Stroll through Greenwood Baptist on a Sunday morning and you'll spot her first by that gorgeous, perpetual smile. She might be working in our children's ministry or sitting by her grandma, Jerry Hood.
That's where she gets her smile. Brittany told me, "I wouldn't know the Lord if it weren't for her. Did you know I'm also kin to Lucille Rushing?" Lucille, a charter member, is a hoot. I want to be like her when I grow up. Brittany confirmed that I already am. One thing I've learned is not to talk about anyone at our church. They're all kin to someone else there! Cures gossip.
Back to my tale. Her other grandmother, on her mom's side, didn't know Christ. As Brittany's life changed, she'd share what God was doing. Her "Gamma" (as she calls her) would simply reply, "Well, that's your God." She never referred to Him as her God. Darlene is Gamma's name.
Brittany's awareness of Darlene's spiritual need turned to deep concern in early September. Gamma fell, broke 2 legs and laid there for 12 hours, before someone discovered her. The next days were a whirl of medical crises eventually revealing sepsis. Gamma was in an induced comma. She was in Grand Strand Hospital at Myrtle Beach, about an hour from us and Brittany here in Florence.
"I asked my life group to pray for her to find Jesus," Brittany said. "I even talked to Pastor Johnny about my prayers for her. 'Pastor Johnny, since she's not a believer, is God hearing me?' " He assured her that because she herself was a believer, God heard her pleas.
She prayed, "Gamma's not a believer, Lord, and if she dies I'll never see her again. Lord, please wake her up. . .maybe on my birthday." September 26 two things happened. Brittany had a birthday and Gamma woke up!
"She even knew it was my birthday. She had past memories that were clear but was confused about things in the moment. The next day she was unconscious again," said Brittany.
Then on Thursday, November 19, God again gave Darlene some conscious moments with her granddaughter. She seemed clear in her thinking. Brittany gathered her courage. "I didn't want to be offensive or insensitive to her suffering, but I had to share. I asked her, 'Do you know Jesus Christ as your Savior, Gamma?' "
"Do you want to know Jesus as your Savior?"
Uncertain of how, but determined, Brittany and Gamma prayed together for her salvation. But Brittany doubted herself, so she asked her pastor to please come by the hospital and confirm. He came and found Gamma awake. Her daughter, Aileen, was kissing her. Gamma said, "Quit kissing me and let the preacher do his job." Johnny and she talked about the conversation she'd just had with Brittany and there was no doubt that she received the Lord. She was sure. Brittany was assured. He asked her if she understood. "Yes." He asked if she had any questions. "No." So Pastor Johnny prayed then stepped out. He said to Brittany, "She put me on the spot to 'Do my job' but YOU'D already done it!"
Joy exploded on earth and in heaven.
Brittany left the hospital at 9:15 that night full of peace.
Gamma fell asleep, then woke up the next day. . .IN HEAVEN!