Assembly Zeal!!!! Wow, what words those have always been! It is that time to come together from all over the globe for the bi-annual conclave of believers who are members and friends of The Church of God of Prophecy. This year it is to be held in Chattanooga Tennessee. I can guarantee a large crowd of excited people.
I attended my first IA in 1947 as a nine month old. My mother and her entire family were members of that organization when I was born. They always went to that meeting. It happened annually at that time. So, she packed me and my sister up in an old Chevy with her mother, Ruth Mays, and her Aunt, Lois Guire. The old car had suicide doors on it. Some will understand that terminology quickly.
In those days the road over Monteagle Mountain was just two lanes of switch -back road. It was slow going especially if you got behind a log truck. According to my mother, I got quite upset on that stretch of road. She says I began to move around and accidentally hit the door handle. Out I went rolling down the road. My grandmother stopped the old Chevy, and my mom was chasing me down the road. She says I was bouncing like a rubber ball.
My Aunt Lois, took me from my mother’s arms and began to pray for me. That was back when people actually believed in prayer. According to my mother, my aunt Lois began to pray to the Lord. I was knocked out from the fall. She prayed. “Lord, we are on business for you. This child is your child. If you have work for him to do in his life, then heal him NOW”. My mother said I woke up and looked around and started laughing. I don’t remember a thing, of course, but I know that the hand of God was on my life from that day to this.
My mother never told my dad about that since he was a “sinner” and she knew he would be upset and would beat her. He had told her he didn’t approve of her bringing me. She finally told him when he found the Lord. He still was not too happy about it.
From that day forward, I was present at the IA every year for the next 50 years. And Oh my the places we had to stay. We all (my family) stayed with an old lady named Sally. She had several bedrooms and a shower /bath on the back porch. She allowed us to cook there. It was hot and maybe not so clean, but it worked.
I learned to play the drum cadence from the Bahama Brass Band. They let me come to the band section as a boy after I started traveling with Harrison Price. I loved and still love that band. I brought them to New Orleans in 1993 and we had a parade down Bourbon St. It was glorious!
I have untold memories that time and space will not allow me to share. Much of it is being written now in my life story. It was a huge part of my life. It was a place to meet people from around the world; to share culture; to forge friendships that have lasted a lifetime.
I am going to attend a day of the IA this year. It has been 20 years since I have been. I am excited to hear the Bahama Brass Band again. I think the members of that band are now in the third generation. I know that a tear will roll down my cheek as they bring me back to my childhood and my young adulthood. I will enjoy seeing people from all over the world whom I have not seen in over two decades.
I congratulate you and I look forward to sharing a day with you all on this momentous occasion. See you at the Assembly! Assembly Zeal!!!!!