By Andrew McChesney
An elderly man stopped in Delsie Knicely’s family-owned store in rural West Virginia with a request.
“I’d like to see you in church this Sabbath”, he said.
Delsie didn’t want to go. She had been raised in the Seventh-day Adventist Church and had attended Adventist schools. But she had left the church as an adult, gotten married, and opened a store selling farm produce, groceries, and chainsaws.
Still, she didn’t want to flatly reject the man, Kester Erskine, whom she had known since childhood. Kester used to drive to her parents’ farm every Sabbath and pack her and her 11 brothers and sisters into his car, including the trunk, and take them to church.
Now Kester was in the store waiting for an answer to his invitation.
“I don’t have proper clothes”, Delsie said.
Kester returned the next week, and Delsie offered another excuse.
“OK, I’ll go if I’m not sick”, she said.
That Friday, she was hospitalized with a serious blot clot. That scared her, and she resolved not to use health as an excuse to skip church.
Two weeks after the hospital stay, Kester stopped by the store with a book, “National Sunday Law”, about how the Sabbath was changed to Sunday.
Delsie read the 94-page book by Adventist pastor A. Jan Marcussen that afternoon, marking the pages as she went along. She read the book again that evening and a third time the next day. She thought, “I went to Adventist church school and academy, and I know all this. Why haven’t I been in church?”
“I couldn’t think of a good reason”, Delsie told Adventist Mission. “So, I went to church and haven’t missed a Sabbath since then”.
Today, Delsie, a spry 63-year-old with a ready smile, is a powerhouse for God. She has led many evangelistic meetings, including series during a statewide evangelistic campaign funded by a 2015 Thirteenth Sabbath Offering. She also has graded thousands of Bible correspondence studies, and many people have been baptized through her influence.
Delsie said God must have a sense of humor. Ever since she claimed not to have anything to wear to church, her wardrobe has been full.
“The Lord has seen fit that I have had plenty of decent clothes since that time”, she said.
Produced by the General Conference Office of Adventist Mission. Find more mission stories at adventistmission[dot]org
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