Elisha was 9 when he had a stroke. For 20 years now, Elisha has been in a wheel chair. Half of his body doesn’t work well. He stutters. But there is so much more to Elisha. He loves people. He has a good mind, a loving heart, a gift for the written word, and a deep desire for a church home. Confined to a wheel chair, church is a challenge. Can you get to the sanctuary? Can you get to your Sunday School class? Will your wheel chair fit? Will you be welcome?
Skeeter and David’s Table have been friends with Elisha and his mom since Elisha was in high school. They were there to introduce him to Young Life Capernaum, accompany him to camp, give him a ride to prom – and more. So when Elisha expressed an interest in Reedy River Missionary Baptist Church, Skeeter had a preliminary call with Pastor Antwon Yowe. Physically, the church was ready. It was wheel chair accessible, had an elevator to the church offices, has tie downs for wheel chairs in the sanctuary, and had a bus on order with a wheel chair lift. But that was just the beginning. Pastor Yowe and his church had hearts that welcome all.
Elisha and Pastor Yowe met. They talked. They got to know each other. Then Pastor Yowe gave Elisha a wonderful gift: respect. That respect came in the form of a question:
“How will you serve?”
Because Elisha loves people and is decidedly social. They agreed that his first job would be to become an official greeter at the church.
So, Sunday Skeeter and Elisha arrived a little early to get a seat near the front. The choir sang. Pastor Yowe preached. (And indeed, he brought a Word from God). An hour and a half later, it was time to join the church. Elisha rolled forward. Pastor Yowe introduced Elisha and explained where Elisha had agreed to serve. The congregation celebrated. Many gathered around him to greet him and rejoice with him.
After church Elisha, several Capernaum alums and their families, and Skeeter went out for lunch. As they were getting back in the van, Elisha looked at Skeeter and said, “My soul is full”
This is the way Church is meant to be. For all God’s children!