Previous Challenge Entry (Level 2 – Intermediate)
Topic: Camping (07/11/05)
TITLE: Pentecostal Camp
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I remember no other family trips. We were poor. My father left us when I was four, my mother had an eighth grade education, was unusually shy, and had three young children, consequently family vacations were few.
We may have been poor in many ways but I am now rich with a spiritual heritage that has its' roots in a little Pentecostal church that held service on Saturday nights at the edge of a small town in eastern Oregon. The Full Gospel Revival Center met on Saturdays so churches that met on Sundays could fellowship with us, theoretically. However, the only ones that wanted to fellowship were the “colored” people. To me, a child, this was when church was best.
When Sister Grogan, from Zion Baptist Church from what at that time was called “colored town” visited, she played electric guitar. She was stoic and had black spots on plump brown cheeks. Her electric guitar was white. Sister Thomas, had one gold tooth and would lead song service. She was perhaps the liveliest of the visiting Baptist members. She would clap big and loud and toss her head of oiled black curls as she led us in spirited choruses’ of “Get Jesus On The Line.” Another visiting lady Baptist hit a big drum held between her knees. She was thin and serenely serious. I remember an air of holiness about her. And there were the tambourines. None in our small congregation could hit it rhythmically like the Thomas sisters who would sing “specials” behind the pulpit in the front of the church. My hair would stand up on the back of my neck as I sat on the wooden bench below, amazed at the harmonious sounds coming from them.
This little Quonset hut with an outdoor toilet is also where I learned about the presence of the Lord, and what it was to “dance in the spirit.” (Remember when David danced in praise before the Lord and Michal looked down from her window and hated him?) I also learned what it means to be a "Mother in Israel". This is a belief that some are called to bear intercessory burdens before the Lord in an intense way. I also learned that a woman can be called of God to preach,(we had a woman pastor) and what it means to be filled with the Holy Ghost and to speak in tongues.
I do remember the smell of the pines at the Pentecostal camp long ago, the excitement of being what seemed at the time far from home, but as I look back I mostly remember that my mother was there, and that this was all part of a richness she has given to my soul and my faith.
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