorium that almost doubles our seating space. We've been eagerly awaiting the day when we could actually move into it and have our services there. Well, that day has arrived and we will celebrate our first Sunday in it this weekend. So last night during the Wednesday night service, we enjoyed a time of testimonies and stories about when people first came to FBC. Testimonies are always great, but the stories were funny. I'll share what few I remember.

Joanna A. said that when her family first came to FBC, she was so impressed with the pastor's ability to memorize large quantities of scripture. In the first few weeks he quoted most of Leviticus - not the easiest book to memorize. Then she found out he was blind, reading Braille.

Then there was Bill W. who remembered the first time he came to FBC, and sat right in the middle of the 600-person auditorium. He said he was really creeped out because the pastor stared straight at him during the entire sermon. He thought the pastor somehow knew how bad a sinner he was. That blind-preacher thing again.

The pastor had a few stories to share, too. He remembered one kindergarten graduation when the teacher had very carefully arranged all the rolled-up diplomas in alphabetical order (they weren't marked on the outside) on a table on the platform. As he was taking his usual seat, he completely knocked the table over, scattering diplomas everywhere. The teacher just handed them out in random order and said they would sort it all out the next day.

It used to be customary for the pastor to sit on the platform while someone else was preaching. One time they had a visiting missionary speaking who was terribly boring, and the pastor just couldn't stay awake. Of course, the whole church sat and watched him bobbing his head and jerking himself awake. Not long after that, he changed his place to the front row, so at least he wasn't on public display anymore.

Our pastor has a portable Braille computer that he wears slung over one shoulder. It contains the Bible, the hymnal, and probably a lot of other stuff. He keeps it on until he gets up to preach, when he uses his notes typed on a Braille machine and put in a 3-ring binder. But when we first went there, we didn't know what it was, and neither did a visiting preacher, who referred to it as his "lunchbox."

And Russell's big sister told about how he used to snore during the preaching, especially during the quiet pauses. Russell really appreciated being hung out to dry like that.

Our pastor came here fresh out of Bible college 29 years ago and started Faith Baptist Church. This week we will move into our 1000+ seat auditorium, the third one in the church's history, and the church just keeps growing. He has incredible vision for a blind man. For any man, really.

Be thankful ~


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