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  • July 11, 2014 - Reflections

    By Jean S. Horner
    The other day while walking down a corridor in a public building, I saw what appeared to be someone walking toward me. On coming closer, I found it was my own reflection in a huge mirror. For a moment it frightened me. Somehow a full-length reflection of one’s self is a startling thing. ...



Connections: Robbie McNeal

Faith Journey

Robbie McNeal, 64, has lived in greater Atlanta most of her life. She attends Rescue Atlanta Church (Mel Rolls, senior pastor). Rescue Atlanta is located in the heart of the city and reaches out to troubled inner-city communities. About 70 percent of the congregation is homeless. McNeal recently spoke with Managing Editor Scott Harrup about her faith in Christ, her water baptism, and her love for the people in need in her congregation.

evangel: Tell me some of the circumstances that helped you come to faith in Christ.
McNEAL:
My parents were not Christians. We lived with my grandmother, and every word she spoke was a curse word. So that’s what I did at just 3 or 4 years old. But a lady who roomed with us, Ma Duckie, was a Christian. My mother started to let Ma Duckie keep me, and Ma Duckie told me that cussing was wrong. She would sit me on her knee and say the Lord’s Prayer, and she even took me to a little church. Ma Duckie was the first person the Lord put in my life to guide me.

When I was about 12, we moved. Another Christian lady next door started taking all of us girls and boys to church, and that’s where I received Christ. But in those days, a lot of churches wouldn’t let you wear pants or things like that. One Fourth of July, I went to the shore — which you weren’t supposed to do either — and wore some black pedal pushers my mother had bought me. I told a lady at church what I had done and that I wanted to repent. “You can’t repent,” she told me. “The Lord don’t want you here; you need to get up and get out.” And that just broke my heart. I got up and left, and I cried all the way home. So I left the church then.

evangel: How did you come back to the Lord?
McNEAL: When my son was about 19, he got into real trouble with the law. They were talking about giving him life in prison. My husband had left me. I was desperate. I went to church hoping to pray my son out of jail. God put a mirror up before my own life, and it was terrible. My son ended up receiving a 20-year sentence. He’s free now. But that all led me to coming back.

evangel: How has attending Rescue Atlanta changed your life?
McNEAL: I started going to Rescue Atlanta in 1997. I have grown tremendously as a Christian. A lot of people at our church are homeless and on drugs, and I’ve grown to love them and pray and intercede for them. I always wanted to move to the suburbs, and I prayed that God would give me a house. Now I want to stay here and keep praying that God will change lives.

evangel: Talk about your water baptism at Rescue Atlanta.
McNEAL: I was baptized in 2005. Baptism let me identify with my Savior Jesus Christ. I think of Him dying and rising again. Because of Him, I could go under the water and come back up and show everyone I was cleansed. I’m baptized with the Holy Spirit too. And that just gave me power. God still has to guide me and teach me and give me power to say no to a lot of things. I don’t trust myself; I trust Christ only.

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