Would she find a church to attend on Easter?
Easter Sunday arrived a week after I moved to Phoenix, and I was looking forward to spending it with a friend visiting from my former home, Colorado Springs, Colorado. I thumbed through the Yellow Pages, searching for a church we could attend close to my new apartment. Yes, the Yellow Pages, mostly used as a doorstop these days. In this case, I was grateful that the big, fat book had been delivered to my door. I was under doctors’ orders to avoid using the computer, as the monitor could trigger my seizures—seizures that had taken me away from the community and the church I loved.
Cerebral hypoxia, my doctor called it. A condition where the brain doesn’t get enough oxygen. It can happen to anyone at any age, and for me, it started two years ago. The thin air of Colorado didn’t help, and my doctor recommended seeing a specialist at a neurological institute in Phoenix. The doctor urged me to remain in Arizona until my seizures were controlled with medication, a prognosis I relayed to my friends with great sadness. “I’ll visit you for Easter and help you get settled,” my friend said. “Just find us a good church.”
That was easier said than done. How could I find a church here that made me feel as comfortable as my congregation back in Colorado?
Five churches were advertised nearby, so I started calling. Church #1 seemed like a traditional place, like my old church had been. I reached a voice message listing their service times. Church #2 simply asked me to leave my name and number at the beep. That’s when my head began to throb. The new medication? Whatever it was, I closed the Yellow Pages. I’ve got service times for the first church, I thought. We’ll just go there.
When the service began, though, it wasn’t as advertised. A band, not an organ, accompanied the choir. My friend and I had never heard hymns set to rock-n-roll before! To my surprise, we enjoyed ourselves, becoming friendly with others in our row. I filled out a visitor card, hoping to hear from someone.
I soon did. A group of ladies arrived at my apartment that week to welcome me. One lady offered to check in on me after my friend went home. Another woman, a nurse, said she’d supply me with in-home health care information. They made me feel welcome. This was the kind of community I thought I’d left behind.
When I mentioned the ad I’d seen in the Yellow Pages, however, my new friends were puzzled. “That was for another church. It closed three years ago,” they told me. “We only advertise online.”
It wasn’t an ad for their church—but somehow it had led me to just the right place.