by Brenda K. Blakely
For nearly six weeks now, the New Derael Tent Revival organizers spread the word among the good folks of New Derael and anyone else within hearing distance. Rumors had been sprouting even longer.
When the train came in bearing Brother Nodlew and his baggage, the community gave him quite a reception. The ladies of the community worked to impress Brother Nodlew with both their cooking and the finery of the contents of their wardrobes.
One woman stood out from the rest. It wasn’t her clothes or her cooking. It was pure attitude that caught Brother Nodlew’s attention as he previewed his intended audience. Her bearing indicated she was a woman of strong report. Everything about her seemed as hard as the iron her husband hammered each day down at the blacksmith shop.The only hint of her flesh and blood limitations was a limp, which on occasion could hinder the import of her declared intentions.
Community members who were making contact with her since her marriage and subsequent coming into New Derael readily expressed their desire for some retempering and remolding of Mr. Prong’s new bride.
With the arrival of Brother Nodlew, her strong character came into light once again. Her arrival reception for the preacher indicated in no uncertain terms that his presence was not desired by her and even more, she clearly declared that if he placed any value on living peacefully he would return to the train and and deboard at another location.
Once her hot temper let loose, the words emanating from her mouth seemed to singe the very hair on the head of the target of her emotional outburst, and Brother Nodlew had no hair to spare.
Portions of the nearby population had judged Mrs. Ester Prong and, rightly or not, placed her in this category. The scene at the railroad yard just confirmed their judgment and some even added to their oft spoken comment, t’weren’t their fault, she had come to New Derael that way. Ester’s coming into the community and the process of fittin’ in had not been a pleasant experience for her nor the members of the community. Folks with Biblical knowledge had even gone so far as to judge her name as unbefitting to her character.
The New Derael Tent Revival was not an event for the faint of heart. The whole community issued prayers for revival, and God’s will prevail, it would come.
Under the canvas covering, religious fervor was at a high pitch. Brother Nodlew delivered truth from the word of God with the steady beat of his fist upon the handmade pulpit.
One thing of note, however, was the presence of one, Mrs. Ester Prong – all things considered, probably the last person you would expect to see at the New Derael Tent Revival and certainly not a place she expected to find herself.
Her feet must’ve been tracking on their own. Seems like they’d gotten her to the edge of the canvas door and the wind blew her right on inside, where she wandered to a seat, off in the back corner.
There she sat unnoticed until . . .
The hand of God reached down and helped her from her chair. Almost trancelike, she began to move forward toward the fire and brimstone words emanating from the revival preacher’s mouth, drawn like a magnet.
She moved past rows of wooden fold-up chairs filled with pious community members, her cane dragging, marking each step as she walked. Heads and minds began to turn away from the thundering message to gaze and ponder upon the state of Mrs. Prong, her presence made all the more surreal by the cloud of dust particles stirred from the dirt floor, creating an aura around her.
Down to the very front she wandered, her staunch posture fading in the experience of gradual release from her seasoned character. Her feet slowed and she claimed title to the empty floor space within quick hearing distance of Brother Nodlew’s voice.
Mesmerizoricly, the words from Bro. Nodlew began to grip her hardened heart until the power of it was too much for her body. She lay, appearing as an empty carcass. Still as death on the dirt floor. God did heart surgery.
The community watched as Mrs. Prong rose from the dirt floor. They hardly recognized her softened face, glowing with a new radiance. She began to brush the dust from her garments, cleaning the outside just as God had cleaned the inside.
Mrs. Ester Prong, preparing to be a woman for such a time as this, changed the history of New Derael from that point forward. Who could tell just how God would use the Prong passion, her conversion at the New Derael Tent Revival?
Soon as I can reckon, it was nearly two weeks before anyone became the object of any words from her mouth except “glory, hallelujah!”
Brenda Blakely is a writer for AllAboutGod.com. Her works include:
"Freedom, the Price Is Paid"
"HiStory: The Relationship of God and Man"
"Greeen Pastures and Red Tape, workshop for ministry"
Work in progress: "The Grass Roots Medical Journal"
You may contact Brenda at this e-mail address.
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