Hargrove Settlement, Calcasieu Parish
Recorded June 30, 1990 by C. Renée Harvison.
Sister Lily was a big woman. She was Luther's wife, and they lived right across from the Baptist church. And on one Sunday morning the preacher, Jack Bell, Reverend Jack Bell, who also worked in a lumber yard during the week in Westlake, and he was the pastor here, too. He was in the pulpit preaching after Sunday school.
We were into the preaching hour, and as I recall, his subject that day was the rapture of the church. We, of course, were enraptured. Everybody was attentive and still, and all was quiet. And I remember the preacher saying, "And in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the sound of the last trump," and when he said, "the last trump," we heard, "Heeeyyyy, ohhhhhh."
And he stopped in the pulpit, motionless. Everybody in their pews just kind of froze. And we heard this giant collision outside on the double doors in front of the church. And there was renewed silence. Then the two doors of the vestibule swung open. And as they were pulled open, it created a vacuum in the church. And there was a great rushing wind that swept over the congregation that had to be like the day of Pentecost, you know, a great rushing wind, and there stood Sister Lily in all of her glory. Sister Lily was standing in the doors of the vestibule.
Everybody was enraptured, and everybody turned in their pews, and Sister Lily hollered, "Brother Jack, Brother Jack, Aunt Rosie's house is on fire!"
You see, we didn't have a fire department, and she figured the best authority on fire would be the Baptist preacher. I mean he preaches about it every other Sunday, hellfire and brimstone. So she went to Brother Jack and interrupted his message.
And Brother Jack, being calm, cool, and collected as he was, said, "Would some of you men please go and help remove the furnishings from the home?"
And we did. But the funny thing about that was that when she hit those double doors and yelled, everybody thought it was the rapture! On that Sunday morning we had fourteen rededications and seven conversions! Yeah! All because of Sister Lily. And I'm always amazed how God works in mysterious ways. Just because of Sister Lily.
We did salvage some things from Aunt Rose's house, so it was a good Sunday. There were a lot of things saved because of Aunt Rose's house that day. People were saved. The refrigerator was saved. I mean, we saved it all. Brother Jack had some divine intervention, and his subject was most fitting. Sister had to be an instrument of God. It made people think seriously about the rapture. That's true. That's real.
For more information on this and related tales, refer to the book Swapping Stories: Folktales from Louisiana, published by University Press of Mississippi.