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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. ...




An Altar Memoir

By Amy Alexander
July 13, 2014

My unconditional surrender to God began at 7 years of age in an unforgettable moment at an unforgettable place. It was summer 1965. My family spent our vacation at a Church of God camp meeting in Kerrville, Texas. I, along with my 10-year-old sister, Janet, experienced the power and presence of God.

Almost 50 years later, the memory of that event was rekindled. My husband, Danny, and I were scheduled to speak at the 2012 South Texas District Assemblies of God Family Camp Meeting in Kerrville. 

During the drive to Kerrville from Waxahachie, I retold the story to Danny, reliving it again. I wanted to find that childhood camp.


1965

Our family’s adventure began when we pitched a tent close to a flowing stream. Surrounding the camp were tree-covered hills (mountains to my childish eye); the services were held in an open-air tabernacle with sawdust floors.

One day during a break between the afternoon and evening services, our family climbed a hill/mountain to the east behind the tabernacle. Upon reaching the top, my father read from Egermeier’s Bible Story Book the narrative of Abraham building an altar of worship. Our father then asked Janet and me to gather stones and build an altar.

After building it, we knelt down.

“Heavenly Father,” our father prayed, “we dedicate our daughters to You, to serve You all the days of their lives. Please use them for Your kingdom and for Your glory.”

Both Janet and I prayed, crying and dedicating our lives to Jesus completely.

My father realized we were going to be late for the evening service because we prayed for so long, but he also knew it was a sacred moment that must not be interrupted.

Although the altar was a crooked, haphazard pile of stones, to two little girls and to God, it was beautiful.


2012

Danny and I arrived at the AG district camp. District Superintendent Tim Barker and Camp Director Phil Jackson took us on a tour.

In our conversation, I learned Phil knew a great deal of history about Kerrville. “How many camps are located around here?” I asked.

“About 80 to 85,” he replied.

My heart sank as I realized the difficulty of finding the right camp.

“I’m trying to find the camp I attended when I was a little girl,” I said. “My father said it was 2-3 miles west of Kerrville. He said there was a mountain behind the tabernacle. He also remembered ‘Wheat’ in the name.”

After listening to my description, Phil laughed and said, “You’re standing on it. This camp used to be known as Camp Pearl Wheat.”

I began to cry, and Danny instantly put his arm around me. The two men looked a little surprised at my reaction, but they both respected my emotion and waited for my explanation.

So I told my childhood story, the reason for the tears of joy.

Phil then added, “The mountain where you built the stone altar, the place behind the old tabernacle that no longer exists, is the place where today you see a sign that reads, ‘Prayer Mountain — Place of Miracles and Memories.’”

“What a testimony to God’s plan and providence, to the God of destiny who directs our lives,” Superintendent Barker said. “Did you ever think you would come back to the exact place, and if you did, that it would be as a speaker for the camp?”

I shared my story twice during that week. Each time I ended my testimony, I read the last paragraph from a document, “History of Camp Pearl Wheat,” written for the dedication of the new chapel in 1990 and given to me by Phil’s wife, Kim.

“On these grounds, thousands of men, women, boys and girls have made peace with God, and moved their lives into the will of God. May the wonderful God of Heaven continue to add His blessings on this camp, and may this new Chapel be known as a place where God meets with man and continues as a light in this dark world until Jesus comes.”

During that week in 2012, new stories were added of God “meeting with man” at this sacred site.

God took my memory from the past and made it part of my present. He brought me back, full circle, to the place where my parents’ desire for their daughters to love Jesus and serve Him all their lives began to be fulfilled.

Someday in heaven when I meet Pearl Wheat, one of my personal heroes of the faith, I will tell her, “Thank you for this place and for my personal memory of a miracle.”


DR. AMY ALEXANDER is professor of English at Southwestern Assemblies of God University in Waxahachie, Texas.

 

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