Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 - Advanced)
Topic: Evangelism (11/01/07)
TITLE: Ballerina Wins Converts
By Marilyn Schnepp
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I'm talking about that Saturday night in Atlantic City in the autumn of '94, when an entire nation watched, spellbound, as Miss Alabama brought their hearts and minds to Center Stage as she, a lone ballerina danced at the foot of the cross in a vision of white lace, and performed a flawless ballet to Sandi Patti's vocal rendition of "Via Dolorosa" ... capturing the attention of millions.
Unlike Billy Graham, who dedicated his life to bringing his audience to their knees, this young lady brought the audience to their feet. Repeatedly! And with a standing ovation at the end of her moving and spectacular tribute to her Creator, it was in essence...evangelism in creative motion.
It's not surprising that Miss Whitestone won the coveted 1995 Miss America title, for she was a beautiful and talented young lady. Nor was it beyond the scope of imagination that she won in spite of her hearing impairment; for her poise and personality far overshadowed any deafening type handicap.
What I found amazing, however, was the fact that she chose to bring to center stage for all the world to see... a subject that was stifled and ridiculed and beginning to become almost extinct in our society at the time, "religious faith" and yet she won the Miss America crown.
Nobody, but nobody, would consider entering a pageant or contest in this day and age with such a controversial or unpopular theme, or try to win a title by preaching or evangelizing about one's faith. But Heather had courage, and with a breathtaking, awesome performance, touched the hearts of a nation with her ballet at the foot of the Cross.
My thoughts on Heather Whitestone's (Miss Alabama) courageous faith was published in the Op/Ed Section of the Birmingham Post-Herald on 10/28/94. My final sentence was a personal "thank you" to her....
"Congratulations, Heather, and thank uou for witnessing to the nation and the world the values that still exist in the Heart of Dixie. We're so proud of you for giving the people of our nation and of the world - a glimpse of hope. God Bless."
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