The Dawson House, one of the stops on Hillsboro’s historic home tour three years ago, had been in existence for less than two decades when the Spanish Flu swept across the globe in 1918, killing an estimated 50 million people over the next three years.
A century later, another virus with a new name threatens to do likewise, but the weapon of choice for the home’s latest owner isn’t medicinal or military. It can be found in a timeless book with a simple message, written by a tentmaker from Tarsus to a struggling church in Ephesus.
“Prayer is something I love and believe in, and we know that it matters to God,” said Theresa Raisch, sitting in her wicker chair ‘sanctuary’ near her driveway that meanders up from North High Street, past a garage and onto Tower Drive in Hillsboro. “And there are many people out there who are living in fear at this time, and prayer is the one thing that I have found will bring you comfort and encouragement so you can have the strength to go on.”
She and her husband, Sid, attend Good News Gathering in Hillsboro. But she said the object of her ministry isn’t in pushing people into church attendance or formal membership, but rather to listen to their needs and concerns, to pray with them and to help them begin a relationship with God to get them through the uncertainty of the present and the unknowns of the future.
Some people equate following God as to how many church services they show up for, she said, but she remembered one couple in particular where she told them God loved and cared for them, and with all of the church closures, that they didn’t have to actually be inside a church building to nurture that relationship.
The importance of prayer was so impressed upon Raisch that she said 11 years ago, when construction was beginning on Good News Gathering, she felt led to pray over the church property, a practice that continued after construction was completed.
She said she experienced a manifestation of God’s presence that she never forgot, and that confirmed to her the value of that heavenly communication.
Since she and her husband placed a sandwich board sign at the entrance of their driveway that reads “Drive Thru Prayer,” there have been several vehicles that cautiously make their way up the driveway, driven by people who are fearful of the days ahead.
“The people I see are scared,” she said. “One person that comes to mind was a man who had to leave his wife at the emergency room since he couldn’t go in, and he told me he was a believer, but was still struggling with some things, and you could see the fear in his eyes.”
After a time of prayer, she told him his fears would lessen as he rediscovered and cultivated his relationship with Christ.
“I know that the community is there for food and health care and things like that,” she said. “But I just know that prayer and a personal relationship with Jesus Christ as your savior will bring you the comfort and peace that those things are not able to do.”
Reach Tim Colliver at 937-402-2571.