Faces on Faith: An Easter Story
Easter may be over, but it’s effects always seem to linger.
A case in point.
Many years ago now I led a group of teenagers and adults on a work trip to Mound Bayou, Mississippi.
Mound Bayou was the first community founded by former slaves. It is located in Bolivar County, one of the poorest counties in the nation.
WE went to Mound Bayou to help restore a run-down old building that was going to be used by the National Council of Negro Women for an afterschool program and day care center.
The President of that group was a woman named Etta Simpson. Miss Simpson, as everyone called her, was a retired schoolteacher.
She walked with a cane. She easily could have rested on her laurels and enjoyed her pension. But instead she put in dozens of hours every week helping the children of Mound Bayou.
The old building was an absolute disaster. We worked hard. WE carried off several large trailer loads of trash and broken furniture. We ripped down ceilings and painted walls.
We scrubbed and cleaned. We were pleased with what we’d done, but secretly I wondered if our beginnings would ever get finished.
I should have known better! For Etta Simpson was a woman of faith. And she was determined to see to it that that old building rose up from the rubble.
Several months after our visit I received a letter from Miss Simpson. “Dear Pastor Danner,” it began, I hope that everything has been going well with you and your congregation and family.
The next week after you left my husband was diagnosed with lung cancer . . . .” That would be enough to stop most of us in our tracks. But not Miss Simpson.
She went on: ” . . . but he is doing v very well at this time. I want to let you know that we the members of the National Council do not have words to express our gratefulness for the unforgettable gesture you . . . and your congregation did for us last summer.
It has taken quite a while for us to get the building in shape for us./ WE now have all the restrooms, the reading room, the fellowship hall and the kitchen [completed] . . . .
Give my love to all and may the Lord continue to bestow his wonderful blessing on you and your church family . . . . “
Now that’s an Easter story! Resurrection indeed!