The brand new pastor and his wife, newly assigned to their
first ministry, to reopen a church in suburban Brooklyn,
arrived in early October excited about their opportunities.

When they saw their church, it was very run down and needed
much work.They set a goal to have everything done in time to
have their first service on Christmas Eve. They worked hard,
repairing pews, plastering walls, painting, etc. and on Dec 18
were ahead of schedule and just about finished.

On Dec 19 a terrible tempest - a driving rainstorm -
hit the area and lasted for two days. On the 21st,
the pastor went over to the church. His heart sank when
he saw that the roof had leaked, causing a large area
of plaster about 20 feet by 8 feet to fall off the front
wall of the sanctuary just behind the pulpit, beginning
about head high. The pastor cleaned up the mess on the floor,
and not knowing what else to do but postpone the Christmas Eve
service, headed home.On the way he noticed thata local business
was having a flea market type sale for charity so he stopped in.
One of the items was a beautiful, handmade, ivory colored,
crocheted tablecloth with exquisite work, fine colors
and a Cross embroidered right in the center. It was just
the right size to cover up the hole in the front wall.

He bought it and headed back to the church. By this time
it had started to snow. An older woman running from the
opposite direction was trying to catch the bus. She missed it.
The pastor invited her to wait in the warm church for the
next bus 45 minutes later. She sat in a pew and paid no
attention to the pastor while he got a ladder, hangers, etc.,
to put up the tablecloth as a wall tapestry.

The pastor could hardly believe how beautiful it looked and
it covered up the entire problem area. Then he noticed the
woman walking down the center aisle. Her face was like a sheet.
"Pastor," she asked, "where did you get that tablecloth?"
The pastor explained. The woman asked him to check the lower
right corner to see if the initials, EBG were crocheted
into it there. They were. These were the initials of the woman,
and she had made this tablecloth 35 years before,in Austria.
The woman could hardly believe it as the pastor told how he had
just gotten the Tablecloth. The woman explained that before the
war she and her husband were well-to-do people in Austria.
When the Nazis came, she was forced to leave. Her husband was
going to follow her the next week. She was captured,
sent to prison and never saw her husband or her home again.
The pastor wanted to give her the tablecloth;
but she made the pastor keep it for the church.

The pastor insisted on driving her home, that was the least
he could do. She lived on the other side of Staten Island
and was only in Brooklyn for the day for a housecleaning job.
What a wonderful service they had on Christmas Eve.
The church was almost full. The music and the spirit were great.
At the end of the service,the pastor and his wife greeted everyone
at the door and many said that they would return. One older man,
whom the pastor recognized from the neighborhood, continued to
sit in one of the pews and stare, and the pastor wondered why he
wasn�t leaving. The man asked him where he got the tablecloth
on the front wallbecause it was identical to one that his wife
had made years ago when they lived in Austria before the war
and how could there be two tablecloths so much alike?
He told the pastor how the Nazis came, how he forced his wife
to flee for her safety,and he was supposed to follow her,
but he was arrested and put in a prison. He never saw his
wife or his home again all the 35 years in between.

The pastor asked him if he would allow him to take him for
a little ride. They drove to Staten Island and to the same
house where the pastor had taken the woman three days earlier.
He helped the man climb the three flights of stairs to the
woman�s apartment, knocked on the door and he saw the greatest
Christmas reunion he could ever imagine.

True Story - submitted by Pastor Rob Reid who says,
"God works in mysterious ways."
    Story is also known from The Reader's Digest version from 1954:by. Howard C. Schade    

God Bless you,Tina

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© Tina's Prayer Gate
June 18, 2012