I want to tell you a story about Violet, she was a dear lady who attended our
church for a number of years and her story is an amazing one and I would
like to share it with you.
Violet and her family moved to the Emporium area quite a few years ago,
I’m not sure when, but they moved into a small cabin, nestled up in the
mountains behind Emporium; about 6 or 7 miles out of town.
The family was very poor and stories about how they lived up there got
around and of course gossip and innuendo are always high on the
menu, of a small rural community, where everyone knows everybody’s
We were told that the house up there had a dirt floor, and there was
no indoor plumbing. To be able to survive, this family lived off the
land; taking deer and other wildlife as needed. This often caused the
family to come in contact with the local law enforcement and
You can only imagine how difficult it would be to raise 6 sons and one
daughter in an environment like this!
“get out of the car, get out of the car.”
I recall one interesting and rather humorous story that dealt with several
of Violet’s boys. These boys (grown men) are pretty stout, by that I mean
very strong, bearded and woodsy looking guys. If you did not know their
nature, you would naturally be intimidated.
One evening, about 11:30 at night, while I was in the parsonage, I noticed
some flashing lights coming through the windows and being curious I
decided to see what was going on.
I noticed the municipal police car parked in the alley way out back
and I thought I saw a little red car which belonged to one of these
boys. So I decided to take a walk down the sidewalk and see
what was going on.
As I approached the alley it was confirmed the little red car did belong to
Violet’s boys and I knew inside that little car were four very intimidating
looking boys; now to be sure they weren’t boys, but grown men, but they
were Violet’s boys!
The local police officer had just got out of his car and was walking over near
the little red car in the alley. The next thing I heard was the officer, who just
recently got this job; he had only been on the job for a few months, shouted
out in a loud voice “get out of the car, get out of the car.”
So the four boys inside that car obeyed and immediately jumped out of the car
and turned around; looking squarely at the police officer. The new officer saw
these four big guys climb out of that little car and the only thing he could think
of was to shout back at them, in a rather high pitched voice with increased
intensity, “get back in the car, get back in the car.”
By now I had moved closer to the police car and was watching
the whole scene unfold and the young police officer turned,
visibly shaken, and saw me standing there. He said “pastor,
I don’t know what to do” and so I told him that unless the
infraction which caused him to pull them over was severe,
(I think they ran a stop sign) that I would just warn them to
be more careful and tell them to go home.
The police officer thought that was a good idea and he walked over to the
window of the little car and he told the driver to be more careful and told them
it’s getting late and I think you all should go home; the boys dutifully took
off and went home!
As Violet grew older, she could no longer live up on the mountain, she had some
health issues that required that she be a little closer to town, so she moved into
an adult personal care home; which happened to be right next to our church.
Violet Comes to Church
Violet began to attend our church with one of her sons, Laverne. Now Lavern
was in his mid 50’s when he began attending our church with his mother.
Laverne could not speak, nor could he hear; he was quite deaf!
We learned quickly that Laverne loved to worship God in church! It turns out
that, while he could not hear the music, he sure could feel it! He would stand
up and clap and stomp his feet while we worshiped music often pointing to the
big cross on the stage, making strange sounds and pointing toward the cross.
It was a pretty amazing thing to watch Laverne worship God with Violet sitting
right next to him grinning from ear-to-ear.
I recall the summer that Violet expressed faith in Christ,
I don’t know if she knew Jesus from a long time ago or not,
but she wanted to be baptized.
We scheduled a picnic and a baptism service at the 40 Maples Picnic area
at the Sinnemahoning State Park. We helped Violet down to the riverbank
and there we baptized her; what an amazing day!
Violet prayed, God came into the room
Violet began to join our prayer meeting which was growing by leaps and
bounds; I think we had upwards of 20+ people at our midweek prayer meeting.
When Violet prayed there was the sense that God was listening intently,
hanging on her every word! He came near to her; you could say that when
Violet prayed, God came into the room; it was a pretty remarkable thing to
behold this simple woman praying a simple prayer and God drawing near to her.
Rodger, One of the men in our prayer meeting, was traveling through a
nearby town, Saint Mary’s and while he was driving he saw a business with
a sign on the front door which simply said; “pray for a financial miracle.”
