I was raised on the outskirts of Washington, DC at a time when one could sleep without locking the house up at night, everyone knew each other in the neighborhood, and children and pets could freely play outside. My parents and grandparents were tobacco and cotton farmers. During summer months, we would head off to North Carolina to help bring in the crops, something I hated doing because I did not like getting my hands dirty. Luckily, my grandfather allowed me to help him in his General Store.
We attended church every Sunday and at times had to walk quite a distance; we would stay all day to eat and fellowship with friends and family members we only saw on Sundays. My first husband pretended to be a Christian, but later confessed that he wasn’t. He refused to allow our family to attend church and baptizing the children was out of the question. Needless to say, I was miserable for many years, but God heard my prayers and I was able to get a divorce.
I was hired by the US Department of State as an Office Management Specialist, aka “secretary” and became a globetrotting diplomat. I worked in many countries and always found a house of worship to attend and even joined the church choir in Sri Lanka, Beijing and Africa. There are many Christians in China; the Chinese government does allow religious services on a limited basis. I attended a service in Xian, China while on a trip to visit a school for children. whose parents were in prison, supported by the church I then attended. I entered the sanctuary and was surprised to see over 100 Chinese citizens. The smiles on their faces were priceless as they welcomed us. Many had their own Bibles which are forbidden. The church had an overflow of worshipers in the courtyard, and those people had brought their own stools to sit on. A speaker was mounted outside for those to hear the service.
The freedom to worship is not granted to all people in the world. I was truly amazed how these people jeopardized their lives, facing jail for owning a Bible and believing in God. I am thankful everyday for the freedoms many of us take for granted. I have seen so many suffer in this world; I help others because I have been blessed.