pastor John's House is the personal website of Pastor John D. Clark Sr., of Burlington, NC
pastor John's House is the personal website of Pastor John D. Clark Sr., of Burlington, NC

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Jenny Holstein

"Sweps-on-ville"

All my life I have wanted to know God and belong to His people. I’ve spent a long time in Christianity trying to know God and “make church work.” But it never felt right to how I felt things should be. By the time I was about 25 or 26 (2001-2002-ish) I had spent many years trying to make it work; doing everything I could to conform to what I was being told, in the hope that things with God would be better. It wasn’t that I wasn’t trying to make it work, I did try very hard. Yet, it just did not work and when I would talk to others about it I was encouraged to accept things as they are.

Despite this, there were many times where I would still ponder about the division in church, and how things did not marry up to what was in my heart. I would wonder about what a church that had things right would be like. I began to think, “surely there is someone, - a people somewhere in the world who’ve got it right”. I prayed, “Lord, if there IS a people in the world who’ve got it right I want to know about it, please tell me”. Soon, I began to think, “I wonder where in the world they would be?” So, I began to think of all the countries in the world. For some reason I picked the USA – because that is the world’s greatest superpower of our time, I suppose (I don’t quite understand my reasoning at this). Then I began to think of all the states in the USA. I didn’t know them all, but I knew many of them. For some reason I picked the state of North Carolina.. I recall thinking “Well, are you sure it’s North, and not South Carolina?” I knew there is a North Carolina and a South Carolina, but I was sure North Carolina was right. I just felt sure about that.

Then I realised, “Wow, I’ve got a country and a state, surely I can’t get a locality?” I recall deciding not to be discouraged and see where this line of thinking would literally take me. At this point I didn’t really think I would get a locality, but I still prayed about it; for an actual locality. The next thing that came in my mind was, “Graham”. When I heard that I was thinking well that’s a person’s name, and the only Graham I knew was my uncle in Australia, so I dismissed this, yet still wrote it down. (At this point I was writing things down.) The next thing that came in my mind was a word of some description with the word parts “swep” and “ville” in it. I thought “Oh, that doesn’t really sound like a location” yet tried to put the word together, and what I put together I had the feeling was right but in my flesh I doubted it and I kind of began to think instead, of “Sweep” (because that’s a word I knew) and “ville”, like “Sweepsville” or something. But that didn’t seem right. So, I kind of went back to the word with “swep” and “ville” in it, which I’d kind of had as “Swep/s – on –ville!” I was in doubt though, because it just didn’t seem like a place name to me. Still, I wrote these down also.

Well, next, I still felt a little in doubt and discouraged and I prayed, “Lord, please be patient, please give me another place name.” The next place name the Lord gave me was “Burlington”. At this point I thought, “Oh, I know they have “Burlington” place names in America, like in Alabama, or Georgia, so I felt satisfied with that. Still, I didn’t know if there was one in a North Carolina but I would have been willing to bet there was! So, I thought okay, “Burlington, North Carolina, I wonder if there is a people there who have got things right about God.” So, I decided to mark that place name in my heart and mind.

Then I prayed, “Lord, if I still don’t have things going good with you in 5 years time, please remind of this place and I will go there” (and see what I can find). Then 4 or 5 years later, the Lord showed me His people in Graham, (the FIRST place name) North Carolina who have it right about God! There’s a very good chance that if it wasn’t for the internet, I may very well have taken leave of work, gotten on a plane and just visited “Burlington, North Carolina”. Then I might have discovered there was a place name called “Graham” and “Swepsonville” and then found God’s people!



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