Chapter Seventy Eight
Pastor Herb Ashley stood next. Waving toward the choir, he started. Thank you so much, everyone. Tonight many of us can truly say – it is well with my soul. In spite of the personal tragedies and the extended trauma of the circumstances we’ve faced here together, we can still raise our voices together in worship. I have another answer to prayer to share with you. This one concerns not just those displaced by our tragedy but each one of you watching and praising God with us tonight. As I talk to Ralph and Elise who are in charge of the phone banks, we’ve been overwhelmed by offers from across this great country.”
Shouts from the enthusiastic crowd rang out again.
“Well, I’m happy to share that we can now put most of those offers to good use. A large section of land to our north has been donated for a special cause. With the full blessing and cooperation from state and local officials, we are happy to announce the new town of Counters Bluff will be established in the coming weeks.”
As one person, the crowd burst into shouts of excitement.
Holding up his hands, Pastor Herb waited. “Obviously there is much more work to do.”
Pointing to the smiling President Taylor he added. “Federal funds can be tapped to help establish a town center, a school, police and fire, and post office.”
Pausing to look directly into the cameras he added. “Here is where you come in America! Help us build homes for the people in Tent City and those temporarily in housing throughout the Midwest. Plots are set up, in some cases utilities. But we have here a dentist with no home or office. Here we have an auto repair crew without homes, garage, or equipment. I could name many others. They’re all willing to stay and rebuild – to put their time and money on the line. The question to America tonight is - will you help? If so, a special hot line and business web page is set up just for this purpose.
He continued. “There is so much more I want to show you about the extraordinary blessings from this past two weeks, but instead the choir is ready to step up and praise the Lord.”
As the last hymn ended, Stephen looked around the crowd. People stood swaying with the rhythm, linked arm in arm with strangers, lifting voice to God in praise.
Brad Abrahamson stood ready for his solo, a camp fire favorite here. Once again the three verses of, Master the Tempest is Raging, flowed from his baritone voice. Hush covered the crowd as he finished the last chorus.
Pastor Herb stepped up with his closing. “Some of you here know what we face in His Name, yet from a little girl Warning goes to those in darkness. Know that He is Light and Life to all who would believe. To this I will add. Jesus is the Way, the Truth, and the Life. These things must happen so that America might know the fear of the Lord.”
President Taylor was supposed to leave immediately at the end of the service. Escorts sat ready, but last minute changes held up the escorts and clear path through the exits by an exasperated troop. President Taylor wanted to catch more than the service, wanting to understand these people and what they stood for.
Wait they all did, as he talked to church members and friends for thirty five minutes. Before leaving he pulled Pastor Herb to the side. “You were correct. This isn’t about you at all. If I could bring this Spirit of Peace and Good Will to Washington, who knows what could be accomplished.”
Stephen stood alone with Carrie far after the service. She tip toed up until she could look him fully in the yes. “I get it now. I really do. It isn’t about you or I, or even the little white church on the bluff. It’s about God…, an’ turning people to Him for Salvation. You an’ the others really expect revival to sweep over the nation, don’t you?”
Stephen swept her up into his big arms and planted a kiss on her busy lips. “Yes, that’s all it is. People turnin’ to Christ. That’s all it’s ever been ‘bout. And yes, all of us, includin’ me, an’ hopefully you. All of us expect revival to sweep over the nation.”
She let him hold her for a moment in his big bear hug arms. Just like my feelins’ for you sweep me away.