Deanaland

Sunday, October 29, 2006

Holy Ghosts

Because Halloween is near, I thought I'd post a ghost story. And ghost stories don't get any better than the ones told by my dad. For Church of Christ folks, we were pretty tuned into the paranormal back in the day. Anyway, here's my dad's story about a church we used to attend:

"This story would not have frightened the living daylights out of me had it been untrue or had it been presented as a fictional narrative. But the story is true and remains to me as great a mystery now as when it transpired more than thirty-three years ago.

Lovington, New Mexico, was a peaceful community with a population of 9,000, including women and children. The Church of Christ was located on the corner of 3rd Street at Central Avenue. Their first building was constructed during the 1930s. Some years later, they added another building alongside that first one. Then in the 1960s, they constructed a new auditorium (sanctuary) alongside the second building. The three buildings were connected by a hallway running along the backside of the complex.

Across the street from these buildings was an old funeral home the church purchased to serve as additional classroom space. This was called the Brown Building. Why? Because it was brown. Next door to the Brown Building was a little white house that was called the White House. Why? Oh never mind. The White House was the home of J. D. and Roma Smith. J. D. was one of our elders. Also he was the local undertaker.

I moved my wife and son to Lovington in February 1971 to become the new youth minister for this fine congregation. Brian was 3. Deana was born in August of that year.

In 1973, the elders agreed that I could spend every Tuesday in Portales, NM, taking graduate Bible courses at the Church of Christ Bible Chair located on the Eastern New Mexico University campus. My agreement with the elders included that I would not allow school to conflict with my duties of serving as youth minister. This meant that I would be doing most of my school work after 11 p.m. several nights per week.

Since Deana was only two years old (terrible two’s) I did not wish to disturb her night’s rest with my necessary typing of research papers. So I would go down to the church house to study in my office. The offices were situated in the middle building between the new auditorium and the old original building which, by this time, was a nice fellowship hall.

One night, I was in the church office typing away on my old Adler electric typewriter. I thought I heard something but paid it little notice. There it was again. I quit typing and listened more intently. There was singing. Congregational a cappella singing. They were singing, “Blessed Assurance.” My immediate concern was that I did not know who the “they” were. The singing was so clear and near, at the same time seeming vague and far away.

I eased over to my office door and listened. Yes, there was singing. I opened the door a little and peered into the hallway. The singing stopped. All was quiet. I mulled that over for a few moments then closed the door and returned to my typing. The singing started up again. This time they were singing, “My Faith Looks Up To Thee.” I became a little frightened. No, I became really scared and even found myself fearful of walking out of the building to get into my car. After all, it was midnight. But I made it home in one piece.

Several nights later while studying in my office, I heard the singing again. This time I just sat at my typewriter and listened. They sang several hymns. And yes, they consistently skipped the third verse. But then it got quiet.

Anyway, a few days later, I happened to see J. D. and asked him about the singing. He replied, “Oh that’s the old congregation. They still meet over in the old building where they met back in the 1930s.” Then he added, “I step over there from time to time just to hear them sing. It’s just plain beautiful.” J. D. never cracked a smile and neither did I. Maybe He loved to hear them sing but they scared me half to death.

That dear old elder has “crossed over” but I suspect he still attends regularly with that original Lovington congregation. He loved to sing bass. One of his favorites was “I Know That My Redeemer Lives.”

I would like to visit there just one more night and listen to the old church sing again. Brother Smith was right. It was just plain beautiful."



Winston Hamby –

(Deana’s Dad) …

15 Comments:

  • At Sun Oct 29, 03:03:00 PM, Blogger Paige Robins said…

    That's awesome! I wanna go there and hear that!!!

     
  • At Sun Oct 29, 06:39:00 PM, Blogger Jacinda said…

    hmmmm....I think I would have been scared too!

     
  • At Sun Oct 29, 08:41:00 PM, Blogger Dina said…

    hmmm I would love to hear that,but why does stuff like that only happen in the nightime??!!!! Thats the part that would scare me! dark, & singing, but NOBODY THERE!! Thanks for the story!!

     
  • At Mon Oct 30, 12:38:00 AM, Blogger David Michael said…

    Would that be heaven?

     
  • At Mon Oct 30, 05:55:00 AM, Blogger The Brensings said…

    Lovington is my hometown! The description of the brown building and the white building cracks me up! I grew up in "L" town (as we call it) and never once heard this story. You know, everything is still the same. The brown building is still called the brown building (because it's brown) and the white house is still called the white house (because oh never mind). Although the brown building has been remodeled and the white house now belongs to the youth group. How cool was this encounter! May God bless you richly today!

     
  • At Mon Oct 30, 07:08:00 AM, Blogger Brian said…

    I was thinking about that building the other day.

    The orginal church building was rather small. When they built the much larger new church and the fellowship hall, they never tore down the old one. They just kinda built around and over the old church, incorporating the old auditorium in the new class room space.

    What was really weird about this is that in back of the fellowship hall, there was a door that would lead up a flight of stairs. I think it was a service door whereby the a/c and electrical could be serviced.

    Anyway, when you got up to the top of the stairs, you could look down and see the front facade of the old building, encased with in the walls of the church...I always thought that was kinda creepy. I could have figured out a way to get walk up the steps of that building, but I never got my nerve up to do it.

     
  • At Mon Oct 30, 11:10:00 AM, Blogger Frank Bellizzi said…

    Stay the heaven away from me!

     
  • At Mon Oct 30, 11:15:00 AM, Anonymous Deanna Bussie Love said…

    This is very interesting, especially as I read on and realized that I knew your dad in college. Tell him hello for me. God bless your work and your writings.

     
  • At Mon Oct 30, 02:58:00 PM, Blogger WinSpin said…



    Hey Deanna ...

    Go Wildcats,

    Winston --
    Fish '57

     
  • At Mon Oct 30, 06:44:00 PM, Blogger The Brensings said…

    My maiden name is Lovejoy. You guys may know my grandparents Ray and Carolyn. My Papa was an elder at that church for so many years.

     
  • At Mon Oct 30, 07:05:00 PM, Blogger Deana Nall said…

    We knew them very well. The second time we lived there was when Judy was in high school. I guess she's your aunt?

     
  • At Tue Oct 31, 07:04:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Wow! So "They, being dead, yet ... sing" ...?

     
  • At Tue Oct 31, 07:47:00 AM, Blogger WinSpin said…



    Of course ... Probably they are practicing to become a part of Revelation 5:13 ...

     
  • At Tue Oct 31, 07:54:00 AM, Blogger WinSpin said…


    To: The Brensings ...

    Yes, Barry was in my high school Youth Group the first time I was in Lovington and Judy was in my Junior Youth Group. Judy was in my HS youth group the second time I was in Lovington.
    Oh the memories they bring to mind. Both of them were outstanding teen Christian leaders.
    Tell them "hello" for me ...

    Winston Hamby --
    Whamby2@houston.rr.com

     
  • At Wed Nov 01, 05:51:00 AM, Blogger The Brensings said…

    Winston - Wow! This is very cool. I will tell them you said hello. I really love hearing about Lovington from another perspective. Barry is my father and Judy is my aunt. They're both doing well. Barry has 3 kids and two grandkids and is an investment rep. Judy has 2 kids (both still in highschool). They're amazing kids. I adore them both! Great hearing from you!

     

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