Between 1,000 and 1,100 people gathered at the Morrow County Fairgrounds Thursday evening for the first day of the three day Christian “Awakening” revival.
“It’s amazing to see all these people here at the Morrow County Fairgrounds to worship and praise God,” said Emily Johnson of the Edison Enterprise Baptist Praise and Worship Band.
The Edison praise band kept many in the audience on their feet and singing “Here I am to Worship,” “Our God,” “Lord I lift your name on high,” and many other favorite praise and worship tunes. Band member, John Adamson and other band members spoke from their heart of life experiences and ways the Lord has worked in their lives.
Sheriff Steve Brenneman asked his friend, Homer New, to tell his life story for the crowd.
New held the crowd’s rapt attention as he told his experience battling addiction to pain killers and alcohol. He spoke of being brought up in church and later spending several years both as an addict and finally a drug dealer.
Friends had invited New back to church many times. He got some chuckles from the audience when he admitted that it was an invitation to meet a girl that got him back to church. New credits God with bringing him out of addiction and detox more quickly than most addicts experience. He said most addicts suffer for many weeks or months of detox, while he was able to complete detox in 10 days.
New thanks God for keeping him out of jail as well. He believes that if he had continued with drugs and alcohol he would have ended his life either dead or in jail. Now he goes to the Morrow County Jail to give testimony to inmates there. He says they can relate because his story is much like the story of many now in jail.
Sheriff Brenneman closed the program as featured speaker and asked the question, “What do you believe?” “Despite trying times, we can get through when we serve the Lord,” said Brenneman before he sang “I believe in God the Father.” He thanked all those who participated in planning and working for the event over the past year with 40-50 from all around the county meeting regularly.
Brenneman said he believes there were “many miracles” in the planning and organization of the Awakening in Morrow County. “God is putting it on,” said Brenneman. He thanked the Fair Board for their sponsorship of the event. He told the crowd there was no charge from the Fair Board to the event except for the electricity costs.
Brenneman saluted his 91 year old father in the crowd. His dad was a paratrooper in World War II in New Guinea and came home with a saber sword. Brenneman held up a tarnished, rusty sword and used the analogy that the tarnished sword is much like some churches who have tarnished the true gospel faith. He then drew a shining sword and said our faith needs to have the light and shine of that sword. He went on to voice his concerns about the ways of the world in our times.
“I’m tired of telling parents their children have died of a drug overdose,” Brenneman said. “I don’t want to tell another mother her child is dead and have her fall into my arms in grief.”
At the close of the evening Sheriff Deputy James Coulter was pleased to say it was a peaceful gathering with no accidents or disturbances to report to the dispatcher.
“Unity, that’s the word for tonight,” said Jeff Stuttler, Jr. with a smile. “It’s great to see all the county churches come together for this. Nothing like this has ever happened before in Morrow County.”
Alberta Stojkovic is a correspondent with the Morrow County Sentinel and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.