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It takes teamwork to survive unexpectedcomment (0)

November 2, 2000

By Betty Baggott

I once heard a missionary tell how he was trying to do translation work in a particular tribe and found it hard to translate the word pride or at least the concept. He finally came to the idea of using their word or words for the ears being too far apart. In other words, he conveyed the idea of an “inflated head” which is probably hard to improve on when we talk of the problem of pride.

My pride suffered a great blow recently. Sonya Bennett from North Shelby Baptist Church in Birmingham had invited me more than a year ago to lead a retreat for the ladies of her church. It was held at the beautiful Springville Retreat Center in Odenville.

Working hard to carry out the theme, “A Matter of the Heart,” my car was loaded down with material. One prop included a cherished desk chair I used in second grade. With my memory bank I would invite them to journey back in time with me as I related missions leaders, Bible teachers, etc., who touched my life, my heart. As I would sit in that chair after being at church, I would write out what I wanted to be when I grew up.

I look at that chair and I am too big to sit and ponder, but for the retreat I would explain how God fulfilled every desire I had and more. With the help of church leaders who thought I never listened, I turned out pretty good. To exercise influence on others. A challenge for all.

As I write this, it has only been seven days. One never knows from moment to moment how our plans will change. God had other plans for the ladies last weekend. I went back to my motel room to get some material only to find once inside the room I could not walk on my right leg. A problem indeed when one is alone. All 70 of the ladies were waiting in the auditorium for me to arrive.

After making it to the desk where I had my cell phone, I attempted to call the office thinking I could get someone to help. With a polite voice on the answering machine, I was told to call again. With the grace of an elephant I used a desk chair in the room as a walker (you would have to have been there to understand) to reach my car. I could ride to the auditorium, get a wheelchair and speak as planned. It was not meant to be. After 15 minutes of moving with a dragging gait, rescue came. The ladies thought I was spending some quiet time in my room before the sessions. They were distraught at my predicament.

Circumstances warranted my heading for the Montclair Hospital emergency room. A torn ligament from moving furniture much too heavy at my home the day before, driving the three hours to the retreat center and walking up hills with the wrong kind of shoes.

My instructions were to go back to Opelika the next morning, crutches, braces, ice, stay off my feet and recover.

Go to a friend’s house there in the city and spend the night.

I balked at the commands, but the angels in charge (Wilma Usher, Amy Bullard and Lisa Mealy, all from North Shelby Church) made my decision for me.

My pride was hurt as we left the hospital at 12:15 a.m., drove all over town to find a drugstore open, arrived at my friend’s house around 1:30 a.m. (what a friend).

All I could think of was how I let those women down. They would never make it without me. But you know what, they did. Checking with Sonya on Sunday, I was told it was one of the best retreats they had experienced. (That hurt! But, thank goodness they did use the material I had run off for them.)

You see, women can rise to the occasion. On a team you don’t excel each other, you depend on each other. That group of ladies was a team from a great church. They had planned so well for the weekend that one person missing, even if it was the speaker, would not defeat them.

As I sit here with my foot propped up, I am thankful that Charlotte Johnson, Sherry Glenn, Sonya Bennett and others knew what to do in a crisis. They took good care of me and had the leadership ability to know what they were doing. None of us are indispensable.

So, if you want a great retreat, call the ladies at North Shelby. They are very capable.

We are in the process of looking at another date. This time I will make sure I do not move any furniture before the weekend I am to go. God is so good and has a reason for everything that happens.

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