Rodger, a godly man of prayer, asked me if it would be alright if we all went up
there and prayed for this man; I told Rodger to go ahead and get a hold of him
and make plans for us to go up there and pray for his business. So within a few
weeks, arrangements were made and we told this business owner we would
come up and pray for the miracle he needed!
I’m not sure how many of us went over that night, but at least
16 to 20. I believe we packed everyone into about 4 or 5 vehicles;
and Violet was with me and Sherri!
When we got to the business and started inside we realized it was rather
small for this many people to cram in there. The owner of the store was
there, along with his father, and after a brief conversation we realized how
serious his situation was.
This young man was losing, not only his business, but also
his home; he was distraught and didn’t know what to do.
It was a beautiful little shop with all kinds of lovely items for sale inside, little
things you might find that you would hang on the wall and there were a few
items of furniture too. There were antiques and art work along with tons of
interesting and beautiful things.
“THAT’S MY TABLE”
In the back corner of that room; way back there, was a beautiful little Maple
table with 4 matching chairs, and Violet saw that. Violet spoke to me and
she said; “Hey Rocky, that’s my table over there in that corner, I’m
telling you that’s my table! I’ve been praying to Jesus for a table like
that, and that’s my table, that’s the one I’ve been asking for and I
know that’s my table.”
I tried to hush Violet, because this was the place where we needed to pray and
not shop. I said to Violet that it sure is a beautiful little table, but we’re here to
pray for this young man and his business!
Violet spoke up again and said; “Yes we are going to pray for
him, butRocky, that’s my table over there I’m telling you that’s
my table. I prayed for a table and that’s my table, it’s over there
in the corner, that’s the one, that’s my table and I know it is!”
All I could do was smile and try to continue with the real reason
we were there.
So we began to pray and as we prayed we sang songs and God came into that little
shop in a powerful, tangible way.
We learned weeks later, that the shop owner was seriously considering ending
his own life; everything he owned was wrapped up in that business he was
losing the business his home and everything was such a mess.
Once very week, Violet would take the ATA Bus from Emporium to St Mary’s.
When we got together each week at our prayer meeting, Violet would tell us;
“I went up to St Mary’s this week and I prayed for that man and my table.”
Week after week, she would tell us the same thing.
God gave the miracle
Remarkably Todd began to share with us many months later that through
strange and odd set of circumstances he was able to get his business back, it
was nothing short of a miracle! Not only did he get his business back but he
was able to save his home from foreclosure as well and he was given a job as
assistant manager at a newly built Hotel. He told us that his life changed the
night we came over and is faith in Jesus was growing and we were so excited for him.
One night while we were all gathered in the prayer room we
heard this commotion out in the hallway of the Christian
Center. The noise got closer and closer, until finally in came
this young man we had been praying for and Rodger; and
they brought in that beautiful Maple table and 4 matching
chairs and gave it to Violet.
I will never forget as long as I live, Violets beaming face and she looked
over at me, grinning from ear from ear and she said; “Rocky, I told you that
was my table.”
Violet lived in an adult personal care home, and unfortunately there was no
room for that table, so we made a space for it inside the church. We put it in
our prayer room and we called it Violets Table, and it remained there until the
day that Violet went to be with Jesus
At her memorial service we told this story and presented that table to her
family which they have to this day.
I remember traveling to Norway, speaking on behalf of the
College of Prayer. While I was over there, I told Violet’s story to
the Norwegians, many of the people there were moved to tears.
As I was leaving Norway, catching a ride to the airport, I spent the afternoon
with the police chief and his wife, who had attended the meetings. After a lunch,
as we got ready to head to the airport, the chief’s wife went over to her curio
cabinet and pulled out and exquisitely beautiful Crystal Angel.
She handed it to me and she told me when I went back home, to make sure
that Violet got this little angel and to be sure and tell her that’s a gift from her.
I have a funny feeling that people like Violet; will have a very
powerful spot in the Kingdom of Heaven. We can go through
life desiring all the gold, thetrinkets, and the fame; never
actually gaining anything at all.
Violet had nothing in this world, by worldly standards that is, and the only thing
she ever wanted materially speaking, was a little maple table to call her own;
and she got that! However, Violet had something that was richer and deeper
than anything money could ever buy; she had the ear of the Lord; He was and
is her best friend!
The richest people you will ever meet, don’t even have a dime!