It was about the summer of 1968 and I was still living beside the Bible School campus in Tupelo, Mississippi.
I received a phone call one day from a wonderful lady who was the wife of a prominent pastor not far away.
It seemed that Brother Crist had been invited to preach the Indiana Camp Meeting and Sister Crist had been asked to direct the camp choir.
She was calling to ask me if I would go with her and help in the trio and teach the tenor parts to the choir.
I was so honored and absolutely thrilled that she would ask me to go with her. She informed me that another minister/ singer with a great voice from the college was going also to help teach and I would be traveling with he and his wife.
Almost sheepishly, she told me that she was also taking a lead singer from her own church choir to do some solo parts.
She said, “I have to tell you something. The lady is blind. Her name is Sister Treasure.”
It seemed Sister Crist wanted very much for this lady to go and sing, but she wasn’t sure if the trip might be too much for her.
She related to me that just before one of their evening services, while she was passing by to greet the lady, the woman took her by the arm and said, “Lean closer, there’s something I want to tell you. I was praying today and The LORD spoke to me and said you wanted me to go to Indianapolis with you but you’ve been worried. I want you to know, I already have my bags packed!”
So off we went. Our team was to meet up with the Crists and Sister Treasure somewhere between Mississippi and Indiana and on to the camp we would go.
Well, the meeting was going very well and there was a great move of the Spirit and the guest minister pored his heart out to those people. The choir was doing well and we were graciously received.
One evening, Sister Crist had to go early from the motel to meet with the musicians and Brother Crist and Sister Treasure were riding with us in the other car.
Our driver, Brother Vince and his wife were in the front seat with Brother Crist and me and Sister Treasure were in the back.
Brother Vince jokingly said to Brother Crist, “I guess you got a good one ready for us again tonight, Elder?”
Somewhat abashed and down-faced, Brother Crist replied, “No, I have two messages to choose from and I can’t seem to get an answer or leading of the Spirit about which one I am to speak. I’m really burdened about it.”
All of a sudden, from the back seat, Sister Treasure scooted up to the edge of the seat, reached over the front seat and laid her hands on her Pastors shoulder and began to forcefully give out a message in tongues.
I felt the hair stand up on the back of my neck. She interpreted the message, something to the effect that he was the man chosen for that time and hour to present the Word of the LORD to those people and He would strengthen him and at the moment he would know the message chosen.
She then began praying for him and shouting in the back seat all at the same time. My God, I was a total wreck.
I was hemmed up in the other corner, the woman was shouting all over the back seat and I was sobbing and a shaking and the Awe of The LORD was actually resting on the top of my head. I felt like my hair was standing straight up!
The power of God fell on that car and all of us were rejoicing and speaking in tongues, weeping and a hooping.
We were still praising The LORD when we drove up on the Camp Ground. As we opened the door to the car getting out, those people looked at us like, “Yeah, we had always heard those Southerners were wild and a bit unsettled. Now, we know for sure.”
The choir gathered on the platform and we were going to sing that old Doris Akers song, “Every time I feel the Spirit, moving in my heart I will pray.”
Sister Crist positioned our blind lady singer who was to do the solo part, just behind her to the left of the pulpit, behind a special microphone facing the audience. The introduction was played and we started singing….
Now this platform was very high off the floor and there was a rail across it, I think, but not for some distance on each side of the pulpit.
We got to the verse part where the soloist sang a line and the choir repeated it. Sister Treasure was already happy.
When it come her time she sang, “Up on the mountain, (Woooo), my God spoke, (Woooooo), out of his mouth came, (Wooooooo, Woo Wooooooo).”
You know, there’s no way to write that sound you Pentecostal ladies make when you start getting happy, but Sister Treasure made it.
“Fire and Smoke, (Woooooooooooooooooo) Looked all around me, looked so fine, I said Lord oh Lord is all this mine. (Chorus) “Oh every time, I feel the Spirit, moving in my heart I will pray.”
Sister Treasure was already half dancing and having herself a time.
Sister Crist would glance over once in a while to see if Sister Treasure was alright and turn back to us to give her signals and direct with her hands.
I was standing to the side and Sister Crist turned to look at the blind lady and her eyes suddenly got as big as saucers.
Sister Treasure had danced out from behind that microphone and right up to the edge of that very high stage.
Our director looked at me like, “My God, she’s likely to shout right off this platform.”
I think she realized that if she made a sudden move to grab her she might just push the woman over for sure. Half the choir forgot to sing.
The people weren’t listening anyway. All eyes were on this little blind woman. She’d shout right up to the edge and shout back.
Up to the edge and back again. So help me, I can still see the pointed toes of her white flat shoes half over the line.
She’d turn sideways and then dance backwards all along the edge, eyes completely closed anyway, oblivious to where she was, lost in the Spirit.
Sister Crist looked at me as if to say, “Well, are you gonna help me or just stand there!”
For a little while, it got very quiet. I think the musicians almost forgot to play.
It seemed to last a lifetime. Very slowly a dawning began to move across that audience.
When those folks fully realized that an Angel of The LORD had this beautiful blind saint by the hand and together they were dancing before The LORD, that place literally exploded.
People began to run, they began to dance between the pews and all out in the aisles, folks began to fall out in the Spirit and the choir absolutely disintegrated. Sister Criss looked at me and kinda shrugged her shoulders as to say, “Well!”
The Holy Ghost fell on Sister Crist and she politely forgot about us all.
The roar in that place was enough to shake the very rafters. Our dear brother, the Camp Evangelist had no trouble knowing which message he was to preach. It had been confirmed, and the place was mightily shaken.
(This is a true story. The names have been altered with permission.)
First published: July 21, 2011.
~ Robert Blackburn