An Unexpected Guest

by Dan Nichols

The date was February 12, 2014. It was early evening, and Sumter, South Carolina, was in the middle of a pretty severe ice storm. The power outage was slowly extending across our county, that Baby Handdreadful uncertainty of having no heat, power, or light looming “out there.” And then our phone rang. It was one of the men of our church. He and his wife were pregnant, and the baby was literally due at any moment. Their house was all set up for a home delivery, and the midwife (a friend of theirs) had already arrived from out of town with her infant child, supplies, and a suitcase in tow just in case. The couple’s other two children were ready, too, and excited!

After a little small talk, the man revealed that his power had just gone out. “Do you have power?” he asked.

And we did. So after a quick “Are you okay with this?” conversation with my wife, I invited his whole entourage to our house. It was one of those Holy Spirit-led situations where my wife and I just knew this was the right thing to do, even knowing the possibilities that we might encounter. The man on the other end of the phone said that he imagined the power would be back on shortly, that due to the mild contractions it would most likely be a while before the baby came, and that they appreciated us letting them hang out in the meantime. They arrived at our house at about 9pm.

Shortly after they arrived we began to notice that “little baby” might not be all that long in coming after all. The contractions became really strong, really quickly. It was a good thing that they had packed all of their supplies. We awoke at around 3:00am to the voice of the midwife saying “It’s time!”

So we jumped out of bed and set things up. Our den became a delivery room, curtained off by a sheet on the door. I became the babysitter for the midwife’s child in the living room, and my wife became a labor and delivery assistant in the den! About forty-five minutes later, we were blessed with the arrival of a precious baby girl, Phoebe!

That was February 13th of last year. And as we roll past that date on the calendar this year, I’m reminded of the precious opportunity God gave me to learn a truer sense of biblical “fellowship,” something we have been blessed with growing deeper as a result of being a part of the Household of Faith Fellowship of Churches. It’s one thing to say we share life together. It’s another thing for one family to have a baby in another family’s den!! We praise the Lord for the opportunity and blessing!

One last key element to the story . . . It turned out that the power outage lasted for a couple more days, so we were able to experience even more “life” together. The afternoon of the day of Phoebe’s birth, several of us took a walk down the street to get out, stretch our legs, and enjoy the frozen stuff that we get so little of here in South Carolina. Do you know what we discovered? The power outage had hit our section of town. It had come into our neighborhood. It had crept halfway down our short street! In fact, our house, and our short section of road (just a few houses,) was the only section with power for as far as we could get to on our short walk! There is no question as to the Lord’s hand in this adventure! Amen, and praise the Lord!

“And they devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers.” Needless to say, Acts 2:42 holds a much deeper meaning for me now! Happy Birthday, Phoebe!

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About Household of Faith Fellowship of Churches

HOFFC is at the heart of an exciting movement that the Holy Spirit is bringing to the contemporary church as God raises up a host of like-minded family-integrated churches across the land. These churches work from the biblical mandate of helping equip parents to disciple their children. Rather than dividing families at the door, the family engages in the church experience together, as a unit. Pastors / Elders walk alongside parents who have discovered God’s call upon them to make the home the primary place of discipleship for the entire family. Jesus Christ remains central to our churches. We preach expository messages, maintaining a continuous emphasis upon living out the gospel before our children, the church and the world. Discipleship is not reserved for the church staff, or conducted always through many staff-led programs; rather, there is a complementarian partnership between church and home, both recognizing the home as the primary conduit of the gospel from one generation the next. HOFFC is an association - a family - of like-minded, evangelical, autonomous family-integrated churches. Since the 90s, HOFFC has grown from one small congregation in Portland, OR, into hundreds of families in various states across the country. Churches and families alike have experienced much joy and fruitfulness in this great adventure of uniting church and home in working toward this gospel-centered vision.
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