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Season emphasizes ties to familycomment (0)

December 18, 2003

By Johnie Sentell

For most Baptists, the period between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Day brings a strong emphasis on family. Recent events brought this to mind.

Birmingham Baptist Association sponsored its annual sharing of food with the homeless during Thanksgiving week. More than 2,000 meals were served by members of 71 churches over a three-day period. One of the people who came for food was David, estranged from his St. Clair County family.

David’s wife asked him to leave eight months ago because of his alcohol problem. For five months he lived in abandoned coal mines. He was “at the end of his rope,” according to Ricky Creech, associational director of missions.

David heard about the association’s feeding on Thanksgiving and went “just to see if somebody really cared,” Bro. Creech said. “One of our volunteers who comes every year just to talk with the people listened to his story.”

The volunteer made several phone calls and located David’s daughter, who had gotten married since he left. She hadn’t even known for sure he was still alive.

The next day, Saturday morning, she arrived about 5:30 to look for David. Less than two hours later she saw him in the food line and screamed out. It was an emotional reunion. “We are trying to get him into rehab,” Bro. Creech said. “We will help them any way we can.”

On Christmas Eve 2002, my son Stuart and his Melissa became engaged. Before Stuart asked her to marry him, only one person knew his plans. He had gone by to show the ring to my mother, who was quite ill. Mother died Jan. 2. Only one of Stuart’s grandparents was left to see him get married — his maternal grandmother. The wedding date was set for Dec. 6, 2003.

Timely encounter

On the day after Thanksgiving, eight days before the wedding, I was shopping with my daughter Sarah when someone called my name. It was Karen Estes Lowry, who had worked with us at The Alabama Baptist during the 1980s.

After we exchanged family updates, I asked Karen about the old 1931 Ford that my dad had owned and that we sold to Karen and her husband a few years ago. She said someone bought it from them, restored it and was renting it out for weddings. Karen later found his phone number and got it to me. Monday morning, five days before the wedding, I reached him. He said he had rented my dad’s old car out almost every weekend for three years.

I told him my son was getting married the following Saturday evening and asked if

the car were available then. He said it had been reserved, but the folks had cancelled out on him!

On Dec. 6 the shiny, beautifully restored car brought back wonderful memories and added new ones. There were lots of smiles. My dad would have been pleased.

Devotionals in Open Windows for this week were written by Marvin Minton, pastor of Phenix City’s Crawford Road Baptist Church. In one message, he related Mary’s care of the newborn Jesus to his daughter Kerrie’s joy for her firstborn, Matthew. “In a mother’s heart, her baby is everything,” he wrote. “Jesus wants us to love Him like that.” Brother Minton and his wife, Susan, gained their newest grandchild, Isaac Christian, on Nov. 18.

The Mintons’ church emphasizes its ties with the Baptist family. Crawford Road adds new members to its subscription list for The Alabama Baptist so they can know more about Baptists and keep up with what God is doing through Baptists statewide.

If your church doesn’t automatically send the state Baptist paper to all new members, the new year would be a great time to start!

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