Friday, July 17, 2015

Brother Mitchell: The Hands of a Saint

Reverend Mitchell
I was an awkward thirteen-year old boy standing in the vestibule of Towne Boulevard Church of God. His slender and knobby-knuckled hands came from behind, resting on each of my shoulders. 

Brother Mitchell was a revival preacher and pastor emeritus of our church, and when he prayed it was like all of creation paused to listen. His words were laced with wisdom and experience. Every breath and movement of this man seemed to carry weight and purpose. I knew as we stood there that he was praying for me.

He always began his prayers in a way that even today echoes in my own words, "Eternal God, our Heavenly Father..." His grip was firm on my shoulders and I felt my body began to shake. I was overcome with a presence.

Brother Mitchell slowly pulled in a deep breath and I looked up into the eyes of my mother, who was standing just in front of me, as his words filled the space between us. “I feel something in your boy. I feel something powerful here. I feel something from the LORD. This young man belongs to Him. He is going to be used by God.” 

These words seemed to vibrate throughout my entire body. I could feel the words tingling on my skin and I could feel them fill my heart. Tears fell from my eyes. The moment seemed beyond that red-carpeted hallway. It was bigger than three people huddled in a quiet conversation. It somehow felt Holy. I was frightened.

This moment has stayed with me over the past twenty-seven years. At times I’ve rejected those words, ran from them, and even tried to negate them.  I didn’t want that path. But I remember the moment I yielded to it, and that was the moment I begin to see my life in the context of the God spoken of in the prayers of Brother Mitchell.

I think of him often as our family walks this path in Guatemala. God seems to be opening up a way in front of us that shocks us with opportunity to serve the Kingdom. As we begin taking even greater steps of faith, I somehow know that brother Mitchell was given a glimpse on that day so long ago. 

I am humbled, and thankful to have this memory from that great prayer warrior who touched the face of God.

It is remarkable how this man was influential for generations with my family and walks with me in memory and spirit still today. My grandfather Mathis was a pastor and Brother Mitchell would preach revivals in his church at Poasttown Church of God. My mother would give up her room and sleep on the couch so that he could have a place to sleep.

While I was a teenager growing up at Towne Boulevard Church of God near Middletown, Ohio, Brother Mitchell could be seen daily walking around the perimeter of the multi-acre property, praying for the church and worshipping his creator.

Surely this mans prayers blanketed me on those days.

I give thanks to God for Brother Mitchell, and I am sure that God smiles when He knows that the spirit that guided his steps walks with me today.

The pastors during my time at Towne Boulevard:
Brother Mitchell, Clifford Hutchinson, Henry Howard,
Dr. Charles Tarr, Dr. Randall Montgomery, Jim Hill

Pastors Emeritus: Henry Howard (top),
George Mitchell (left), Clifford Hutchinson (right)

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