By Ray Agnew

George Cole (Phoenix, AZ)
Mrs. Gellia Benson (Greenville, MS)
Louela Manzano (San Diego, CA)

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By Ray Agnew
© 2001 Ray Agnew, all rights reserved


Tonight I went to the Kensington Road Elementary School Talent Show.

I accompanied my six-year-old daughter, Tori, and I watched in amusement and
amazement as kid after kid lip-synched to N-sync, Brittany Spears, and Back
Street Boys. Or else they played short piano solos, or tap danced, or
pranced around the stage in mock choreographed splendor to old 40's, 50's,
60's or 70's tunes clearly chosen by their parents.

My daughter was thrilled to see her friends on stage. She's only in
Kindergarten, so she'll have her chance to be up there next year.

As the first half ended and we headed to the lobby to spend a few pennies on
homemade brownies and lemonade, I realized, quite to my abject horror, that
there had to be at least another 45 minutes of this fun filled talent-fest
left to go. Bummer.

The children ran around the dusky schoolyard during intermission, and a
spring day of God drenched splendor came to a close here in the Northeast. I
listened to a cardinal sing his last few notes of the evening. I watched
young, innocent, beautiful kids dash about, reveling in this "spring heat
wave" we are experiencing. I smiled at the parents with the video cameras,
proudly asking, "did you see my son?" And I felt for the young girl who
could not be consoled after completely losing her place while trying to
perform a short piano etude.

"It's OK," I intoned. Slowly my attitude adjustment began to take affect. I
pride myself on being able to do attitude adjustments on very short notice...

"So this is not an exercise in artistic purity of intent, nor is it a stretch
in terms of a learning experience for my daughter and her friends," said my
inner voice striving for peace. "It is just a little kids talent show! And
isn't that great?" I was prepared!

And then he took the stage as the first act of the second half.

Many people chuckled out loud, or quietly laughed nervously, because there on
stage was a somewhat older dad - meaning 50ish with young kids - rounded by
the years, and grayed as well, just about to offer his talent after being
introduced as "the tallest entertainer" in the show.

"You have got to be kidding me," were the first words that came into my mind.
My reaction was to be embarrassed and to avert my eyes - like when you watch
an old I Love Lucy rerun and you just know that Lucy is about to do something
ridiculous. "Please give this poor guy the courage to sit down," I thought.

And then he opened his mouth.

And then he captured our attention.

And then I became amazed.

He told us that his young son had come home to tell him about a remarkable
woman he was learning about named Harriet Tubman.

"You see," he told us, "my son helped me learn that Harriet had managed to
gain her freedom from slavery and escape to the North. But that was not good
enough for her. She had to return to find her parents, alive but in their
70's, and very afraid having only known a slaves life. Still, she had to
find them. Risking her new freedom and her life, she would bring them north
to their own freedom. But still that was not enough, and so she returned to
find others in her family, and to look for friends she had known, and new
friends she had never met. All in all Harriet Tubman made more than 40
additional trips in to the slave south, because freedom is worth the risk."

Then this dad, this somewhat overweight, terminally un-cool dad opened his
mouth to sing.

As he sang the refrain, "Free at last, free at last. Great God Almighty, I
am free at last," a complete hush came over kids and parents alike.

When he finished, the children of this school, my daughter included, rose to
their feet and cheered him at the top of their lungs. He was a hero, and he
was loved, and I was so proud of him!

What courage to seize the day and the moment. And it was a teaching moment.
With conviction and belief, he turned an entire school on to Harriet Tubman
- and God bless the teacher who sent his son home with the message.

How often I forget that Jesus risked his freedom and his life for us. How
often we all forget that Jesus died for us. And here, in a public school
room, a very caring, very courageous parent shared a story born in the shame
of one of our country's darkest times. But the lesson is one of hope and joy
for today. If Harriet Tubman could maintain her faith in God and Jesus, and
be inspired to accomplish a greater good than anyone ever thought her capable
of, certainly we can apply the lesson to our 21st century lives.

Free at last, free at last. Great God almighty, I am free at last.

* * * * * * * *


The following are this month's inspiring examples of
Caregivers Helping Hurting People. These Caregivers
will be giving Salvation Prayer and Poem Bookmarks

* * *

I visit our suffering brothers and sisters in Christ in countries such as Southern
Sudan and Indonesia, where just being a Christian can mean imprisonment,
beatings, and even death.

As I visit churches and secret home bible studies in these countries, I'm always
asked to share a word of hope from God's precious Word. I always try to leave a
small gift to remind these brave Christians that they have not been forgotten by
the church in America and that we're praying for them.

But more importantly than this, I leave them with the unfailing promises that our
Lord Jesus is always with them and He will He never ever forsake them, no
matter what might happen to them. ABSOLUTELY NOTHING can separate
them from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord. I can't even begin
to describe the tears of joy that His promises brings our hurting family in Christ.

Grace and peace to all
HB 13:3

- George Cole (Phoenix, AZ)

* * *

I have always wanted to help my church bring in hurting souls. I will walk the
town telling people that God loves them and He can handle any kind of
problems that they have.... I have a strong urge to show and tell people how to
let God be in control of their lives and life will be much easier for them. All they
have to do is to surrender all to Him. And as I tell people about Our Lord and
Savior Jesus Christ I will give them the bookmarkers and when they come to
lay their problems at the altar they will receive one. Also, I will soon hope to set
up a church library for people to checkout books. That is one of my main goals
and in the books there will a bookmarker.

- Mrs. Gellia Benson (Greenville, MS)

* * *

We usually have evangelistic crusades. I'm involved in our praise & worship /
youth ministry where we minister to young people in different places. I'll bring
this to the Philippines to give to these young people for them to remember how
good our God & how God loves them so much!

- Louela Manzano (San Diego, CA)

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Except where otherwise noted, (c) copyright 1999-2001 Destiny Music, Inc. All rights reserved.

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