Written by: Barbara Ann Hall
I had traveled many miles during the night and just as the sun began
to rise, I parked my RV alongside a river’s edge. The countryside was so peaceful. It was late October and the morning
air was cool and crisp. The leaves of the trees where beautiful shades of deep greens, oranges and browns.
I freshened up, made a fresh pot of coffee, grabbed a handful of fresh grapes and sat outside in the fresh morning air.
I took a deep breath and thanked God for leading me to such a beautiful place. In all my travels with Him, I’ve been
to many beautiful places, but none quite as beautiful as that. It was my favorite time of year and the surroundings seemed
a bit familiar, although I had never been there before.
After breakfast I prayed, “Father, not my will, but
yours be done this day.” Then I sat wondering whom He might put in my path during my visit to the river.
I was very tired from traveling most of the night. In fact, I had been very tired for several weeks. It felt so good to
just sit and relax in the warmth of the morning’s sun. How beautiful the sunlight looked shimmering on the water. As
I sat listening to the water rippling along the bank it brought back a memory of long ago. I closed my eyes.
Halloween night and the moon shown bright, all the children were gathered round grandfather’s chair, to hear the story
which gave them a scare!
Fifty-five years ago this very day, I eaves dropped on my father and I heard him say,
tonight is Halloween and the graveyards won’t be still, for many of goolies will move at their own will. My mind then
filled with a want to see, real live goolies filled with glee. So, when all in the house were sound asleep, out of my room
I softly did creep. Down the back stairs and out the front gate, hurrying to the graveyard hoping I wasn’t late.
Reaching the graveyard I heard a loud shout, then saw bodies rising from graves all about. I hid behind an old oak
tree, hoping the goolies wouldn’t see me. I watched intently as they danced, feeling as though I was in a trance.
Then the chimes struck twelve from the clock on the hill, and all of a sudden my heart stood still. The goolies began
to chant and hum, before returning to the graves from which they had come. “The fun’s all over for this year,”
I heard a voice say, “but we’ll be back again next Halloween day!” Then they jumped up and when they came
down, they were all at once back in the ground.
I slowly crawled out from my hiding place, with a look of horror
on my face. I hurried home still shaking with fright, never to forget what happened that Halloween night!”
I looked forward to my grandmother telling me that story every Halloween. Even the neighborhood kids looked forward
to the tradition. Gram and I would sit out on the porch together handing out candy and when several kids would gather, grandmother
would begin. Her eyes became distant, as if she were actually stepping back in time to her grandfather’s place behind
the old Oak tree.
“Grandmother,” I said one Halloween, “you know that story’s not true,
right?” That made her laugh. “Of course I know that Barbara! I’m filled with the Holy Ghost not the Goolie
Ghost!” Grandmother’s response and the look on her face made me laugh too.
Grandmother was most certainly
filled with the Holy Ghost. Every Sunday, for as long as I could remember, she would bring me to church with her. A little
country church with only a hand full of people, but oh how I loved going!
Sometimes, when I think back, it’s
as if I can still hear Preacher’s voice, “Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ
for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost!”
I remember the day grandmother
got baptized. I was ten. She looked so beautiful standing waist deep in the river’s blue waters with the morning sun
shining on her graying hair. Preacher stood next to her, both of them wore long white robes that swayed with each ripple of
the water. Mom and I and a few others stood along the river’s edge as Preacher announced, “The time has come for
Edna to pass away from this world and be reborn into her new life with Christ.” That made me feel sad, I thought that
I was going to lose her, that she would really pass away. I started to cry.
“Christ said, verily, verily,
I say unto thee, except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.” Then Preacher turned towards grandmother
and asked, Edna, have you repented? Has your heart changed? Have you turned away from earthly ways to walk in the ways of
God? Have you asked God for forgiveness? Have you made a conscious effort to sin no more?” Grandmother said
Preacher smiled, then looked at me, “Jesus then said, verily, verily, I say unto thee, except a man
be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God. Edna has confessed that she has indeed been born
again in spirit and today, in accordance with His Word and fulfillment of the scriptures, Edna is choosing
to be baptized. In spirit, she has died and will be buried with Him in baptism, wherein also she will rise with Him through
the faith of the operation of God, who hath raised Jesus from the dead, then through the water, not by the water, she will
be resurrected into a new life with Christ. Then she will wait on Him to fulfill His promise of the Holy Ghost.” Everyone
cheered, clapped and shouted AMEN!
Turning back towards grandmother, Preacher asked her, “Do you believe
Jesus Christ is the Son of God and our true Lord and Savior?” She said yes. “Do you believe in Him with
all your heart and all your soul? In all that He both said and did?” She nodded and said, “Amen!”
Preacher put one hand on grandmother’s shoulder and the other on her back and said, “Through the operation of
God in accordance to His Word and through your faith, I baptize you in the name of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ for the
remission of your sins.” Then he emerged her backwards into the water.
When grandmother rose from
the water she was speaking in a language I didn’t understand. Again everyone cheered, clapped and shouted AMEN! Grandmother
looked radiant as her eyes twinkled and her smile broadened, instantly turning my sadness into joy.
explained to me later that night that she was speaking in tongues; a language that only God understands. A gift only He can
give us. “It’s ones spirit praying unto God to edify ones self, that is why it is called God’s gift
to us. God will give you the gift too one day Barbara, if you continue to love Him and do His will in spirit and in truth.
It is a gift to seek, one to desire, for it is the completion of God's promise to those who belong to Him. We can choose to
be born again, we can choose to be baptized in water according to God’s will, but only He can give the gift of the Holy
The year Grandmother went to be with the Lord, she stood by that river’s edge with tears in
her eyes as Preacher baptized me the same as he had her many years before. And oh how she danced in the Spirit and praised
the Lord when I rose from the water speaking in tongues!
When I opened my eyes, I could almost hear my grandmother’s
voice praising the Lord and I realized why that place looked so familiar to me. I felt so peaceful, so comforted.
God knew I needed to be there for my own well-being. He knew I needed rest and renewal. A scripture came to my mind,
“Come with me to a quiet place and I shall give you rest.” He knew too that I needed my Grandmother and the comfort
of her memory. She was my rock, my inspiration in the Lord… and still is. Autumn was also her favorite time of year
and in not many days from that day, we would have sat together on her front porch handing out candy to the kids and hearing
her grandfather’s Halloween story of so long ago.
As I crawled into bed, I felt as though the Lord tucked
me in and whispered to my inner spirit, “sleep well my child.” I thanked Him for bringing me to the river and
smiled at the realization that today it was I who crossed His path, to fulfill a longing and renew my spirit, an act of love
that comforted my soul.
Before sleep overtook me, I whispered, “Thank you Father for another happy ending.”
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Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name
of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy