After years of praying and believing a breakthrough happened. The small church now owned thirty-three acres on Route 7, a major artery connecting Fairfax and Loudoun counties. Anxious to worship on the future site and reach the community, the church scheduled a revival called Twenty-One Days a Blaze. The name fit the humid July meetings perfectly.
Huge center poles bore up the large canvas tent. Ropes and stakes anchored the edges to the ground. Under the tent, you could smell fresh sawdust. I built many forts during dad’s preaching with these tiny wood shavings. Lights hung high from the center poles, powered by a generator that hummed throughout the services. About 300 folding chairs were neatly positioned in three different sections. In the back sat our handmade baptism tank made of plywood, two by fours, all wrapped in steel cable. To hold water, thick plastic covered the inside and hung over the edges.
The church did a large mailer to announce the meetings. I’m sure some complained about the heat and getting stuck in the mud. They missed out. The curious and the hungry came.
On occasion a summer storm blew through. We all watched as the large center poles swayed. Mighty gusts of wind filled the tent like a sail, causing the side poles to collapse. Ushers quickly propped them up and released the side curtains for protection. Rain pounded the canvas like a drum roll. Pools formed around the perimeter as water ran down the canvas like small waterfalls.
While it stormed, the church continued to worship. What a sweet mixture of sounds. Under the tent, we experienced a breakthrough in praise. The unusual venue attracted creatives of all types – singers, musicians, arrangers, and engineers. Back then we loved the Jewish medleys. “Jehovah Jirah, my Provider, his grace is sufficient for me!” We declared. Hands lifted, voices raised, hearts rejoicing, many moved their feet. The dust from so many dancing sparkled in the lights above. The twenty-one-day revival turned in to the three months. Many came out of curiosity. They probably thought were handling snakes. But they stayed because they felt the presence of God.