I’ve been praying about church attendance and membership. The basic treatment continues to be, “Our members come to church direct from God and nothing else (no other seeming entity can have them).” That “entity” can take on many identities. One of the most obvious is time and space.
Several months ago our only Journal-listed practitioner disappeared for a number of weeks. Shame on us for not having checked on her sooner. A phone call from the First Reader revealed that her son had forced her into a care facility and taken her car away. I later had a phone conversation with her that was filled with great emotion and tears. Her biggest desire was to get to church—certainly a right desire that God would take care of.
This care facility is located quite far away. I investigated Uber, cabs etc., but all were too expensive. I approached various church members that live at least somewhat in that direction. The response was, “You’ve got to be kidding. That’s not on my way. Do you realize how far that is?” After some quiet prayer I realized I was being called upon to prove my treatment and it came to me to pick her up every Sunday. This takes me about 1 hour and 10 minutes (much less than mortal mind would have thought). I drive in the direct opposite direction of the church and double back. After mortal mind gave permission I found it to be the biggest nothing. After I told six other members I was doing it, they have volunteered to alternate taking her home.
I’ve been doing this now for about four months. Not only is this of zero inconvenience to me, but I have been hugely blessed with this practitioner’s testimonies that she shares during the drive. With her permission I’d like to share how she came into Christian Science.
She and her husband, a petroleum engineer, were in the oil business. They attended the Catholic church. For years he had been studying a specific piece of land and was convinced there were large amounts of oil on it, but he never could get backers (or believers). He continued to work in the business in support roles.
It was a small town and they had their “town drunk.” Her name was Mabel and she’d beg or hit people up for money all the time to buy more liquor. When bad times hit the oil fields Mabel left town. During this time, our practitioner and her husband got along for a while, but after a year or so were flat broke. Finally one night the husband came home and asked what was for dinner and the wife said, “Nothing. There’s nothing left.” The husband was startled. The wife had been trying to keep the bleak status of things from him. The same night during a phone conversation a friend (as a piece of trivia) mentioned that Mabel was back in town. She was sober and had a new religion. After the phone conversation the husband said he’d like to find out about “that religion.”
He didn’t have to wait long. Mabel showed up at their back door the next morning—unsolicited. She felt compelled to come. They had never formally met. The husband flat out asked if her new religion could help with finances. Answering in the affirmative she immediately took him to the “town practitioner.” He left that lengthy meeting with “some books.” On the way home he told the wife to stop at the grocery store. They needed everything and they loaded the cart with $500 worth. He startled his wife when he wrote a hot check for the whole thing. In the car he told his wife, “God will take care of everything.”
He had a small office built behind their house. When they got home he told her he was going to retire to the office to read “the books” and would probably spend the night out there.
The next morning he indeed was still in the office asleep. The postman that usually came to their house late every afternoon was there early. The wife took the mail to her husband and included in it was a check for $500 settling a business deal he thought was dead.
Shortly thereafter he approached an oil company about drilling on the land he had researched years ago. This time they gave permission and after a while he got backers. Walking the property with shallow prodding equipment he told his wife it was as if a voice said to him, “Not there, boy. Over here.” After walking quite a bit away from his calculated spot he prodded and oiled pooled at his feet. They ended up drilling 10 wells on the property.
I am so grateful for the opportunity to help this woman. “…whatever blesses one blesses all.” (S&H, p. 206)
P.S. In the last six weeks we’ve welcomed 3 new members and have just received two more applications. I’m moved. Also our pre-school Sunday School class is bursting with as many as 6 children on some Sundays. Other classes are growing also!