Cold Ears and an Altar Call
by Freda Douglas
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COLD EARS AND AN ALTAR CALL
Anybody who lives in western Pennsylvania for any length of time expects and is not surprised by a cold winter. It was a particularly cold, blustery evening in January 1953 with high winds. It was the type of weather that kept you in the house, preferably in front of a roaring fireplace. If you really had to go out you dressed warm, with a muffler around your neck and a warm scarf about your head.
Unfortunately I had to go outside because I was a volunteer for The Motherís March for the march of dimes. The motherís march was being held that night and it was important that I show up because the entire Mothers March was conducted by volunteers and I wasnít about to let my team down.
I would have preferred to wear a warm scarf but my mother had always taught me you never wear a scarf to church. I was certain if I went against those teachings which were so ingrained me I might have bad luck. After I carried out my duty with the mothers march I was headed to a revival at our church with no time in between. It was not only instilled in me to never wear a scarf to church I was also not supposed to go to church bareheaded. So, despite the cold weather, I braved the elements with my hat on.
When I arrived at Mrs. Brumbergís home, the coordinator for the march, we were each assigned our specific territory. We were supposed to get donations by asking at each home in our area. After collecting the money, and passing a pleasantry with the person who answered the door, I walked as fast as I could to turn the money in and headed for church. By this time the tips of my ears felt like they were frostbitten.
When I arrived at Grace Methodist Church where the revival was being held I sat in the center section, right hand side about six pews from the front. This was generally where I sat on Sunday for the worship service. Rev. George Palmer introduced the guest revivalist who would be conducting the meeting. I knew from revivals I had been to previously that after the sermon there would be an altar call.
The altar call gave people who chose to the opportunity to
recommit themselves to Jesus Christ. I also knew that even though I very much wanted to recommit myself to Jesus Christ I probably wouldnít do it because going to the altar might call attention to me, and that was something I always tried to avoid. For some inexplicable reason, perhaps a nudge from God, I accepted that particular invitation and joined the other worshippers at the altar rail. After the altar call was given the revivalist was joined on the podium by Rev. Palmer. The revivalist stopped at each individual at the altar rail, the name was spoken by Rev. Palmer and the revivalist had a personal prayer with each person. After this was concluded the guest speaker told us that peace would go with us.
I was young at the time, ready to turn 20 in a few weeks. After the service I headed for my rented room several blocks from the church. I did not realize the significance of what I had just done, but by the time I arrived at my destination the tears were falling. They surely must have frozen on my face because while I was in church the temperature had continued to plummet.
Immediately upon my arrival in my room I called Daddy on the phone. I knew that he, better than anybody else, would be wise enough to explain the phenomena that had just happened to me. Who better than Daddy to explain it? He had been the menís class Sunday school teacher for about as long as I could remember.
His explanation was that I had just recommitted myself to God. He also said that God had special plans for me, but I would just have to wait to see what that was. I felt better after I talked to Daddy and all of a sudden I felt a great peace descend on me.
It is now 50 years later. What was the plan God asked me to fulfill? I donít know. I truly believe He wants me to write, but who knows? He could still let me know. If not, when I am ready to leave my earthly home and enter into His kingdom, Iím sure Heíll let me know.
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Dear Freda, I was so blessed by your testimony here. It was, quite simply, beautiful. No big fanfare or life of sin, but a precious life handed over into the Lord's care. As I came to your last paragraph, I could feel that old familiar prickle of tears in my eyes. Write lovely lady! If even one life is touched by the things you write, then you will have brought a smile to the Father's face. Somehow though, I have a feeling that you have been used by the Lord many a time (perhaps without ever realising it) over these last 50 years. May God continue to unfold His perfect plan for your life! With love, Deb
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