It was late December; I had just soldmy house and was moving some 30 miles away to be closer to where Iworked. I knew the first thing I wanted to do was to find a newChurch home, so I got busy on the Internet. I started by locatingall the Church’s close to my new home. I made a list andstarted mapping out directions in order to start attending one newChurch every week. I visited Church after Church after Church, neverfeeling the Holy Spirit at any of them. I was very discouraged. Ihad asked Jesus to lead me to a Church where I could feel like Ibelonged. I wanted a sense of family as my immediate family had goneon into eternity and I really wanted to feel like I belongedsomewhere and was not just visiting.
Many weeks later, I came to the last
Church on my list and, as I awoke that Sunday morning, I told the Lordthat I thought I would just not go to Church and save the last Churchfor next Sunday. I watched Turning Point with Dr. David Jeremiah,after which, I told the Lord that I would go ahead and go to Church.
Upon arrival, I entered the Church and,
as soon as I stepped into the foyer, I felt the strong presence ofthe Holy Spirit. I hadn’t felt that in a mighty long time. I wasso captivated that I continued on into the sanctuary. Next thing Iknew, I was half-way down the aisle. I couldn’t believe it becauseat every Church prior to this one I immediately sat on the back pew. Istepped into the center pew and sat down when a lady sitting in frontof me turned around and introduced herself. We hit it offimmediately. She said that she had been praying that the Lord wouldsend her a Godly friend, as her best friend had died a few weeksprior and she really missed her. She said, Ellen, I don’t believeit’s a coincidence that you came and sat down behind me thismorning. We both agreed that there are no coincidences with Jesus.The service began.
I enjoyed myself tremendously!! After
the service, my new friend asked if she could give me a hug and Isaid of course!! Hugs are always good, especially when you livealone. She told me that she really hoped I would come back and Itold her that I most definitely would. I didn’t know why but Ifelt that I was supposed to be at this Church. As I waited in lineto shake the Pastor’s hand, I was filled with excitement in knowingI had found a Church where the Holy Spirit lived!!!
When I reached the Pastor, he extended
his hand to welcome me. It all happened so quickly. He said, soglad to have you here this morning, what’s your name? I said EllenHarlow. He said is that Harlow? I said yes. He said, wouldn’thappen to be any kin to the Harlow’s up in the northern part of thestate around Halifax County would you? I know I must have lookedperplexed as I said, well, yes, as a matter a fact, that is where Iwas born and raised. He said whose your mama and daddy? I saidLouise and Alvin Harlow. He then said, oh my goodness, is yourbrother Ricky Harlow? At this moment, my mouth flew wide open in aweand I could not control the tears that were beginning to fall from myeyes. He said, I’m Pastor Phil Qualls. He said your brother and Iwere best friends growing up. We played sports together and yourmama has fixed me many a cheeseburger and french fries. I’ve spentthe night in your house many times when you were just a little girl.By this time, the tears had taken me over!! Pastor Phil was tenyears older than me, so I was about seven years old when I first methim. I remembered the face of the teenage boy but I would have neverknown the man he had become. Needless to say, I walked out of thatChurch that morning in a pure stupor! Wet face and all!!
I am now a member of this Church and I
am so thankful to my Lord and Savior for answering my prayer. I amso glad I didn’t stay home that morning. If I had given in to myflesh, look at the blessing I would have missed!! Pastor Phil and Ihave spent many moments reminiscingabout the past and I now have a wonderful Church family that I amgrowing to love more and more each and every day! I feel that myLord has brought me full circle. Coincidence? Absolutely NOT! Notonly did He answer my prayer and give me a wonderful Church family,He gave me a Pastor who knew me when I was a child. I humbly Praiseand Thank You My Lord for hearing and answering my prayer! All thewhile He was saving the best for last! How precious is that?
Psalm 37:3-5 (NIV)
Trust in the LORD and do good; dwell in the land and enjoy safe pasture.Take delight in the LORD, and he will give you the desires of yourheart. Commit your way to the LORD; trust in him and he will do this.